Triumph Thruxton R vs Royal Enfield Continental GT: Which Cafe Racer comes out on top?

Triumph has now announced that it will be launching the Thruxton R on June 3rd 2016 in Mumbai. The launch of the Thruxton R will complete Triumph’s Bonneville line-up in India since the Street Twin and the T120 are already on sale in India at prices of 6.90 lakh and 8.70 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi) respectively.

Triumph Thruxton R vs Royal Enfield Continental GT: Which Cafe Racer comes out on top?

With this launch, there are now 2 cafe racers available in India – The Triumph Thruxton R and the Royal Enfield Continental GT (the 100 cc Hero Splendor Classic doesn’t really qualify as one). So which one of these retro bikes in India comes out on top in a head-to-head? Let’s find out.

Design and Features:

Triumph Thruxton R vs Royal Enfield Continental GT: Which Cafe Racer comes out on top?

The Triumph Thruxton R combines a beautifully sharp and imposing classic style with high quality details, including a slim sculpted petrol tank, lightweight aluminium bar end mirrors and a unique flip-up ‘Monza’ fuel cap. It looks every bit the modern classic café racer and it wouldn’t be out of place in the parking lot of a bar in the 1960s.

While it looks like a bike from the 60s, there’s nothing vintage about the Thruxton R apart from its design. It features the very latest in electronics and technology and it even comes with three riding modes – ‘road, rain and sport’, along with traction control and ABS. Over the standard Thruxton, the R is further equipped with twin floating Brembo disks, Brembo mono-bloc callipers, Showa Big piston forks, Öhlins rear suspension and Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa Tyres. Some optional features that can be selected on the Thruxton R are sculpted cockpit fairing, single bullet seat, Vance & Hines exhaust cans and a leather strap on the tank.

Triumph Thruxton R vs Royal Enfield Continental GT: Which Cafe Racer comes out on top?

The Royal Enfield Continental GT is a fantastic looking bike as well. It’s design was inspired from Royal Enfield’s cafe racer of the 1960s which also goes by the same name. The sharp-cut fuel tank and the bright-yellow Paioli shock absorbers combine wonderfully with the clip-on handlebars to give REs most powerful bike a proper retro look. Royal Enfield have also graciously given its customers the choice between a traditional single seat or a dual-seat for more practicality. However the Continental GT falls woefully short of expectations in terms of features. It has dual disc brakes but no ABS, there are no electronic aids at all and no after-market accessories either.

Engine and Performance:

Triumph Thruxton R vs Royal Enfield Continental GT: Which Cafe Racer comes out on top?

The Royal Enfield Continental GT was the first cafe-racer to be launched in India and everyone was excited to see how the fastest (and lightest) RE bike would perform on the road. The result was rather disappointing. The new 535 cc engine didn’t live up to expectations and produced just 29 bhp (KTM’s 390 makes 44 bhp in comparison). It does have a high torque figure of 44 Nm, which is expected from an Enfield, but it just isn’t enough to help the GT live up to its cafe racer tag.

Triumph Thruxton R vs Royal Enfield Continental GT: Which Cafe Racer comes out on top?

The Thruxton R on the other hand, has been described as ‘the ultimate factory cafe racer’ by Triumph. This tall claim is definitely supported by the bonkers 1200 cc engine that powers this gorgeous retro bike. The monster 1.2 litre parallel twin engine features ride-by-wire fuel-injection and develops a power of 97 PS at 6,750 rpm and a maximum torque of 112 Nm at 4950 rpm. These kind of figures are absolutely brilliant for a neo-retro bike and will definitely help the Thruxton’s sales in America and Europe if not in India.

Which one makes more sense?

Dawn of cafe racers in India: Continental GT and Thruxton R

The Royal Enfield Continental GT comes at a price of Rs 2 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). For that price we feel the 535 cc engine could have churned out more and ABS should be available at least as an option. The Triumph Thruxton R is expected to feature a price tag of under Rs 10 lakhs. It might seem really high at first, but take into account its 1200 cc engine and host of advanced electronics and the price actually seems reasonable.

So if you really want a cafe racer and money isn’t an object, the Triumph Thruxton R is hands-down the best choice. The Continental GT doesn’t really impress in terms of performance but if you’re not much of a speed freak and care more about the classic design, then it isn’t a bad choice either.

Which one of these bikes do you think looks better? Let us know in the comments below.

If you want to ride a cafe racer, you can get the Royal Enfield Continental GT on rent from Wheelstreet at the lowest rates possible and see what it feels like to ride a bike like this for yourself.

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