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Deadline smashed: A Continental GT 650 built in six weeks

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 cafe racer by Rogue Motorcycles
How much custom work can you cram into six weeks? If this stellar Royal Enfield racer is anything to go by, quite a lot—as long as you have the right team, a little luck and a whole lot of motivation.

This brand new Continental GT 650 went under the knife as an entry into Royal Enfield Australia’s ‘Busted Knuckles Build Off.’ It belongs to a chap called Ric Steele, who owns the RE dealership MotoMAX in Perth and wanted to enter the contest. So he called up Billy at Rogue Motorcycles down the road in Wangara, and asked him to team up.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 cafe racer by Rogue Motorcycles
The call covered a fairly basic brief, but the daunting six-week timeline was almost a deal-breaker. Billy opted in anyway, and Ric delivered a zero miles Continental GT that afternoon. With no time to waste, Billy got the Enfield onto his bench and tore it down right away.

Catch a quick glance, and you might think he did little more than clean it up and add a fairing—but you’d be mistaken. This one’s a true sleeper, with a slew of subtle mods that reveal themselves as you dig deeper.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 cafe racer by Rogue Motorcycles
For starters, it’s riding on a whole lot of Benelli TNT 1130 running gear. Ric had a written-off TNT gathering dust at the dealership, so he scalped the forks, swingarm, wheels and brakes, and handed them over to Billy.

Getting the 50 mm Marzocchi forks to fit was relatively easy. Doug at DB Customs helped out by machining up a custom top yoke (and managed to deliver in two days too, which was greatly appreciated by the time-pressured Rogue team).

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 cafe racer by Rogue Motorcycles
But the swingarm conversion proved challenging. Both sides had to be narrowed to mount it to the Enfield frame, and new bearings had to be pressed in to work with the original axle. Then it had to be converted to a twin-shock setup, since the guys didn’t want to lose the classic vibe.

Getting the Benelli’s six-inch wide wheel to sit centered was also a mission. The guys had to modify the frame to space the front sprocket outwards and the rear sprocket inwards, and to make sure the chain cleared everything.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 cafe racer by Rogue Motorcycles
For the bodywork, Ric and Billy wanted an endurance-style fairing that would pull inspiration from the early 90s Honda CBR250R MC22. They called in Clive from The Hammer Works in Rockingham, who fabricated the fairing from scratch before whipping up a new tail cowl to match.

By now, the crew was four weeks in and nipping. Billy set about fabricating the myriad of pieces needed to tie the bike together.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 cafe racer by Rogue Motorcycles
He started with a pair of stainless steel exhaust headers, designed to trace the original headers’ lines, but with better performance in mind. The mufflers are from Cone Engineering, and reportedly sound a lot better than stock.

Billy also hand-made the new side panels, adding cut-out flutes that mimic the wings on the Royal Enfield logo. (It’s one of Ric and Billy’s favorite details on the bike.) And he built all the bracketry for the fairing and front fender, using his signature Rogue style.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 cafe racer by Rogue Motorcycles
Doug was roped in again, this time to hook up the new Tarozzi rear sets, and to machine some bar end caps and frame plugs. The subframe was shortened too, to match the seat length (unlike the mismatched lengths on the stock bike).

Heading into week five, the bike was stripped down for final paint. Jay at Distorted Paint and Restoration in Neerabup laid down a luscious candy teal over the frame and swing arm, while the body parts were treated to a brushed and clear coated finish.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 cafe racer by Rogue Motorcycles
“This color scheme has been on my to-do list for years,” says Billy. “It was a perfect opportunity to finally get it.”

While the paint was being tackled, Lorenzo at Poli Motor Trimming reshaped and recovered the OEM seat, using a teal-colored thread to match the frame. It took just a couple of days for the paint and upholstery to get done, and the guys were ready to head into the final straight.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 cafe racer by Rogue Motorcycles
Rogue put the bike back together in a single day, because they still needed to rush it off to Joel at Custom Bike Electrics and Restorations in Willetton. Joel had the task of wiring in a huge grocery list of aftermarket electrical parts.

It included a set of Kellermann turn signals, a Motogadget motoscope mini speedo (sunk into the top yoke) and SAAS tacho, and new switches.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 cafe racer by Rogue Motorcycles
Back at Rogue, it was time to handle the final details. Shane at Graphic Addiction hooked the Enfield up with all its new decals, then the crew spent the rest of that evening prepping the bike for photos.

The next day it was dragged into the studio, and the day after that it was off to Lang Park in Woolongong for the Australian Motorcycle Festival.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 cafe racer by Rogue Motorcycles
By gathering together a dream-team of West Australia’s top craftsmen, Ric [below left] and Billy [right] hit their deadline. And they delivered one hella slick Continental GT in the process.

Check out the Busted Knuckles Build Off and vote for your favorite bike here.

Rogue Motorcycles | Instagram | MotoMAX | Images by Manny Tamayo

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 cafe racer by Rogue Motorcycles

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