Motorbike 2.0: Bike builders battle it out for the best design award

  • Poorva Joshi, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Oct 29, 2015 19:03 IST
Biker Saurab Shirke’s Harley Davidson 48, a sports bike was customised to suit long-distance travels

How would you like your bike to look like Nicholas Cage’s ride from Ghost Rider? Or like Jackie Shroff’s 500cc Royal Enfield which resembles a skeleton? Perhaps you would like it to have your favourite celebrity photo plastered on it, or just be a bright shade of red. In Captain Planet’s words — the power is now yours.

Over the last five years, a revolution of sorts has been brewing in the city’s biking scene. A lot has changed since Royal Enfield Bullets, with their signature multi-cylinder bulky design, were the only high-end bikes available in India. It wasn’t until the launch of shows such as Grand Designs (2000) and The Great Biker Build-Off (2005) on Discovery Channel India, that people were exposed to international biking trends. Soon after the trend of personalised bikes caught on.

Subsequently, the first customising dealership (only for Royal Enfield) in Mumbai, Vardenchi Motorcyles, opened in 2004 at Pali Hill, Bandra. Founder Akshai Varde is today credited for customising bikes for the likes of actor Akshay Kumar and comedian Ash Chandler. “By 2013, international brands like Harley Davidson and Triumph entered Indian markets. Every bike owner wanted their bike to stand out and represent their personality. This sentiment has steadily added to the customisation trend across the country,” says Saurabh Shirke, business and operation manager at MotoMiu, a Harley Davidson customising dealership in Navi Mumbai.

Now, the city gears up to see the five all-India finalists of the Customising Contest at Harley Rock Riders (an all-India Harley Davidson biker’s meet in Byculla) battle it out by unveiling their original designs. The contest will be overseen by Kaichiroh Kurosu, of Cherry’s Company — a leading private custom motorcycle shop based in Japan.

“I worked on my Harley Davidson 48, which is essentially a sports bike (optimised for high speeds and powerful brakes), and customised it to a new age design that suits long-distance travel,” says Shirke, who is the only finalist from Mumbai. The others include participants from Kolkata, Delhi and Hyderabad.

Actor Nicholas Cage in a still from Ghost Rider .

Why customise?

The comfort factor: From a back support stand attached to the seat, to higher handles that allow you to hold the riding posture for a long time, it is essential to prioritise comfort.

Being terrain friendly: Alter your bike to better suit the terrain which you intend to ride through — be it the rocky terrain of Leh and Ladakh or the sandy regions in Rajasthan.

Think convenience: The engineering of your bike has to be impeccable. Customising your bike ensures that the different elements such as headlights, gears and brakes, are all personalised according to your use.

Looks matter: One can’t ignore the aesthetics of the bike. If you want to create an impression with your bike, bright colours, and a sleek compact design should be focused on.

– By Saurabh Shirke, business and operation manager, MotoMiu


What: Harley Rock Riders’s Custom Champion Contest will take place on October 30, 3.30pm onward.

Where: Richardson & Cruddas, near JJ Flyover, Byculla

Tickets: Rs 1,000 onward on

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