Arhunki Laloo is loved by all. He’s been riding for close to 4 years now and on the way to his first solo road trip when he starts riding from Shillong to Kundapur for BOBMC Rider Mania. It is lovely knowing young blood such as him do so much in life and travel. The next time you want to get your bike customized, look no further because the Blazing Chariot is here!
Tell us a bit about yourself
Arhunki Laloo: I am an avid rider from Shillong – a hopeless guy burning fuel. (smiles) I not only enjoy my long rides but I am also into customizing bullets. I ride with Royal Enfield Riders Association of Meghalaya (RERAM), one of the oldest clubs in India with a very rich and old history. I was born on 14th of October, 1983 in Shillong.
Why do they call you the “Black Sheep”?
Arhunki Laloo: I come from a family of Doctors, while I am just a government employee. I am an avid biker, a hobby/passion not approved or admired by most people in Shillong. For them – The Biker is a hopeless guy burning fuel and travelling, which seems unproductive for the society at large. People think and say many things but I made sure I developed a wall around me and pursued my passion to even give a damn anymore. Given a chance, I would just disappear and tread the road. No destination, just a clear horizon!
What do you do?
Arhunki Laloo: I like to say – A bullet rider who not only enjoys his long rides but is also into customizing bullets. In fact, my first bike is the Royal Enfield Desert Storm Classic bought in 2012. A year after that, I started with the work of customizing my Bull, since I already had the blueprint on how to modify it. Few months later, the bike was done. A few months later, I got another project for customizing a friend’s Thunderbird 500. Soon offers started flowing for modifying their bulls. As I write, another ongoing modification is on and on the verge of completion.
How did you get into modifying bikes?
Arhunki Laloo: I have always, since childhood, admired modified bikes, cars and any machine which moves on wheels. Like most of the male species, you would agree not to disagree, that we like and admire machines. I have always wanted to acquire and own at least one such fully customized machine, in this case; a bike. I always yearned to have one, but as I as a student, I couldn’t afford. I would just admire pictures in magazines and in shows on television. It was only when I started earning that I decided that the first thing I would do to satisfy my hunger was to buy myself a bike, not any other bike but a Royal Enfield. In fact, even before buying the bike, I have even made blueprints on how to go about the modifications when I acquire my very own Bull. Out of the many choices, I chose the Classic Desert Storm, after which I went ahead with my zeal of customizing it.
Did you have a frame of reference with which you started work?
Arhunki Laloo: I didn’t want to build a photo-copy of any customized bike, not even of Rajputana Motorcycles whose work I’ve always admired. I had wanted to get my bike pimped with them but could not due to financial constraints. With the blueprint already in hand, I went ahead with the job. I decided to do it my own way. That the look would be unique and stand alone amongst the rest.
What kind of alterations have you done to your Desert Storm?
Arhunki Laloo: I wanted my machine to look bigger and fatter and low in height. So, I went on with alterations that helped me achieve that.
For instance, I changed the front rim and tyre. I fitted the thicker rim with thicker tyre. 120/90/18” with chocolate grip. Then for stronger braking, I fitted two disk brakes. In addition, for extra room to keep tools and miscellaneous items, I fitted the First Aid box and another toolbox for tools and cloth for cleaning. Next, I fitted a bigger petrol tank (also because I frequently go for long rides, so the extra fuel would help suffice the journey). The tank-bag grill for preventing scratches gives it a better look as well.
Arhunki Laloo: I decided to convert my bike into a single seater, no wonder people call it a ‘Selfish Bike’. I never minded that though. On a serious note, I bought another seat and got it altered so that it would be lower, though not compromising with comfort. Then came the idea for a back rest which made the bike look better, at least from my perspective.
As I mentioned, to make the bike look bigger and lower in height, I then fitted a rear tyre with the ratio – 140/90/15”. I got my rear mudguard welded to make the shape as per the tyre size. Then I fitted the old model Mahindra Jeep’s tail lamp including a Maruti car’s rear windshield tail lamp. Then came the Enticer footrest which I added recently. That no doubt gave the extra good look but personally, it was for comfort. In brief, whenever I go for long rides, I used to get cramps in my legs, which I had to stretch them every now and then. That’s what gave me the idea for those footrests.
What inspired the mixed color of black and sand?
Arhunki Laloo: I wanted to retain the desert storm colour but in combination with Matt Black. I wanted to do away with any chrome and shiny look. So I decided to replace every chrome look with Black. That included the rims, handle bar, engine casing, shock absorber and with everything shiny. My friends disliked the idea of painting the chrome parts with matt black. I never disagreed with them but I went ahead with my plan and got it done. When the bike finally came out of the paint room and when all was finally done, they were awe-struck and astonished with the result.
They really admired it. I never felt so good! Bravo Rudra!
Wait! Is your bike named Rudra? How did that name come about?
Well coming to Rudra, that was the name I chose for my Bike. Primarily, Rudra is a Singaporean Death Metal band and I really like them. It also means the Hindu God of Thunder, Storm and the Hunter. I felt it suited the looks and feature of my machine. That’s when I decided to baptize my Bike… – RuDrA
Did you do modification altogether at one time?
Arhunki Laloo: Well, for Rudra, it wasn’t a one-time modification. I did it little by little. Whatever idea came to my mind, I applied it then. The biggest setback is the issue of getting the parts. It’s very difficult to get parts and accessories in this part of the country. Many a times, I had to place orders from Delhi and elsewhere and sometimes had to purchase parts online. When it comes to issues like tuning my bike and having to mod the Engine for better performance, it is very difficult because here, we lack the technical know-how. The problem is aggravated with the lack of availability of parts. Every time you want to fit any part, you’d have to think twice since they aren’t easily available. Unlike the metros and other big cities, let alone performance parts, not even the accessories are readily obtainable here. Sad but true. That is the biggest drawback.
Can you tell us more about the other bikes you have customized?
Arhunki Laloo: With RUDRA done, over time, a couple of Rider friends asked me if I could help them customize their bikes. I was reluctant at first, but told them that I would try my best because here, it’s difficult to acquire parts & accessories. But, I went ahead and did it. Below are pictures of 2 Thunderbird 500 bikes that I customized.
Now, I am working on another project. It’s again a Thunderbird 500 and just over a week for completion.
You can also start your journey on becoming a road tripper. Start planning your road trip here.
We were lucky to interview India’s fastest woman driver Bani Yadav, Sarah Kashyap and Sheetal Maniar too! Read it and it will inspire you focus on your passion. Want to read about childhood memories of road trips?