Tuesday, 27 May 2014

"Nadia" Sportster by TJ Moto

India isn’t a country that I – or many people, for that matter – readily associate with the art of building custom bikes. So the first time I saw this neat little Sportster I instantly assumed that it had to be a European creation (inferred from what I could see of the artistically-blurred backdrop of the photos). However, after having done a bit of searching on the internet, I was rather surprised to learn of its actual origin.

It was built by TJ Moto, a company run by Tushar Jaitly, who recently graduated from an auto design school in Italy (so in a way I wasn’t that far from the mark when I thought the bike was a Euro build: it definitely does bear many elements of that Euro-custom look). It isn’t a recent build, either; the bike was completed in September ’13, but it went under my radar as being just another of the myriad Euro-customs that you can find almost on every street corner nowadays. But enough gloating over my ignorance: let’s talk about the bike.

The base for the build is an 883cc Harley-Davidson Sportster. The first thing Jaitly did was scrap the stock rear loop of the frame and replace it with a hardtail rear end. From there, he went for a vintage flat-tanker look, and added a dummy top tube that arches over the bespoke tank, which is garnished with two leather straps. The retro theme is continued with handcrafted brass fittings on the top tube (engraved with the bike’s name and “date of birth”), tank and oil pan. Along with the Firestone Champion Deluxe tyres, British Racing Green & cream paint job and leather handlebar wrap on the grips, this gives a definitely “steampunk” flavour, as if it was built back in the early 1900s around a 21st-century Sportster powertrain, and that Tushar Jaitly simply discovered it in somebody’s barn under a dust sheet. It’s just the type of bike a “Promenade Percy” (the direct ancestor of the CafĂ© Racer, who terrorised British seaside resorts back in the late 1920s and 1930s) would have ridden.

This is definitely one of the nicest and most original custom Sporties I’ve seen in quite some time, and I really hope we see more of TJ Moto’s work in the future.

Photo credits: TJ Moto