The bike builder of Jaipur
by Anuj Agrawal
14 November 2011
You sure already have a long list of things to do in Jaipur. Walk through the crowded forted city and take in the sights of the Hawa Mahal or take a short drive away from the city and gaze in silence at the majestic Amer Fort. Breathe in the dry, arid air of the desert and enjoy the warm Rajputana hospitality. Or perhaps shop for precious stones, rejuvenating your tired mind with a cooling glass of thick lassi.
But here is something you may want to add: a visit to Rajputana Customs.
In the basement-cum-garage of a gorgeous old mansion lies the office and workshop of Rajputana Customs (RCM). They are the designers of some of the most stylish and eye-catching bikes this side of the world. When we visited, in the workshop was a beautifully carved 1942 BSA (christened “Lado”) right next to RCM’s first, and perhaps most well known creation, Original Gangster, better known simply as OG. It is not just the overall gorgeousness of these machines to catch the eye; rather it's the fine attention to detail. For instance, Lado has beautifully engraved levers and the stitched seat is a work of art.
Vijay, the heart and brains behind RCM, rode his first bike when he was just seven years old (readers, do not try this at home!) and built OG out of boredom (or so he claims). When asked how he comes up with the designs, he just shrugs his shoulders and says that there are some things that cannot be explained in words. The maniacal gleam seen in fanatics all over the world is in his eyes when he discusses his past and current work.
If you are, by any stretch, a lover of bikes, RCM workshop will make you smile. Go there to see an artist, and someone who's following his dream, at work. Go there to see some beauty on two wheels.