Royal Enfield’s Renaissance

In the world of motorcycles, the custom scene has always been a realm of endless creativity and personal expression. However, as we turn back the clock to 2016, we notice a significant shift in this dynamic landscape. It was a time when major motorcycle manufacturers like Yamaha, BMW, and Triumph were actively diving into the custom scene, each vying to leave their mark. Amidst this, Yamaha was pushing boundaries with its Yardbuilt Series, BMW was making waves with the R NineT, and Triumph was set to unveil a new range of modern classic models perfect for customization. This period marked the zenith of the “new-wave” custom scene, with manufacturers and top custom workshops collaborating closely.

Royal Enfield Customization

Fast forward to the present, and it’s evident that the fervor has somewhat cooled off among many manufacturers. However, Royal Enfield, the esteemed Indian brand, stands as a beacon, steadfast in its dedication to the custom motorcycle world. Their initiative, the Custom World project, emerges as a fresh breath of air in a landscape where many others have receded.

Royal Enfield’s journey in revitalizing the custom scene is particularly noteworthy since the introduction of their 650 twins. These bikes quickly became the canvas for numerous custom projects, showcasing the brand’s enthusiasm for the scene. The partnership with Harris Performance birthed the Nought Tea 650 Racer, a testament to Royal Enfield’s commitment to blending performance with style. Additionally, their dealership-based custom project created a global platform for distributors to showcase their creativity using Enfield’s latest models. This initiative not only celebrated the spirit of customization but also brought together the global Enfield community in a unique competition judged by the public and key figures in the custom world.


Custom Motorcycle Scene

The 2023 Motoverse event in Goa, India, which Return of the Cafe Racers had the privilege to attend, was a spectacular showcase of Royal Enfield’s deep involvement in the custom motorcycle scene. The event presented an array of custom builds, latest models, and interactive sessions with notable personalities from the motorcycle world. The Custom World exhibition at Motoverse was particularly striking, featuring over 30 motorcycles categorized into ‘Shed Builds’ and ‘Pro Builds’. These bikes, displayed on expansive 25-meter stands, offered a glimpse into the diverse and rich tapestry of the Indian custom scene, with each motorcycle telling its own unique story.

‘Shed Builds’ comprised custom projects by enthusiasts, not professional workshops. This segment revealed the depth of passion and creativity within the local custom scene, with an array of styles from scramblers and bobbers to cafe racers. On the other hand, ‘Pro Builds’ featured creations by professional Indian workshops, again showcasing a broad spectrum of styles and impeccable craftsmanship. Royal Enfield’s decision to feature both categories highlighted their respect for all levels of craftsmanship within the custom scene.

Motorcycle Custom Builds

The event also showcased individual custom bikes by prominent builders. These included a 650 twin-powered bagger by TNT Motorcycles, a sleek bobber by Bombay Custom Works, and a carbon fiber bodied ‘Ultimate Himalayan’ by Moto Exotica. Each of these builds was a testament to Royal Enfield’s commitment to fostering creativity and innovation in motorcycle customization.

Royal Enfield’s approach to the custom scene extends beyond just showcasing builds. By inviting prominent figures like Christian Sosa of Sosa Metalworks and Robert Nightingale, organizer of the Malle Mile, the brand created a platform for sharing insights and trends in the custom scene. This inclusive approach underlines Royal Enfield’s understanding that the custom world is not just about bikes but also about the people and stories behind them.

Furthermore, Royal Enfield’s support for aftermarket component development is commendable. By embracing brands like Hedgehog Motorcycles and Autologue Design, who develop aftermarket components for Enfield motorcycles, the brand is ensuring that customization remains accessible and diverse. This approach not only caters to the needs of custom enthusiasts but also encourages innovation within the aftermarket sector.

Royal Enfield Custom World

A highlight of the Motoverse event was the unveiling of the Shotgun 650 Motoverse Edition by Siddhartha Lal, Royal Enfield’s Managing Director. This limited edition model, inspired by the SG650 concept from EICMA 2021, encapsulates the brand’s vision of blending traditional craftsmanship with modern trends. The Shotgun 650, available only to event attendees through a lottery, represents a new direction in motorcycle design, one that is heavily influenced by the custom scene.

Royal Enfield’s dedication to the custom motorcycle world is not just about preserving a niche; it’s about fostering a community where creativity, craftsmanship, and passion converge. This commitment not only enhances the brand’s appeal but also ensures that the custom motorcycle scene remains vibrant and evolving. The brand’s focus on both local talent and international collaborations creates a rich, diverse, and inclusive custom motorcycle culture.

Nought Tea 650 Racer

Royal Enfield’s efforts in supporting and revitalizing the custom motorcycle scene are a testament to their understanding of the market and the community’s needs. By focusing on collaboration, creativity, and inclusivity, Royal Enfield is not just selling motorcycles; they are nurturing a culture. Their approach benefits not just their sales but also the entire custom motorcycle community, keeping the scene alive and thriving. In a world where many have stepped back, Royal Enfield stands out for stepping up, and for that, they deserve our salute.

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