Deepak Srivastava (right) and Sukhbir Singh on a ‘chopper’ during a test ride in Jamshedpur last week. (Bhola Prasad)
We all know Team India skipper M.S. Dhoni is crazy about his Harley Davidson, but did you know Elvis Presley and Elizabeth Taylor also loved these two-wheeled demons?
If you can’t afford a Harley just yet, no sweat. Just zoom into South East Choppers, a bike fabrication workshop at Mango, Jamshedpur, which specialises in remodelling old Royal Enfield bullets into cult Harley Davidson lookalikes.
Across the world, custom-built bikes are called choppers — chopped and built from scratch.
For Jamshedpur youths Deepak Srivastava (27) and Sukhbir Singh (32), to start a business of building choppers at the Sankosai workshop in Mango was a leap of faith.
“Ours is the only one in the entire state to build choppers. In a span of a year, we’ve built four,” Deepak, who is also in the merchant navy, said.
He added that youths liked choppers for its powerful look and vroom.
“Other bikes look like toys. A chopper is a rugged machine with a heavy metallic body. It’s a head-turner. We can remodel any type of 350 cc Royal Enfield bullets into choppers. If you want to look cool and different, this is it,” he said.
Sukhbir added that it costs Rs 1.5 lakh to remodel an old Royal Enfield Bullet into a chopper. “An original Harley Davidson costs Rs 8.5 lakh and upwards in the Indian market, so we think we are offering a great deal,” he smiled.
“We take between one and two months for custom-made fabrication. The remodelled bike gives a 15-25kmpl mileage,” Deepak said.
No one gets a chopper made for its mileage. It’s about the look and feel, he added.
At the workshop, the bullet can be morphed into any of the cult bike looks such as Fatboy, V-Rod, Tourer, Low Rider, Thunderbolt and more.
The duo start their tinkering on the keyboard before getting their hands dirty.
“We use Autocad software to design choppers based on the customer’s needs, likes and physique. Then, we use fabricated customised parts from handlebars to fuel tank to mudguard. Only the engine stays the same. We also store biking accessories such as caps and bags,” Deepak said.
The duo will now start a website to attract more customers, also those from other states.
“There’s a huge craze for biking among youths. It’s a culture based on comradeship, discipline, physical fitness and love for adventure. We set up our workshop last October after a lot of research,” said Sukhbir.
It’s not about profit right now as much as it is about revving up their brand name, the duo say.
Customers are certainly not complaining. Bistupur resident Gurpreet Singh (25), “a chartered accountant by profession and a biker by passion” said he was thrilled with his chopper. “Can’t believe I’m riding on a Thunderbolt lookalike. I love it when people stop and stare on roads. It is a royal experience,” Gurpreet grinned.
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