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Thursday, December 6, 2012


I never thought this would ever happen in my lifetime. Sure, Royal Enfield enthusiasts started the movement and the manufacturer furthered the cause. But till date, the only big motorcycle meet in the country was limited to Royal Enfield bikes alone.

Things are changing, however. Finally, here's a bike fest happening and it's open to everyone who rides anything with two wheels with a motor slung in between for good effect! Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the India Bike Week that's going to over run Goa between the 2nd and 3rd of February 2013.

Judging from the launch party, I can safely say that they love their motorcycles. Any band of blokes who doll up the entrance with a pristine Norton Manx 350 and an unmolested vintage AJS gets my vote. The Harleys were there and so were the Beemers and as usual, the Bullet riding boys were there too in  good strength. What seemed cool to me was that a solitary RX 100 cafe made it too, and had its own spotlight!

What's better is that the boys behind that awesome Helmet Stories motorcycle blog, good friends Vir Nakai and Harsh Man Rai, are heavily involved.

I'm going to be there. Don't know what I'll be riding though, but for once, it doesn't really matter. As long as you arrive with bugs on your visor and your jacket caked with dust, you'll be welcome! Good times beckon!


Sometimes, you have to let go of the things that are the closest to you. Things that you have poured your heart and soul and life savings into. Life's like that. Yeah, a bitch.

My 1954 AJS 16M came to me all the way from central India. It had changed hands several times, each owner leaving his ugly mark on the poor girl. By the time it reached my place, the gear shafts were stripped of all splines, the magneto had lost all its spark, the motor had seen better days, some of the nuts and bolts had come off cupboards and bullock carts and the suspension was short.

The AJS, after many years of my fettling. She left in this condition.
 Wages back then, just as they are now, seemed too meagre to mount a complete restoration. I did what I could, getting one aspect of the motorcycle fixed as best as my capacity and wallet could permit.

The result was a fine motorcycle that was rough around the edges. A machine that had its own whims and fancies. A motorcycle that would sometimes start right up in the first kick and run the rest of the day like the finest Swiss clockwork. But on other days, the AJS was stubborn like syphilis, refusing to even fire once, let alone run. 

But the journey to get her here was long and well worth it. However, everything comes to an end and the good old AJS was packed off, destined this time to southern India.
I'm glad to see, however, that the current owner has started where I left off. In fact, he's gone 30 steps ahead already, with a complete ground up restoration. I couldn't have been happier for the old girl for she totally deserves what's coming to her!

This is how the (can't call her mine anymore) AJS now stands. And from what I can see, she couldn't have gone to a better home!

Friday, July 6, 2012


I love surprises. And especially when it comes to riding a motorcycle. But sadly, I don't get any on the machines I've been riding all thanks to my day job.

On today's machines, you thumb the starter, shift into first and away you go. You reach your destination, dismount, plonk the thing on its kick stand, and get about doing what you set out to. On most occasions, there isn't even a need to check the fuel level, since the thing returns such a ridiculous fuel consumption that you could ride around Asia in a tablespoon of petrol.

But that's just plain fucking boring, in my opinion. I want my motorcycles to emit strange noises as they plod along, making me wonder what's up. I whack open the throttle, only to find the sounds changing, allowing my mind to deduce that the piston is about to come off its gudgeon pin and come straight up into my balls. And then a jackass driving a tin shed on four wheels veers out of nowhere, busy on his mobile phone. I panic, not knowing whether those old drum brakes will actually do their job on time. There's no fuel indicator and gauging the amount of the stuff in the tank is pure guess work. Is there enough to make it, or will it run dry in the middle of blessed nowhere?

But I make it to where I want to go, turn off the motor by using the valve lifter, dismount and tug the machine on its cycle-type mainstand. I'm surprised I'm here, I'm surprised that we made it and I'm surprised that the machine still surprises after all these years. Makes me wonder, which modern motorcycle even comes close to that, eh?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Garage Built Motorcycles

There's nothing like making your hobby get you some money for gas. Let's face it, building motorcycles isn't going to get you a fancy private jet, a double-D racked Playmate nor your mug on Mount Rushmore. But what it can do is make you smile and as I'm going to find out hopefully, at least keep the motorcycle tank sloshing with fuel.

With that in mind, I bring to you 'Garage Built Motorcycles', a small venture to rebuild motorcycles in my cunt of a shed for other people. All for a small fee of course.

Whether it's a complete restoration, aesthetic overhaul (a neat term, if I may say so myself, that I coined up for a paint job and then some) or a cafe racer project, we've got the ways and the means to get the job done. I'm not going to be doing servicing and bike washes for now, but if you ask nicely..