In October, 2022, Australian custom shop Skunk Machine and Royal Enfield first unveiled the Cerra 865 GT project. Starting with a stock Continental GT 650, Skunk Machine and its collaborators came together to craft a road racer drawing direct influence from the halcyon days of the 1980s Isle of Man TT competitors.  

The resulting machine utilized an 865cc big bore kit from Hallam Cycle Works, some truly beautiful and improved throttle bodies from Revelry Cycles as a supporting modification, and a whole host of other custom work to bring Carl Cerra’s vision to life. 

While seeing the completed machine was and remains a treat, the folks at Royal Enfield also took the opportunity to go a little deeper in their documentation of this project. In March, 2023, they’ve released a special four-episode build series on YouTube, taking us all behind the scenes to see an extremely abbreviated look at how the Cerra GT 865 project came together. 

It starts off with a look at the overall plan for the bike, as well as some of the first modifications that took place. Things like the Motogadget electronics cluster, as well as the front end from a 2015 Suzuki GSX-R, were installed to get this project going on the right track.  

Episode Two of the series is where you start to get into things that you don’t always get to see in builds like this. Here, Carl Cerra and his collaborators take you through the clay modeling and digital scanning process, which was necessary to utilize computer-aided design (CAD is not just for cardboard, apparently) to more precisely prepare for the necessary CNC machining and carbon fiber mold making that would become integral to the ultimate design process for its uniquely sculpted bodywork. 

In Episode Three, we get to see an insanely massive CNC machining setup, as well as get an extremely small glimpse into what’s involved in creating masters to make the molds—for this project, or probably for any similar project that may come this shop’s way. We also get a little bit of a look into how resin is infused in order to bring those magnificent carbon fiber pieces to life as real, three-dimensional objects in the world. 

Finally, Episode Four takes us to the first dyno run, as well as the Cerra GT 865’s official unveiling event in Oz. Unsurprisingly, the comments sections of these videos feature more than a few enthusiasts wishing and hoping aloud that this bike would become more than just a custom. After watching this series, it’s hard to blame anyone for wanting to see more than one of these machines in the world. 

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