For years it was the west who produced the best custom motorcycles. The greatest rides were done by cashed-up Europeans or well-heeled Americans. But in the last few years, there’s been a dramatic shift as the developing world has been the one to really watch when it comes to creativity. Take exhibit a) Indonesia’s Kromworks and their retro-futuristic Royal Enfield Bullet 500 cafe racer.
Of all the builders across the islands of Indonesia, Jakarta’s Kromworks is one that really stands out. Andika Pratama and his team have built themselves an enviable reputation over the past few years. They’re the guys to contact if you want a sleek, Jetsons-Esque, handcrafted ride. Everything they do is immaculate, stripped-back and polished to within an inch of its life. So it’s no surprise that Royal Enfield Indonesia approached them for a build. Royal Enfield is in the midst of a concerted push into the archipelago nation, and what better way to turn heads than to give one of Indonesia’s foremost builders a brand-spanking-new Bullet to work their magic on?
And Andika and the team knew what they wanted to build from the outset. “We wanted to create a cafe racer,” Mr Pratama says. “But not a typical cafe racer. We wanted to combine futuristic concepts with classic elements”. With looks firmly planted in the 1950s, the Royal Enfield Bullet is hardly the easiest starting point for that kind of custom motorcycle project. Kromworks had their work cut out for them.
Firstly, the rims were changed. It now runs skinny 21” hoops on the front and back, shod in retro Shinko rubber. They’re mated to a custom-built swingarm and fork assembly, with all the mounting brackets being set up from scratch for the new bike. The swingarm and forks run into a purpose-built frame. There’s nothing left of a standard Royal Enfield here. The downtube, back brace… everything has been carefully considered and crafted by the Kromworks team. Take the header, for instance. Each angle of the pipe perfectly reflects another found on the build. The first bend matches the bottom of the frame. The second, the front forks.
And that exhaust itself is a work of art, which runs under the stainless steel seat pan, behind a fuel tank also hand-crafted from stainless steel. If you’re trying to pick what else has been made by the team at Kromworks here’s a hint – everything. That’s the engine mounts, rear sets, rear set mounts and just about anything else you can see. Hell, the team even retrofitted their Royal Enfield Bullet with a carburettor to keep the lines clean.
And one of the greatest things? The whole bike, from start to finish, took Andika and the team only 5 months to put together. That’s five months for a scratch-built one-off Royal EnfieldBullet cafe racer. It’s an astonishing bike that proves yet again shops like Kromworks are the ones to watch.
Story by Marlon Slack