Many Royal Enfield models call back to the halcyon days of motorcycling. From the INT 650’s old-school Brit bike silhouette to the Meteor 350’s bobber influences, the brand’s lineup favors nostalgia over new. That adherence to the past can also limit customizers, though.

Luckily, Australian design firm Skunk Machine didn’t let the Continental GT 650’s period-specific design stop it from delivering an ‘80s Isle of Man TT-style road racer with the Cerra GT865 project. Led by industrial designer Carl Cerra, the Melbourne-based shop pulled out all the stops to turn the café racer-inspired GT into a refined road ripper.

“The thing I really loved about this project was the support I got from my network of creators;” explained Cerra, “They believed in the project and they didn’t hesitate to help out. They are real supporters of Australian design and manufacturing and were glad to be given the opportunity to let the world see what we have to offer down under.”

After securing the Continental GT 650 build bike from Urban Moto (Australian Royal Enfield importer), Cerra sketched a few ideas before committing his favorite design to clay. The project soon gained support from local Aussies as well, with Hallam Cycle Works installing an 865cc Big Bore kit and Revelry Cycles throwing in upgraded throttle bodies.

Gallery: Cerra GT865: Royal Enfield Continental GT 650

A set of custom-made stainless-steel headers snake up to the tail section and terminate in SC-Project end cans. While the team hasn’t released performance figures yet, Cerra anticipates the new powertrain to produce nearly double the stock Continental’s 47 horsepower. That’s even more impressive when you consider that Skunk Machine already shed 66 pounds from the donor bike.

To control all that extra power, Cerra custom-machined a new triple tree to accept a 2015 GSX-R front end. Paired with an Excel wheelset, the Cerra GT865 sports a dual-disc braking system with Brembo calipers. On the tech front, a Motogadget electronics system retains the build’s minimalist aesthetic while improving functionality.

Despite all that performance under the hood, Skunk Machine’s carbon fiber bodywork steals the show. From a front cowl that resembles MV Agusta’s Superveloce to the race numbers on the rear cowl, the GT865’s road racing regalia captures both past and present.

“And with results as sleek and innovative as this, what a great ad for “Made in Australia” this retro racer has turned out to be,” added Cerra. “I thank Royal Enfield for giving me this opportunity to unleash my creative potential on one of the most gorgeous motorcycles in the recent past.”

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