Walking the halls of the great bike shows of the world or even scrolling through blogs dedicated to custom bikes can be a truly inspiring thing to do. But for those looking to enter the scene, it can also be pretty daunting. When you’re still learning Motorcycles 101, the work of a Hazan or Rodsmith can leave you questioning whether you have what it takes. The answer is you do, it simply involves rolling up your sleeves and giving it a go, and this is the exact approach Spaniard Alberto Benito has adopted. Now living in the USA, he wanted to get in on the past time and buy a bike, but instead of purchasing something boring, he decided to build something far better, and his 2021 Royal Enfield 650 has also sparked the creation of his new venture, Shed Motorcycles.
Having been bitten by the custom bike bug, Alberto picked up the Enfield and simply decided to get stuck in. “It all started in a small backyard shed when I decided to build a cafe racer motorcycle. The budget was almost non-existent, the working space was very limited, and I didn’t have many tools. I ran into problems constantly. I couldn’t find parts, or if I did, they were too expensive. I also didn’t have experience in fabricating my own parts and accessories. But that didn’t stop me from working on my dream project and learning along the way.”
The project became known as ‘Imperfecta’, taking the stress of creating a unicorn off the table and simply learning to enjoy the ups and downs that come with any build. Wanting a vintage look, the Enfield provides the perfect platform, but to take that a step further, Alberto removed the stock rubber and fitted the rims with Shinko Superclassic E270 tyres. One problem, they don’t fit back on the bike due to a few minor clearance issues. To fix the front end, the stock fender has been lifted by using a set of spacers. At the rear, the swingarm gets wider as you get further back, so a chain switch to a D.I.D with a few extra links solves the problem.
Staying at the back end of the bike, the handling has been improved by fitting good quality suspension, with longer Bitubo 370mm shocks also helping to give the dampening needed to make the most of the new rubber and plant it to the road. These changes taught Alberto one of the many lessons of building a custom bike, some changes necessitate others. So, with the stock kickstand now too short he custom-made a new one; a satisfying moment! To begin work on the bike’s aesthetics, Alberto faced one of his most daunting moments, cutting up his new bike.
The angle grinder was spun up and the subframe drastically cut back, with the moment also taken to rid the bike of the passenger pegs. Over the top, a new seat and cowl were needed and found in a familiar place, “Both were purchased from Royal Enfield’s original accessories catalogue. The seat has a custom leather upholstery cover with a diamond pattern.” Next, a dive was taken into the K-Speed catalogue and new side covers and a tank cover were bought. Time for paint and the chalky white hue is brilliantly matched to a matte black, which is laid over the gas cap and graphics.
Conscious of his limited budget, Alberto knew that one of the best ways to transform a motorcycle was to bin all the little pieces where manufacturers save money and upgrade them for superior parts of his choosing. This starts with a change to the handlebars, with clip-ons instantly giving the bike a more aggressive look.
These have then been kitted out with new Biltwell grips, Rizoma mirrors, CNC’d levers, a Motogadget switch block for the left, and a modified stock unit on the right. A new clutch cable was required as a result, with a bulletproof Venhill item chosen for the job and a sweet set of K-Speed rearsets to finish out the all-new controls.
Taking advantage of the huge amount of R&D a shop like K-Speed does is a very wise choice for a new builder, and searching their online shop, Alberto saw they had a neat way of giving the 650cc engine a tough look. Their left and right set of engine covers in matte black with those aggressive fins instantly transform the motor and they’re not expensive either.
To improve the performance the stock airbox was ditched, and you need to do a bit more than just add the new pod filters. An engine breather is also required, as is relocating the air temperature sensor and removing the secondary air system. Speaking of air, it now screams out of the parallel twin with the slick custom-built black exhaust.
Finally, Alberto wanted to give the bike a neater look, and one that added a sense of high-end quality to the Enfield. To achieve this he took all of the stock lighting and replaced every last component. For the headlight this meant using CNC’d brackets to mount a stunning 7in full LED unit, which includes a daytime running light and integrated turn signals.
To achieve the same at the rear, the stock lighting is all removed and a straightforward LED strip handles the taillight, brake light and indicating duties. A new tiny Motoscope speedo went on and the bike was done.
The result is a beautiful neo-retro custom, with all of the modern toys, a vintage vibe and proof positive that a first-time builder on a small budget can definitely hang with the big boys.
[ Shed Motorcycles ]