A decade ago it could have been said that Royal Enfield was happy to roll along as they had for generations, producing cheap and reliable bikes, with a very limited model range. But that has changed, and in a big way, from the all-conquering Himalayan to the award-winning 650 twins that are dominating their category around the globe, Enfield is on fire. Now enter the Meteor 350, a machine to add a true cruiser presence to the line-up. Keeping with the company’s commitment to low pricing, they sent one over to Ironwood Motorcycles for a budget-friendly make over, and now this Meteor is ready to win crowds over, here on earth or in a galaxy far, far away.

At just US$4399, the Meteor is a hell of a lot of motorcycle, and Arjan van den Boom of Ironwood Motorcycles was keen to keep costs down on this custom build. “The Meteor ticks a lot of boxes as stock but it was our task to spice it up a bit more. As a base package, the Meteor is pretty hard to beat for the budget-friendly rider. Ultimately, we wanted to retain this important element of accessibility and entry into the world of motorcycling and motorcycle customisation that the Meteor offers.

Hot on the heels of winning MCN’s “2021 – Retro Bike of Year” Arjan knew he had a quality little bike on his hands and formulated a way to customise the bike and keep the budget low. But to really understand what he was working with when the Fireball Yellow example arrived at his shop from RE HQ, he and the boys rode the hell out of it to get a good feel of the bike. And with a brief of “make it like a Deathstar. Dark, simple, and clean,” Arjan’s love of Star Wars was about to come very much in handy!

With all that in mind, no Ironwood build would be complete without their famous floating seat design and the Meteor was about to get the treatment. With the big factory fender removed and the subframe trimmed back, the custom CNC seat post is welded in. The diamond-stitched bobber style unit was then upholstered by Miller Kustom, before an all-new custom fender and their own unique mounting brackets were bolted on to complete the cut down look.

The front end comes in for similar treatment, again the big factory fender is dumped in favour of a bobbed item that gets its own cool set of mounts. The fork legs have had the reflectors removed, before being blacked out and a set of gaiters keeps the dark theme running. A budget build it might be, but black paint doesn’t cost much at all and a host of the chromed and polished parts are treated to a few coats of the menacing hue.

Where the money was spent however was on the trick meteor-themed paint job by Royal Kustom Works. From its bright factory yellow, to the space them in black, the RE instantly gets a more sinister vibe, resulting in a tough and yet theme-fitting finish that you just don’t see on a stock machine. Speaking of which, the factory wheels have had their yellow pinstripe covered in more black and nothing says you mean business like a set of Continental TKC tyres. Their ability on and off-road is only enhanced by the fitment of fully adjustable YSS shocks at the rear.

To give the engine a suitable soundtrack, a custom Ironwood exhaust was fabricated for the single-cylinder engine, and it barks out the back via an Akrapovic muffler. The controls are then given a big hit of quality, with Supercross bars a nice touch over the higher factory option and they’re finished out with Biltwell grips. Finally, the lighting is completed with components from Kellermann and Motogadget to ensure an ultra-clean look.

“The creative minds at Ironwood have absolutely nailed the brief we sent through to them and we’re delighted with the end results,” says Adrian Sellers, head of Royal Enfield’s Custom Program. And what is most impressive about it all is the quality end product for the price you pay. A brand new bike with full factory warranty, quality customisation that improves the bike in every way, and having something that truly stands out, all for around $10k.

Between them, Ironwood and RE have shown you can get one badass black bobber, and do it on a budget, but remember Yoda’s wise words, “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny”.

Ironwood Custom Motorcycles | Arjan van den Boom | Photography by Paul van Mondfrans Lindén ]