‘THE PRIME PROJECT’ – Royal Enfield Interceptor x Zeus Customs
Written by Martin Hodgson
Two of our favourite surprises of 2018 was the release of the Royal Enfield Twins and the emergence of South East Asia as a hotbed of custom bike craftsmanship. So it comes as no surprise to us here at Pipeburn HQ that the two have been combined to produce this stunning creation. With the 2019 Bangkok International Motor Show fast approaching, Royal Enfield approached Thailand’s Zeus Customs to build them a crowd pleaser on an insanely tight deadline. Head honcho Mooyong answered the call and delivered this stunning 2018 RE Interceptor 650 to award winning success!
It’s not every day that you receive a phone call from one of the world’s most prolific motorcycle manufacturers asking you to build them a custom bike. But with little trepidation Mooyong saw it as an acknowledgement of how far his company had come, that word of his builds had reached England. Excited about working with the new 650 twin cylinder model he was asked to come up with some sketches and then wait for approval to come back from the top brass at RE.
When he got the green light there was now only 45 days until the bike had to be delivered to the biggest show in Thailand, but with confidence in his team they relished the chance to do what they know best; build wicked custom machines! After taking delivery of the brand new ‘ceptor in the factory Orange Crush colour scheme, it was quickly on the lift and ready to be torn apart for the fast paced build.
This would be the first chance for the Zeus team to see the chassis up close and personal and really know for sure if their sketched design would work with the real thing. What Royal Enfield had loved most about Mooyong’s design was his desire to take the factory fuel tank and integrate it into the tail section as one smooth flowing piece. But this is easier said than done; first each individual metal piece was hand crafted, before being offered up to the frame and then slowly narrowing the gaps.
With the fit spot on, they commenced work and created the ultra smooth transition between the custom metal work and the OE tank. The finished uni-body is a sight to behold, with no obvious changeover point it flows across the frame like liquid metal. Just as has been done for decades at Enfield the gloss black paint is contrasted perfectly with a single unbroken pinstripe hand laid in gold. While the silver Zeus logo is done in a raised finish to give a texture when touched and the RE example placed across the rear.
The bike was now looking a million dollars but the stock stance would have to go and Zeus loves nothing more than to drop a bike to the deck. The front forks were used as a base line, stripped down and rebuilt with lowered springs before being re-painted in black. To ensure the bodywork ran perfectly parallel to the ground the rear shocks were custom ordered and the 340mm units get the look just right. Fully blacked out wheels help improve the new aggressive look and a set of Firestone rubber ensures the old school feel.
This nod to Royal Enfield’s rich history is expanded upon in the details that the team added to the bike to complete the aesthetic appeal. Starting at the front a small bates headlight has the shell blacked out before being fitted with a brass coloured bezel. With the same treatment given to the Motogadget mst vintage speedo that begins the simplified electronics package. Clip-ons keep the lines low and are fitted up with all the best goodies from the big M for functionality.
But you can’t go past that beautiful parallel twin cylinder engine that Royal Enfield spent so long developing to ensure this new model is a blast to ride. Cleaning up the appearance, Zeus removed the factory airbox to leave plenty of negative space under the seat and adapted pod filters to fit. The tiny battery is now well hidden and the lower half of the barrels finished in black to match the build. However it’s not just the visual senses that are given a treat, the new handcrafted twin pipes with brass end caps ensure that engine plays a merry sound.
With the show date fast approaching it was time to apply the finishing touches, with a small taillight grafted into the rear and tiny indicators to match. The custom made rearsets add more of that old school mechanical feel, while the whole thing is topped off with a two layer, hand stitched, leather seat. The Interceptor 650 that the team have named ‘The Prime’ was roared into the giant halls of the IMPACT Exhibition Center and despite only having seven weeks to complete the build, Zeus Customs was rightly greeted with rapturous applause!