When was the last time you experienced a Royal Enfield that was eager to get its front wheel off the ground? Never, right? Well, Pune-based Ricochet Motorcycles’ Donali will change that perception. And while we are at it, Donali’s sibling — the Ice Queen will have you laughing maniacally in the helmet. Donali in Hindi stands for a double-barrelled gun, and this supermoto / scrambler contraption shoots from a standstill like a bullet.
That’s because Devashish, the man who runs the show at Ricochet, has used S&S Cycle’s 865cc big-bore kit and high-lift cams, backed by a Powertronics piggyback ECU with a custom map. And for it to breathe better, there’s a BMC air filter, and a 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust developed in-house. Just so that you don’t shy away from using all of that extra performance, Devashish has equipped the bike with a quick throttle.
Every time I got off a signal, I could feel the front-end lighten up, and yet I don’t recall going easy on the throttle, ever. It was as if Devashish was the devil, who tempted me and that Royal Enfield to embrace our inner demons. But there was a method to Devashish’s madness. For better control over the motorcycle, the ergonomics have been altered. The Donali flaunts a custom mount for the handlebar borrowed from the Himalayan. Then there’s the custom, Scrambler-style bench seat which is designed in a way that I could still get my feet down despite the increased seat height. And finally, there’s custom ADV-style pegs machined from billet aluminium.
With that much lunacy on tap, he has heavily reworked the chassis of the Donali. Along with the long-travel suspension at both ends, the braking hardware has been upgraded with a bigger 320 mm disc. And to add to the fun, he swapped the 18-inch wheel setup with 17- inch units wrapped in Pirelli Rally STR dual-purpose tyres. Only if this has some sticky road-focused rubber, I wondered, and Devashish presented the Ice Queen.
The Ice Queen is a cafe racer that takes its ‘racer’ tag a bit too seriously. It gets the same big-bore treatment as Donali, but minus the high-lift cam. But the 4-teeth bigger rear sprocket only adds to the fun. Devashish has gone all out with custom parts for this bike. The triple clamp, clip-ons, and footpegs are machined units developed at his workshop, along with bits like the new seat, rear cowl and the integrated tail light. Being a focused machine with all that performance, Devashish has equipped the Queen with USD fork borrowed from a Benelli TNT600i, along with custom springs, 17-inch aluminium wheels at both ends shod with Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres and dual discs up front. Some of you may know that the RE 650s are notorious for tank slappers and Devashish took care of that with a steering damper, so all I had to focus was on speed.
The Ice Queen’s tyres and perhaps the steering dampers were the only things keeping it from going berserk. Every time I would be generous with my right hand, I could feel the tyres desperately trying to latch on to the tarmac, yet I could not let go of the throttle. Which meant the Donali and the Ice Queen were the morning alarm that one can’t snooze in the quaint neighbourhood of Pune. In fact, Ricochet’s exhausts announced the Queen’s and Donali’s arrival to the traffic ahead, clearing the path for us.
The 865 twins don’t just ride well, but look good, too. Everything from the paint jobs to the logos and the bodywork has been tastefully done. And if you notice, except for the S&S big-bore kit, both the bikes have nothing in common, down to the choice of filter. Devashish says he hates repetition and is always looking to enhance or experiment in every subsequent build. That also means that Donali and Ice Queen are truly one of one, for every build, be it a cafe racer or a scrambler, will have a different design, ergonomics, engine character and its own unique exhaust. And builds like these cost anywhere between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4 lakh, excluding the price of the bike. Not bad for something you know you’ll never see another of on the streets, right?