Rajputana Custom’s 1942 BSA M20 – “Laado”
You may or may not have noticed, but on the odd occasion us Pipeburnian types do tend to hunt out some pretty sweet bikes. And as with anything that’s pleasing to the eye, you often can’t help but feel a little jealous because every time you look in your inbox you are bombarded with a vast array of rides that, save for a massive crime spree, are most definitely not yours. But today I think I can safely say that I’ve taken it to the next level. See, looking over the photos you see before you, I found myself not only jealous of the bike shown in the shots, but also of… well of everything. There’s the polo horses. The garage full of sweet rides. A house that looks to all intents and purposes like a palace, and a guy called Vijay that owns the lot and runs a custom bike shop too boot. And then he’s gone and done the whole thing in Rajasthan, often acknowledged as one of India’s most beautiful spots. Don’t you just hate him?
Here’s Vijay. “‘Laado’ is a Rajasthani word for “precious or sweetest,” in my case “my favourite” a.k.a. ‘Mahri Laadli.’ It was 2010 and Rajputana Custom Motorcycles had been running for less than a year when I went to see my friend John Harwood at his design studio/factory outside town. He walked me around the compound explaining the various different processes that went into making their array of one-off artworks. He does everything from cutting jewelry, casting brass sculptures, to detailed engravings and inlay work on ornaments. He is also an avid ‘British biker’ who excels in his field of art but also shares a common love for two wheels.”
“I saw… a BSA M20 sticking out from behind
some heavy cobwebs and a plank of wood”
“In one of the rooms I saw the headlight of a WWII BSA M20 sticking out from behind some heavy cobwebs and a plank of wood. I dragged her out with the wheels jammed and in complete tatters… she’d been parked there for 20+ years but had not really rusted anywhere.”
“I loaded her in the back of a Jeep and had her transported to the workshop immediately. We changed her spark plugs, oil, replaced the air filter and fired her up in 10 odd mins – surprisingly.”
“We then went on to overhaul the engine and gearbox… furthermore we built a few brass parts and had them engraved as highlights. Note that we did not chop any part on the original M-20, we simply added different mounts & the Avon MKII Universals to make her look more raunchy! She’s been great fun to gradually work on and it’s a good thing she is my personal bike… Sunday riding is always a pleasure with Laado.”