Automotive Designing is not just on his graduation certificate; the love for all-things-machine had gripped Shail Sheth since he can remember. This Coventry University alumni is a true son of soil. After finishing his designing course, Shail returned to India and set up workshop in the small shop -which has been in his family since nearly a century – in bylanes of the busy Girgaon area of downtown Mumbai.
Today, we take a look at one of his best creations.
Bike Builder: Bombay Custom Works
Type: Fusion of Café Racer and a Low Rider.
Platform: Bajaj Pulsar 150
Engine: Stock Bajaj Pulsar 150 DTS-i
Front: Ceat Vertigo Sport 19”
Rear: Ceat Vertigo Sport 18”
Rear: Stock Avenger
The tensioners of the front girder froks are made of brass.
Seat: Custom. It’s not leather but a combination of rexine and another fabric. We used this because rexine is durable and long-lasting. And in Bombay weather, because of the monsoon, we need rain protection.
Handlebar: Custom designed. To give it the Café Racer look, we had to keep it short, so that it gives you a forward leaning posture.
Headlights: Stock headlamps from an old Yamah
Footrest: Custom fabricated brass footrest on both sides.
Everything you see in brass is custom fabricated. It’s been lacquered and polished.
Fuel Tank: Custom sheet metal. Glossy paint with pin-striping. The tank cap is of brass.
Design Language: We wanted to keep it very simple and classic with gloss paint, brass trim and custom seats.
We tried to build this bike as simple as possible because wanted simplicity to be one of the defining factors of this bike. At the same time, we wanted this to be practical and usable on a day-to-day basis. Though it was for the show – IBW, we didn’t want to restrict it to being just a show bike. We wanted it to be a purpose bike that you can ride around the town.
I like Café Racers. They’re simple and no-nonsense. Cafes are simple to ride around and simple machines.
I want to keep it low – one bike at a time. I try not to do more than one bike at once because that would just defeat the purpose of building a one-of-its-kind custom bike, since, one might not be able to give enough time and do justice to it.
How was it building the bike for a show?
Building the bike for IBW was a great experience. We had 30 days to build the bike but we did it only 13 days; that’s because I had my wedding in that same month, as well as many other ongoing projects. It was really fun experience. I came across a lot of things and met many new people, it was really amazing.
Which project are you looking forward to working on the most?
I’m looking to do more and more work on the smaller platforms. A lot has already been done on the Royal Enfied. People have also started doing more and more on Harleys, but not much has been done on smaller platforms like 150 and 180 cc. These smaller platforms have a lot of scope for improvisation and that’s something we’re really, really looking forward to.
As a bike builder in India, what are the challenges that you’ve faced?
Infrastructure is the no. 1 challenge. You have to have a proper space to do things easily, you can get done things other also, it’s not entirely impossible but having a proper space to work is essential. And having the right attitude is important as well.
We try not to import parts, we try to fabricate as much as we possibly can on our own.
I like Yamahas. The RDs and the RXs – RD 350s, RX 100s and 135s. In the older bikes, I like BSA, and Triumphs are nice machines too. One my most favourite bikes is the Triumph Bonneville.
In your dream garage, which bikes would we find?
Yamaha RD 350 is an absolute must.
A classic BSA.
An Indian. If I can get my hands on one.
Disclaimer: The article was first published by the author on RedBull.com