This dirt-tracker themed Royal Enfield Classic Desert Storm is something out of the ordinary with knobby tyres and wrapped exhaust. Review & Photographs: Kris Hodgson

You may well have read our review on the Royal Enfield Classic Squadron Blue, which shares everything in common with the Desert Storm model, except paint, and a Desert Storm was the next Royal Enfield we tested.

2016 Royal Enfield Custom Desert Storm - Bike Review (2)

This custom Classic Desert Storm has been stripped back, lending the bike a lighter and more aggressive look than the original. Take a look at our test on the Classic Squadron Blue for a good comparison!

The Desert Storm in question is actually a custom creation however, put together in-house by the team from Royal Enfield Australia as an example of the many easy modifications that can be done to customise your machine. In this case it’s more dirt tracker themed, with the most obvious change being the knobby tyres and sports exhaust.

It’s not hard to imagine that many Royal Enfield owners will be taking the custom route either, with the low buy-in price ensuring that compared to many other options you’ll have plenty of moolah left over to pick up Royal Enfield of aftermarket accessories.

2016 Royal Enfield Custom Desert Storm - Bike Review (13)

The Sports exhaust gave the bike a more audible note, which is great for ensuring people take notice of you. I did leave a bit of my textile pants melted to the exhaust however!

Picking the bike up from Royal Enfield Sydney on Parramatta road, Will the owner did warn me that this bike was pretty loud with the sports exhaust, which was true enough compared to the standard offerings, but was pretty comfortable on the volume side of things on board with a helmet on.

The knobby tyres also give the bike quite an interesting handling characteristic to say the least, which required a bit more concentration and active control than the standard easy going Classic 500s. Having a rear dirt track/trials tyre on the front certainly didn’t help! But this bike is more about show than go.

Genuine Royal Enfield accessories included the handlebars and saddle, while the sports exhaust lends the bike a more raucous note and is joined by exhaust wrapping on the header for that old school feel.

2016 Royal Enfield Custom Desert Storm - Bike Review (14)

The knobby tyres look the business and while they can be interesting on the road are great in rougher conditions.

The tyres are a set of Vee Rubber Trials options that are road legal and fitted onto the standard wheels, while the rear guard has been chopped down and the front guard removed.

On the rear the chopped down guard is joined by a modified tail light and licence plate assembly and custom indicators, for a much cleaner look, while the front indicators are likewise custom jobbies.

In keep with the theme the front forks have been modified with the covers removed and replaced by dust boots, with a set of aftermarket mirrors giving good rear vision on the ‘bars.

2016 Royal Enfield Custom Desert Storm - Bike Review (25)

This custom Desert Storm is a capable machine for getting adventurous!

It’s the kind of modifications that are easily achieved at home if you’re looking to really mix things up a little, and the end result is a bike that caught even more attention than the Squadron Blue model, which is saying something!

On the road you did lose that really relaxed handling with the tyre change, but I was pleasantly surprised taking the bike to get some photos in a fitting environment to find the bike was perfectly happy over rough terrain.

2016 Royal Enfield Custom Desert Storm - Bike Review (6)

There’s a fair difference in the overall theme of the custom Desert Storm here compared to the Classic Squadron Blue model we featured, and that’s with pretty minimal mods!

That single-cylinder donk is hugely manageable and the suspension actually did a surprisingly good job over some really rocky trails, including a few sections I’d never even consider traversing on a regular road bike.

Much like the whole Royal Enfield line it’s going back to the basics of motorcycling and it’s amazing the fun to be had!

Will at Royal Enfield Sydney also has his own custom in development now and I managed to snap a few shots while I was there. We’ll be doing a full feature once it’s finished so stay tuned!

2016 Royal Enfield Custom Desert Storm - Bike Review (23)Specifications: Royal Enfield Custom Classic Desert Storm

2016 Royal Enfield Desert Storm, optional Royal Enfield custom handlebars, optional Royal Enfield saddle, Vee Rubber Trials tyres, modified rear guard, aftermarket mirrors, custom taillight and licence plate assembly, aftermarket indicators, customised fork assembly with rubber shock absorber covers, wrapped header, Sports exhaust, removed centre-stand and front guard.

Avon Cobra Chrome

Specifications: 2016 Royal Enfield Classic Desert Storm (Standard)

Price: $8,790 Ride-Away
Warranty: Two-year, 10,000km (whichever comes first) warranty, two-year roadside assistance
Colours: Squadron Blue, Desert Storm, Battle Green

Claimed power: 27.2bhp@5250rpm
Claimed torque: 41.3Nm@4000rpm
Wet weight: 187kg
Fuel capacity: 14.5L

Engine: Air-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder, OHV, 499cc, 84 x 90mm bore x stroke, 8.5:1 compression, Digital Electronic Ignition, Keihin EFI, wet sump

Gearbox: Five-speed, constant mesh
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Chassis: Single downtube, using engine as stressed member

Suspension: 35mm telescopic forks, 130mm travel, twin Endurance shock absorbers, five-step preload adjustable, 80mm travel

Brakes: Single 280mm rotor, twin-piston caliper, 153mm rear drum brake, single leading shoe

Wheels & Tyres: Spoked wheels, 90/90 – 19in (F), 110/80 – 18 (R), Avon RoadRider

Wheelbase: 1370mm
Seat height: Low
Overall height: 1080mm
Overall width: 800mm

Instruments: Analogue speedometer

Share this article
Share this article