Popularly dubbed as the 'Royal Enfield Continental GT 750' on the internet, Royal Enfield will unveil its first 'big bike' which will be revealed later this year. Speaking at Eicher Motors' (RE's parent company) investors meet earlier this month, Royal Enfield CEO, Siddhartha Lal said that its upcoming motorcycle will have the performance for high-speed highway cruising. RE's next launch will be a global product and is part of the company's ambitious plan to gain leadership in the middleweight motorcycle segment across the world.
Lal said, "It will be absolutely highway worthy and therefore it will bring us out of a niche segment in a lot of faster international markets. Even in markets like Brazil and all, where we are going to, which have quicker roads than India, our futuristic motorcycles will help us in being extremely highway-friendly and worthy."
Royal Enfield has been comprehensively testing the upcoming Continental GT 750 over the past few months. The model was first spotted testing in Europe before test mules were spotted in India more recently. While RE has not confirmed the cubic capacity or the number of cylinders on its middleweight offering, the cafe racer is expected to employ an all-new 750 cc parallel twin motor with electronic fuel injection. In addition, the Continental GT 750 is likely to sit on an all-new twin cradle chassis developed by RE's subsidiary Harris Performance. Recent images have also revealed twin exhausts, the very cool twin-pod analogue instrument cluster, while Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) is likely to be offered as optional.
Royal Enfield is seen a niche player for its retro-styled motorcycles in developed markets. As the company is establishing its exclusive stores globally, the Continental GT 750 will emerge as a more performance-oriented offering to take on several established European brands in the middleweight segment.
Meanwhile, Royal Enfield also has a task at addressing the demand of existing customers that are looking for an upgrade. The domestic market has over 2.5 million RE customers currently and the automaker believes that its new product will catch the imagination of a lot of the existing owners.
Speaking about its launch in India, Siddhartha Lal said that its new product which addresses a totally new segment will be arriving in this financial year. "You will see something from us by the end of this year," Lal said at the investors meet.
Will the Continental GT 750 finally catapult Royal Enfield to being a true global player in the motorcycle market? That's something we look forward to finding out. The manufacturer is aggressive with its global operations, as much as it is in India and has been expanding its exclusive showrooms across the globe. The company currently has 25 exclusive stores in operation internationally and will be expanding to 45-50 by the end of this year. Siddhartha Lal also recently stated that they have identified four core markets for its international expansion plans.
But Royal Enfield's larger capacity models have not been that successful in the domestic market. Current Royal Enfield models with engine capacity of 500 cc and 535 cc make less than 10 per cent of overall domestic sales. And it's the domestic market which makes for RE's main sales volumes. Compared to 15,383 number of motorcycles exported in FY2017, Royal Enfield sold 651,107 motorcycles in India alone. And it's the 350 cc variants which form the bulk of those sales. The picture is different in the export market though, which is dominated by the 500 cc and above models. Will the upcoming 750 cc parallel-twin engine Royal Enfield be as successful as the 350 cc models? Difficult to say. Pricing will be crucial as will be quality and performance.