Custom Continental GT from Container Garage…
The Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 is the café-inspired version of the company’s 650 twin. The name dates back to 1964, when the original Continental GT 250 was hailed as “Britain’s fastest 250.”
Back then, the idea was a 250cc learner-legal café racer for young riders who wanted something sporty and fun, but also economical to ride.
“The company’s boss, Leo Davenport…a former leading racer and winner of the 1932 Lightweight TT…came up with the idea of producing a learner-legal, ready-customised machine that would appeal to the young tearaways… Royal Enfield reportedly allowed the factory’s apprentices to have their say in what would excite them in the design of a café racer.” –Old Bike Mag
The Conti GT 250 made quite the debut, racing from John O’Groats in Scotland’s far north to Land’s End in the far south of the British Isle in 22 hours and 20 minutes…including hot laps at Oulton Park and Silverstone with racers Geoff Duke and John “Moon Eyes” Cooper putting the 250 through its paces!
In many ways, the modern Continental GT 650 follows the spirit of the original. It’s a sub-$7000 motorcycle with a solid blend of style, sportiness, and just plain fun:
“Royal Enfield’s Continental GT 650 is the best of both worlds: modern reliability and performance with classic cafe racer styling.” –Cycle World
Recently, we spoke with Jorge Baquero of Colombia’s Container Garage — a workshop founded by four friends and enduro riders eager to showcase the idea of customizing contemporary Royal Enfield models before they ever leave the showroom floor. In this way, riders can buy a unique custom bike directly from the dealer instead of purchasing a bone-stock machine and spending weeks or months transforming it into the what they desire.
Last month, we featured Container Garage’s Interceptor 650 street tracker, “Peachy.” Now the crew is back with this custom Conti GT 650. The challenge here is to make the factory bike stand out while preserving the brand identity.
In this case, the team welded up a dyno-tuned 2:2 exhaust system, fabricated a custom solo tail section with integrated lights and matching saddle, added some “glitz” to the original color scheme, and extended the paint across the tank and into the tail.
While the modifications aren’t as intensive as we often see, they combine to produce a GT 650 that stands well apart from stock machines, alluring those looking for a road-ready custom.
“It was like the motorcycle was fighting the other brand-new bikes to stand out, to be reborn as a new machine with a new concept and style.”
Below, we talk with Jorge Baquero of Container Garage, who also took the photographs you see here.
GT 650 Custom: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
Royal Enfield Continental 650, 2023.
• Why was this bike built?
This project was built with a new (0-KM) Royal Enfield Continental to showcase the idea that with these machines, it’s possible build something different the customer can buy directly, avoiding all the time it takes for a transformation of the bike into a piece of art. This motorcycle is going to be in the Royal Enfield dealership available to purchase.
In particular, this Continental was built with the idea of bringing back a little of the style of the 80s, when people were thinking to ride their motorcycles solo. This decade was a time of experimentation in the motorcycle industry, and a time to try to find the style, the perfect lines, the colors, the perfect motorcycle. All those ideas together — no matter how crazy they looked. They were progressive machines.
The Continental was built to offer an alternative to riders, a choice for someone who wants something different, with racing style and a little spirit of the 80s.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
To build something different and unique for the streets of our country, we decided to evoke some 80s style. We wanted to recall a time when riders were customizing their bikes in the garage to have the fastest and lightweight machine to race their friends or just to show off.
This one is for those who are searching for something special to transport them back to their childhood when they watched guys racing in the streets. We added some flat track style and a bit of the cafe racer culture too.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
We created the full system exhaust, the tail with the brake light and indicator lights integrated, and the motorcycle saddle. It had some special paint, and of course we removed the passenger foot pegs. It was created only for a solo rider.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
When a man or woman has a motorcycle, sometimes the rider’s friends give the machine a nickname, or other times it’s obvious to the owner. But sometimes the owner really needs to probe the motorcycle for the name to come out. Obviously accompanied by the sound, the engine roar, the landscape, or just the air that hits your helmet.
In this case, the name just came out during the build process, during hours from the start to the end of the work done on this machine — work done only for this bike. It was like the motorcycle was fighting the other brand-new bikes to stand out, to be reborn as a new machine with a new concept and style.
She is very independent, persistent to defend her own way, and she wants to show her power on the streets, with tons of energy that infects others.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Unfortunately, it isn’t out riding yet because it’s brand new. But we tested it in dyno and it sounds amazing. We hope when this motorcycle has found the perfect owner, we can test it on the streets.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
We love the work we did with the full exhaust system — it sounds amazing. We also re-painted the bike, adding some glitz to the colors and tail, which conserve the original style of the brand. Everything on this motorcycle was made with passion.