Reza Hussain couldn’t be happier. He’s managed to defend his title at the India Bike Week (IBW) 2015, which concluded in Goa recently. His ‘Da Bang’, a customised Harley-Davidson named after Salman Khan and which looks quite like the one that Batman rode in The Dark Knight, won the ‘build-off’ contest. Last year, he had topped this category with ‘Valeno Mortale’, a Royal Enfield fitted with the world’s biggest motorcycle tyre.
“I first attended IBW in 2013, as a visitor. I was shocked to find not even one bike builder from Hyderabad, who could represent our city on a national level. That’s why I decided to come back in 2014. I am glad that I won the trophy again,” says the 33-year-old who left his IT job in 2014, a little ahead of his IBW stint.
Currently, he is living off his savings, investments, customising bikes for friends and customers under the label ‘RH Customs’ and selling these beautiful machines. At the bike week, someone offered to buy his Harley for Rs 35 lakh, but he refused. “I don’t want to give it away right now, so soon,” says Reza, who customised the bike in 50 days. He plans to hit the city road on ‘Da Bang’ this Wednesday, as he returns from Goa.
THE BIKE MANIA
Customising machines is a childhood habit for the Kuwait-born Reza. “I was seven or nine, when I first saw a bike. Cars were common in Kuwait, not bikes. One day, a family friend brought a dirt bike. I fell in love. It moved me. It had a personality of its own.”
Since then, Reza has been personalising his vehicles. “I had two-three bicycles at home in Kuwait. Every evening, I would bring them out, interchange the parts or modify handles. I admit my bicycles were the neigbourhood’s envy,” says Reza, who moved to Hyderabad during the Gulf War. He studied here and did a course in MBA in the UK.
All this while, bike-mania didn’t lose steam. “I got my first bike, Yamaha RH10, during my intermediate, in 1998. But I wasn’t happy. Every Tom, Dick and Harry had this bike then, it was a rage. So in two months, I started altering it. I think a bike should be as tailor-made as your shirts.”
HITS AND MISSES
No surprises, his Yamaha was a hit with friends, neighbours in Malakpet in the city, passers-by and even the cops. It was a nightmare too — every time this Yamaha stopped or the Valeno years later, traffic came to a halt, his bike would be mobbed. “Now I take these customised bikes out at night or early morning only,” says Reza, who commutes on one of his two regular bikes.
His bikes remain a point of envy even now. “My wife, Zainab Sayyed, says, ‘Even if one screw is out of place, you notice it. But you don’t look at what earrings I am wearing’, ” says Reza, whose first love and workshop leaves him little to no time for his three young daughters. “I have customised cars too, I also drive them. But with bikes, you know, when the air hits your face, the experience is liberating. It’s freedom.”...