Indian-built 1959 Bullet wins All-British Field Meet awardVANCOUVER — The sight of Shad Lievesley arriving…
The custom motorcycle scene is an endless sea of eye candy, which means sometimes there is a larger emphasis on form than function. Personally, I prefer something more functional—a bike that is customized to go fast and look cool while doing it. Maybe that is why Royal Enfield’s recent Build Train Race project caught my eye.
The concept was pretty simple, Royal Enfield sent to four women a brand-new INT 650 to build as they pleased. The catch came in the form of a race between the finished builds on the flat track at Dixie Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia. The bikes needed to both show and go. I’d say the builders achieved that goal, despite Royal Enfield being forced to postpone the racing portion of the contest.
The base INT 650 is a good base for a flat tracker build. The parallel-twin engine layout is popular for use in flat track, and the steel loop-style frame makes for easy modifications compared to a formed aluminum piece. The INT 650 has retro flair, but hidden underneath that gas tank is twin throttle body fuel injection, which certainly makes for easier tuning but can also give a custom builder a giant headache due to the plethora of wiring and sensors that need to remain in place for the bike to run correctly.
The four builders had just three months, starting November 15th, to cut, chop, style, and finish their respective builds. Each campaigned for sponsors to help them complete their motorcycles with the best parts to help them win on the track. The finished products turned out badass, but sadly they didn’t see the track as planned due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak.
Royal Enfield hopes to run the race in late fall, but no confirmation is yet forthcoming. In the meantime, the racers hope for exhibition runs to take place during an American Flat Track events—if they go off as scheduled. For now, though, we can certainly appreciate the purposeful beauty of these custom machines and look forward to seeing them sliding ’round blue-groove left turns this fall.
Here is a look at what each builder created as a blend of speed and style. Each put their own spin on a traditional flat track bike, some blending in elements that would be considered more café racer-ish, while others went full on with the speed parts. Which would you take to your local Friday night roundy-round race? I know the one for which I’d slip on my steel shoe, and it is the machine assembled by Melissa Paris. That gold front end just looks the business.