AJ Harris Builds A 2013 Royal Enfield Dirt Bobber

This Enfield dirt destroyer is a striking blend of two styles, and begs to be ridden

AJ Harris builds bikes that people want to (and can) ride on a daily basis.Michael Lichter Photography

Royal Enfield might have started its US comeback several years ago, but Enfield-based customs still aren't exactly the big fad right now. But who wants to follow trends when you're trying to stand out anyway? I like to think that good and bad are relative terms when it comes to modified motorcycles; what is "the" bike to have for one bunch of people might just be the suckiest thing that ever sucked to another group (or at least not as well-liked).

As Harris put it, “I do consider my work art, but it is and always will be ‘Art in Motion’ and I refuse to build something that isn’t capable of being truly ridden.”Michael Lichter Photography

When AJ Harris was asked to build a bike for what some called a “millennial” bike show, he saw an opportunity: “I first thought to myself, ‘How dare you call me a millennial?’ But then I realized that it would give me the opportunity to show these old-school guys that maybe millennial isn’t such a bad word after all.”

Take three guesses what “RE” stands for on the cover. Hint: not Harley-Davidson.Michael Lichter Photography

Harris owns North Texas Tattoo Company and he started building bikes back in 2013 when he bought his first Royal Enfield. “As soon as I got her home—and with absolutely zero building experience—I stripped her down to the frame and started cutting stuff off,” he told us. “Before I knew it, I got my hat in the ring with some of the best builders in the world (not that I feel worthy of it). The guys at the Royal Enfield dealership in Fort Worth thought I was a crazy person for chopping up a brand-new bike, but they soon came to realize that it was just what I needed to do.”

The Royal Enfield logo sits proudly between the fork boots.Michael Lichter Photography

“Zero experience” might be a bit misleading. AJ’s dad built hot rods and motorcycles, so if nothing else, he at least learned the basics through osmosis. But if this Royal Enfield is any indication, he also probably got his hands dirty pitching in to help dad out while growing up. “I’m very excited to see what steps the builder world is making to cater to the younger generation while still honoring those that came before,” AJ said. “[The torch has been passed] to me now to keep the flame alive, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.”

That blue chassis is a sweet offset to the black and gray. AJ also went to the trouble of shaving all the extraneous bits from the frame during bobberization.Michael Lichter Photography
The Enfield’s single-barrel motor runs at a 500cc displacement. As you can see, he sprinkled blue parts here (and throughout the rest of the bike).Michael Lichter Photography
Rear fender, rear schmender. I’m glad Harris didn’t blue out the shock spring or its caps. It would have just blended into the rear wheel if he had.Michael Lichter Photography
Mid-controls make for deeper lean than you’d get out of forwards. It’s all part of the fun-over-form approach.Michael Lichter Photography
Minivan POV of AJ’s machine.Michael Lichter Photography