Speed Read, May 14, 2023

The latest motorcycle news and customs
This week, we’re profiling a new small-capacity electric motorcycle from a Colorado-based startup. But first, three petrol-powered bikes; a Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 café racer, a KTM 640 Duke street tracker, and the new BMW R18 Roctane.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 café racer by Earth Motorcycles
Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 by Earth Motorcycles Sometimes a client has no idea what they want—other times, the brief is detailed and watertight. And once in a while, a client delivers a 3D rendering of their bike, so that nothing is left to chance.

That’s exactly what the owner of this Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 café racer did. He had a very specific vision for a custom bike, so he enlisted the help of his brother, who designed the entire machine using CAD software. Then he sent the file to the crew at Earth Motorcycles in Slovakia, along with a brand new donor bike—even though their workshop is nowhere near where he lives.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 café racer by Earth Motorcycles
The Earth Motorcycles crew loved the design, and figured that, with such a detailed blueprint to work from, building it would be a walk in the park. But the project wasn’t without its hiccups. Just the task of trimming off old and welding on new mounting tabs had to be repeated twice.

On the up side, having a bonafide CAD drawing to work off did have its advantages.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 café racer by Earth Motorcycles
Take the one-piece tank and tail unit, for example. The guys used the file to 3D print a mockup of it, which they then handed to a friend to replicate in metal. The friend built a shell, which Earth Motorcycles then welded to the OEM tank bottom, negating the need to remount the fuel pump.

The tail section was fabricated separately, then joined to the fuel tank, creating one seamless body. It’s topped off with a faux leather seat, and a monochromatic paint job.

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 café racer by Earth Motorcycles
Finishing touches include a custom headlight housing, custom-milled yokes and LED taillights that are embedded into the frame rails via aluminum inserts. Cognito Moto supplied the rear set foot controls, the air filters are from K&N, and the myriad electronic upgrades are from Motogadget. New adjustable shocks prop up the rear, while slash-cut pipes with hidden baffles handle the soundtrack. [Via]

Custom KTM 640 Duke by Dubstyle Designs
KTM 640 Duke by Dubstyle Designs Three years ago, Garett Wilson at Dubstyle Designs wowed us with a custom KTM 640 Duke street tracker. He’s just built another one, and it’s even better than his first effort.

Though the 640 Duke doesn’t get as much love as its successor, the 690 Duke, it was still a cracking bike in its time. A lightweight, 55 hp thumper with unapologetic looks, it was a proper hooligan’s bike. It’s the perfect bike for Garett, who loves street trackers and has a background in motocross.

Custom KTM 640 Duke by Dubstyle Designs
From the second his first custom Duke street tracker hit the scene, Garett was getting requests to build another. So he finally took the plunge, bought a 2001-model donor bike, and set out to customize it on as tight a budget as possible, while refining some of his concepts from the first one. “Then, as always I take it too far,” he quips, “and my ‘budget build’ turns into ‘let’s get more titanium for it’.”

Custom KTM 640 Duke by Dubstyle Designs
The Duke now wears a salvaged Honda CB400 fuel tank, modified to fit. Garett rebuilt the KTM’s subframe, then placed a Goon Glass tail section on top of it. Then he made his own taillight by cutting a slot into the back of the tail piece, inserting an LED light and pouring in resin to fill it in.

Up front are the forks from a Yamaha R6, set up for Garett by Durelle Racing and held in place by Weiss Racing triples. The wheels are 19” Sun rims on the OEM hubs, the number plate is a carb fiber piece with twin LED headlights, and the radiator is a new, thinner-than-stock part.

Custom KTM 640 Duke by Dubstyle Designs
The carb is a Lectron, and exhaust system features two-into-one stainless steel headers with a titanium silencer. A bunch of parts were finished with Cerakote by NeCo Customs, while Whitey’s Paint Shop handled the 1979 World Championship-style livery.

It’s a gorgeous machine that reportedly goes just as good as it looks. “This Duke weighs in at 289lbs, compared to the 320 lbs it comes as stock,” says Garett. “Wheelie numbers are sky high… get it, sky high?” [Via]

2024 BMW R18 Roctane
BMW R18 Roctane Despite the lukewarm reception that the BMW R18 has had so far, the German marque keeps releasing new variants of it. Borrowing various details from the existing four models in the R18 series, the new BMW R18 Roctane (coming in 2024) dresses the mammoth boxer as a fairing-less bagger.

2024 BMW R18 Roctane
With a brooding paint job and a blacked-out engine, the R18 Roctane appears to have the Harley-Davidson Road King Special firmly in its sights. It wears 21F/18R wheels and ape hangers, giving it a laid-back cruiser stance. Out back are two 27 l panniers and a pair of barrel mufflers, with a slick black chrome finish on the exhaust system.

2024 BMW R18 Roctane
The wheels and bars look to be borrowed from the R18’s existing accessories catalog, while the panniers and exhaust have likely been carried over from the R18 touring variants. The R18 Roctane also gets a stepped seat, floorboards instead of pegs, and a toe-and-heel gear shifter. And, if you look closely, you’ll notice that the speedo is embedded in the headlight bucket; a neat touch.

But that’s where the differences from the base model R18 end. Under the hood, it uses the same chassis and 1,802 cc boxer engine, along with the same electronics package. Plus it comes with the R18’s optional reverse gear as standard.

2024 BMW R18 Roctane
Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about the Roctane (like ‘octane,’ but with an ‘R,’ get it?), is that its configuration arguably suits the R18 platform more than any of its stablemates. The BMW’s biggest strengths are its stonking motor and visual presence – what better way to emphasize those than with big wheels, high bars and cases? [Images supplied by BMW Motorrad]

Terra Prime electric scrambler
Terra Prime electric scrambler Despite the push from many countries for vehicle manufacturers to go electric, there is still a remarkably low number of full-size electric motorcycles on the road. Where the electric bike market is really booming, is with smaller bikes from independent manufacturers. If you don’t need to go particularly fast or far, there’s a plethora of options available to you.

Terra Bikes is once such company. Based in Colorado, their new $12,000 Terra Prime is a short-range, go-anywhere electric scrambler with tons of custom bike style. You’re looking at the prototype, but the final version will be going into production imminently.

Terra Prime electric scrambler
Terra Bikes was founded by Dylan Brown. Dylan’s been on two wheels since the age of two, and has experience working as a moto mechanic, racing mountain bikes, and running a motorcycle magazine.

He also grew up watching his dad wrench on old Hondas and Kawasakis, which explains a lot of the decision making on this project. Billed as a “bike for big kids,” the Terra Prime follows a design language from a time that bikes were simple, easy to work on and easy to find parts for. The frame, battery box and faux fuel tank are all handmade parts, styled after the sort of bikes that often grace these pages.

Terra Prime electric scrambler
The Prime rolls on 19” SM Pro rims, with chunky dual-purpose tires. There’s 8” of suspension travel up front, 6” at the rear, and a generous 11” of ground clearance. Other bits include wide bars for leverage, LED lighting and an LCD dash. There’s also a USB charging port, and a storage compartment inside the ‘tank.’

The Prime’s numbers are modest, but enough to have fun. It tops out at 55 mph, can do up to 60 miles on a charge, and recharges in under two hours. That’s ample for a short commute—even with some off-road detours along the way.

Terra Prime electric scrambler
What we really dig about the Prime though, is that it’s been built to be modified. Terra are planning optional saddlebags for it, but it’s also put together using readily available components, with a very traditional motorcycle layout—so DIY customization is very viable option indeed. [Terra Bikes]

Terra Prime electric scrambler

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