The Lightfoot put together by Rajputana Custom Motorcycles is a perfect vehicle to travel into the past. A cohesion of design and execution, with very little to let on that this was originally a Royal Enfield Classic 500!
Put forts, palaces, jewels, chariots and elephants all in one place. That's Rajasthan. If not for skilful and creative artisans of that time, the State never would have earned this reputation. But as the royal courts faded so did these artisans. We discovered a richly talented Rajasthani craftsman, who has made a mark with the new royalty of India.
A glance at the works of Rajputana Custom Motorcycles of Jaipur is enough to have you understand how it creates works of art. Look at the Lightfoot created by Vijay Singh and you'll see a cohesion of design and execution with very little to let on that this was originally a Royal Enfield Classic 500. The Lightfoot has a clean look, inspired by the ‘Bullet' of Falcon Customs, California.
The size of the Lightfoot is hard to miss. The low-set headlight sits atop industrial-looking forks. The massive 21-inch front rim has no fender. The sharply dropped handlebar seems to lend this bike ears. The teardrop-shape tank is custom-made and flows backwards into a sprung saddle. The chassis is skinny, stretching back to an almost lonely rear wheel. The electrical box is the only body work, the rest just a clean void.
The bike took sixty days to build. The first 20 days were spent getting the chassis stretched, lowered and stiff enough. By stiffened, we mean the shocks were taken out and replaced with solid sections. The front suspension is really old school. The Lightfoot harks back to classic bikes and its hard tail is just one reference. The Lightfoot's girder front forks look beautiful in matt black, contrasting with the gleaming stanchions and springs. Its front hub and single-side drum brake are custom-made and fitted in keeping with the vintage image. The attention to detail is simply astounding.
Classic Indian cues have been melded into the Lightfoot. Its lever and ornate Rajputana logo on the tank are handmade from brass. The leather seat is said to be crafted by the same hands that make saddles for the Indian polo team and is discreetly supported on leaf springs. Unlike coil springs, a leaf spring tucks away and helps give the bike a neater look. That isn't a one-off for if you pay attention you'll realise there's no throttle assembly — yet another attempt to help the clean look. Vijay has used an internal throttle assembly. Rajputana has gone to the extent of shaving screw heads to ensure the cleanest possible, flush fit. The result is a bike that has achieved a high level of artistry and craftsmanship that's befitting a king.
But there are also bits that stick out sorely including the shiny new engine that looks a little too new for an ‘antiquated' motorcycle. A more vintage look for the crankcases would help the motor blend better. Also, the battery gobbles up a lot of empty space around the rear.
This custom motorcycle has been made for actor John Abraham, who's known to be a passionate two-wheeler enthusiast. In his superbike garage, the Lightfoot will majestically hold its own.