Rannvijay, MTV VJ and host of reality show Roadies, is really fascinated with classic bikes. His passion for them started at an early age and he claims that their rarity makes them so unique. “These bikes can no longer be bought, and you really need to scout for them”, Rannvijay says.
He’s not the only one in the city gaga over vintage bikes. There are several bike fanatics in Mumbai who share his passion for these classic, age-old machines. What sets them apart is the simple technology used and their elegant looks.
Classic bikes are special because of their powerful engines and legendary looks. They are rare to find in the city, and spotting one is like spotting an ancient beauty on the road. “There aren’t many buyers, or sellers of classic bikes today,” says Shiraz Ginwalla, 24, from Dreams Motorcycle Restoration, a Mumbai-based company that deals in restoring bikes.
“People buy them as investments so that they can sell them a year or two later at a higher price. Only those who are passionate about bikes actually end up keeping them. Shiraz’s interest in classic bikes was kindled a few years ago, when he spotted an old Norton bike.
Patience is key
There are approximately 200 classic bikes left in Mumbai. Classic bikes are no longer manufactured — most of the current lot was made in Britain and America before the 1980s. “Youngsters today want the adventure, utility, history and personality associated with the motorcycles that their forefathers owned,” said Anand Bhalerao, technical head of the Inddiethumpers Bullet Club, a biking group comprising exclusively Bullet owners. “You don’t just own a vintage bike, you grow up to it!” he adds.
Bike restorers in Mumbai sometimes spend years restoring classic bikes to give them the exact look and feel that they had when they were first produced and brought into the market. “Restoring these bikes takes between nine months to a year depending on the model, but the satisfaction you derive at the end is unimaginable,” says Ginwalla.
“You have to be very patient with them, as their parts are not easily available in India. Restoring a classic bike is like bringing life back to these machines,” he adds.