‘IZI’s Ride’ – a unique Custom Shotgun 650 exclusively designed for Netflix’s new feature film ‘THE KITCHEN’
In late 2021 – Royal Enfield, the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer in continual production, was shared the script to a new Netflix film, about to start production; co-directed, co-written and co-produced by Oscar and Golden Globe winning Daniel Kaluuya, with Top Boy’s Kane Robinson, a.k.a Kano in the lead role.
A unique challenge was laid to Royal Enfield – to design a one-of-a-kind motorcycle to perfectly fit into the near-future world of ‘THE KITCHEN’. Set in a dystopian London where inequality is unchecked and social segregation based upon income and racial lines is endemic, Izi (played by Kano) and Benji (played by Jedaiah Bannerman, in his debut role) fight to navigate the world they find themselves in. As life-long residents of ‘The Kitchen’, a community existing in one of London’s last-remaining housing estates that refuses to succumb to demands of oppressive authoritarian forces, Izi and Benji face challenges and questions that will alter their futures forever.
The Royal Enfield custom build would play an integral part of the film’s narrative, as well as being a source of status, independence and identity to the life of Izi – Kano’s character. And so, in creative collaboration with London based multidisciplinary artist and musician Gaika Tavares (brother of the film’s co-director Kibwe Tavares), the in-house Custom Team at Royal Enfield’s UK Technology Centre began a creative process of conceptual ideation to develop a machine that would feel fully integrated into this unique landscape.
The boundaries of functionality, form and aesthetics were pushed to the nth degree with each of the multiple sub-designs that were brought to the creative table for consideration. Some designs were heavily inspired by iconic sci-fi references, some were more brutalist and neo-retro in their look and feel, and others played homage to certain aspects of cyber-punk film culture and nods to nostalgic street fashion. Through a process of creative refinement and amalgamation, taking cues and inspiration from the various directions – an anarchic custom ‘mutant’ was born.
Built upon the brand-new Shotgun 650 platform, ‘IZI’s Ride’ is a bold tribute to this very culture of customisation embedded into the DNA of the Royal Enfield brand and celebrates the unique sense of individuality that defines any custom build. Paying homage to its precursor, the SG650 Concept (shown for the first time at EICMA 2021) with its neo-dystopian design and radical aesthetics, ‘IZI’s Ride’ pushes the limits to what the customs of tomorrow could potentially look like.
Custom features developed for ‘IZI’s Ride’ include:
● Front and rear wheel hub covers – rapid prototype
● Monocoque tank & seat unit cover – rapid prototype and milled foam
● Integrated perspex and LED tail lamp
● New sub-frame – fabricated steel
● Replacement side covers – rapid prototype
● Front fork covers with integrated LED lighting – rapid prototyping and milling
● Swingarm covers – rapid prototyping
● Bespoke colour and graphics – paint and vinyl
Says Adrian Sellers, Head of Royal Enfield’s Custom & Motorsport programme; “We’re really excited to write another chapter in the rapidly evolving story of Royal Enfield design and customisation with ‘IZI’s Ride’. It’s been a real honour and certainly a first for us as a brand to be so prominently involved in a major Netflix film, and to take design inspiration and start the conceptualisation process quite literally from reading the pages of a major film script written by an Oscar winner. To have the opportunity to work with such a wide team of incredible creatives, actors, directors and designers all at the very top of their game was an experience we’ve relished.”
“It is always exciting to design for a ‘what if…’ scenario, to really push the bounds of convention and fulfil a creative brief that’s quite like no other that’s come our way before. The constructed world of ‘The Kitchen’ is so incredibly visceral, and so masterfully engineered by the production and directorial team, that to create a motorcycle that would feel utterly believable and at home within such a future-dystopian environment while at the same time be instantly recognizable in carrying Royal Enfield’s custom DNA was a real challenge. In fact, we ended up creating two identical motorcycles as there were a number of requirements in the script for the bike to be crashed, scraped and generally thrown about. The riding scenes and the stunt work in the film are very impressive, and the film certainly shines a light on various elements of underground bike subcultures which are largely misunderstood. The whole project was wonderfully collaborative and rewarding to develop, requiring the creative input of many different aspects of our internal design team – from Industrial Design to Color Trim and Graphics and CGI – as well as drawing upon the vision and creativity of such a renowned and respected artist as Gaika. Each member contributed their own piece to the puzzle in bringing this iconic build to life.”