Some brands transcend their own industry and become part of a culture so linked that one simply goes hand in hand with the other. If you mention motorcycles and India everyone’s mind is instantly drawn to the name Royal Enfield and their classic designs that have been around for generations. Enfield’s have been the transport of choice for the motorcyclist in India doing it in style, from the Brit’s who stayed behind after Independence, to the Indian Army and Police, Guy Martin on his epic adventure and our own Scott Hopkin’s high into the Himalayas. For Charlie Hallam and the Mid Life Cycles team from Melbourne, Australia, the RE Classic just made perfect sense as the platform for their latest custom and a chance to build a bike that not only looked incredible but could be easily replicated in a cost-effective manner for a limited production run. The result is this brilliant Royal Enfield Classic 350 wearing just enough of India’s most famous alloy to earn the name ‘Brass Rajah.’
In just a few weeks, I will be crossing off an item on my bucket list I’ve been wanting do for a long time – riding Royal Enfields through the Himalayas. Fittingly, the ride starts in New Delhi, India, where the builders of today’s Enfield café racer are based. Bull City Customs have been building bikes in one of the most populous cities in the world for around three years now. Obviously the locals love their Royal Enfields – they’re pretty much a national treasure there and a company they are very proud of. So when a customer approached them to build a café racer with a touch of brat using an Enfield engine they couldn’t wait to get started. As luck would have it, the guys at Bull City had a ‘Brat Café’ design that had been floating around in their heads for quite a while. “It was like a divine intervention” says Reginald from Bull City.
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.
When you live in the United States your choice of bike builder is almost endless, but when Greg from Tampa Florida, serving in the US Military, emailed off his idea for a build one morning it landed in the inbox of New Delhi’s Bull City Customs. This it turned out was a brilliant idea, Greg wanted a Royal Enfield and where else but India would you go and it just so happened that he’d seen the Enfields Bull City had been turning out and wanted one of his own. Based on a Royal Enfield AVL 350, head man Reginald Hilt was desperate not to let his new client down and together they come up with a concept for a Royal based Scrambler that would become known as “8”.
‘Maxwell Hazan’ is a name that needs no introduction. As s two-time winner of Pipeburn’s Bike Of The Year award, he’s one of the few builders globally that could lay claim to the title of ‘world’s best’. So what does a guy with so much raw talent, fabrication ability and vision do next? Whatever he damn well pleases – that’s what. And what Max pleases in 2015 is to take two Royal Enfield 500cc engines, enlist the help of a certain Mr Aniket Vardhan to magic them into a single 1000cc V-twin, and then construct a bike around it that just might be the best-looking custom bike we’ve ever seen. Excited? We sure as hell are. Here’s Hazan Motorwork’s latest, ‘The Musket’ Royal Enfield V-twin.
“Hailed by Purists. Loved by Rockers. The most fun you’ll ever have on a motorcycle,” gushed the press release when Royal Enfield debuted their new Continental GT in 2013. Motorcycle journalists lauded its lighter flywheel, its tighter Harris-designed frame, Brembo brakes and Paioli shocks. But I was left completely unmoved by the ‘café racer in a box’ style aesthetics. For me, the styling was a little too lairy, a little too cheap-looking and a little too easy to really warrant the praise. And since its release, I haven’t really given the bike any thought. That was until I saw this gorgeous custom dubbed ‘Dirty Girl’, built by the dedicated team at Rewind MC from Wollongong, Australia. With a perfect mix of matte paint, ¾ fairing and brown leather, to my eye this bike has got me as excited about the Continental GT as the Deus Grievous Angel did with the Yamaha SR400. I think it’s just about perfect.
Written by Ian Lee.
On the streets of India the cycle of choice tends to be the Royal Enfield. Reliable, easy to work on, spares aplenty, there is little that is not appealing about the retro motorcycle marque. Except if you want to stand out that is. Rolling out of India’s top new custom workshop, this bike is an idea executed with the mindset of a truly different bike being created. Scratch built around a late model Royal Enfield engine, Mean Green Customs have shown what it takes to stand out from the crowd, with their stealth bike concept. In a sea of Royal Enfield bobbers, this hard tail is something else, the mechanical engineer who created this masterpiece yearning to build something unique – and a chance to put his home made frame jig to use.
Written by Ian Lee.
Royal Enfield motorcycles make a great platform for building custom bikes. Old school Brit styling, reliable single cylinder engines and factory spoke wheels. This is exactly what New Delhi based Bull City have done with their latest build, putting their skills to work on a Royal Enfield AVL 350cc, and producing something far removed from your everyday Enfield. With a build brief calling for an “old school thumper”, the Bull City workshop decided the idea has been done alot, and needs some special touches in order to stand out. That is why there is a rhino-skin inspired paintjob on the tank for instance – which I’m pretty sure is a first for Pipeburn.
Royal Enfields. Is there nothing they can’t do? Whether it’s carrying yaks around Tibet, being sent off to war with machines guns attached or ferrying riders on trans-continental journeys, it seems that there’s not a thing on god’s green earth that can stop them. And now we can add another notch to the bike’s belt – that of beach cruiser. Strange as it may seem that classic, sand-loving bicycle and signifier of all things holiday is just what Canadian bike builder Brent Giesbrecht used as inspiration for this simple yet impressive build. And the results are so bang-on we can almost feel the sand in our swimmers right now.
They say that genetics are responsible for what’s passed down through the generations. But anyone out there with kids will realised that there’s so much more than just DNA that goes into making a person a person. In fact, it can be down-right scary what they pick up from adults. Or even what they don’t pick up. And then there’s the little things that lay dormant for years and years, like seeds once planted that take an eternity to sprout. For Reginald Hilt from New Delhi’s Bull City Customs, that dormant seed contained the DNA to build an entire bike shop. And that’s just what it did once the conditions were right.