Vijay Singh Ajairajpura Of Rajputana Customs Transforms Ordinary Bikes Into Mean Machines
For Vijay Singh Ajairajpura, an active interest in motorcycles didn’t manifest itself overnight but was carefully cultivated over the course of his childhood when he watched his father race for the Jaipur Motorcycle Club and beamed with pride when his great-uncle organised the first all-India MotoX race in Jaipur in 1977. Ajairajpura’s father built him his first bike at the impressionable age of seven and although he didn’t know it at the time, he was only perpetuating the family’s legacy in motorcycles in doing so.
In 2009, on returning from Canada armed with a degree in Mass Communication, Ajairajpura had six months to kill before he could start his job as a journalist. He decided to dedicate his time to building a bike, and thus, his first stunning creation came to be. Word of his talent spread quickly and soon he was customising bikes on a regular basis.
Currently running on 32, with about 27 interns and 16 guys who work for him permanently, Ajairajpura can take pride in the fact that he has well and truly arrived on the customisation scene. Rajputana Customs’ workshop is a hyper-creative space with everything from ideation to execution taking place under one roof. In 2016, both bikes that the design gurus built for Harley Davidson and Triumph made it to the top 5 custom motorcycles of the world. You’d imagine that these laurels might get to Ajairajpura’s head but his ability to remain grounded will leave you rather perplexed. In fact, as is evident from the very traditional moniker of his company, he prefers to remain true to his roots, even going so far as to christen his machines with classic Indian names such as Laado, Aghori, Rajmata, Jordaar , Gulail, Bitoo and so on.
We indulged in a freewheeling conversation with the man who has the ability to convert even the Ghost Rider into a loyal customer….
Why did you decide to start customising bikes?
“My dad used to ride for the Jaipur Motorcycle Club in the 70s and bought me my first bike when I was only seven. In 2009, I went on to build my own bike as a summer project on returning from Canada. It piqued my interest greatly and I began investing a lot of time into studying and experimenting with the nuances of bike design. That was nine years ago, and I can only say that it worked very well for me — it was like the physical sound of everything clicking into place when I found my true calling.”
What sets you apart from your competitors?
“I think Rajputana Customs knocks it out of the park when it comes to aesthetics. Besides, we pay careful attention to our fit and finish, so that would definitely be another USP.”
Which has been your favourite bike to work with?
“I have no such favourite; I think all bikes are special in their own way. Even a regular commuter bike, like a Honda City 100 comes with its own beautiful idiosyncrasies. To be honest, I’m happy to work with any bike as long as there is room for improvement.”
What has been the most creative request made by a client?
“It would have to be the Harley Davidson 883 that we built from scratch. It took about a year and a half to complete — 18 months of gruelling hardwork. We had to assemble the entire machine on our own — we only retained the engine — but building the frame from ground up, placing each nut and bolt with precision, introducing the suspension, we were in complete charge of it all. It was a highly complex and demanding job, but also very creatively satisfying, once the bike was ready.”
What is the approximate cost of getting a bike customised by you?
“Anywhere between a lac to a crore.”
How would you describe the Indian consumer’s aesthetic these days?
“Fortunately, the customers have complete faith in my capabilities. They have some basic suggestions but they love what we do at the shop, which is why they come to us in the first place. They know I’ll pick a classic paint-job, but I always walk them through the entire process and they’re very much in tune with what I’m looking to do.”