By James McCombe - 06 Dec 14
At the recent Motorcycle Live event in the UK, it was clear to see manufacturers fully accepting the current interest in 'New Wave' customs. But which manufacturer had embraced it the most? BMW with their R-NineT? Ducati's new Scrambler? Yamaha and the popular Yardbuilt series, perhaps? Seemingly, it was the Chinese manufacturer Herald Motor Company (nee. HJC). With two-dozen bikes on the stand, virtually every one was either factory customised or modified by an aftermarket builder in some way. Cafes, Trackers and Scramblers resplendent in their small capacity glory looked fantastic under the show lights. The quality of these machines is rising exponentially and we've already seen them successfully modified in the UK by Mutt Motorcycles. It's likely we will soon see the same from that other industrial heavyweight, India. With a relatively small presence in Western markets, it's easy to forget that companies like Bajaj Auto are some of the largest producers of motorcycles in the world. Their capacity far exceeds many brands familiar in Europe and America. Simple air cooled steel framed bikes, made in the millions, is this a new, cheap source of donor bikes I wonder? In India the usual suspects of CB750s, NX650s and BMW R-series bikes are both scarce and expensive, so builders are picking up the torch and displaying their handmade skills on home-grown products, like this: The Gambit by Autologue designs. Autologue is the brainchild of a team of passionate automotive designers and engineers. Formed in October 2013 by Mukul Nanda, he's been involved with numerous vehicular projects including various cars, bikes, ATVs and Go-Karts. You name it, if it has an engine and wheels, then Mukul has likely had fun building and modifying it. Autologue's aim is to bring Indian automotive design and customisation on par with global standards, and by doing so on a beloved domestic product, providing inspiration for thousands of others. Based on a Bajaj Pulsar 180, a well loved entry level bike, the project came about when a customer wanted something light and simple that could tackle the hilly terrain of North East India. Despite this being a 1000 miles away from their Pune base and with a modest budget, Mukul and his team were eager to tackle the familiar Pulsar and transform it's anonymous looks. What strikes you first about the Gambit is that beautifully crafted bodywork. Fashioned from steel, the tank with its concave sides, shows Autologue's handiwork to it's best. Any sacrifice in fuel capacity accepted as worthwhile in the bike's metamorphisis; the frugal engine barely sips at the reservoir anyway The matching side panels, made by Mukul's team, cover the air intake, ensuring the engine doesn't eat too much dirt. Purposely juxtaposed, they aren't curved like the tank and look neatly OEM. The bodywork is coated in a groovy '70s inspired paint job. The metallic orange shimmers, with white infill panels hosting the psychedelic characters. Out back a black leather tuck and roll seat sweeps with a classic scrambler vibe. 'Partners be damned' jokes Mukul, this is a bike for the singular person; the seat and lack of passenger pegs ensuring this is one of the few single occupancy bikes in India. The mechanicals were kept as Bajaj provided, they are well tested and a known quantity on Indian roads. A new exhaust system was manufactured though, giving that thumping single soundtrack a lift. The megaphone finished system clad in a layer of black pipe wrap from port to silencer. The bike is functional too, featuring not only usefully sized mudguards at both ends but a custom bash plate keeps the powerplant pebble dash free. Lighting has been swapped out for a mesh covered Bates Style unit, keeping things classy. While the standard cast 6-spoke Pulsar wheels remain, some suitable dual sport tyres vastly improve the bikes ability on uneven terrain. A great little project, we hope to see more builds based on more unusual platforms. Have no doubt that there will be more to come from Mukul and his team: Autologue are flat out working on their next projects. Check out their Facebook page and Website for the latest developments.