Hamilton’s Royale Motorcycles might be one of the newer members of the Royal Enfield family but that’s doesn’t mean they don’t know how to make the most of the bikes they sell.
Case in point, Royale's wicked Royal Enfield 650 custom dubbed "No. 55 GT Production Café Racer" which was built for the Busted Knuckles Build Off this year and took home the Expert's Choice award.
The judging panel of five was made up of custom bike and café racer publications, Royal Enfield aficionados, and Royal Enfield UK's very own Group Manager of Industrial Design, Adrian Sellers.
Each custom Royal Enfield from the five dealerships taking part this year was assessed in five different categories each worth 20 points, meaning a total possible score of up to 100 points for each judge, and 500 points across the board.
Based upon the Royal Enfield 650 parallel-twin platform, Royale Motorcycles took the win after pouring roughly 350 hours of blood, sweat and tears into the build. The rules of the build-off are pretty simple. Apart from being a Royal Enfield dealership, the only catch is the build-off bike must be based on a model from the current Royal Enfield range. Other than that, the builders can customise to their heart's desire so long as they have the skills to back it up.
Taking inspiration from India’s domestic Royal Enfield ‘GT Cup’ Production Racing series, Royale Motorcycles decided they’d try something similar, if not a little more like a sports bike. While you may think that a sportbike is just about as far away from Royal Enfield's GT as you can get, it’d pay to remember that the original café racers that inspired the GTs were themselves a homage to the Isle of Man TT racers of the ‘50s and ‘60s. These were the sports bikes of their time, so making a modern racer out of the 650 twin was inevitable.
The 17-inch wheels have been fitted with Pirelli Diablo racing rubber, including a beefy 120mm boot on the rear. Continuing with the racing theme, the team also constructed a bespoke exhaust system. A super-slick, hydroformed HP Corse end-can for some added racing vibes and no doubt a better engine note as well.
This ease of use extends to the bike’s chassis as well; made from steel and not aluminium, it’s much easier for the average custom shop or home builder to modify the GT’s bones. Royale cut as much weight as possible from the Continental GT base bike and went to work in taking the bike from woah to go in the best way possible.
Royale didn't just want the No. 55 to look the part with its slick fairing and seat cowling, they went all in.
The suspension setup is tuned by Kiwi Racer Dillon Telford and consists of a Triumph Daytona front end with all its adjustable goodness and Nissin radially mounted 4-piston brakes, while the rear shock is a fully adjustable unit from Öhlins.
Also at the rear, the factory swingarm was chucked in favour of an aluminium unit pinched from a Honda CBR400. The Kawasaki Ninja 400 rear wheel continues the theme of poaching parts from other manufacturers.
The No. 55 GT Production Café Racer is the second Kiwi built bike to win big in the competition, with Wanaka Powersports taking home the coveted People's Choice award in last year's edition.
There's clearly a strong custom scene around the Royal Enfield lineup in New Zealand and Australia and Royal Enfield's local Asia Pacific representatives recognise this as a fact.
“The custom builds presented in the Asia Pacific markets reinforce that Royal Enfield motorcycles are the perfect canvas for customisation. Australia and New Zealand have some of the best custom building talent that we have seen anywhere in the world," Anuj Dua, Royal Enfield's Head of International Business - APAC, Anuj Dua said.
"What makes the second season of Busted Knuckles special is our dealers being an integral part of it. Due to passionate riders across ANZ, we have a very strong community which loves to customise their motorcycles as an extension of their personalities. With pure and simple construction, our motorcycles are perfectly suited for expressing creativity through the unique expression of the best custom builders across the globe. Apart from uniquely interpreting the design language to make beautiful builds, Royal Enfield has been pushing the envelope with its custom builds in terms of capabilities as well."