KOCHI: Trends come and go, and only a few last long. Royal Enfield Bullet is one which has stood the test of time, often reflecting the masculine ways in both reel and real lives. 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 even Italian giants Ducati, a 62-year-old mechanic from Thrissur is proud.
Meet Bullet Joy, who has loved Enfield bikes like no other for more than four decades. Joy has been one of the pioneers in fine-tuning and modifying Bullets, with many of his customised services being rated par excellence.
The company had invited him to its factory in 1990 in the erstwhile Madras 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 there for almost a week and presented all the changes I had brought to the bike at different times. I was given Rs 8,000 and a certificate,” said Joy.
His garage near the Thrissur Railway Station is modest, but Joy has made his name among Bullet enthusiasts. When Bengaluru-based Atul Warrier decided to bike through 40 countries in 550 days, after selling all his possessions, he could not overlook Joy’s expertise; he took his motorcycle to him to be fine-tuned and modified for the long journey.
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 manufacturing in India. “Having worked on the old imported Bullets, I experimented and increased the crank weight 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 handles with the old type, he considerably reduced the bike’s vibrancy, an issue the Bullet riders often complain about. He also increased the motorcycles mileage without compromising on power.