What would you do with a bike that is dying a slow death; a bike that has been one of your proudest possessions?
Back in 2010, even before the seed of Bikers for Good was sown, I laid my eyes upon the Thunderbird Twinspark. It was April at that time of the year when I walked into the nearest RE showroom, drooled on the bike and promised myself that in 6 months, I’d come back and buy it.
Time sped by fast and just before I knew it, I was a little less than a month away from the deadline I’d given myself. But then, this is where the famously cheesy bollywood dialogue comes in.
It goes like, “Agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho, toh poori qaaynaat tumhein usse milaane mein lag jaati hai!” (If you really want something, the entire universe gets together to let you have it!)
No matter how many girls go AWWWWWWWW about the statement said above, from what I am going to tell now is something to which a lot of people will say, “You just got lucky!”
And, I agree with the latter.
Along came the 2010 Commonwealth Games, set to be held in India and yours truly got the offer to write the scripts for the opening and closing ceremonies. What transpired next was that my father was going gung ho calling up all the relatives telling them to watch the CWG. On the other hand, I was happily waiting to be paid for the job so that I could go and buy the bike.
Some days later, I walked into the showroom and paid up for what would be my medium to connect with the world for the next few years.
Soon enough, I was riding my own 2010 Royal Enfield Thunderbird Twinspark, a 350cc machine I absolutely loved showing off.
The bike was here and next was the but-obvious visit to Karol Bagh to pimp it up. I spent whatever money was left, on what I thought were very cool looking fake leather saddlebags and a nice acrylic windshield that give you that cruiser feel.
The saddlebags played quite role in my daily life, helping carry stuff and small animals I rescued once in a while. But show-off is always taken over by utility so very soon the saddlebags had to go as the bike got the world-famous Ladakh carrier.
In the years to come, I did multiple rides to the mountains, with my favourite being the ride to Spiti and other scenic places in the mountains.
The bike was with me throughout. It has seen me changing jobs, stuck on a road cribbing about life and even when I was out having a great time with my friends. It was even there when my ex-girlfriend was busy entertaining herself with other guys and even when I found out and left her to never see her again. The bike has been my best friend, always there with me through thick and thin. In fact, I would call it my longest relationship. And, you never let go of friends.
But, fast-forward to year 2017. The Thunderbird Twin Spark was losing its spark after more than a lac kms and also the fact that I now had two other bikes added in the garage to choose from.
Soon, the guilt hit me that I wasn’t doing justice to her and somewhere just ignoring the fact that she had been there with me all this while. So what do you do? Any married man would give you the simple answer. You rework and give the relationship a fresh start.
The problem here though, was that firstly, I did not want to get it done from a customizer, and second, I have myself never really “customized” a bike.
Google came to the rescue and in a few hours I had penned down the ideas of what exactly I wanted. Yes, it would take some bit of experimentation and time, but who was in a hurry?
I took the bike to my friend Shahzad, the owner of Bikers’ Clinic, a Royal Enfield workshop in Delhi and shared my ideas with him. There were some disagreements but that only meant that we’d get a better product out.
The basics of the bike were kept unchanged. All that I wanted was a new paint-job, a new tank, a new seat, a new speedometer and hence a completely new look to the bike. We intended to keep the stock parts stock, yet add a new feel to them. This is where the folks at the Tripmachine Company came to our rescue. We sat and worked on designs for the side panels and the seat and after quite a lot of mind-boggling, we’d got what we wanted; genuine handcrafted leather panels and a leather seat that looked comfy as hell and the best part, this was all waterproof.
Next we got the bike together and just took test-rides to ensure that everything worked as we wanted it to. Things worked absolutely fine and I for starters was happy that I had a custom one-of-its-kind bike for a little less than 50,000 rupees.
The bike has been with me ever since and I can tell you it is one bloody head turner. My friends as well as my 6-year-old niece calls me the Big Friendly Giant and that tag of The BFG also fits in with what we do at Bikers for Good. So, naming our creation was simple.
Took me 6 hours to make that barbwire headlight grill. Worth it!After this make, I can tell you that customization is not everyone’s cup of tea. I myself burnt my hands 2-3 times getting this bike together and lost time and money. Customizers know their stuff and they are invariably a talented species. I, for one, would suggest you to talk to one today if you want a bike that you’re proud of. Or, if you want to follow what I did, get ready to waste days and nights in dirty welding shops, bargaining for parts, finding what fits and if it doesn’t, going back all the way and getting it replaced. That is exactly what a customizer charges you for and if it makes your life easier, then why not?