Carl’s Royal Enfield Board Tracker

This is a machine that is Frankstein’s monster in motorcycle form – which is definitely a good thing. With parts being borrowed and wrenched from a variety of machines that is wider than  Oprah’s pant suit size, Carl’s is a patchwork bike with a ton of character.

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Starting life as a bicycle, this was once simply a pedal machine with beach bars, cream coloured tyres and simple, flowing lines. “I had found it on gumtree a couple of years back with the intention to turn it one day into a board tracker. I figured an old style bicycle would be a good start.” At the infamous ‘Chopped’ festival that Carl would source the majority of his inspiration for this ambitious first build. “I did look into buying a completed old bike, but that wouldn’t have been anything new. I wanted something that stood out. It was around that time that I had discovered Board Track racing. I loved how simple, raw and elegant these machines were. There’s nothing like it! Essentially a bicycle with an engine, no brakes, no gears, and a kill switch. It’s no surprise that they don’t race these anymore.”

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And so the would be board tracker build gained traction. This version would have more luxuries added to it than it’s inspirational counterparts – such as brakes and gears. “I wanted a bike that was reminiscent of this old-style racer, and one that could fulfil my dream of racing it at Chopped. I wanted to embrace the rawness of machines with this build, with plenty of patina. So much of the bike would be left raw, or with only a little clear coat.”

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This vintage inspired machine would slowly take form as parts were gathered from whatever Carl could get his hands on. The wheels came from a DRZ400 and a TS185, whilst the frame which was once a bicycle ended in being a complete custom job. The engine/power house would be a 2006 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 – and so the bike might as well be dubbed a Royal Enfield Board Tracker.

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Carl chipped away on his ambitious project in his spare time as he juggled the luxurious working student lifestyle. “There were many hiccups along the way – mostly on account of the Royal Enfield engine becoming the power plant. The original mock-up of the bike had the intention of putting a smaller 250cc engine into an extended bicycle frame, which would’ve been much more simple and easy, but not the path I would go down.”

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It would now be 4 weeks until Chopped festival, and so to make his dream a reality Carl worked away late into the evenings. Initially wanting to cram his Bullet engine into a bicycle frame, this proved to not work out as he planned and so most of the bicycle frame was scrapped as he welded together something more appropriate.

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1 day to Chopped, the pressure was now on. “I was supposed to be leaving by now for the festival, but I still didn’t have my front forks or even a tank! I spent most of what little time I had by making the front works, while a mate of mine helped make a timber tank with some ply. In the end we did it – we finished the bike, and I raced it at Chopped. I haven’t stopped smiling since. It’s a great thing saying you built a bike from scratch!”

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“That’s what I love most about this bike – I built it from scratch. The only parts purchased were the wheels and the engine, everything else I fabricated. I’m no tradesman, but all the work I’ve done on the bike I taught myself. I learned how to weld and how to machine metal.”

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A few pieces from the archives