Cycle News

Cycle News 2013 Issue 40 October 8

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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FIRST RIDE P58 ROYAL ENFIELD CONTINENTAL GT History ON WHEELS RIDING THE NEWEST RETRO BIKE FROM ROYAL ENFIELD BY ALAN CATHCART PHOTOGRAPHY BY KYOICHI NAKAMURA "I say, that's a nicelooking bike," exclaimed the immaculately dressed 60-something as he emerged from the post office in the heart of the Warwickshire countryside and approached me just as I was straddling the Royal Enfield Continental GT. "It looks very much like the Royal Enfield I used to ride back in my own motorbiking days, long ago. But that's a new registration mark you've got on the number plate, isn't it? Do they still make these over in Redditch, like they used to do back when I bought mine?" Well… yes, sir - and no, sir. For while this particular bike is indeed a direct descendant of the Royal Enfields of yesteryear, its journey to here, a dozen miles from Enfield's old Redditch factory southwest of Birmingham where the company was founded back in 1898, started out in Chennai (aka Madras), India. For that's where all Royal Enfields have been made since the parent company closed its doors in 1967, after making a brave, but ultimately futile attempt to stave off insolvency with the introduction two years earlier of the 250cc Continental GT café racer - a sporty little single complete with flyscreen that looked like it was doing 100 mph just standing still. And that's the bike that this new much largercapacity 535cc model is ultimately based on, at

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