This Modified Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 Is As Vintage As It Gets
Mumbai-based R&G Customs has converted the venerable cruiser into a proper board track racer
- The bike’s design has been inspired by board track racers popular in the 1920s.
- It features a leaf spring suspension setup up front.
- The engine also gets a custom hand-fabricated exhaust.
R&G Customs from Mumbai had showcased a delightfully vintage-looking motorcycle called ‘Kadak’ at the 2019 Royal Enfield Rider Mania in Goa. The custom house used a Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 as the base for this project.
R&G Customs says it cost them about Rs 2.5 lakh excluding the price of the base bike. For reference, the stock Royal Enfield Thunderbird 500 costs Rs 2.07 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The custom house took inspiration from board track racers that were popular in the United States, in the 1920s. Riders used to race on an oval track where the surface was made from planks of wood. As the bikes of the bygone era, this custom motorcycle also uses a bicycle-inspired frame. This hand-fabricated hardtail frame is complemented by an equally vintage-looking leaf spring suspension up front. For added authenticity, there’s no brake up front but the rear comes with a drum unit. The wheels are 18-inch spoke units wrapped with Ceat Gripp block-pattern tyres.
Another interesting attention to detail is the replacement of the stock twin-pod instrument cluster with an old-school compass. Also, the bike’s engine kill switch has been moved next to the powerplant on the right. This arrangement makes the slammed handlebars look clutter-free. The retro-looking headlamp is actually an LED unit and the headlamp’s controls are mounted next to the engine, on the left side. For the sake of rider’s comfort, the saddle is sprung with the springs mounted to the rear section of the frame.
R&G Customs has replaced the Thunderbird 500’s fuel injection with a carburettor from the Bullet 500, and the exhaust system is a custom made unit. Apart from these, the remaining powerplant is stock. In the production motorcycle, the 499cc single-cylinder fuel-injected air-cooled motor churns out 27.5PS and 41.3Nm. It is mated to a 5-speed transmission and the motorcycle gets pedal-like footpegs for that extra dose of realism.
All in all, this board tracker is a stunning example of how motorcycle customisation is limited only to one’s imagination.