Izi’s Ride: a Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 built for a dystopian Netflix movie

Custom Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 for The Kitchen movie
The year is 2044, the setting is a near-future decaying London, and social inequality is at an all-time high. Izi lives in The Kitchen—a rundown housing project long abandoned by the British Government—but he dreams of a better life. Hustling to achieve that dream, he traverses the gritty cityscape aboard his trusty motorcycle; a heavily modified Royal Enfield Shotgun 650.

Now streaming on Netflix, The Kitchen is a dystopian drama currently boasting an 87% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film was co-directed, co-written, and co-produced by award-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya, and stars actor and rapper Kano as the protagonist, Izi. But for today, we’re focusing squarely on Izi’s ride.

Custom Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 for The Kitchen movie
To get Izi from A to B, the producers of The Kitchen needed a custom motorcycle that would fit the movie’s futuristic sci-fi aesthetic. So they reached out to Royal Enfield, whose obsession with the custom scene is no secret. The Indian marque regularly farms bikes out to some of the industry’s best custom workshops, and you’ll find them in the trenches at the scene’s biggest events.

This time around though, Royal Enfield did a whole lot more than just simply supply a brand new Shotgun 650. Working from Royal Enfield’s UK Technology Centre, the company’s in-house custom team built Izi’s ride themselves—deploying the myriad rapid prototyping methods that they have access to in the process.

Custom Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 for The Kitchen movie
Working closely with London-based multidisciplinary artist and musician Gaika Tavares, the team generated countless designs, drawing inspiration from sci-fi references, brutalist design, cyber-punk film culture, and street fashion. After much refinement, the best ideas were blended to create the final design; “an anarchic custom mutant,” according to Royal Enfield.

The real challenge was bringing that mutant to life. Royal Enfield’s crew had to radically transform the Shotgun 650 visually, without making it impossible for the movie’s stuntmen to ride it. And they had to build three identical models (plus a pile of spare parts), since the bikes were sure to pick up damage during filming.

Custom Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 for The Kitchen movie
The best way to tick all of those boxes was to leave the base model Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 mostly unmolested, and build a comprehensive set of covers to sit over the stock bits. Think of it as extreme motorcycle cosplay, if you will.

The only structural change is the Shotgun 650’s new steel subframe. It’s designed to push the tail section up and away from the cruiser’s low-riding rear end without the need to relocate the shock mounts. The shocks were swapped out for a set of enclosed units—but for the rest, the Shotgun’s 650 running gear is pretty much standard issue.

Custom Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 for The Kitchen movie
A monocoque body now sits on top, covering the OEM fuel tank and ending in a sharp tail bump with a removable pillion seat cover. A grid of foam blocks acts as a seat, while a custom-made acrylic taillight lens pokes out the back.

The side covers are custom parts, as are the panels that flank the fuel tank. Finer details include mesh inserts at the front of the monocoque body, and faux air intakes and cabling that add to the futuristic vibe. Lower down, partial engine covers add extra heft to the area around the motor.

Custom Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 for The Kitchen movie
The front end wears a pair of blade-like fork covers, plus a one-off headlight nacelle that hosts an acrylic-covered LED headlight. Royal Enfield also designed a set of wheel covers, and swingarm covers that create the illusion of a beefy swingarm without the time or cost of manufacturing one (or rather three) from scratch.

Most of these parts were 3D printed out of glass-filled nylon in Royal Enfield’s labs. As for the paint and decals, those were executed by the same team that came up with the color schemes and graphics for Royal Enfield’s current models.

Custom Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 for The Kitchen movie
The grime that adorns the bike is all showbiz trickery, deliberately applied on set by a gentleman whose job it is to make things look well used. “The ‘dirt’ is actually a series of aerosol sprays that are specially designed to replicate different looks of dirt,” says Adrian Sellers, who heads up Royal Enfield’s custom program. “So this is exactly how the bike appeared in the movie—loved but used daily by the main character.”

Custom Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 for The Kitchen movie
“It is always exciting to design for a ‘what if…’ scenario,” he adds, “to really push the bounds of convention and fulfill a creative brief that’s quite like no other that’s come our way before.”

“The constructed world of ‘The Kitchen’ is so incredibly visceral, and so masterfully engineered by the production and directorial team, that to create a motorcycle that would feel utterly believable and at home within such a future-dystopian environment, while at the same time be instantly recognizable in carrying Royal Enfield’s custom DNA was a real challenge.”

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Custom Royal Enfield Shotgun 650 for The Kitchen movie

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