KR Customs Enfield 500 'Loopy'
By Ross Sharp - 01 Aug 16
"Go to university, study like crazy and your future will be sorted" or something along those lines. Advice repeated over and over by parents across the globe. To be honest, it's a pretty good shout but if you have that burning desire to get dirty and wield spanners, not much will get in your way. Krish Rajan is one such young man. With a brain the size of a truck Krish graduated with a masters degree in Applied Maths from Toledo University before returning to his homeland in India. A career in IT beckoned and the world opened up in front of him. Five years ago the company Krish worked for relocated to Chennai in southern India and he decided to reward himself for the upheaval and hardwork with a bike purchase. And therein lay the first hurdle, import duties on foreign produced motorcycles are particularly punitive in India, leaving domestically manufactured Royal Enfields as the only viable option for those on a budget. Despite what Bike Shed and the other blogs/websites tell you the new wave custom scene is only just lapping at India's shores. More traditional custom work is still the norm and Krish struggled to get his ideas across so did the only viable thing; he setup KR Customs in collaboration with an experienced father and son duo who'd been specialising in Enfield repair for over 35 years. Krish began investment in equipment straight away, finding a gas welding setup, lathe and pipe bender pretty cheaply to help bring his more ambitious plans to fruition, after they'd fabricated a frame jig that is. The first build to leave the KR Customs workshop proved to Krish and his team that they could indeed be onto something great but quite often it's the follow up builds that decide whether there is a future for such a venture. The real apple of Krish's eye is his partner, nicknamed Loopy, who'd been busting his chops for not building her a less masculine yet cool custom Enfield. Krish did the right thing and sourced a 3000km from new Continental GT from a cousin and stripped the thing bare. Inspired by photos he'd seen of a customised Vincent Shadow Krish decided he'd adopt a remodelled twinshock setup at the rear. The stock Paiolis are more than adequate in function and retaining them freed budget for the significant swingarm mods required to accommodate their dimensions. Even so the shocks had to be shortened and a three-point pivot ensures smooth actuation and height adjustment. The swingarm itself was extended four inches and a shock mounting loop fabricated. In total nine different iterations of the loop and swingarm combo were trialled in order to achieve a decent tyre clearance. The agility of the finished bike might suffer due to the longer wheelbase but with Krish's eyes on the bike cracking the ton I'm sure he'd prefer the love of his life to be riding something extra stable. The new subframe is particularly short to show-off Krish's triumph over geometry. A local upholsterer did the business with a simple, comfy looking leather tuck-and-roll seat. The lack of underseat battery box consigned electricity to a tiny box above the swingarm, an 8-cell Anti-Gravity unit powering the ECU, fuel injection system and LED lighting. The fuel tank is modelled on a Benelli Mojave but with an additional bulge at the rear to accommodate the fuel pump and is finished in a sophisticated metallic dark blue. Ahead of this handsome vessel is an upgrade from an Austrian owned but Indian built KTM. An upside-down fork and radially mounted brake from a Duke 200 not only looks more purposeful but should scrub-off some of the hundred miles an hour that Krish is planning. Tarozzi rearsets, an Acewell speedo and Pirelli Sport Demon tyres might sound like run-of-the-mill components but when the aforementioned import duties and lack of supply get in the way one has to get creative. Krish persuaded his colleagues and even the IT company boss to stuff parts into their luggage when returning from business trips to America, top marks. As a result the thank you list for the build is around 15 people long. All in all the KR team put 4 months of work into 'Loopy' and they're thrilled with the result. But not as thrilled as the real love of Krish's life who now gets to ride around in true custom style. No doubt we'll hear more from KR Customs very soon as the order book is growing and the business already proving a success. Follow their progress on Facebook