For the purpose of proving a point, I recently went into the local motorcycle dealer, grabbed the brochure for a new superbike, and by adding just ten accessories from the manufacturer’s option list, I’d managed to double the price of the bike. There is no doubt that factory accessories are highway robbery, but here is the other thing, for the most part they barely change the bike in any meaningful way. A good custom bike builder on the other hand, for a much more affordable price, can focus on a few key areas of a machine and totally transform it in form and function. Taking delivery of a customer’s Royal Enfield Classic 500, Purpose Built Moto has done exactly that, producing a brilliant laid-back bobber.
The process by which all of this happened was also much more organic than the usual dealer experience for a client, as the top man from PBM, Tom Gilroy, tells us, “This one walked right up to me and said hello on the street outside my house. Dave had just moved to the Gold Coast from Sydney and had a few old bikes he needed roadworthy certs for to get on the road. He saw my van, came down and asked and we helped him out there.” The guys became friends and Tom learned more about Dave’s love of big singles, like his current TT500 and this here Enfield. The Classic 500 had received a few changes here and there, but Tom felt there was a much better bike beneath the surface.
“After I took the Enfield Classic 500 for a ride, we spoke over a few key elements that needed to be addressed. The end result wanted to be styled in a way that let its classic roots show through, lowering the overall stance of the bike to get that bobber seating position right and classing the entire thing up a bit with some fine fab work and more refined finishes,” Tom Explains. So, the key areas for change would be the ride height and rolling stock, a visual transformation to simplify the design, and good old-fashioned quality fabrication to bring it all together. It sounds simple until you realise the skills required to make it actually happen.
The first order of business was to bust out the grinders and rip into the rear end, chopping off the factory suspension and subframe. The entire rear has then been completely rebuilt for a sprung bobber vibe, with the shocks running on an angle as if they were part of the rails of a hardtail frame. Working with the team at YSS Australia, a pair of 280mm fully adjustable shocks were put together to make it all work and allow Tom to dial the package in to perfection. Next up were the wheels, and a bump in diameter. “Re-lacing the Enfield hubs to a 21” front and 19” rear rim also helped relax the steering angle and set the trail to a point where this bike is most at home on wide open roads.”
Moving to the visual aspect of the bike, the quality of the fabrication and metal work can’t be understated, and a beautifully rolled ribbed fender hovers over the back tyre. The polished stainless struts come from the PBM universal mounting kit and the taillight takes on a similar look in stunning fashion. “Mounted on a threaded tube that I turned up and have all the cables discreetly hidden under the fender.” The front fender was tackled by Dylan, who used arrow-style struts and a set of steering damper mounts to craft another standout piece.
“Dave had a very particular vision for his bike, so when it came to the colour and paint design, he was a lot more involved than most of our clients. We flipped through countless colour books searching for the perfect fit until we found this strangely named Citroen colour. A metallic olive green, that was the one,” Tom recalls. The next step was meant to incorporate brass badges but being too brittle to perfectly contour to the tank, a friend of the shop Max drew up a design and PopBang Classics took care of painting the whole thing up.
To make the most of the ultra-clean look, extra time was taken to run the wiring, mount up sensors in discrete locations and hide relays from sight. A neat battery box was fabricated, and all painted up like the frame hides the small unit under the swingarm. The seat base was fabricated in-house and then it was over to Timeless Autotrim to take care of the leather work. Tom wasn’t feeling the exhaust that had come with the bike, and on meeting one final time with Dave, neither was he. The challenge with a big single is to get a sweet sound and not end up with something that sounds like Dad’s lawn mower.
“I sat in front of the bike and worked out a design that gave us the best shot of making that happen. The oversized 2” header would curve down and pass under the engine, switching sides before the exhaust would curve up and sweep over the polished clutch case. Not having a straight section until it was stretching towards the rear. That straight section houses the muffler in a 400mm long section before the turn out that exits behind the rider’s leg.
The finishing touch was laid out, welded up and polished to a mirror finish.” Just three key areas have been completely overhauled and yet this RE Classic has an utterly unique custom appearance, perfect for sunny afternoon rides, which is just about every single day when you live in Queensland.