Custom Motorcycles For Urban India
Whether it is the sombre setting of a corporate meeting or a laid-back Sunday brunch, the typical urban Indian exudes confidence, quirk and rugged pulchritude. Contrary to his colleagues even half a generation older, he has a particular penchant for expressing himself. He likes everything that is unique, idiosyncratic and reflects the charm of his personality. Then there was one that started the journey to explore, to find themselves; in long contemplative cross-country motorcycle trips. And now the soul seeks an emphatic steed, be it for a long ride to the mountains or a short run to the cafe, a custom-built unique motorcycle. The builder has to play with the design and engineering to curate a masterpiece which is unique and emanates the persona of the rider.
In my conversations with the custom builders we have been involved with recently, Naveen Nandal from TNT Motorcycles mentioned, “What started off as a passion in my automobile engineering days transformed into a full-time profession with TNT Motorcycles. For me, a custom motorcycle is all about being different and cool. It is about playing with imagination, design and specifications to create something which is new yet retains the essence of the product. It is an accomplishing feeling to be able to build motorcycles that are distinct from everything available off-the-shelf.”
Each custom builder is, in some ways, a master-craftsman, an artist, not unlike the Renaissance sculptors who worked on briefs from their patrons but poured their own style, traits and bits into the final piece of work. It’s a special creative process that involves working with a wide variety of materials and media to create something that reflects both the rider and the builder. Shail Seth from Bombay Custom Works explains the concept of custom building, “In the by-lanes of Mumbai, customising and building motorcycles is not just a livelihood, but a dream called upon to embrace. Everyone wants something personal that reflects their personality and I believe I can translate the same thought to reality with the custom building. Custom-built motorcycles enable people to relate their lifestyle with motorcycles bringing individual likings and tastes to everyday commute.”
Coming from varied backgrounds these custom builders are often driven by their passion towards looks and riding but there are others who have an entirely different perspective of this profession. Reginald Hilt from Bull City Customs shares his views, “My passion for motorcycles, riding and metal may sound strange to people especially because I have been a fashion design student. But somehow, for me, it was always about design, form and space which could be shaped either in fabric or metal. I believe the custom building is beyond just a paint job with small nitty gritty such as foot pegs and panels intriguing me to build ingenious and creative motorcycles.”
The passion of building often grows beyond that of only riding and for some, there comes a stage when one feels like getting immersed into it full-time. Aseem Pawar from Inline3 Customs shares his journey of getting into the custom building, “During my stint as an intern, I realised that the routine 9 to 5 job is not meant for me. I wanted to envision something that gives me pleasure and this is how Inline 3 customs was founded. A unique amalgamation of design and engineering with continuous improvisations, I try to craft motorcycles which look good and perform even better.”
While India has become the largest two-wheeler market in the world, not too surprisingly, one brand has been the consistent favourite of this community of custom-builders and aficionados. Royal Enfield, the world’s oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production has always been the preferred canvas for those seeking motorcycle-nirvana through the custom route.
Collaborating with these custom builders is the brand’s way of celebrating a motorcycling inspired way-of-life, a life that values timeless aesthetics, simple essential use of technology and the spirit of the relaxed explorer to take the custom-built motorcycles to everyday lives.