Published: 15th October 2017
To this king of Bullet modification, the Royal Enfield is much more than a machine
Joy, a noted name among bike enthusiasts has over the decades increased the engine crank weight of over 3K bikes
Trends come and go and only a few last long but the Royal Enfield bullet is one which has stood the test of time. As its various models catch the imagination of the country's youth, propelling the company to a stature mighty enough to chalk out ambitious plans to buy Italian giants Ducati, a 62-year-old mechanic from Thrissur is feeling joyful and proud. Meet Bullet Joy, who has loved Enfield bullets like no other for more than four decades.
Joy has been one of the pioneers in the field of fine-tuning and modifying bullets, with many of his customised services being rated par excellence. The company had invited him to its factory in erstwhile Madras in 1990 and honoured him while he was also asked to train its service engineers, which was an even better recognition.
"I was called by the then manager Aacharya to the Tiruvottiyur plant. I stayed at the plant for almost a week and presented all the changes I had brought to the bike at different times. They were happy and, when I returned, I was given a sum of around Rs 8,000 and a certificate," said Joy.
Attired and resonating simplicity, Joy has made his name among Bullet enthusiasts. When Bangalore-based Atul Warrier decided to bike through 40 countries in 550 days, after selling all his possessions, he could not overlook Joy's expertise. Joy has increased the engine crank weight of more than 3,000 bikes over the decades.
In the 70s, the crank weight was 9.5 kg, which was later reduced when the company started production in India. "Having worked on old imported bullets, I experimented and increased it to 10.5 kg, which became a huge success," said Joy.
He also changed decompression from auto to manual which significantly reduced the engine's noise and optimised its performance. By replacing the present swinging arms in the body with the old type, he considerably reduced the bike's vibrancy, an issue the bullet riders often complain about. He also increased mileage without compromising on power. One no longer gets an easy appointment with Joy and his garage is flooded with bikes for modification. Yet he squeezes in time to be present as special judge, alongside academically- qualified people, at motor shows.
"This weekend, I'll be judging the bikes' performance at a motor show organised by students at the Thrissur Government Engineering College," he said, adding "I'm very glad to see roads flooding with the bullets, with youth vrooming away on them. But to become a true bullet rider, one should be responsible and love his bike. Only then, the bike will deliver optimum performance," he said.
Joy said modifications, like introducing radiators to cool its heavy engines, become necessary as bullets were designed to suit British conditions. Noushad Aliyaar, a bike enthusiast who once owned around 15 of them said it was Joy's dedication and commitment to the job that commands respect among bullet lovers. But the fine-tuner attributes his success to genuine passion for bikes. "Only then the work will yield results," he says.