Indians are fond of bikes, we love bikes more than anything, and that is the reason why bikes hold a hefty 78% share in Indian automotive industry. And we Indians love bikes across genders, acorss ages. However, its just a few out of us who would love age-old bikes more than the latest hi-tech bikes. This love towards bikes is nothing new and we were equally passionate about bikes back in history. A visit to the 2nd Vinatge & Motorcycle Show in Jaipur brought quite a few facts to the forth. There were around 102 vintage and classic motorcycles participating. We got chance to interact with many of the proud owners. Such were the passionate owners that for once I had this gut feeling that probably their wives/girlfriends are jealous of these bikes. Nothing seemed more important that these bikes for the owners. The war-era bikes, the vintage, the heritage could have been a part of trash had these lovers not cared. The venue was packed with the love, the passion, the energy the bikers had. We have short-listed for our avid readers the 10 most wonderful bikes that we saw at the show. Here, must to say, this probably was one of the toughest task to do since all the bikes were equally special to my eyes. Here goes the list ...
1. 1933 Corgi Paratrooper Bike (98cc, Used in Second Word War)-
Star attraction of the show. Show-stopper! One of the most wonderful bikes, it was designed and built way back in 1933, stood as the oldest bike at the show and the most unique too as well. Mr. Birju Singh sahab, one of the oldest yet passioante bikers in the country, a retired CID inspector, owns this bike. The bike was used during IInd World War, soldiers could easily jump in the war fields from air crafts with these bikes. It's a foldable bike with a total length of only 22 inches, weighing 33 kg only, thus being extremely easy to carry as well. The bike uses a 98cc Villiers made engine, and is without any transmission. Surpirse surprise! It can achieve a maximum speed of 60kmph. The owner, Mr. Singh, has worked hard to keep the bike in running condition still. The bike was the centre of the attraction at the show and the visitors were most interested in this tiny piece of the World War history, clicking photographs, asking Mr. Singh to give details about the bike. This bike also won Smallest Bike Award at the recent 2013 India Bike Week.
2. 1943 Harley-Davidson WLA V-Twin (750cc, Hand Gear, Used in Second World War)
This bike won the Best Motorcycle Award at the show. The owner, Mr. Sachit Sharma, a die-hard fan of Harley bikes, came riding this bike all the way from Agra. Such is his passion for Harley bikes that he could not stop himself from buying a new Harley-Davidson Heritage Soft-Tail. The award-winning bike, a 1943 model, is in running condition and Mr. Sharma enjoys riding this bike along with his new Harley.
3. 1939 Norton 16H (490cc, Used in Second World War)-
The bike won the Best Vintage Motorcycle award at the show. It belongs to the family of bikes that were manufactured by the company between 1911 and 1954. The 'H' in the name denotes Home model, which was different from colonial export model. Mr. Sandeep Jethani, the exultant owner of the bike, is a vinatage bike and car collector and was there with two vintage bikes, the second one was 1954 BSA 612cc bike.
4. 1938 James (150cc, Hand Gear, Used in Second World War)
Won the 2nd Best Vintage Motorcycle award, the 1938 James 150cc bike was also one of the most attractive bikes around. Neha Sharma, the only female bike vintage owner at the show, who owns this haughty bike, gives a good amount of time and passion to her bike. Mr. Babulal Sharma, renowned restorer of vintage bikes, helped her restore this bike. The bike is in a good running condition.
5. 1942 BSA with Side Car (500cc, Used in Second World War)
Birju Singh Ji's bike was the only bike with side car at the show, and a good number of visitors were interested in this bike. It is a 1942 made BSA 500cc bike, also known as BSA 5HP. Birju Singh Ji, told us that he still rides this bike around the city with his family. He tells us that whenever he rides this bike with his wife in the side-car, the amazed on-lookers sing the famous song 'Ye Dosti Hum Nahi Todenge'.
6. 1940 Triumph (350cc, Used in Second World War)
Every bike enthusiast loves Triumph bikes due to their rigid and rough appeal and rock-solid performance. The show also had a 1940 made Triumph 350cc bike. The bike was used in the second world war. Mr. Rajendra Sharma is the owner of the bike and Mr. Babulal Sharma restored this bike for him.
7. 1946 Ariel VB 600 (600cc)
It won the Best Restored Motorcycle award at the show. This 1946 made Ariel VB 600 had everything to steal the show and it sure did. The bike is still in a very good condition and perfectly deserves the award. A post-war bike, it is a hand gear model with foot clutches.
8. 1954 BSA 3.5 HP (350cc)
Won the Best Maintained Motorcycle award at the show, and is owned by Mr. Babulal Sharma, the famous vintage bike restorer. The bike won the award in its original condition.
9. 1954 Lambretta D (150cc):
The show was dominated by the motorcycles, but a few age-old scooters were also there. The presence of the vinatge scooters took the visitors by surprise. The oldest was a 1954 made Lambretta D, the scooter was brought by Ghani Motors, Jaipur. Looking at these long-forgotten scooters, which happened to be love of many a lives back then, sure brought smiles to many faces!
10. 1951 Norman (125cc):
This bike was brought by Mr. Deepesh Tanwar, one of the organizers, he told us that it is one of the few Norman 125cc bikes in running condition. The bike still runs smooth on the road and smart. This was yet another audience grabber bike.
Apart from these vintage bikes, there were some custommade bikes as well. Mr. Rishriraj Grover won the Best Custom made bike award for his handsome After Dark.
The Spider, the jazzy, pizzazzy signature bike, which gathered all the crowd around it, was designed by Mr. Neeraj Kapoor, who claims that probably he is the only biker to design bikes with signature. rest assured, we might get to see this bike in Bollywood soon.
Watch this space for an exclusive feature on Mr. Neeraj Kapoor.