Royal Enfield Track School Experience: A Reality Check!

  • Feb 25, 2024
  • Views : 3477
  • 7 min read

  • bookmark

5 years ago, who would’ve thought fun could be had on a racetrack astride a Royal Enfield bike!

Motorcycles, weekends and long stretches of roads are ALWAYS a fantastic combination and that’s how a lot of my weekends are. But this time around, the bike wasn’t a 150-200cc one I got from the office and the long stretches of roads weren’t Lavasa or the NH48 highway. With more than three times the capacity and an extra cylinder, my motorcycle for the weekend was the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 that was modified for the track. And the long stretch of empty road was the Kari Motor Speedway race track in Coimbatore. This weekend, riding got serious! 

Serious Riding With A Serious Bike

Now while this Continental GT 650 doesn’t look like the lithe, agile and petite race bikes you see nowadays, it does have the attitude of a serious racer! The lowered clip-ons, high-positioned rearsets, a free flowing exhaust and excellent tyres from JK Tyres tweaked the bike’s attitude from a warm and welcoming cafe racer to a serious retro racer. Couple that with the 650cc twin-cylinder mill that has always been a retro but very likable powerplant, meant that we had something that was incredibly capable. 

Serious Bike With A Serious Coach

Sports enthusiasts will know that often some of the best coaches weren’t the best players themselves, because their sporting accolades are not exactly what matters when coaching. So while Anish Shetty the racer has an impressive track record, I want to talk a bit about Anish Shetty the coach, because his role will be instrumental in people having a good time on the track with Royal Enfield

Get latest updates on
the automobile community
Login Now

Because it was definitely instrumental in me having a good time. His patience and very approachable nature meant that I knew I could go up to him with the stupidest of questions and he would take the time out for me. Be it the simple braking and vision drills, the long and information-heavy track walk or even the one-on-one session out on the track, he was readily available. Adding to that was the sheer way the man broke down crucial information was incredible. For beginners, important things like braking and leaning cannot be taught purely on the basis of ‘feel’ and ‘feedback’ from the bike, because those are nuances you understand after you’ve ridden a fair bit. Hence, the way he broke down those topics by adding some more tangible bits and even some actual theory was really impressive.   

And what made the coaching experience that much more special was just how personalised he tried to make each session. Despite there being 20-25 odd riders and despite all of us wearing the same leathers, he would just walk in and had at least 1-2 crucial points about each rider, and that was really nice. 

‘Red KYT helmet, bike number 1….’ he said right after the one-on-one session, before a weary me raised my hand. ‘Too stiff on the bike. Breathe better, loosen up, take a chill pill’, he said…. 

Serious(ly) Good Experience?

The weekend began with some easy going couple of laps around the track to get us accustomed to the layout and some braking drills to help us trust the tyres. Do note that these Conti bikes did not have ABS so the braking drills were very important for us to understand that given the super grippy JK tyres, it was actually quite difficult to lock them up. And that made us believe that we could actually brake quite hard without worrying about losing the front end. 

 

The moment the faster laps started is when I realised more about the bike. Firstly, the footpegs are quite high up, especially for riders with long limbs like yours truly. And given that you should mount your legs on the balls of your feet, my feet were locked in at an extremely tight angle. And that made moving my upper body quite hard for me too. This fatigue started kicking in towards the end of the first day and towards the last sessions of the second day, I was really really struggling to tuck down or even move my head towards the mirrors, as you do to lean into a corner. Even moving my body from one side to the other in order to hang off it felt like a task. Plus this Conti GT, as track-ready as it is, still weighs around 185kg, meaning it is quite a heavy bike. Put such a bike on a tight track like Kari and you’ll have to muscle it around in order to change directions quickly. So yeah, it wasn’t surprising when the lunch sessions on both days were more of ‘not very hungry so let me just catch on some sleep’ sessions. So yep, quite a lot of catching up for me to do, at least in terms of my flexibility. 

But again, all that had more to do with my shortcomings. This Conti GT was a track bike and they’re meant for you to go faster around a racetrack and you have to adapt to it, not the other way around. But if that makes you feel like it’s very unforgiving and hardcore in its ways, it’s not! The stock Conti is a sweetheart of a cafe racer and Royal Enfield has somehow retained that very sweetness in the way this Conti rides too! The 650cc parallel-twin mill is timeless and even in its stock form, it was an absolute hoot to ride around the racetrack. The sheer amount of torque meant I didn’t have to worry about the gear I was in, something that really is a boon on a tight racetrack like Kari. Open the gas and it has a sense of aggression to it (but without being intimidating) and close the throttle and your ears are treated to the heavenly pops and crackles thanks to the free flowing exhaust. The free-revving nature of this Conti also meant that the bike was revving to its 7000rpm redline a lot quicker than the stock Conti and the sheer rapidity with which it revs left me laughing like a maniac inside the helmet. Combine that to the brilliant chassis and very grippy JK Tyres rubber meant that the bike was confidence-inspiring for newbies while having a lot in it for the more experienced lot to exploit too. 

My Key Takeaways

This weekend was a brilliant eye opener for me. All the positives aside, my goal is to be quite a lot more flexible the next time I go to a track. And alongside that, the aim would be to just start working out regularly and build everything up because as it turned out…I have a weak core, weak legs and a weak…neck? That weekend, I found out I had weak body parts that I didn’t even know could be weak! 

Is The Royal Enfield Track School Worth The Money?

One word answer: Absolutely! If you’re looking for the GT track experience, the basic cost is Rs 33,999, while the premium cost is Rs 53,999 (premium add-ons include accommodation with breakfast and dinner, track shuttle to and from the hotel and riding gear except the helmet included). Even if you consider the premium cost, it’s incredible value for your money, considering that you only have to take care of your flight tickets, meaning you could very well wrap up the entire weekend for less than Rs 65,000. Go to any other track school in India and that figure will easily go upto a lakh. Yes, riding on the track is expensive in India given that we only have three good ones. So while 99 percent of your weekends might be spent at your local twisty road, do consider saving up money for those 1 percent weekends for a track school, for those weekends might teach you more than all the other ones combined. The Royal Enfield one, especially, is worth every penny!  

 

This is an appreciation paragraph for Royal Enfield. Say what you want to about their bikes but you can’t deny the fact that the brand genuinely cares about riding and isn’t just about selling bikes. I mean five years ago, who would’ve associated Royal Enfield and racetracks. Yet, here they are, putting together a memorable track experience for an extremely reasonable sum of money on almost stock bikes. This shows that they not only have some quality bikes out there, but they’re putting all their resources together for something good. This is something that Indian motorsports and even the country’s motorcycle enthusiasts definitely needed.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Video Review

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650
Royal Enfield Continental GT 650
Rs. 3.19 Lakh
Check Navratri Offers

See what our community has to say! NEW

India's largest automotive community

Explore Now
comminity image
×
Recently Visited