Friday, September 5, 2008

Royal Enfield dealer is celeb cycle builder

The new Royal Enfield dealership in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. is celebrity designer Eddie Trotta's Thunder Cycle Design. Trotta is the creator of outrageous custom motorcycles that sell for many times more than an Enfield Bullet. Trotta and his work have been featured on the Speed Channel and on the Discovery Channel's "Great Biker Build-Off."

The showroom at 550 W. Sunrise Blvd. features more than a dozen of the gorgeous stretched creations Trotta is famous for. These are pictured on Thunder Cycle's website dripping with pretty young women.

According to the website:

"When a photographer puts a bikini-clad woman in the saddle of one of these bikes, a funny thing occurs: Your eyes go to the bike first and then to the woman. Then your sight gets blurry and you can't tell the difference between the woman and the bike. 'I always design my bikes with a waistline as it is,' Trotta (right) says. 'And then the fat tire in the back becomes the big butt.'"

This is Thunder Cycle's first year selling Royal Enfields. "They look like old school choppers and that's what we do, choppers," said Howie Jakobi, a tall, clean-cut young man in the simple blue Thunder Cycle uniform t-shirt. Jakobi said four Enfields have sold, mostly to local people.

The five showroom Royal Enfields are marked with sale prices well under $6,000. Few of the designer motorcycles around them seem to display price tags. They sell for "$30,000 and up," Jakobi said, but a check of the website suggests you bring something more like $65,000.

Despite the obviously expensive goods all around, the showroom seems friendly. There is a pool table. A big dog calmly roams the floor. People looking over the cycles range from men in suits to a bare-chested fellow wearing a bandanna. His scooter and my oily Bullet share the parking lot with a Hummer and a Dodge Viper. Dreamers of all persuasions and means are welcome, apparently.

A large part of the clean, glass-walled showroom displays Thunder Cycle gear. One t-shirt slogan: "Choppers, Rolexes, Pitbulls, Strippers -- Eddie Trotta's Thunderchoppers, Ft. Lauderdale."

There was no Royal Enfield apparel visible and Jakobi said there has been no time yet to plan promotions or events to support the line. "But stay in touch," he said.

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