Monday, August 22, 2011

Royal Enfield Bullet became a member of the family

1982 Royal Enfield Bullet (back mudflap makes it sound even better).
The Royal Enfield Bullet his father bought in India in 1982 is now at home with Chirag Mahyavanshi and his young family in a small town in Florida. The Bullet has been a member of the family for almost 30 years.

Chirag, now 31, was a child when his father, a pilot, bought the Bullet. Like most Bullets of the era, it developed some issues, and was not reliable. About 1988 he found he needed to get to the airport but taxi drivers in Mumbai were on strike. Well, he said, "if she starts, she starts." If not, he would not make his flight.

The Bullet did start and became his "lucky charm."

The problems persisted, though, and the decision was made to replace the motorcycle with a new Bullet. The original was dropped off (literally dumped, Chirag says) at a mechanic's shop, to be offered for sale. It stayed there for months, so long in fact that the decision was made to sell the new Bullet (which naturally brought more money anyway) and bring the old one back home.

"She's like a family member now. Let's keep her," Chirag's father said. So this Bullet became the motorcycle that Chirag learned to ride, at 14, and rode day in and day out in India.

Chirag moved to the United States in 2005, and works in the hotel business in Chipley, Fla. He thought of bringing the Bullet to Florida, but didn't think it was possible. Then one day he learned it could be done.

"A guy by the name of John Holdson stopped by at our motel and rented a room and we got talking. He's moved to India (New Delhi) and has been nicknamed Ballu Bulletwala. Means Ballu the Bullet Guy. He told me it was possible to import a bike, but it had to be more than 25 years old — and mine is."

Chirag was proud that his Bullet had survived more than 25 years in India, a very rough life. On a visit to India he invested in having the motorcycle reconditioned. You can see how great it looks in the pictures here.

The Bullet, Chirag, and his son Aayush in Florida.
Exporting it was harder.

"Getting the bike out of India was very time consuming. It took almost five months to get the bike out of the shipping dock due to custom authorities asking for different documentation each time," Chirag says. Part of the problem was that he was now having to deal with all this from back in the United States.

Fortunately things were easier on this side of the ocean. The motorcycle arrived in the United States on June 28 and recovering it was only delayed by the Independence Day holiday.

Aayush looks ready to ride.
Now the Bullet is at home in Florida, where Chirag has been told that the state will register it because it is more than 25 years old. Florida registrations expire on your birthday, so he will wait until after his birthday in October to register for the first time.

For the moment the Bullet is a display piece. Most people who see it don't know what it is, and some take pictures.

Eventually the Bullet will join Chirag's Yamaha GTS1000 as regular transportation. (The GTS1000 itself is a rare bird, a highly advanced sports touring model that was considered too expensive in the U.S. and so was imported only in 1993 and 1994. It featured a single-sided front swingarm suspension and anti-lock brakes.)

Chirag imagines that one day his little boy, Aayush, will ride the Bullet.

...and he very well may.


  1. Anonymous8/22/2011

    Aayush is so cute! He should get a kid-sized helmet. Adorable. Great post.

  2. Matt Law8/23/2011

    My girlfriend's uncle Robert is a friend of Chirag's...he called me (being the local Enfield guy) when the Bullet arrived,asking what fluids,how much,how to put the wheels back on,etc...he said that once they assembled it,and filled it up,it fired up on the second kick!I'm gonna ride my White Bullet up there (it's about an hour) soon,for a photo op!

  3. Anonymous8/23/2011

    thanks for the comment guys. Matt, how r u? Robert told me about u. i'd like to meet you and your Bullet. so long !!!

  4. Anonymous9/09/2011

    This is awesome!! I remember Chirag taking care of his Enfield like crazy while he was in Mumbai, India. It was sheer passion in him for his bullet and I am not surprised the bullet is with him in the US now! Amazing!!! Cheers bro!
    - pc

  5. Anonymous9/09/2011

    All the best CHAMPION!!!
    Our Champ has been so dedicated and passionate about his bike, that when all boys used to play on weekend, he used to take off atleast 4 hours each weekend to just polish and clean the bike, no matter it was used during the week or not. Havent met anyone loving their bikes so much, Chirag better pay same attention to your wife ;)
    All the best !!! JJ
    ---Another Champion

  6. I Have No Words For Ur Love For Your Ride - Very Fe Rider Mean What They Say - My Byk Comes Before My Girlfriend and Very Few Live By It and U r One Amongst Them :)

  7. Glad I could help. Hope y'all are doing good


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