Most of the custom motorcycles that we see on the road aren’t big on function. Sure, some of them are masterpieces in terms of art and we could look at them all day, but then again, if a thing has got wheels, we might as well use them for good, right? Texas-based Revival Cycles’ Royal Enfield Desert Runner 650 doesn’t belong to the above-mentioned category. As the name suggests, it is based on the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, which is widely used by custom builders all around the world as a blank canvas to paint their imaginations.
The folks over at Revival Cycles must have imagined a proper Desert Sled while keeping this custom build in mind. They started working on it even before it was officially unveiled at the EICMA show in 2018.
The reason why it is so utilitarian is that it was built to take part in the off-road race from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. And therefore, it had to be fully functional. Not just fully-functional but it had to be capable too. Starting from the front, the fenders have been replaced by custom off-road spec units and same is the case with the rear fender too, which is now a short chopped unit. The stock suspension setup was dumped to make way for a set of upgraded Suzuki DR-Z 400 forks. The DR-Z 400 as you might know, is a very capable machine off the road. A pair of custom Icon shocks hold up the back end, and between them, the bike sits considerably taller than the stock road bike.
The custom 18-inch wheels are wrapped with Michelin AC10 knobby tires. An enormous skid plate protects the engine, as well as a custom exhaust. The seat is now a sleek, ribbed unit while the handlebars have been chosen so as to offer maximum grip to the rider while having fun off the road. The headlamp and tail lamp are also aftermarket unit and suit the overall scrambler look of the bike. Further supporting the offroad design theme is a rally-style scroll type navigation mounted on the handlebar.
Why was the Interceptor 650 an obvious choice?
Talking about the stock Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, the bike is powered by a 647 cc, twin-cylinder, air-oil cooled engine which is a newly developed unit. The engine churns out 47 Bhp of power along with 52 Nm of torque, which makes this the most powerful Royal Enfield engine ever. The engine comes mated to a 6-speed gearbox along with a slipper clutch. Another reason why the Interceptor 650 was chosen for this job is because the desert sleds back in 1950s and 1960s were often based on British road bikes with air-cooled 650cc parallel twins, just like the Interceptor 650. The company also has British roots, further accentuating the essence.
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Revival Cycles is headed by Alan Stulberg. Alan explained that he and his crew were impressed by the quality and performance of the new 650 twin. He described it as a leap forward from the previous generation engines which were heavily underpowered and plagued by reliability issues. Additionally, the riding characteristics of the engine were so friendly, that Alan and his team unanimously agreed that the bike would make a perfect daily commuter around town.