By Preetika Bhateja:
“The machine that you sit on tells the world exactly where you stand.”
Graduated from Carleton University, Ottawa with a degree in Mass Communication and a job of a sports journalist in hand, he had four months off before the joining date. So, he thought of giving his passion for motorcycles a serious shot and framed ‘Original Gangster’, showcased at 2010 Auto Expo in Delhi, it received an overwhelming affection. He was ushered with orders and “Rajputana Custom Motorcycles’’ came into being in Feb, 2010.
Meet Mr. Vijay Singh, the man behind ‘Rajputana Custom Motorcycles’, a small motorcycle outfit based in Jaipur. His first work ‘Original Gangster’, built on a Royal Enfield 350cc bike, got him a lot of appreciation. So, he turned his grandmother’s store into a garage with the help of his gardener’s son Tapan and mechanic’s nephew Abdul. Talking about his love for bikes, he says “It started when my father put me on my first motorcycle – dirt modified BSA Falcon AKA a BSA Bond – when I was 7 years old, we used to go to Motocross tracks back then”.
RCM’s second creation ‘Lightfoot’ was for John Abraham. In the past four years, Rajputana Custom Motorcycles modified/ built from scratch 22-25 motorcycles. ‘Nandi’, ‘Laado’, ‘Loco’, ‘Chingari’ and ‘Raangad’ are a few of them. What’s with the exquisite names? He explains “We take pride in our Rajasthani culture and we are inspired by the elements around us, hence such names”. A few bikes have a cute story behind the name and some describe the characteristics of the owner. For him, building a motorcycle is like bringing a child into this world, so a unique name is much needed.
Is he against the standard bikes? “No, standard bikes have their own purpose, but a customized piece is all about idiosyncrasies.” Their process of building a motorcycle is very different and spontaneous. No elaborated sketches or Auto Cad drawings are involved. A 20% brief from the clients and 80% free hand as far as he is concerned. The clients have faith in his talents and the finished product is a surprise for them as well. The bike builds itself day by day as they chop and weld. There is no deadline for the product as they’ll rework the bike but the product has to be of top notch quality.
The customization is not all about cluttered motifs, nothing over the top, only minimalist designs. He believes in functional art. The leather, wood, brass and handicraft work as one medium that’s functional. They never repeat a design and try not to stick to a particular style. Old School and contemporary at the same time, each motorcycle is one of its kind, awe-inspiring with flawless functionality. The customization price ranges from Rs 95000 to 8 lacks, depending on the intricacies involved.
Which one is his favourite? “Laado” – The name speaks for itself, but why? “I got it from a friend’s garage and it had not been started for 15 years but after restoring and customization, it started again.”
He is not much of a car lover. “Two wheels are an extension of me. It shows a part of me even I didn’t know existed.” He wishes that automobile engineers, mechanical engineers and artists come together and make a difference creatively. For the love of his life, he says “It’s good for the soul. It is one of the many good things in life so hop on and don’t miss out on this.”