I’m trying to attend more networking events to gain business and (hopefully) make my case for a promotion, so I decided to go to one at the Royal Enfield dealership in Milwaukee last night.
Aside from the venue, which is normally held in bars, restaurants, etc., the crowd was then normal bunch of 40-60 year old bankers, PE, and professionals you would imagine. I’m in my mid-30s, and am still usually on the young side of this things. At least I’m now old enough that they’ll actually talk to me like a peer, which I never got in my 20s.
You guys don’t care at all about that though. So the event was held at the Royal Enfield dealership in the Third Ward of Milwaukee. Its in a trendy area, and it was more of a motorcycle “boutique” than a traditional dealership, as they were definitely playing up the styling. They did have a full shop in the back though.
They had three broad models on hand: Classic 500 ( in several guises), Continental GT, and the new Himalaya. All bikes were powered by an air-cooled single cylinder fuel injected engine between 500-535cc with between 25-30hp. These are not high power machines, and top out around 80 per the manager. They are intended for urban environments. As each of the bikes with listed prices were under $6,000, they are definitely trying to attract commuters and new riders. While I wasn’t able to ride any of them, the thing that struck me was they are beautiful. They all had 5-speed transmissions and kick starters too.
I apologize for the washed out photos, the dealership was pretty bright.
The Classic 500:
This one was impressive in the iterations you could get it in. There were the more typically ones that looked like a classic British motorcycle, but the military styled ones were the best. I know its hard to see, but the one in this picture had this color called “Squadron Blue” that was just gorgeous. Very retro with a modern color palette.
The Continental GT
As you can see, these are the “café racer” line. They really reminded me of the Ducati SportClassic line, albeit less than half the MSRP. These are really nice looking bikes. The air cooled power plant with kick starter go a long ways towards making these feel retro. They also had remote reservoir shocks on the back, although it looked like preload was the only adjustment. Once again, for $6,000 you’re not getting Ohlins.
This is their new dual sport, and I would imagine their most advanced bike as well. The manager said it had a different smaller 411cc engine the others didn’t. While each of the engines appear to be tuned for torque, this one is especially so. I don’t know why they didn’t keep the 500cc engine though.
While I can’t attest to the ride or long-term quality, I think they have a nice niche. Especially for those who might be looking for a more retro looking bike, which Harley has ignored. They’ve got about triple the horsepower of a Grom, and the Continental looks almost as good as any retro Ducati I’ve seen. They have about the same HP and more torque than the Japanese 300cc starter bikes, they are down on HP compared to the liquid-cooled Honda 500 twins though, which should be no surprise.
All in all, I think they have a nice lineup and niche. Setting up their North American headquarters in Harley’s backyard didn’t escape anyone either.