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Royal Enfield Continental GT First Ride Review


Royal Enfield Continental GT Review

Royal Enfield Continental GT – Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Royal Enfield Continental GT Review

Bike Tested: Royal Enfield Continental GT

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 2.14 lakhs

The Royal Enfield Continental GT is a modern cafe racer with emotional appeal.

Royal Enfield is known for making cruiser motorcycles but a quick dip into the history of this old brand will give you a glimpse of what all the company has done in its past. Circa 1960, the company launched the Meteor and Meteor Minor which were the first cafe racer bikes from the company. The Continental GT arrived in 1965 and soon the cafe racer cult saw a sharp following. However by 1985, cafe racer motorcycles were no longer in demand. Fast forward to 2010 and Royal Enfield made a splash by showcasing a cafe racer concept at the 2010 Auto Expo. A couple of years later, the production spec model was showcased and earlier this year, the bike was launched in the UK. After all this wait, Royal Enfield has finally launched the much awaited and highly anticipated Continental GT in the Indian market. We take a quick spin in warm and cosy Goa to find out if the Royal Enfield Continental GT strikes the right chords.

Continental GT is a very attractive machine and turns heads everywhere

Royal Enfield has got the styling of the Continental GT spot on. When viewed in person, it looks the part and is quite an attention grabber. The company has remained true to the original cafe racer and the modern example flaunts the retro design elements proudly. The long tank, alloy spoke wheels, humped back racing seat and a sensation that the motorcycle has gone on a diet is immediately apparent. Fit and finish levels are very good too and it’s only when you observe very carefully do you find some rough edges. Paint quality is excellent and the Continental GT comes out of a new factory which has a modern paint shop which shows on the GT. The design will itself attract a crowd to RE showrooms as we witnessed on our Goa burn up, everyone turned and admired the Continental GT with eyes full of want. Few stopped us and inquired about the machine, such is the pull from the design alone. It does look like a piece of art in red while in yellow, it looks even more appealing.

Bar end mounted mirrors are optional but super cool and functional

The Royal Enfield Continental GT gets a twin pod cluster with the left side housing the speedometer (marked both in km/hr and mph) and a small LCD screen with a digital display showcasing twin tripmeters, odometer and fuel level. The right pod is the tachometer and both the pods get a chunky chrome surround. The switchgear is familiar to other Royal Enfield bikes and feels good to operate. Our test bike was equipped with bar end mirrors which take a bit to get used to but once you get the hang of it, you will appreciate them. The mirrors have titanium dioxide coating on them but since it’s mandatory to have rear view mirrors with an 80 mm circular design, these are not standard. The optional mirrors cost Rs. 4000/- and the pillion seat is also optional (which comes with pillion footpegs). The Continental GT is registered and homologated as a single seater.

You won’t be racing cafe to cafe on Royal Enfield’s new Continental GT

Royal Enfield claims the Continental GT is the fastest, lightest and most powerful motorcycle from their stable. Powering the flagship thumper is the same old engine which does duty in the Classic 500 and Thunderbird 500 but this one has been given increased capacity at 535cc with a bore up and ECU remap. The increase in displacement has also seen an increase in output which now reads 29.1 BHP of power at 5100 RPM and 44 Nm of torque at 4000 RPM. So the Continental GT isn’t very powerful considering the cubic capacity of the motor. It weighs a full 184 kgs so it isn’t very light either. Fastest Royal Enfield, definitely but not a very fast bike per se. However Royal Enfield will offer performance parts for those who want more juice out of their cafe racer.

Engine has good mid-range punch but fuelling is snatchy, lacks top-end

The problem lies with the motor which doesn’t offer the performance you would expect from a cafe racer. The single-cylinder mill has lots of flat spots in the bottom end of the power band and you need to rev the Continental GT a fair bit to get past this. The mid-range is fantastic and there is a definite pull between 2000-4000 RPM which is the meat of the powerband. Post 4000 RPM, the vibes are too much and the motorcycle redlines at a paltry 5700 RPM with a rough cut off and coarse engine sound. It does thump with aural bliss right from start, up to 4000 RPM. However our test bike had an exhaust which is part of the option list (costs Rs. 2900/-), the regular exhaust isn’t as loud.

The single-cylinder engine has plenty of vibrations which hampers cruising

The Royal Enfield Continental GT reaches 100 km/hr in third gear and you can cruise comfortably at that speed in fifth gear with the tacho needle hovering around at 3500 RPM. The Continental GT reaches 120 km/hr easily and when pushed hard should show 140 km/hr on the speedo easily (real top speed is 135 km/hr). However the incessant vibrations post 100 km/hr can be felt through the handles, tank, seat and footpegs which hamper high speed riding. The gearbox is average and there are many false neutrals although the clutch is light and well weighed. Our test bike had done less than 300 kms and the vibrations should reduce post first service. One can expect a mileage of 27-30 km/l from this machine (ARAI certified is 41.9 km/l).

Royal Enfield Continental GT Road Test

The Continental GT remains stable through the corners, thanks to grippy Pirellis

Armed with telescopic forks at the front, Paioli twin gas-charged shocks at the rear and tubular steel frame underneath (UK’s Harrison Engineering helped in the development) the Continental GT is a bit stiffly sprung which gives it good dynamics. Ride quality isn’t stiff but absorbent and there is no bounciness at speed. Straight line stability is excellent too and it’s really the super awesome Pirelli Sport Demon tyres which lend the Continental GT amazing grip through corners. Turn-in isn’t quick and the bike isn’t flickable which is expected but the Continental GT can be a lot of fun through the twisties and you will find yourself smiling in your helmet when you show it a series of corners.

Standard model to come with single seat, pillion seat is optional

The Continental GT gets clip-on handle bars and the seating position is by far the sportiest of any Royal Enfield bike but the saddle is itself wide and the cushioning on the seats is on the softer side saving your derrière on long rides. The riding position isn’t aggressive and all this makes riding the Continental GT for long durations an easy task. The footpegs are a bit rear set but offer comfort. Armed with Brembo discs at the front and rear with steel braided lines, the Continental GT offers excellent stopping power and the braking performance benefits from the fantastic Pirelli rubber as well (100 section front and 130 section rear).

With the optional pillion seat and footpegs, bike doesn’t look as cool

The Royal Enfield Continental GT is a very different kind of motorcycle. It isn’t the usual motorcycle which you ride and see everyday, nor is it a usual Royal Enfield, a shift away from cruisers for the British brand. While it doesn’t have the most potent engine around, the Continental GT does please with its torquey thump and well balanced dynamics. Royal Enfield is going the long haul in bringing back cafe racer culture of the 60s and 70s, a brave move considering the Continental GT is the only cafe racer of its kind on sale today. The Continental GT isn’t about speed, nor is it about reaching from point A to point B. The GT is something else, it’s an experience, it’s motorcycling of a different kind. But what ever it is, it sure is the best Royal Enfield you can buy today.

The Royal Enfield Continental GT tries to pull your emotional strings with the riding experience it offers. It’s different and unique which will appeal to a very different set of riders. Considering the hardware, the Continental GT is priced very attractively and that makes it a very good buying proposition.

Paioli shocks, Pirelli tyres, Brembo brakes, aka nice hardware

What’s Cool

* Genuine cafe racer design
* Dynamics
* Appeal and desirability

What’s Not So Cool

* Engine vibrations
* Short power band

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ben

    @faisal. Im eager to know its top speed, 0-100 timing. Please tell.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Not timed yet but 0-100 km/hr should take around 12-13 seconds. Top speed is 150ish.

      • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

        Actually it should be around 11 seconds, real top speed is 135 km/hr.

  • Ysak

    no details about variants & price ??

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Launch in progress, will update it as soon as it is revealed.

    • Rahul

      Price is 2.05 Lakhs on road, Delhi

  • Akash

    Faisal bro… can you please discuss about the vibrations with RE people. and also about the engine. they gave excellent tyres, excellent shock absorbers and fantastic brakes… but engine doesn’t sound good and fast enough. they should have worked with some engine expert like avl and engines engineering to develop a square engine with bore larger than stroke. and power could have been more in the region of 40-45 bhp…. what is this man. when these Indians will learn…. :/

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      New engine would cost much more but I am sure they are aware about it and new engines would come in the near future.

      RE is more about torque than power but the pricing is totally awesome.

      • Akash

        ohkkk…. and I don’t have any problem with pricing. its just perfect…. :D

  • Crazywheels

    Faisal, Is it comfortable to ride, or just like KTM?..

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Yes, it’s comfy, it’s not stiff like KTM.

  • Sushrut

    Not people will like my comment but this is my take on RE. Actually, this is very clever marketing from RE. They have managed to create a fascination for their bikes. This bike (or any other for that matter) is absolutely not to my taste and with age old engine priced @ 2 lakhs is a bit too much. The engine, although 535cc doesn’t make these bikes fast enough and is still air cooled and looks so ill fit with all those gaps in between the frame. You can actually see the welding spots below the seat where the rear shock-up is mounted. And I am sure the tail lamp , indicators are not that great in quality either. And hardware has to be top notch, why are you paying them for if it is not. Big deal !! All in all a retro bike at new age prices.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Isn’t that the case with all retro offerings? Look at MINI, Beetle, Fiat 500, etc.

      Royal Enfield is clear, they are not about performance, they are about raw and unadulterated motorcycling, there are people who like those kind of motorcycles ;-p

      • Sushrut

        Please don’t compare these bikes with Mini, Beetle or F500. Although these cars have retro design elements, they are thoroughly modern and state-of -the -art when it comes to engines,the interiors, safety equipment or even design they offer. For this price, is RE offering ABS? or ultra modern engine? KTM and Bajaj has given us KTM 390. Now comparison between these two bikes will be wrong but look at what Bajaj/KTM is offering for the price.

        • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

          Yes but the difference is that Bajaj-KTM are normal bikes, the RE is a cruiser and it’s like you are getting a lifestyle brand. It’s more about the experience than anything else.

  • Amar

    Hi Faisal,
    I have apache rtr 180 from past 4-5 years (still love it) but want to upgrade to a bigger bike.(in coming year)
    Will this bike a good upgrade for me?
    My other options are
    1) Ninja 300 (Expensive and need good place to park, cannot use on daily basis, just revved it at showroom, no TD available)
    2) KTM Duke 390 (In budget, did short test drive, felt rough and Dealer said its the nature of KTM. Although it was pretty much a TD in parking lot, so couldn’t reveal full potential and bike was Demo so not like new.)
    Upcoming Launches:
    3) KTM RC390 (Really like the styling, just need to know hows the nature of bike especially compared to Duke counterpart)
    4) Yamaha R25 (Love the teaser of VR46, but dont know launch date and production version details)
    Please let me know your opinion.
    My Usage is To and Fro Office commute (10km), weekend rides upto 50 kms.
    I enjoy the handling and revvy nature of RTR and enjoy it by full revving in 6-8k rpm under 100kmph.
    Thanks,
    Amar

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      What are your requirements, how and where you plan to rude? City or highway?

      • Amar

        Currently i drive mostly in city (but i can spare my apache for that), but with a bigger bike i would like to go on highways on weekends to explore the limits. Apache 180 is not that pleasure on highways as it is in city.

        • Amar

          About riding style: I like to ride fast on curvy roads like Lavasa and not just cruising miles at 120kmph for long hours, just spirited driving, cornering and fun.

      • Amar

        I can do city drive with my current apache, i would be driving mostly on outskirts/highway especially on weekends to explore the limits. Occasionally in city.

        • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

          Get the Duke 390.

          • Amar

            Thanks Faisal for the advice, i am looking forward to this option now.
            That said, should i wait for RC390 or just buy the Duke, since i can wait and extend budget. Points in favor of RC390, highspeed wind stability/engine heat disposal/aerodynamics due to fairings and personally love to buy a faired one, epecially the one revealed, i like it personally. But i would like know the seat position and comfort difference in RC and Duke.

          • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

            Honestly, I can’t tell you about how the RC will be as I have not seen in personally but trust me, the Duke will be more comfortable. Anyways let’s do this discussion in the Duke thread and not hijack the CGT one.

  • Srinath

    Hey Faisal,
    How did you feel the quality of the materials in the bike? How comfortable is the riding position? Good for some long rides ~ 500-600 kms a day? I own a P200 NS and is looking for an upgrade. I use my bike only for long rides (highways+hills). Do you this would suit my interests? I really love the styling of the bike and read like this should be more reliable than Classic. I generally have not heard good stuff related to RE tech, reliability. How do you feel Continental GT would be? I know these are a lot of questions. Please comment.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Srinath, the bike is very comfortable, quality is good in appearance but there are some rough edges. Not really good for long rides, more for the city. I don’t think this suits your needs. Reliability will be similar to other RE’s since the engine is the same.

  • saurabh

    @ Faisal the 0 to 100 kmph figures mentioned by you are too slow. (I own a classic 500)
    Please refer to your own link on classic 500
    http://www.motorbeam.com/bikes/royal-enfield-classic/royal-enfield-classic-500-test-ride-review/
    it takes 4.5 for 0 to 60kmph. The classic 500 happens to be faster than P220 by more than a sec in a dash to 100kmph which is roughly around 10 seconds.
    The continental gt seems to be faster than a classic 500 so it has to be below 10.
    Also, to RE engines are long stroke engines (Bore Bore the max rpm will be around 6000 to 7000.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Saurabh, yes the 0-100 km/hr is around 10-11 seconds, yet to time it. Old figures were more stop watch, now we are working on VBOX. RE does say 9-10 seconds though.

      No max RPM can be seen on the tacho.

  • jack

    I LIKE DIS BIKE

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      So are you buying it Jack?

  • Prabhu

    Hi Faisal I m not familiar in bike information…I have booked classic 350 and one of
    My friend insisting me to buy continental gt because of the features and brand value
    But I really don’t feel the looks compare to classic 350
    Is this worth buying pls suggest me

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Yes Continental GT is a better bike than the Classic.

  • Mohammed Patel

    Hi Faisal,

    I own a Pulsar 150 which is like 10 years old and it is in perfect strong condition. I like bikes which gives a rough looks (kinda naked bikes) thou I don’t have much idea on technical specifications of bikes but…Continental GT is something i am looking out for….just wanted to find out whether it will be comfortable riding in double seat (rider + Pillon).
    Thank you

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      The Continental has a charm of its own, no doubt. All depends on what type of bike you like. I rode single seater and it was very comfortable for me at least. Can’t comment on double seat but looking at the double seat model, shouldn’t be a problem.

      • Mohammed Patel

        Thank You So Much, Your reviews are quite valuable & helpful. Already booked it ….. ; ). The showroom guys themselves didn’t knew much about accessories. Delivery time is 3 to 5 months : (

        • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

          You are welcome. I think deliveries are starting in January for red and April for yellow.

  • Sanjay

    Dear Faisal,

    Please let me know if there is an option to change the seat as this one looks like impossible for a pillion seating.

    Regards,

    Sanju

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Yes you can change the seat, pillion seat comes as an option (see the pics).

  • Sid

    “The Continental GT is registered and homologated as a single seater.”
    Won’t it be an issue then, if someone were to get the pillion seat? Like, legally? The RC would say single seater.
    And IMHO the bike looks sad with the pillion seat. But what to do? We need it here in India :(

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Sid, nope, putting a double seat isn’t an issue after buying it. That is the reason RE sells it officially.

  • Amit

    Hey Faisal,

    Thanks buddy for all the advice….im a kind of a new biker, I mean haven’t really been on a bike for almost a decade now, got into cars and wasnt that fascinated by bikes no more, but when I saw continental GT, just fell in love with the bike. Just wanted to know, I live in Dehradun and have lots of hilly terrain around the place, so would the bike be apt for making those dwindling mountain trips and 150-200 kms of drive around. Im sure im either buying this or buying no bike for that matter. I would generally go with a pilion on these drives, will u suggest me to go ahead ? Thanks,

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Yes, I would suggest you going ahead with the CGT. It handles very well around the twistes.

  • Amit

    Whats the milage in city n highway in road test.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Official is 41.9, city around 27ish, highway around 30ish.

  • aditya mehta

    value for money??

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Depends how you define value.

  • Anish

    Hi Faisal,
    Read your article. Interesting! I have been a Bullet fan & rider since adolescence. I had booked a Classic 500 and was waiting, just got my booking changed to Continental GT. The Re showroom Kochi confirmed delivery in a month with an ORP Rs.204000/- (excluding accessories like mirror). I had few concerns, mainly with the riding posture , position of foot-pegs, flat saddle etc all of which I got the answer from your article. Do you have the snap of one without these optional mirrors & silencer and with a pillion seat.? Trust it will be a bang for the buck & I made a correct decision without waiting for long term feed backs.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      It’s a good decision, single seat picture is there in the gallery.

  • Mayank Rohilla

    Hey Faisal,

    I own a Thunderbird 350 and been riding it up in delhi for the past 4 months or so. Me and my brother have been meaning to buy another RE, but weren’t keen on any other models… till Continental GT showed up.
    Looks like an absolute gem, hopefully rides like one as well (we know that RE bikes aren’t the best performing around, but the ride is absolutely smooth and stable, so ‘m happy)
    If we do buy it, we’ll do the city grind but ideally like to go on longer rides (highways, himalayas.. the likes).. You think GT would be great for this or should we consider another bike??

    P.S: Thunderbird was our first bike (that we were rode, leave alone owned, so we’re a little spoiled on the stability + road presence bit)

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      GT is more city oriented than highway! I would suggest you take a test ride.

  • Hari

    hi Faisal,
    I dont like faired bikes, but i like cbr 250r with its riding posture and relaxed touring capability. Now I am fully impressed with CGT design(I am fan of old RD350) and quality of equipments. But after reading reviews, i feel CGT give lot of vibes close to 100km/hr( past 3.5k rpms). but cbr is smooth in that speeds. So I am confused with best part of both, ie CGT’ looks and CBR’s refinement. and I want to use the bike for more than 10 years.
    I maintain bikes well and i dont rough use(i have rtr 160fi now). I also i heard that current cbr(VFRish)will be replace by cbr300r. so Can u suggest me a bike from these? thanks in advance.

    -Hari

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      If you can wait, wait for CBR300R.

      • hari

        Thanks Faisal. by the way do u have any info about launching kawasaki Z250 to India, if yes what will be the approx price range?

        • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

          No concrete plans of Z250 India launch yet.

  • Phil

    Hi Faisal, I’ve never owned an Enfield before, but I’ve always loved them. The Continental GT is making me go nuts. I love the retro design and what RE has done with it in maintaining the original feel.
    My question to you is, how tall is this bike, rather, what is the minimum height requirement to ride this bike. Is it comfortable enough for a guy around 5’5″ – 5’6″ for both legs to reach the ground comfortably when in a halted position.
    I care less for all the other banter in the comments above. I guess its simply about taste, given ppl know about the history of the brand etc.

    Cheers :)

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      For your height, you should be able to manage, do take a test ride to get better aquianted to the bike.

  • David

    Hi Faisal, I was wondering how tall you were. I am 6’2″ tall and I don’t want to look like a clown on the bike. You look like a pretty good fit for the bike so I thought I might use you for a reference point.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      I m 6.2 too so you will look good on the bike.

  • Naveen

    Hi Faisal
    very impressed with your review of RE Continental GT.
    I am big fan of RE motorcycles but never owned, now planning to buy
    i am confused between
    Classic dessert 500
    Thunderbird 500
    Continental GT

    my need city drive for approx 50-55 kms daily primarily to office and some other places in and around city (Bangalore). and to drive with my wife (pillion ride)
    Before continental gt i was more interested to classic 500 or thunderbird 500 (actually confused between just two options?) now more confused after seeing the CGT as i want to buy…but which one….please help me to decide.
    I learned that classic 500 has some issues in terms of technical issues reported in various blogs by users
    Thunderbird look remains age old – no new fresh look (in terms of in indian market) – the black matt finish – will that looks good – not seen personally yet
    CGT gives a new look but with pillion ride that look goes away – can with single seat two person can seat? weird? (i would love to drive with my wife)
    What would be your suggestion, please help. I am planning to book any one as in either case here at bangalore dealer has told me wait period of 6-9 months. so if i book now i would expect nothing before Aug-Sep 14 (i guess?)

    • Mohit

      Every RE has issues and will continue to do so. GT remains a good VFM quoitent. It is quite comfortable too. Pillion seat option will be made available as option

  • sunney

    Hi faisal, I really like this bike but am a bit concerned about the riding comfort on long rides. Is it really that bad? I am looking for a naked bike with nice cruising capabilities. I surely wouldn’t be riding over 120kmph. Which bike would be good? Price range around 2.3lacs

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Conti is a good bike but for long distance you should consider the Thunderbird.

      • sunney

        Thanks, what about touring on duke 390? If we compare touring on conti and duke 390, which would be better. Also please can you share all the customisation options abd their prices available for conti gt ( e.g. side mirrors are worth 4000)

        • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

          I think Duke is a better tourer as you can easily ride it at speed without any vibes.

  • Harsha BR

    Hi,
    I own a classic 350 and it is 4 months old. It has run 3500kms. Im facing vibration at lower speeds(40-50km/hr) and i observed it is mostly at lower accelaration. If i accelarate it more vibration gradully decreases. How to fix this? please help.

  • Sai Sreerang

    Faisal Bro, I just have one question. Which one is comfortable for long distance travels? ie, (seat comfort, riding comfort and back pain stiffness) Classic 500 or Continental GT?

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Neither, Thunderbird 500.

  • Antoine

    Does it have the option to switch from the wasp seat to the pillion seat back and forth easily?? Or is it choose one or the other?

  • Nakul V Kumar

    Hi Faisal…awesome review….Need your help…i am planning for a bike in around 2 months time…previously I was planning to get a duke 200 but I am really impressed by the continental gt…i am ok with the budget…i stay in hostel and will drive an avg of 20-30 kms a day…would like to cruise once in a month or so?and i am 5’8 and 58 kg….will the bike suit my needs and will I be able to handle it?I really want this….cruising once a month around 150 kms will be comfortable on this?

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Why not look at more modern alternatives at that price?

      • Nakul

        More modern alternatives like???I don’t want too much power….and I like the continental gt looks a lot…and I don’t wanna extend my budget beyond 2.1 which is the price for a continental gt…

        • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

          There is KTM, Honda, Yamaha, all available at similar price.

  • Joel

    I don’t believe in love at first sight … But this bike just swept me away … I really do want to go for this bike but am a bit concerned about the rising posture for ling trips … Is it a pain or will I get used to it ? I don’t go for long trips all that much but I do have trips to Chennai from Kerala once in every months … Do you think it will be a problem ?? Am kinda new to this scenario so any help would be appreciated

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      Riding position isn’t too aggressive and you will surely get used to it.

      • Joel

        Youre very careful with your words :D … Honestly is this gonna be a discomfort during long rides ?? That is honestly my only concern …

  • kumar

    Which 1 is low maintenance bike thunderbird 350cc or cbr 150r and also for potholes road