If you have been thinking of Royal Enfield as a nice addition to the marketplace, but a bit… conservative, it’s time to think again.
When John Bloor returned Triumph to the showrooms of the world, he felt that it would be best to launch the brand as he wanted it to go on: with a new, radically designed range that shared nothing with historical models except the tank badge. Oops, he had the tank badge redesigned too. The classical Triumphs could come later, he reasoned, after the brand had established itself as a contemporary bike with contemporary styling and engineering. Today, just as he wanted it to be, Triumph’s modern bikes have a secure and strong niche in the market. Mind you, the classic bikes are doing even better.
Royal Enfield chose the opposite track. Improving its existing range and launching new models off that base, owner Eicher Motors Limited kept its attention on the established reputation and its strong market as it expanded into others.
Both tactics have worked. That doesn’t mean that anything you do in motorcycle manufacturing and marketing will work just as well as anything else. What it does mean is that a carefully fashioned strategy will succeed if it is carried out just as carefully. Take a look at what is happening over at Harley-Davidson under the mentorship of Jochen Zeitz – they’re back to profitability with a new strategy.
So, why is it time to think again about Royal Enfield? Because they have taken a leaf out of Milwaukee’s book and launched a customizing competition. And while the results look exciting, the idea was not just to build unridable fantasy motorcycles. In this case, you can buy some of the designs as kits for your own Enfield.
A high-end kit for the Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 by Bandit9 is designed to test the limits of modifying the bike. As RE says:
The Jaeger kit includes a surgical grade steel tank and front and rear cowl. Dual LED headlights, custom speedometer, handlebars, front and rear turn signals. Custom front fender, handlebars and gas cap. Custom twin exhaust and muffler system. Custom steel mono-block mirrors and swing-arm extender. Custom foot pegs and controls and a weatherproof suede seat. And most impressively it all bolts on directly to the stock frame – no cuts needed.
Smoked Garage, meanwhile, created what they are calling ‘Off / Grid kits for the Interceptor INT and the Himalayan, and according to RE have been
designed to combine a pure riding experience with Smoked Garage’s creative vision. The inspiration was to create motorcycles that encourage riders to get out and get away from a year of lockdowns & computer screens. They offer the perfect tool to navigate the urban jungle and the wild landscapes that you have longed to see.
And now for a kit created for Den Dimas, “one of the most influential Youtube Content Creators on teenage automotive enthusiasts in Indonesia.”
Den Dimas reached out to custom builder Thrive and commissioned a bolt-on kit that Thrive can now sell to anyone. The bolt-on parts forgo any chopping, cutting or welding that gives a new look to the base motorcycle.
The designs are not all available as kits. Crazy Garage built a Rapid Continental GT 650 Racer for RE.
The custom motorcycle is uniquely differentiated in its style, keeping the original DNA of the Continental GT, and ready to take to the track! It includes high compression pistons, a hot cam, and a heavy-duty clutch. Fueling is controlled by a Dynojet Power Commander with autotune, which also compensates for the airbox removal and the custom free-flowing exhaust system. There’s a Dynojet quickshifter too, to keep the power hitting the back wheel as much as possible. It’s combined with a quick-action throttle, and a handlebar switch that allows the rider to change the ignition map quickly and easily.
And finally, why not link with one of the recent success stories in international motorcycling, Mark Hawwa – the founder of Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride?
This is deliberately a bolt-on custom build, but there is no news whether it will be available to the private builder.
The Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 was treated with some of the best modifiers in Australia to produce a stunning cafe racer that’s equally at home tearing up the track. The custom build has been developed with no cutting or welding. It has been modified with an all-new stainless steel system, enhanced engine power with improved handling and suspension. The seat unit with integrated tail light has been designed for the Royal Enfield and comes with various choices of upholstery colour and stitching. Autologue Design also sent over a set of their side covers and that unmistakable front fairing, a Reck 2.0, that helps to give the bike its unique appearance.
Conservative? No way. And not only innovative in design, but available to you and me.