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