Royal Enfield are having fun with their concept custom bikes, built in the factory for, it sounds like, reasons of fun, creative muscle-stretching and future avenue research. So far café racers, lake bed record breakers, drag race bikes and now this 650 twin flat track race bike have all come out of UK-based research and development centre and rolled onto Royal Enfield’s show stands.
The core of this flat tracker is the air-cooled 650 twin that powers the Interceptor and GT road bikes, everything else is either bespoke or race spec with the chassis being the biggest talking point. Royal Enfield have used Harris Performance, the legendary race chassis development firm and performance parts manufacturer, as a consultant for a decade and took bought the company from the founders Steve and Lester Harris and Steve Bayford, in 2015. Harris’s experienced fabricators were used to create this frame, apparently their first flat track frame.
The main frame is T45 chromoly that has been brazed. The double top tube echoes the Indian FTR750, but the headstock is very long, reducing the available front fork stroke. Royal Enfield explain that because this is Harris's (and their) first flat track chassis, many areas are larger than a final design would be to allow for adjustability.
The Harris F1 forks are 41mm with Öhlins internals. The swingarm is alloy with, what looks like, a cantilever set-up using an Öhlins monoshock utilising a separate adjustable tie-bar. The swingarm pivot height is adjustable, as is the fork offset and rake. Wheels are Roland Sands Designs 19in Tractions.
Monocoque carbon-fibre bodywork sits over an alloy fuel cell. This allows, Royal Enfield say, the company to be able to easily change the design of the bodywork. The right side engine casing has been trimmed to allow the right footpeg to sit closer in.
The twin pipes are by S&S Cycle, another of Royal Enfield’s technical partners and the company that runs the factory race team for Indian. The engine is fitted with the 750cc big bore and S&S ECU. Power figures have not been released, but Royal Enfield say they've tested the engine to know it's in the ball park. The ball park of what is not clear, but they'd need to double the streetbike's current horsepower to match the FTR750's output. That's assuming they go to Super Twins, but they're more likely to enter Production Twins, if anything, and they'd still need 90-100bhp. We're not saying they can't, because a naked 650 twin powered to over 150mph and a record at Bonneville.
This, along with the S&S developed Himalayan short track race bikes shows a big sway towards flat track. Are Royal Enfield seeing the impact the sport has had for Indian, competing at the very top without the eye-watering investment required to compete in road racing, and thinking they’d like some? Or does it point to Royal Enfield joining the street tracker game, that is still surprisingly under-represented in the world’s showrooms?
We’re not sure, but we are enjoying the spectacle.