When you combine the oldest motorcycle brand still in production and the oldest form of true customisation, it seems good things just always happen. A bobbed Royal Enfield might be the most cost-effective custom you can come up with, whether you’re looking to build a donor old or new. But, if you want that bike to really stand out from the crowd and truly be something spectacular, you need to find a builder who deeply understands what makes the humble RE so special. Enter Indian bike building royalty, Rajputana Customs, who armed with a new 650 Twin have made all your wishes come true, with a build they call ‘Starlight’.
Growing up in Jaipur, the leader of the outfit, Vijay Singh Ajairajpura had his first bike at just seven years of age, thanks to his generous father, and his affinity for two-wheels has only grown since then. It’s been a family affair with his grandfather also heavily involved in racing and his cousin helping him showcase his first big-time custom more than ten years ago. And while they can build any bike that you desire, the Rajputana team specialise in the bike brand that keeps India moving, Royal Enfield.
The 650 Twin is a hell of a motorcycle, bang for your buck, it’s hard to think of a better new bike. But there is actually very little of the stock RE remaining on this build. “Starlight is a one of a kind 650-twin hardtail bobber. Except for the engine, everything else on the motorcycle is handcrafted by RCM,” Vijay explains. So, to start the project off, that meant pulling the whole thing down and getting the frame ready for a serious chop-up. To make life easier, the neck and down tubes remain, but everything else is custom.
With some serious modifications to come, everything had to be carefully planned out and the new backbone sweeps up before making a clear downward run to the centre posts. From here a drop tail effect is achieved to create that classic bobber look and it all runs rearward to the back axle for a full hardtail finish. As always with a Rajputana build, the quality is there to see, with the additional stresses of the rigid frame soaked up by the extra bracing and strengthening in the vital areas of the chassis.
The all-new style allowed the guys to get seriously creative with the tank and despite this being a fuel-injected bike, it didn’t slow them down. From above you see the split tanks perfectly mating up to the frame, and with a pair of stunning brass crown filler caps, you could easily be fooled into thinking it’s a conventional split tank. But in fact, one side holds fuel and the all-important pump, and the other houses all of the electrics that are required to keep a modern motorcycle running. So that must leave only a few gallons of go-gas right?
Not here, with the faux oil tank (a perfect touch for a bobber build) serving as an additional fuel tank, with what appears to be a secondary high-pressure pump mounted underneath. Not that you’d ever know unless you really got up close and personal, and the illusion it creates is of a true cut down custom, and yet one that still retains full practicality. This is the same ethos that is carried over to that beautiful springer front end. It’s brilliantly engineered to achieve just the right geometry, while also serving as one hell of a visual enhancement.
Again, the balance between form and function has been expertly retained, with a custom fabricated mount allowing for the Bybre disc brake package to be retained. Similar work has been done at the rear, with the caliper floating above the factory disc on the all-new hardtail. These qualities continue through to the controls, a stylish set of bars wears a very unique mix of hand-crafted brass adornments, and modern switch blocks and master cylinder. A custom set of pegs follows the theme, and a very clever use of hand grips gives them an ultra neat finish.
The popular twin-cylinder engine doesn’t miss out either, with a set of two-into-two pipes finished out in machined brass end caps. And whoever is on the lathe at the shop clearly works long days, and once again they weaved their magic, producing a set of stunning velocity stacks from the soft alloy. To bring it all together the paint job was vitally important, and the vintage green, steel grey and brass accents are an inspired choice.
Beefy classic tyres and a perfectly stitched vintage leather seat finish the beautiful bobber off a treat, and I’m just sitting here making my wish to the first star of the night that this Starlight, was mine.