Ride in style

Ride in style
Long gone are the days when motorbikes were used just for commuting. One gives a lot of thought while purchasing a bike, especially as to how it will reflect their personality. And if that doesn’t seem to do the trick, they customise it to suit their own style. With the rise of women bikers in the city, there seems to be an increase in the demand to customise their bikes as well. Though it is not a major makeover, women are taking an interest in adding their own element to their rides.

Candida Louis has travelled almost 11,000 km on her trusted motorbike. She says, “I won a helmet during the India Bike Week which had skulls on them and was coloured black and orange. I changed the colours and made it black and pink — made it a bit girly. I’ve also had my name and blood group added to it.”

She has also customised her handlebar and changed her seat to a more comfortable one. “I usually cover about 600 to 800 km in a day. It’s important that I am seated comfortably when going on long rides. I hope to make more modifications in the future, though. Maybe add angel wings to the tank,” she adds.

Changing fog lights is one of the major modification bikers prefer to do. Pooja Murthy, a software developer, loves taking her Royal Enfield for a spin. She too changed her fog lights to make it more comfortable for night rides. She explains, “Whenever I do some kind of modification to my Bullet, I do it in instalments so that I don’t end up spending all my money. I wanted to change the silencer to make my ride better but due to the rule, I haven’t been able to do anything about it. But with whatever modification one wants to do, they have to trust their mechanic completely.”

She also adds that many hesitate to customise their motorbikes due to warranty. She says, “As soon as you change something that came with the bike, you immediately lose the warranty. This often leaves the rider at risk and adds to the expense that they probably don’t want to invest in.”  However, bike mechanics are ever enthusiastic to make changes to the riders wheels. Kailash is one such mechanic who has customised several bikes. He says, “Depending on how and what the customers ask for, I work around it. I get at least two calls from women bikers in the city who want some kind of change in their ride. It may not be an expensive affair but I give them my professional opinion if it can be done or not.” As for the professional pilot Asha Rajdev, her Harley-Davidson has seen some interesting customisation to which she hopes to add on. She says,”I’ve already changed the exhaust, speedometer and lights on the bike. My next project is to add a bit of pink to my ride. My fellow riders have already warned me that they won’t ride with me if I do that but I’m sure that phase will pass too!”

Being one of the few women Harley-Davidson riders in the city, she does agree that women bikers don’t really opt for many changes on their  bikes. “We don’t have a large community of women riders in the city and within that  small group, not many will want to heavily customise their bikes either. I think we have a long way to go to change that thought process and I believe it will take centuries to reach that goal. But I like that my ride is a single seater and I don’t plan to modify it. It is my space and my time,” she concludes.

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