Congratulations go to the team at Royale Motorcycles with their No. 55 GT 650 Production Racer, who won the People’s Choice award, with voting across two weeks crowning the popular choice champion.
This year’s Busted Knuckles Build Off competition couldn’t have been possible without the participation, hard work and determination from all the participating dealers and their custom creations including:
Revelry Cycles, Sydney, NSW
Fast Fuel Motorcycles, Albury, NSW
SurfSide Motorcycle Garage, Brookvale, NSW
Royale Motorcycles, Hamilton, NZ
MotoMAX, Perth, WA
Royale Motorcycles No. 55 GT 650 Production Racer
Saying that New Zealanders are good with motorcycles is like saying that the sun is hot or that fried chicken is delicious; unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 50 years, you’ll already know this. After all, how many other countries have produced the likes of Burt Munro and John Britten? Talk about punching above their weight. And in that vein, the north island’s Hamilton’s Royale Motorcycles thought they’d shake things up a little with their new Royal Enfield Busted Knuckles 2022 entry.
Dillon, the shop’s talking head, took some time to walk us through just what they were thinking when they kicked off this rather unusual custom project. “Really, it was all about doing something really different, we kind of went a little crazy. Mainly because we really didn’t want to build another café racer, bobber or tracker.” And let’s face it; after you’ve built an army of these bikes, can you blame them for wanting to try something different?
Taking inspiration from India’s local Royal Enfield ‘GT Cup’ Production Racing series, they decided they’d try something similar, if not a little more sports-bike-ish. As while you may think that a sports-bike is just about as far away from the GT Enfield’s as you can get, it’d pay to remember that the original café racers that inspired the GTs in the first place were themselves an 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 really makes more sense than you might think.
“It was still a big job to make it happen,” continues Dillion. “We sourced many parts from an army of other bikes and manufacturers to ensure that what we finished up with was a proper racer and not just a look-alike.” The aluminium swingarm was an old Honda item that was adapted to the new bike, with the Royal build team paying close attention to ensure that all the bike’s new geometry was bang on. Similarly, the front end was replaced with a Triumph Daytona fork and wheel combo that came from the factory with some very capable Nissin stoppers.
The 17-inch wheels have been fitted with Pirelli Diablo racing rubber, including a beefy 120mm wide boot on the rear. Continuing with the racing theme, the team also constructed a bespoke exhaust system for the hot stuff to exit the engine through, and picked a super-slick, hydroformed HP Corse end can for some added racing vibes and no doubt a better engine note as well.
“As with any proper race bike, its not only got rear-sets, but a full range of adjustability, too. Thai means that it can be adjusted for just about any track and any rider,” notes Dillion. And while most modern sports-bikes have enough MotoGP tech to scare all but the most capable of riders, the 650 Twin DNA that’s still present at this bike’s core means that most riders will be able to jump on and have a bunch of fun at their local track without risking life and limb.
This ease of use extends to the bike’s chassis as well; made from steel and not aluminium, it’s much more easy for the average custom shop or home builder enthusiast to modify the GT’s bones without them having to purchase speciality welding gear or spend 6 months at the local technical college. Or as Dillion puts it, “This means that as a Continental GT owner, whatever you can imagine, you can pretty much build. It may sound like sales speak,” Dillion says in closing, “But we even surprised ourselves with how easy this bike was to customise.”
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