Bringing you the world's best café racers, trackers, scramblers & custom motorcycles

‘Loopy’ Royal Enfield Continental – KR Customs


Posted on May 13, 2016 by Scott in Brat, Café Racer. 39 comments

Written by Martin Hodgson.

As a professional bike builder you have all sorts of people walk through your door, from the serious customer, to the young lad that wants a custom Ducati for no more than five grand. For Krish Rajan of KR Customs there was a different client to please, his “Lady Love” Loopy who had seen the bikes he’d created and while impressed with the quality wanted something, with “beauty and elegance”. Oh and Krish not one of those “adrenaline filled, tough, macho machines!” you usually build. Many a mere mortal would be losing their hair at the thought of such a demand but with a Masters in Applied Math, an IT expert by day and the owner of Chennai’s premier custom bike shop in his spare time, Krish is a man who gets it done and keeping his partner happy is always a challenge he is willing to accept. This Royal Enfield Continental GT Cafe Racer might have been the star of the main stage at India’s 2016 Bike Week, but the real prize was winning Loopy’s heart.

bike-4057 (1)

In setting up KR Customs Krish didn’t cut any corners, the business came about after he decided if he was going to build his own bikes he’d may as well own a custom shop and employed a Father and Son team with more than 35 years experience in repairing Enfields to ensure the mechanicals of his builds would always be spot on. The right equipment was acquired, including everything you need to machine custom parts, welding and repair equipment and even a frame jig was setup. But unlike their previous builds KR left the jig alone and made the decision to utilise a low km 2015 Continental GT that Krish’s cousin had for sale as the foundation for their creation. Despite it being all but brand new the bike was stripped to its bare frame were it sat while Krish stood back and gazed at it trying to draw inspiration for the build. There he stood and stood, hours ticked by but nothing came to mind until he was flicking through some photos of an Italian bike show and noticed the rear suspension setup on an old Vincent Black Shadow.

bike-4155

The build would begin with the rear suspension and simply let the ideas flow organically from there and he and the team set about creating a twin mono-shock setup. The first decision to make was what shocks to use which would determine the length of the new wheel base, instead of going for a pair of off the shelf sportsbike units Krish made the wise decision to instead use the stock Pioli shocks from the original twin shock arrangement as they were already designed to handle the weight and geometry of the Enfield. The shocks were shortened as they now operate closer to the centre of the bike and no less than six swingarm hoops were made until KR were totally satisfied with the result. What they ended up with is a twin mono-shock setup with 4 inches over standard swingarm length and a 3-point pivot system that acts as a height adjustable linkage. It is one of the things that you just have to love about India, the imagination is limitless and the ingenuity to make it happen with a never give up attitude.

bike-4151

Continuing with moving from the back to the front the next item tackled was the seat and Krish had in mind a simple and traditional Cafe Racer treatment. The subframe was heavily cut back to shorten the lengthy standard item and to also accentuate the longer swingarm. A rear hoop was welded in place and is supported by the twin shock mounts that are deliberately left in place for extra strength. Knowing the colour Loopy would love, the seat base was sent off to a local leather worker who stitched up a vintage look piece in a fitting tan hide. From here the decision was made to ditch the standard fuel tank but doing so on a fuel injected motorcycle is not so simple with the need to consider the in-tank pump and accessories. What Krish came up with was his own take on the famous Benelli Mojave tank that he calls the “Bulaga” with a hump built into it to take the fuel pump and shortened to fit snugly on the Enfield frame.

bike-4196

Finished in a deep midnight blue the stunning colour comes to life in the hot Indian sun and sports KR Custom logos in the badge rings and hand painted “Loopy” lettering. So far the back to front design approach was working perfectly and with such a unique rear shock setup it would have been criminal to leave the front end standard.

bike-4218

With the main KTM Duke 200 assembly plant in India, Krish immediately thought of their inverted forks as the perfect swap for his Cafe Enfield and with the right bearings fitted into the frame the WP units were bolted into place. The lower triple tree has been metal polished to give a brushed look while the upper item is finished in hard-wearing black. The KTM also leant its BYBRE two pot caliper that utilises custom machined spacers to grab the RE’s 300mm floating disc.

bike-4163

To power the new brake combo a Yamaha master cylinder has been fitted to the Tarozzi clip-ons that are mounted at a less aggressive angle for easier steering. The grips are from Domino with new switch gear, bar end mirrors and a single Acewell speedo for the timeless Cafe Racer look. To keep that theme going Krish felt the standard headlight would work perfectly but the addition of USD forks required a set of custom-made brackets to support it.

bike-4217

Out back a single LED strip takes care of the tail light and turn signals with the front indicators coming in the form of tiny lights mounted just under the headlight for an ultra clean look. Back to the Tarozzi catalogue and the clunky standard foot controls were shown the door in favour of Italian milled units. The 535cc single cylinder engine remains relatively standard and is a more than capable mill but so that everyone can hear Loopy coming KR fabricated a custom reverse cone muffler in black specifically for the build.

bike-4205

bike-4177

To give his little lady a more aggressive look without being too masculine and to ensure she had the best rubber underneath her Krish fitted up a set of Pirelli Sports Demon Rubber with a 120 front and 130 section rear for crisp road holding. All up it took the team at KR Customs 4 months to complete the build and many of the parts were sourced from the USA by Krish’s IT colleagues on work trips filling their suitcases; even the boss got involved. It might have made for some curious looks at the customs desk but in the end the result that was always intended was achieved. Loopy loves her Cafe Racer and couldn’t have been more satisfied and as they say happy wife, happy life!

bike-4170








  • John Wanninger

    Looks unfinished with that loaf of bread seat just hanging out there all by itself like that.

    I wont even mention the- wait, yes I will… pipewrap that only goes a third of the way. “hmmm, should I go chrome, black, or ruin it totally with pipe wrap?”

    There are other aspects I dislike about this bike but lets see if I can find one that I DO like that outshines the failures…. hmmmmm. OK, I like the color of the tank. There.

    Sorry to be such a hatesquadder, But isn’t there better bikes out there, to more efficiently use internet bandwidth?

    Hard to believe the builder stared for “hours and hours” and this is fruit of his meditation?????

  • BobFalfa

    “Is this pipewrap which I see before me, The fraying
    toward my eye?”
    Paraphrased from the Scottish play

    How about taking Pipewrap to a new level, Throw a blanket over the whole bike

  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    Take off ” The fraying toward my eye ” pipewrap * [ thank you Mr Fala ] , chose a better ( both aesthetically and comfort wise ) saddle and we’d have ourselves a nice little gem despite Enfield’s horrid reliability .

    * Funny how all but one of the photos is of the left side of the bike rather than the right which is the norm

    • blackbird

      Thats true Hardley, the photographer did do an excellent job. Using that sterile background and bring that large studio lighting close to the bike produces that nice soft light that wraps around the frame and tank and cuts out any harsh edges which gives the dark tank and frame their demension, an excellent lighting choice for emphasizing how clean the build is. Smart photo work. Glad you noticed.

  • John Wanninger

    Removed my original comment?! Did that really happen????

    • BobFalfa

      Yes, as I was replying and agreeing with you

      • John Wanninger

        That is weak as eff. Im not sure what to say about this… I thought this was an open forum where ALL opinions could be aired.

        Let the ass patting continue. This is what’s wrong with the world today. Everything must be homogenized… This will probably get deleted too. we musn’t offend the glitter bearded skinny jeaned of the world! On ward with the suck! Down with greatness. Let the lukewarm rule-

        • You make the world soooo much better with your opinions.

  • krish

    Guys, I am open to criticism but before you send me to the “depths of hell” for building a bike just consider couple of things, not easy to build a bike especially when resources are limited and also to try doing something unique I.e dual shocks. Having said that I agree with the comment about then wrap, not necessarily the best option. I also like liked the comment about the saddle but then you work with what you have !! Cheers

    • gluesniffer

      krish,

      Don’t listen to these guys, it’s a lovely looking bike and a well executed build. For some reason lately the trendy thing to do is to hate on wrapped pipes.

      Personally, I like the look, and I like that fact that in many cases it does serve a purpose, either to control exhaust heat (so you don’t burn the shit out of yourself) or to pretty up the pipes (especially if they’re single walled, as these discolor quickly).

      • krish

        Thanks mate, appreciate the kind words

        • Jim Stuart

          I think there’s more right about this bike than wrong, but if it floats your boat more power to you. Would I make changes to it if it were mine? Sure. Owning a bike can be an evolutionary process once the target has moved from factory stock appearance. Keep at it….

          • krish

            Thanks !! Actually there is not much “factory” left in the bike other then engine, even the sub-frame is changed. The best feature of the bike is not visible in the pics.. The ride. It’s absolutely brilliant! It’s very light compared to the original so super fast and torquey.

        • WSDStan

          Very nice bike. It is well executed and, to me, just looks right.

      • blackbird

        Big sniff tells it true. Excellent build, stunning ducati front end and the rear suspension is very nice.

        • blackbird

          ……and by ducati, i mean KTM. Lol..

    • Robert Henry

      Your Bike is awesome. Haters have small genitals. Keep doing what YOU like.

      Ratso

      • krish

        Haha I agree 😂

    • WR Hinrichsen

      Nice build— I think the 535cc is a great choice especially since nobody wants to kill their girlfriend. Loopy shouldn’t get in T00 much trouble on this—especially not with those awesome front binders

      • krish

        Haha thanks mate!! Yes loopy is happy! ☺️

    • BobFalfa

      OK Pipewrap, bugs the hell out of me,, …I used the “is this a dagger etc ” from Macbeth as a different way of addressing the fact these pages are knee deep in the stuff ,
      The quality of your build shows that the pipes certainly don’t need cover with PipeWrap.
      I then alluded to the future of PipeWrap. was a bike here with a blanket thrown over it, that is was sarcastic humour…….
      It wasn’t aimed at you…….and certainly it was not to offend you,
      If I have caused any,
      I unreservedly apologise

      • krish

        No worries.. No offense taken. I guess wrap is a tricky thing, more then the look it was functional. I got toasted couple of times! Royal Enfield engines are old school so get super hot not to mention the 100 degree temps here in India so that kinda made sense.

  • Robert Henry

    I like it, it’s well done and I like a mix of old with new and smooth with “ratty” in fact if your pipe wrap is pretty you don’t ride enough.

    Ratso.

    • krish

      Thanks!

  • the world needs more thumpers

    • krish

      Tru dat

  • Roopesh Shah

    Fantastic looking machine. I’m not much of an RE guy at all but this one is the cleanest I’ve seen in a very long time. Wish you many miles and many builds!

    • krish

      thanks for the kind words. yes i hope more people experiment with RE small engines. the potential is limitless. i did a bobber also sometime back. check it out.

    • krish

      thanks for the kind words. yes i hope more people experiment with RE small engines. the potential is limitless. i did a bobber also sometime back.

  • John_Tangeraas

    I like this bike. Personally, if disregarding money, time and such, I would change the following to make it perfect (in my eyes):
    1. The seat, I am not a big fan of flat seats. Sculpt it a bit, perhaps make it shorter.
    2. I like engines to be tilted forward a bit, about 5-10 degrees. I know the Enfield comes like this and you get all sorts of problems (and extra work) with frame, swingarm etc. if you change it, but visually, a small tilt looks good (for some reason).
    3. The tank underside “line” should be parallel to the cooling fins (or as mentioned) engine tilted forward a bit. The tank is stunning!
    4. Perhaps the builder could have done a little more with the exhaust silencer?

    Anyways, super cool bike as it it, builder did a great job, and the more I look at it, the better it gets. The rear suspension make me think of Vincents, btw.

    • krish

      I thought about the seat a lot, I almost went for a traditional motolenna cafe seat but something about the shorty seat stuck with me and decided to go with it.

      I wanted to keep the silencer very traditional cafe so went with it.

      Thanks again for the kind words.

  • This is a really nice custom job on a Royal Enfield. We considered giving the same treatment to the shocks on our scrambler but decided to go with a more traditional set up. It’s nice to see how it would of turned out. Top job man.

    • krish

      Thanks!

  • Raghu Sankaran

    Way to go! The finished product is an eye-turner, with the sexy seat topping it all up. Waiting for more such inspiration, Krish!

    • krish

      Hey I know this guy!! Thanks Raghu

  • Phuntsho Gaelay Penjor

    whats the price man??

  • Phuntsho Gaelay Penjor

    this is so cool man

  • Kamalakannan K

    Professionally designed !! Appreciate your efforts, this is from My Chennai !!

  • Jan Tittel

    Hi Krish, did you get rid of all the electronics ?
    The royal enfield has a kick start, is that enough to run her or did you tuck everything underneath the tank ?