Con­ti­nen­tal GT spied test­ing as firm re­vamps all mod­els in a bid to boost Euro­pean sales

Motorcycle News (UK) - - THIS WEEK - By Jor­dan Gib­bons SE­NIOR RE­PORTER

Royal En­field’s 2017 Con­ti­nen­tal GT was cap­tured test­ing on the roads of Spain last week, re­veal­ing more details about the firm’s fu­ture plans. Most sig­nif­i­cant is the ad­di­tion of ABS rings on the brake discs, which are ev­i­dence of them test­ing im­mi­nent Euro4 up­grades that strongly hint at En­field’s com­mit­ment to sell­ing bikes in Europe.

While the most ob­vi­ous up­date is the ad­di­tion of ABS, there will also be changes to the fu­elling and pow­er­train to en­sure the 2017 Con­ti­nen­tal GT can dip in­side the tighter Euro4 emis­sions lim­its. Those changes aren’t ap­par­ent in the photos, but the ABS rings are clearly vis­i­ble, married to the ex­ist­ing model’s discs and calipers – sug­gest­ing that there will be no change in the bike’s over­all brak­ing per­for­mance. While the rest of the ex­haust system ap­pears largely un­changed – the si­lencer looks ever-so-slightly big­ger, but there’s no clear view – they will al­most cer­tainly have in­creased the amount of catalysing pre­cious metal in the system. The fi­nal Euro4 ad­di­tion, although not clear in these im­ages, will be the ad­di­tion of day­light run­ning lights.

With the UK, Europe and other ma­ture mar­kets rep­re­sent­ing such a tiny per­cent­age of the brand’s global sales, it’s en­cour­ag­ing to see that Royal En­field are still tak­ing us se­ri­ously. An­other clear state­ment of in­tent was the re­cent re­ver­sal of the de­ci­sion not to bring the firm’s typ­i­cally old-school take on ad­ven­ture mo­tor­cy­cles, their Hi­malayan, to the UK. Pradeep Mathew, the Project Leader for the Hi­malayan, told us: “The Hi­malayan was de­signed with sim­plic­ity in mind, which is why it orig­i­nally used a car­bu­ret­tor but this had to be changed for Euro4.”

So what about pric­ing, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the cur­rent global cur­rency volatil­ity? “When this bike was de­signed, it was for In­dian mar­kets,” says Gopal. “Royal En­field are known for ac­ces­si­ble pric­ing, so we’d like to keep it that way but right now it is very dif­fi­cult for me to say.” We ex­pect the price to be an­nounced in Fe­bru­ary or March 2017, and the ex­pec­ta­tion is that it’ll creep in just be­low the £6000 mark.

Arun Gopal, Head of In­ter­na­tional Sales, also told MCN: “We have grown sales over 64% be­tween 2010 to 2015. We are in­vest­ing $64mil­lion in pro­duc­tion and are ex­pect­ing sales of up to 900,000 units [ glob­ally] by 2018. Growth in de­vel­oped mar­kets is es­sen­tial for this and Europe is very im­por­tant to us, so it made sense to pro­duce Euro4 com­pli­ant ver­sions.”

Royal En­field have also an­nounced pric­ing for the full 2017 range – all the prices in­clude OTR charges and are avail­able in deal­ers im­me­di­ately (see be­low). But the bike we’re most ex­cited about shows no im­mi­nent signs of be­ing re­leased – the 750cc par­al­lel-twin which MCN has spied un­der­go­ing road tests sev­eral times dur­ing 2016.

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