GREEN LANTERN

This bike won the Bike Build-Off com­pe­ti­tion at IBW ear­lier this year. Time to get un­der its skin

Evo India - - IMMORTALE - WORDS by AATISH MISHRA PHO­TOG­RA­PHY by SHRAD­DHA BHAVALKAR

ES, I KNOW IT IS HARD to be­lieve but not too long ago, the bike you see on that page used to be a Har­leyDavid­son. When you think of cus­tom Har­leys (well, at least when I do) all sorts of low-slung cruis­ers, bob­bers and chop­pers with cus­tom paint jobs, ape-hang­ers and even the odd café racer comes to mind. But not to Faizan Saith. He en­vi­sioned some­thing else – a street fighter. So he set up Legacy Cus­tom Mo­tor­cy­cles in the sleepy town of Bel­gaum and built the Im­mor­tale.

But why would any­one want to do that? Why go through the trou­ble of con­vert­ing some­thing like a Har­ley into a street fighter when you’ve got plenty of great, eas­ily cus­tomis­able street fight­ers al­ready avail­able? Well, these cus­tomis­ers are a funny lot – they do these things be­cause they want a big­ger chal­lenge than just slap­ping on some new pan­els and paint. They want to go through the trou­ble of tak­ing a bike and con­vert­ing it in to some­thing that’s from a dif­fer­ent school of thought. By the look of it, Faizan has suc­ceeded. This bike started out as an Iron 883 but by the time Legacy was done with it, the only thing that has re­mained stock on the bike is the in­stru­ment clus­ter. This bike was one of the con­tes­tants in the Bike Build-Off com­pe­ti­tion at this year’s In­dia Bike Week, and it took the first prize. Hon­estly, it is not hard to see why.

So, what ex­actly has Legacy done to the Im­mor­tale (pro­nounced Im­mor-tell) to make it what it is? Al­right, for starters, the frame has been chopped and mod­i­fied to fit in the mas­sive 300-sec­tion rear tyre (for those of you who’ve for­got­ten your met­ric sys­tem, 300mm is a whole foot wide) and a cus­tom swing arm was de­signed and fab­ri­cated to ac­com­mo­date it. They’ve given the sus­pen­sion a com­plete over­haul — out went the tele­scopic forks on the Iron 883 and it was re­placed by a girder sus­pen­sion us­ing the rear monoshock off an R15. Changes were made to the spring, it had to be short­ened a bit to fit and the forks were fab­ri­cated from strong, light­weight alu­minium. The twin rear dampers of the Iron 883 have been re­placed with a monoshock that has been lifted from a (you won’t be­lieve it) Honda Uni­corn.

The en­gine hasn’t been spared ei­ther. Cour­tesy a big-bore kit from Ham­mer Per­for­mance, the V-twin en­gine now boasts a dis­place­ment of 1250cc in­stead of the stan­dard 883cc. Such kits are quite com­mon in the US of A and can be im­ported to In­dia with­out much trou­ble. He’s also got­ten rid of the ex­haust and has two short, straight pipes wrapped in heat tape lead­ing out of the en­gine, and point­ing straight down.

A few other in­ter­est­ing bits have been im­ported as well, like the neat-look­ing in­di­ca­tors which are in­te­grated into the barends of the han­dle­bar and those ab­so­lutely mon­strous tyres. But all this aside, quite a bit of the work was done in-house. Faizan doesn’t

Court­sey a big-bore kit, the V-twin en­gine now boasts of 1250cc in­stead of 883cc

have a mas­sive team at his dis­posal – it is just him, an au­to­mo­bile en­gi­neer, a me­tal worker and a tech­ni­cian. Faizan was all praise for his me­tal worker who fash­ioned the sprocket, the counter sprocket and a lot of the other parts by hand. In fact, all the pan­els on the bike were shaped in me­tal by hand, and these were used to cre­ate a mould.

Sure, like any cus­tomised bike, it has its is­sues. For ex­am­ple, the stand scrapes the ground every time you lean the bike left or go over a speed breaker and the pipe lead­ing into the oil tank has been chaffed by the spin­ning shaft that con­nects to the sprocket. It leaks a bit of oil as a re­sult. These are mi­nor is­sues that can be fixed in a cou­ple of hours with a lit­tle bit of tweak­ing. Other than that, the fin­ish on the bike is top class – I’d even stick my neck out and say that it is pro­duc­tion-line ri­valling. You won’t find gaps in the pan­els, the paint fin­ish is fab­u­lous and the me­chan­i­cal bits come to­gether so well and leave you with a truly ex­cit­ing bike.

If you do dare get on the bike, the first thing you no­tice is how wide ev­ery­thing is. The han­dle­bar is wide, the tank is wide, the foot­pegs are placed way back, and are wide as well. The rid­ing po­si­tion you end up tak­ing is akin to what you see on drag­sters, with your torso lean­ing for­ward and your legs swept back al­beit less ag­gres­sive. Thumb the starter but­ton and you hear the high-pitched whine of the starter mo­tor fol­lowed by an ab­so­lutely gut­tural roar from the straight pipes. I only rode it on the open road, I didn’t dare take it into the nar­row lanes of Bel­gaum (I was in no mood to get a scratch or a dent on a be­spoke one-off bike) but Faizan as­sures me it is more than man­age­able. And I don’t doubt that be­cause even though it doesn’t look it, the bike is very com­fort­able to sit on and very easy to ma­noeu­ver. In fact, in ad­di­tion to in­no­va­tion, styling and all the other ob­vi­ous cri­te­ria, com­fort was one of the most

im­por­tant fac­tors that the bikes were judged on at IBW’s Bike Build-Off. Torque is ever present and wring­ing the throt­tle leaves you cling­ing on to the han­dle­bars as the bike surges for­ward with a great big bel­low from the ex­haust. Get­ting used to the po­si­tion of the pegs takes a bit of time as it is com­pletely alien to any­thing I’ve ever rid­den be­fore, but the more time I spend on it the more com­fort­able it seems. I soon get the hang of it and this green ma­chine doesn’t seem so in­tim­i­dat­ing any more.

And now with this tro­phy in the bag, what’s next for Legacy Cus­tom Mo­tor­cy­cles? Faizan says he will con­tinue cre­at­ing cus­tom mo­tor­cy­cles but not for too long. His plan in the long run is to foray into pro­duc­tion bikes. He in­tends on im­port­ing en­gines and cre­at­ing limited pro­duc­tion runs of say around twenty and fifty units per de­sign and cre­at­ing ex­clu­sive prod­ucts for peo­ple who don’t mind pay­ing for some­thing dif­fer­ent. You can al­most draw par­al­lels to what Pa­gani have done with some of their more ex­clu­sive Zon­das — get­ting those mad 7.3-litre AMG en­gines and build­ing be­spoke limited edi­tion cars around them. For now Faizan has his eyes set on the next IBW. He re­fuses to tell me what he’s plan­ning but has promised that it will be in­ter­est­ing. And com­pletely dif­fer­ent from the Im­mor­tale. Hon­estly, I’m quite ex­cited to see what he comes up with! ⌧

The Im­mor­tale is up for sale. If you are in­ter­ested in it or want an­other be­spoke one­off bike, con­tact Faizan at +91-8197324926 or email faizan­sait@gmail.com

1: The free-flow ex­haust is in­sanely loud. 2: The speedo is the only part that is stock. 3. The girder uses an R15 spring. 4: The sprocket and the swingarm were made in-house. 5. 300-sec­tion tyre lends a mean stance

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