Ergonomics – Everyone liked the Continental GT 535 for the looks but many did not buy it because the seating posture was too aggressive. However, the GT 650 has a similar posture but the clip-ons are now slightly raised. This means that it is not very aggressive but you sit comfortably leaned in. Also, the GT 650 gets different accessories for the seat. But the touring accessory seat which was present on the test bike was quite hard and not suitable for pillion duties. However, with the stock setup, the cushioning is just perfect while the pillion also gets enough space to sit. Seat height is 804 mm, making it slightly tall as one would need to keep their legs apart or suffer a burn from the twin exhausts.
Performance – Powered by an air/oil-cooled 648cc parallel-twin engine, the Continental GT 650 produces 47 BHP of power at 7250 RPM and 52 Nm of torque at 5250 RPM. This is a high revving engine while it has a very wide powerband. The mid-range is just delightful and the motorcycle feels lively even in the top-end. It reaches the ton in the third gear itself and with all the gears shifted, it pulls all the way till 160 km/hr without breaking a sweat. This 650 has a decent low-end making it rideable in the city too. However, it builds up pace very quickly and redlines at 8000 RPM! The 6-speed gearbox has decent shifts and the clutch feels pretty light as well. This gearbox can handle clutchless shifts thanks to the slipper clutch.
The 650cc twin doesn’t heat up as much but one has to be careful of the bare open twin exhaust pipes
If you see the numbers carefully, this Royal Enfield motor revs above 7000 RPM and produces more power than all of its siblings. The magic word is the counter-balancer which has helped Royal Enfield to get a twin cylinder motor, make it rev higher and keep it refined as well. This powerplant is by far the most refined engine that has come out of the Royal Enfield factory. There is no harshness at all although you can feel some vibrations which come-in only close to the redline. However, due to this, the thump from the engine is lost and it has a mellower parallel twin rumble instead. The Royal Enfield enthusiast won’t like it much but it’s pleasing to customers who weren’t fans of Royal Enfield motorcycles earlier.
Riding Dynamics – The Continental GT 650 has feedback rich dynamics, it rides like a sporty motorcycle. The leaned-in riding posture helps a lot, while the stiff suspension setup makes the GT 650 quite responsive. The 41 mm front suspension absorbs most of the bumps pretty well while the rear suspension has 5-step pre-load adjustments and the stock setup is quite stiff. However, this is beneficial for great straight-line stability and the bike is able to corner well too. The accessory seat transfers a lot of bumps to the back but feels alright on smooth tarmac. Also, the footpegs are rear-set on the GT making it quite comfortable for spirited riding, yet not the best for touring duties.
Clip-ons aren’t aggressive but make the dynamics feedback rich
Equipped with Pirelli rubber, the Continental GT would grip decently well. However, as it incorporates spoke wheels, the setup is tube type which isn’t conventional. The tyres take a decent amount of time to heat up and only perform the best on the tarmac. The motorcycle also gets dual-channel ABS by Bosch and that is coupled with a 320 mm disc at the front and a 240 mm disc at the rear. The braking feedback is good on to the levers but there are some moments when the ABS kicks-in very early. The GT weighs just under 200 kgs making it a heavy motorcycle to move around and with the momentum it carries, it needs better brakes and tyres.