In September 2021, Royal Enfield announced a special, one-model racing series for the Continental GT in India. While the first round of this racing series is exclusive to India, it certainly isn’t a far-fetched notion that we could soon be seeing this racing series hit other parts of Asia, and maybe even Europe and the U.S. Along with the Continental GT Cup comes a special-edition, race-only iteration of the Continental GT.
Dubbed the GT-R650, it’s clear that it means business thanks to the addition of an “R” to its name, right? Well, in essence, the GT-R650 is based on the Continental GT 650—not exactly a bike you would equate to performance. However, performance was never really the name of the game, even for the Continental GT 650, which is undeniably the sportiest bike in Royal Enfield’s stable. As such, it’s obvious that Royal Enfield isn’t aiming to set any lap records in the Continental GT Cup, but rather, open doors to those looking to enjoy retro-style riding in a competitive environment.
The Royal Enfield Continental GT-R650 differentiates itself in a few key aspects. For starters, the Continental GT’s stock, street-prepped suspension has received an overhaul consisting of revised springs and uprated dampers, both front and rear. This results in a stiffer ride, making the bike more stable while taking corners. The race-spec machine also gets ergonomic refinements consisting of even lower clip-on bars, and higher rear-set foot pegs. The ergonomic tweak certainly complements the bike’s inherently sporty chassis, which was designed by Harris Performance.
From a performance standpoint, the bike’s engine remains, for the most part, unchanged. It does, however, get a stainless steel full exhaust system, which Royal Enfield claims to deliver a 12-percent bump in power output. As such, we can expect the GT-R650 to be churning out around the ballpark of 50 ponies—certainly not a lot, but enough to guarantee rather interesting racing. Last but not least, the Continental GT-R650 is finished in a bright red color scheme, and features a retro-style racing fairing.