Mean Green's Alchemist
By Ross Sharp - 22 Apr 15
Last weekend at Bike Shed Paris we were incredibly spoiled, not only with the incredible bikes on display but by having the pleasure of being in the company of the men and women who built them. In Europe, and especially the U.K. one can become rather complacent and sometimes disparaging of some builds such is the glut of decent bikes being turned out of sheds and workshops. In order to create these wonderful machines a decent stock of donor vehicles is required, another thing we take for granted. Some parts of the world aren't blessed with such an array of mechanical canvases on which customisers can express themselves. India for example is bursting at the seems with Royal Enfields, old and new, and customising them is certainly nothing new, for decades it has been harder to find a standard one than one with at least some form of adornment or improvement. Some though take things a bit further, Aditya of Mean Green Designs from Mumbai is one such talented individual pushing himself, and the resources around him. One could say that he's mastered the Enfield, take a look at the Nevermore that we featured a while back, just the tip of Mean Green's custom iceberg. Now into the third paragraph and you might be wondering what this waffle is all about as there's no picture of an Enfield here, but there is a KTM. Why? Well, the Bajaj Group now manufactures the KTM Duke on behalf of the Austrian two-wheeled power house, meaning there are a few trellis framed donors kicking about the place. Aditya managed to bag himself one and set about his assault on the 2015 India Bike Week, with this, The Alchemist. His steampunk inspired, or retrofuturistic in his words, take on the 200cc Duke is a far cry from a new tank and some pipe wrap. Out came the sketchbook and CAD software to extract the ideas from Aditya's mind and transition them to metal, not without a great deal of trial and error in a bid to achieve the desired look. The KTM frame is a handome construction in its own right, so Aditya extended it rearward, providing an angular platform for the seat and tail. The faceted bodywork is made from stainless steel, and anyone who's worked with this material will attest that there isn't much margin for correction once a shape or bend has been made. Brass has been used extensively to temper and age the aggressive look of the angled panels. Some parts are plated whilst others like the foot pegs, machined from a billet. Hopefully Aditya has a more accommodating metal supplier than the ones we are used to in London. The exhaust is of course handmade in-house, giving the revvy, 4 valve single a more grown up sound. A welcome aural change from the rather sedate tune emitted by the 350 & 500cc Enfields swarming the city. With two short months to complete the bike Aditya put in some long days and nights and was duly rewarded by winning the MOD Bike Challenge against some pretty stiff competition. Despite working on future designs there are plans to upgrade the 200cc motor to the latest 390cc version, which should see those brass capped forks heading for the sky. Aditya and his compatriots are doing one hell of a great job in producing some fantastic and original custom motorcycles despite having a comparatively limited pool of donor vehicles available. What's next on the bench? Keep an eye on Mean Green Facebook page for updates.