AN-BU x RE: A custom Royal Enfield 650 from one of Japan’s best

Custom Royal Enfield Continental GT650 by AN-BU
There’s no question that the Japanese custom scene is rife with creativity. Even so, there are some Japanese custom builders whose style is so recognizable, that they manage to stand out in a scene that’s known for its uniqueness. Koichi Fujita is one of them.

Fujita-san is the man behind AN-BU Custom Motors. You know his work; his style leans heavily on tradition sportbike aesthetics, and his custom builds have a mechanical and punk rock feel to them. His signature fairings show just the tiniest bit of Bōsōzoku influence, but stop short of crossing the line into caricature territory.

Custom Royal Enfield Continental GT650 by AN-BU
Is it a style that would suit a bike like, say, the Royal Enfield Continental GT650? Koichi didn’t think so when RE first approached him to customize one for their ‘Custom World’ initiative. Then it clicked…

“I had no idea what kind of custom bike I should build as AN-BU,” he tells us. “I thought about that for a while, then realized that the guys from Custom World had seen AN-BU’s past works and approached me. So I decided to build a custom bike that would be just like AN-BU’s, without changing my style.”

Custom Royal Enfield Continental GT650 by AN-BU
“They said that my custom bike will be launched at motorcycle shows in Osaka, Tokyo, and Nagoya. However, I don’t think a bike built for a show is cool. A very important concept for me is to create a custom bike that looks cool on the street, when ridden by a rider.”

“That is why, for this project, I decided to build a bike that I think is cool to ride, even though it will be launched and exhibited at a motorcycle show. I put everything I could into this bike, and this is what I ended up building with my passion.”

Custom Royal Enfield Continental GT650 by AN-BU
The key to AN-BU’s signature style lies in Koichi’s background. When he was 18, he raced cars (and won a championship) at Japan’s famed Suzuka circuit. After that, he worked in an automotive tuning shop, where he learnt how to build and tune race cars. His father then taught him the art of shaping and painting sheet metal.

Koichi has nicknamed this build ‘Kai,’ which is short for ‘Kaizo.’ A nod to his heritage, it’s a word he used when customizing bikes as a kid, and it means ‘modification.’

Custom Royal Enfield Continental GT650 by AN-BU
“What I wanted to express with the Royal Enfield ‘Kai’ was a sense of speed,” he adds. “To express this, I wanted to create a form like a racing machine. However, what I envisioned was not a racer running on a track, but a racer running on the street.”

“I imagined a racing machine that was used on the track in the 1970s to 1980s, but modified so that it could be ridden on open roads.”

Custom Royal Enfield Continental GT650 by AN-BU
To convey this concept, Koichi fabricated all-new bodywork for the 2021-model Continental GT650. The aluminum fuel tank and tail hump recall the chunky vibe of older endurance racing machine, but with a more lithe and organic feel. But for Koichi, modifying just the bodywork wasn’t enough.

Compare this bike to a stock Enfield, and you’ll notice that their frame lines differ. That’s because Koichi modified the upper part of the bike’s frame to match the tank, and tweaked the subframe, all to reinforce the 1970s and 1980s race bike look he was after.

Custom Royal Enfield Continental GT650 by AN-BU
Next, he built a new front fairing out of carbon fiber. The headlight sits off to the side—another throwback to 1980s endurance racers, and another AN-BU signature. It’s mounted in an aluminum surround.

Also notable is the custom exhaust system. It snakes around the Enfield’s parallel twin motor, diving in and out of sections of the fairing that have been modified to accommodate it, before exiting via a single muffler on the right side.

Custom Royal Enfield Continental GT650 by AN-BU
Behind the fairing you’ll find a set of hand-made clip-ons, a Motogadget speedo and a massive endurance-style gas cap. You’ll spot a custom top yoke too, designed to clamp a set of 38 mm Kayaba forks, with a slight offset to make the Enfield’s handling a touch sportier. A set of longer, fully adjustable YSS shocks do duty out back.

Koichi also swapped the GT650’s spoked wheels out for a set of 18” alloys. They’re shod with Pirelli Phantom Sportcomps—tires specifically designed for modern classics, that combine a retro tread pattern with contemporary grip. The brakes are a combination of Nissin (front) and Brembo (rear) parts.

Custom Royal Enfield Continental GT650 by AN-BU
The finer details include custom rear set foot controls, which sit alongside drilled aluminum heel plates. The small LED turn signals and taillights come from Kellermann.

The paint job is quintessential AN-Bu. Koichi painted the fairing black, but did it in such a way that the carbon weave reveals itself in intense sunlight. The aluminum bits deliberately show off their imperfections, juxtaposed nicely against the leather seat.

Custom Royal Enfield Continental GT650 by AN-BU
“The bikes I build are designed to fit in with the city and to look good on the street,” Koichi explains. “But of course, I am also interested in the latest racing machines. Especially their technology, which is always evolving, and their mechanisms.”

“A bike that is fun to ride. This is the core of all AN-BU’s custom bikes and will never disappear.”

AN-BU Custom Motors Instagram | Images by Keigo Yamamoto | Info supplied by Tadashi Kono