Zeus Custom: Khun
Now how’s that for understated exotica? It’s almost unbelievable that you’re looking at a Royal Enfield Meteor, eh? And yet it’s true, thanks to Bangkok-based Zeus Custom. The outfit’s founder, Worawit Ruengjantanukun, along with his trusted mechanics Pond and Ton who help him with every motorcycle build, put their considerable talents together once again. And the Khun is their interpretation of a custom Meteor.
‘Khun’ is a Thai honorific that passes down from nobility, and a theme of dual interpretations continues throughout the bike. The intensely desirable custom bike looks light and substantial at the same time. And that’s no accident, either. The various sub-genres of custom-motorcycle building have been merging for some time now, and the Khun synthesises the best elements of the brat and the bob styles, with an air of café style thrown in for good measure.
Purposeful mods make the Khun a fun and promising ride. The chunky grooved tyres bring the brat vibe alive, while the dropped clip-on ’bars and the rearset footpegs announce its sporty intentions loud and clear. Using a dark-bronze theme, inspired by the metal commonly used in traditional Thai handicrafts, ensures that the phrase ‘customs and traditions’ takes on a new and pertinent meaning as well. Meanwhile, the yellow-lensed 6-inch headlight channels the energy of a sepia-toned era, and the tiny taillamp does nothing to obstruct the Khun’s clean lines.
The attention to detail exhibited by inhouse mechanics Pond and Ton is unmistakable and permeates into the finest levels, too: the flush-mounted speedometer, letting the engine’s fins shine, the ’bar-mounted indicators, the pod filter, the repositioned ignition switch, and the shining wire-spoke wheels — they all point to a meticulous approach to create a beautiful motorcycle. And the brown leather seat marks the rider’s rightful spot with more than a bit of class.
The seat unit maintains a respectful distance from the stock Meteor fuel tank, allowing it to stand on its own. On a build as divergent as the Khun, it is commendable that the stock tank manages to look right at home. And complementing its well-rounded profile is the custom-built curved beauty of an exhaust pipe. Honestly, the Khun looks so good from all angles, it’ll make people walk a rut around it wherever it’s parked. And we’re not done with Thai stock-tanked stunners just yet!
Okay, now this is getting ridiculous, yes? How’s the Meteor turned into this?! And the eagle-eyed among you will notice that this one, somehow, has retained most of the Meteor’s stock frame where the previous one didn’t. That’s just what K-Speed’s founder, Tanadit Sarawak, wanted — the plan was to retain a majority of the Meteor’s silhouette. Sarawak uses his unique aesthetic sense to make over 2000 custom parts for all kinds of motorcycles, and he brought this experience to bear on the Diablo. And the end result is this stunning chopper.
We have a stock tank that now looks like a streaking chrome comet whose wake creates the rest of the bike. ‘Diablo’, as most of you are aware, is Italian for ‘devil’, even though this bike looks more like a tricked-out two-wheeled angel. A 4.00 X 19 front tyre and a 4.50 X 17 rear tyre with a retro tread pattern set the bike’s stance along with the custom tall handlebar. The tyre brand’s name cannot be printed in a family-friendly magazine, but it rhymes with ‘Duckstone’. How very edgily charming, indeed.
A slew of custom parts make it onto the Diablo, like the LED headlight, hand-built indicators and tail-light, retro-style switches and grips, Takekawa clutch and brake master cylinders, and yes, another custom curved exhaust, too. Now, a stock Meteor isn’t exactly a shrinking violet when it comes to presence, but to see the Diablo in its lines takes a special kind of artistic vision. And to actually execute it into reality takes even more. Especially when it’s details like the additional bracing on the swingarm, which is so subtle, it’s easy to miss.
It wouldn’t really be a chopper without some hacking, and so the tail gets an amputation to get into the true spirit of things, and with a seat to match the attitude. In case you’re wondering where the meters went, well, they’re mounted down low to the left of the engine, and that’s fine, too. After all, custom-bike builders need to get all the dramatic licence they demand. And in return, we get a bike like the Diablo, a stunning tribute to the American phenomenon of choppers, made in Thailand. Now, if these works of art are possible with a Meteor, what are you going to create with your own blank canvas? More inspiration coming your way in the next issue!