Om Prakash's more than two-decade old military Bullet, post makeover, combines the classic and the contemporary

O m Prakash's 23-year-old Royal Enfield Bullet combines flamboyance with practicality. For instance, the oversize fuel tank — which lends the bike an imposing look — can store 25 litres of petrol. “I hate to go to the bunk. It helps me avoid visiting one for a long time,” says 27-year-old Prakash.

Fascination for German bikes with enormous tanks that he had seen in movies, notably the one in “Valkyrie” and the difficulty encountered in finding a gas station during long rides — undertaken on other bikes — on God-forsaken country roads dictated Prakash's decision to go in for a tank with twice the capacity of a standard Bullet.

However, the practical side of the decision has not been put to any severe test. “Barring a few trips, this Bullet has not done long distances. After its restoration, it has done only one,” says Prakash.

“I don't want to run this bike into the ground.” This Bullet grabs attention whereever it goes and Prakash is content with that. This was his goal seven years ago, when he bought this military Bullet from his uncle, who had picked it up at an Air Force disposal auction. But the plan to convert this standard military Bullet of the 1980s into a jazzy and almost up-to-date bike, was germinating for long. “I was then in college and lacked the financial resources for the project.”

Last year, he got started on it. Having mechanics Jaffar Ali and Arif, famous for Bullet customisations, on board was a huge advantage.

Through replacement of old pistons and conversion to a five-plate clutch set and a front disc brake, they have taken this bike to a higher level of performance.

Prakash was not going to stop with this. Style being a major component of this project, he looked for a single saddle seat, ostentatious brass badges and a large tank. He learnt that Chawla Auto Parts stocks them, but this company had left Chennai for good. Col. Michael, who has a way with motorcycles, helped Prakash source the parts from Chawla's unit in Delhi. With an assortment of parts, including the taillight of the retro Classic from Royal Enfield and a contemporary rear fender, Prakash has created a Bullet that brings the old and the new together in a beautiful union.