The market for modified mobikes is still at a nascent stage in India

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SummaryTo many, a motorcycle is not simply a commuter vehicle but also a style statement—and that’s where the art of customisation steps in.

To many, a motorcycle is not simply a commuter vehicle but also a style statement—and that’s where the art of customisation steps in. Although one can find motorcycle customisation shops in almost every major city in India, the quality they offer leaves a lot to be desired. And most of them don’t have the technical expertise to give us a chopper—a type of motorcycle that is modified (chopped) from an original motorcycle design to have a unique hand-crafted appearance, the main feature being its longer frame design and a stretch front end. This is unlike the field of car customisation where we have had companies like DC Design that have been giving us some fine quality customised cars. But things are getting better and, over the last decade, we have seen some companies churning out some decent quality choppers. One such is the Mumbai-based Vardenchi Motorcycles, which was established in 2005 by Akshai Varde, who, in an interaction with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary, shares that the demand for customised motorcycles is steadily growing in India, and that customisation doesn’t necessarily means compromising on safety. Excerpts:

Some feel a motorcycle is just hot metal and wheels …

Our bikes are made for ‘others’—for those who believe that a motorcycle is a mirror image of his/her personality. In fact, our motorcycles are well-engineered and built with great precision, and reflect the owner’s personality. We offer an entire range of custom motorcycle building solutions including sheet metal fabrication, structural fabrication, in-house painting, conceptual sketching, 3D designing of parts and assembly unit. A team of 25 experts ensures that each machine not only looks spectacular but also rides exceptionally.

How does it reflect the owner’s personality?

Every motorcycle built at Vardenchi is unique. Customers can choose the colours, graphics, handle design, size of the tank, rear tyre width—almost anything that make up ‘hot metal and wheels’. And once a client approves the computerised 3D model, it takes about 45 days to build that unique machine.

What is the base machine you use?

We custom build Royal Enfield 350cc and 500cc motorcycles. The engine specifications remain unchanged to retain serviceability. Only the air-filter and exhaust are changed. The Royal Enfield thump is maintained, but can be made deeper or louder as per customer demand. The customer can either provide us with a brand new motorcycle or it can also be provided from our end. We have also created machines for promotional activities.

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