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The Revival X Royal Enfield ‘Desert Runner’ Interceptor

The Revival X Royal Enfield ‘Desert Runner’ Interceptor 650
It’s never shouted from the rooftops, but custom builders occasionally get pre-production versions of new bikes before they are revealed to the public—or even the mainstream press. Confidentiality agreements are signed, contracts are drawn up, and back rooms are suddenly secured by padlock.

That’s how it all started for ‘Desert Runner,’ this very smart Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 built by Alan Stulberg’s crew at Revival Cycles in Texas.

The Revival X Royal Enfield ‘Desert Runner’ Interceptor 650
“In the darkness of night, a big crate was unloaded from a truck,” says Alan. “We were excited to see Royal Enfield’s first breakaway from the ‘tried and true’ single in almost 50 years. And we got a chance to ride the Interceptor 650 months before the motorcycling press. What a treat!”

Revival were immediately struck by the quality of the new twin—a step ahead of anything Royal Enfield had built before. “This was a machine that everyone in the workshop could see putting into daily use,” says Alan. “The other thing worth considering when assessing Royal Enfield is that nobody sells more motorcycles worldwide these days than they do. Nobody.”

The Revival X Royal Enfield ‘Desert Runner’ Interceptor 650
After poring over the precious goods in their workshop, Revival decided to turn the Interceptor into a seriously capable offroad machine.

“The goal was to build a machine that harkened back to the days of Steve McQueen, and the ‘hare scrambles’ of California. And the ultimate goal was to enter it in the L.A.-Barstow to Vegas off road race that happens every Thanksgiving.”

The Revival X Royal Enfield ‘Desert Runner’ Interceptor 650
Andy, Revival’s longtime metal fabricator, had always wanted to make the trip to Cali to compete in LAB2V—so he got the challenge of leading the build.

The first job was to build up a set of Suzuki DR-Z forks, with upgraded springs, for increased travel and weight savings. (An RE stem has been pressed in with custom-machined adapters.) Revival then laced up shouldered alloy 18 x 3.5” wheels.

The Revival X Royal Enfield ‘Desert Runner’ Interceptor 650
The rear hub is stock, but at the front, there’s now a lightweight DR-Z hub and brake setup for extra offroad prowess.

Mounted to the wheels are true off road tires: Michelin AC10s, which make a racket on the highway but dig deep for plenty of traction in the dirt.

The Revival X Royal Enfield ‘Desert Runner’ Interceptor 650
Revival also installed a vintage set of solid aluminum flat track handlebars, “to make sure the bars didn’t bend when we inevitably crashed in the dirt trying to make our Steve McQueen dreams come true!” The grips are Amal-style numbers from the Japanese brand Posh.

Custom-built gas shocks and fork springs equalize the front and rear suspension, and can soak up serious abuse. “But with eight inches of travel, we had a definite chain tension issue,” Alan reveals.

The Revival X Royal Enfield ‘Desert Runner’ Interceptor 650
“So we designed and machined a chain roller and a spring-loaded arm to keep everything happy.”

The high-riding Interceptor has tons of ground clearance, which allowed Revival to tuck the custom stainless exhaust system under the engine. It’s protected by a hefty, custom-made aluminum skid plate, with modified CRF450 motocross pegs by IMS sitting nearby.

The Revival X Royal Enfield ‘Desert Runner’ Interceptor 650
After cutting the rear frame hoop and shortening it, the Revival crew slotted in a custom high-mount alloy fender, with a small vintage-style LED taillight grafted on.

At the front there’s a matching small headlight bracket, a bullet-proof LED headlight, and right above, a compact LED Motoscope Pro gauge from Motogadget.

The Revival X Royal Enfield ‘Desert Runner’ Interceptor 650
“We also built a low-mount custom alloy front fender,” says Alan. “But we kept the ability to attach a higher-mount plastic one that we could use in competition.” (The images include both).

The Texas shop now has an in-house, high-end leather facility called Revival Limited. They took a break from producing accessories and crafted a plush seat wrapped in fine leather to keep the rider comfy on the long straights of the LAB2V race.

The Revival X Royal Enfield ‘Desert Runner’ Interceptor 650
“We tested and tuned and put the bike through its paces, before loading it up and carrying it out to Los Angeles,” says Alan. Then Andy rode his pride and joy 400 miles over punishing terrain.

It worked so well that, for the first time, Revival intends to offer a limited production run. Clients will be able to choose colors for the paint, leather and accessories, and specify the tires too.

The Revival X Royal Enfield ‘Desert Runner’ Interceptor 650
Interested? Drop Revival a line for the skinny. Pricing will be around $25-$30,000—with a brand new Royal Enfield included.

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