By James McCombe - 15 Mar 15
Confidence is a funny old thing. Just when you need it, to steady a hand drilling out a sheared head stud, or hold a line between gravel and horse muck on a sweeping corner, it can completely desert you. So you've got to give yourself the best chance of success; it can make sense to start small. Swapping out bolt on parts, polishing covers, perhaps switching up lights, before going headlong into an engine rebuild or tank swap. It's perhaps why we end up seeing so many half finished projects on certain auction sites, where the confidence and appetite for building a bike can sadly sometimes outweigh time and talent. Still it's better to try than not at all, but to succeed is the dream. Yet to succeed takes confidence; damn vicious circles. So there comes a point when you just have to jump... As it was for twenty four year old Fahim Rehman, hailing from Calicut, a small town in northern Kerala, India. Having graduated from collage with a degree in electrical engineering it was the desire to make his bike his own that got him started. But sensibly he learnt to walk before he started to run. Replacing easy parts, like the seat and handlebars on his Enfield Bullet 350, he gradually became confident enough to build a whole bike. And more importantly, it was during that period that he found his real passion. The countless hours spent in the garage never felt boring; Fahim would work late in to the night, and start working right when he woke up. With passion, came confidence. So with courage flowing and the family business usefully being industrial steel fabrication, Fahim was able to assemble himself a a selection of tools to take the next step with his dream. A few additional purchases and a thorough clean up of the store room behind his house soon created the perfect make-shift garage and Lone Wolf Motorcycles was born. This time last year, the first bike rolled out the garage: a Brat-Tracker styled Bajaj pulsar 180. With a similar second build completed, when it came to the third, a different style was calling. A fan of classic British bobbers, a Royal Enfield was the clear way to go. Fate was obviously smiling that day as Fahim got a call from a close friend asking for just such a bike. The only condition was a two months deadline. No time for baby steps now... A used 2004 Thunderbird 350cc was found for a decent price and hauled back to the garage. With an eye for clean, simple bikes, it was completely stripped down and parts were filtered one by one according to usefulness. Only the absolutely necessary would stay. To get the desired stance, the swing-arm was lengthened by about 3 inches and wheels were rebuilt to have a 19" rim up front and a chunkier 18" at the rear. The bike now sits, 'just-so'. The tank was taken from a standard Royal Enfield Bullet, but was nipped and tucked for a sleeker feel. Mounting points were also changed so it sat on the spine frame in a more pleasing manner. Mated up to the custom leather seat, adorned with the Royal Enfield logo, there is classic simplicity at play here. Footpegs were relocated and a set of wider, lower bars substituted, making for a comforatble yet purposeful riding position. The headlight was brought from the local market and customised to accommodate the ignition key and function switches, leaving the bars clean. Heading back to familiar ground, Fahim completely rewired the bike. A new 12v circuit removed the need for a battery. With kick start only, all the power for the lighting now comes directly from the alternator, which freed up space in the chassis. A container beneath the seat now offers useful storage for gloves, glasses and other accouterments. Mudgards were bobbed and held in place with new stays, close to the tyres they show form and function can be happy bedfellows. To leave the rear end sleek, the stock tail light and number plate were relocated to a side mounted position. Fahim painted the bike himself and made a cracking job of it. Limiting the number of colours to just two, the matt silver and gloss black stripes belie the humble origins. A subtle Lone Wolf logo resides on the back of the tank, Fahim happy for the bike to do the talking. The frame and other cycle parts were given a matt black finish while the engine was simply polished for a classic contrast. The apparent simplicity of the build has been made possible by only a lot of hard work. The stunning photos, taken by Fahim's brother Farhan more than do the bike justice. Also take a gander at this beautifuly made companion video which is sure to give you the confidence to back in the garage, make that jump and do what you love.