Twinning: A pair of Royal Enfield Continental GT café racers from Mexico

Royal Enfield Continental GT café racers by Hardheads Motostudio
The first Royal Enfield Continental GT came out way back in the early 60s; a 250 cc café racer that couldn’t do the ton, but looked as cute as a button. Royal Enfield then put the Continental GT name on ice for half a century, before reviving it just as the modern café racer craze was reaching fever pitch. The ‘new’ Continental GT was a handsome nod to the past, but its 535 cc single-cylinder mill was hardly exciting.

It was only when Royal Enfield released their modern 648 cc parallel-twin platform that the Continental GT really came into its own. The current Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 has all the style of a tasteful modern classic, with an updated engine that’s peppy, torquey, and easy to get along with. But if you ask the crew at Hardheads Motostudio, they’ll tell you that there’s still room for improvement.

Royal Enfield Continental GT café racers by Hardheads Motostudio
Based in the heart of Mexico City, Hardheads specializes in creating custom fairings and seats, developing accessories, and restoring classic bikes. Naturally, they also find time to build custom bikes—like these twin 2022-model Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 café racers.

Dubbed simply ‘HH5’ and ‘HH6,’ these Continental GTs hark back to the era of the original Continental GT. But there’s a lot more going on here than just a pair of stunning vintage racing-style fairings. The real genius is in all the stuff that you can’t see; Hardheads put 200 hours of work into each machine to make it look as pared-down as possible.

Royal Enfield Continental GT café racer by Hardheads Motostudio
In stock form, the Continental GT comes with a good-looking solo seat that includes a neat tail bump. But that’s perched on top of a full-length frame, with passenger pegs lower down in case you want to swap out the original saddle and bring a friend along on a ride.

Since the Hardheads bikes are purpose-built, the need for passenger accommodations is moot. So the crew shortened each bike’s subframe, welded in a loop to perfectly match the length of the seat, and axed the passenger peg mounts. They very wisely kept the OEM bum stops, but embedded an LED taillight in the back of each and re-upholstered the saddles in leather for a more luxurious finish.

Royal Enfield Continental GT café racers by Hardheads Motostudio
A handmade electronics tray sits under each seat, painted black to help it fade from view. Hardheads rewired the bikes and swapped their batteries for smaller Lithium-ion items. They also swapped the bikes’ airboxes for pod filters, leaving the area under each one’s seat super sparse.

The abbreviated and lithe rear half of each Continental GT is juxtaposed by its voluptuous full fairing. Hardheads shaped the matching fairings out of fiberglass, finishing them off with thermoformed acrylic windshields. They’re mounted on steel subframes via stainless steel fasteners.

Royal Enfield Continental GT café racers by Hardheads Motostudio
Another part that the stock Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 gets right is its fuel tank. The sharp knee indents are a strong nod to the Enfields of the 60s, and the chrome paint job and striping you see on these two bikes are a factory option. So Hardheads left them alone, finishing the rest of the bodywork off in silver to accent the chromed tanks.

Yellow ovals on the fairings add an extra dose of vintage style while hosting each bike’s number; ‘5’ for HH5 and ’71’ for HH6. But it’s the tastefully finished metallic red frame that sets each bike off.

Royal Enfield Continental GT café racers by Hardheads Motostudio
Moving to the cockpit layout, Hardheads swapped out the raised Royal Enfield clip-ons for custom-made units that sit much lower. Other shared details include trimmed front fenders and Shinko tires… but the specs diverge from there.

HH5 gets black grips and swaps its OEM clocks for a Motogadget speedo. It’s also had its rims and front fender blacked out, and its rear shocks upgraded. HH6 wears leather-wrapped grips and the original dials, with raw rims and a silver front fender. The bikes are also set apart with different treatments for the Royal Enfield logos and fairing numbers.

Royal Enfield Continental GT café racer by Hardheads Motostudio
The bikes are finished off with a sprinkling of parts, including bar-end mirrors, upgraded controls, and handmade brake levers. Each also gets one distinctly modern touch; a burly two-into-one exhaust system from S&S Cycle in the US.

There’s no denying that the Royal Enfield Continental GT is a handsome machine out of the box, but Hardheads Motostudio’s judicious changes have elevated it. If we could make one request, it would be for them to build more of these.

Hardheads Motostudio | Instagram

Royal Enfield Continental GT café racers by Hardheads Motostudio

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