While the biking community got together for several events in Goa during the last month, several industry folks made their way to the sunshine state. We caught up with motorcycle restorer Karan Lokhande who runs Motomatic Restoration and Design. He spoke about his journey as a restorer, the challenges he faces in this unconventional career and more.
When and how did you get involved with motorcycles? What's your riding journey been like?
Even though Dad gifted me my first bike in college, I started riding motorcycles from a young age. I got into drag racing Yamaha RD 350s in my teens where there were quite a few podiums, moved to the track with an R15 and eventually ended up collecting as I realised I love wrenching more than riding.
How did you end up taking up motorcycle restoration as a career?
I have been restoring my personal vehicles since 2013. A very dear friend Kartik Ware informed me about his Road King that he wanted me to restore, so I jumped at the opportunity. Upon completion of that project, I uploaded pictures online and started getting more projects to work on. It wasn't planned. It happened, and there was no turning back!
Going in for a career that is not very common, how were you introduced to this role, and who has been your biggest inspiration along the way?
You have to be dedicated to this work and build a lot of patience. A fantastic team is a must. It was not my first choice. I was able to pursue this because I had another job with time to spare for restoration work. Kartik Ware has been that huge influence in starting Motomatic R&D – from just talking ideas to actually giving me my first bike to build.
Arjun Raina of Motoexotica India has been a huge inspiration. His builds are unreal. Living in the mountains, driving a Gypsy around, if not blazing trails on bikes while building those absolute masterpieces of motorcycles is something I aim to reach someday.
Tell us about one of the most fun projects, or the one closest to your heart?
Every build is unique. They are all extremely fun to work on and ride eventually. They are all challenging in their own way, and we always end up learning something new every day.
How do you decide which client you take on board?
We don't come cheap. Only if you are serious about quality, will the project reach us to commence.
How do you go about sourcing parts that you need to restore the bikes?
Some are bought off the counter locally or imported. Some are procured from other collectors or vehicle owners who have some stored away. Some are made by hand or at the lathe.
What bikes do you have in your personal collection? Which ones are your favourite? Which one do you ride often?
I've been collecting for over a decade now and make it a point to ride them at every opportunity I get. I'm a bit partial towards my 1991 white Yamaha RD 350 LT.
Are you open to people coming and checking out your workshop or bike collection?
Everyone is most welcome to our workshop in Bangalore.
What's your dream bike for your personal collection?
Kawasaki H2 750 Triple has always been the dream!