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Rajputana Custom’s 1942 BSA M20 – “Laado”

Posted on November 13, 2012 by Andrew in Bobber. 36 comments

Wanting more speed, Vijay added two extra horsepower to the bike

You may or may not have noticed, but on the odd occasion us Pipeburnian types do tend to hunt out some pretty sweet bikes. And as with anything that’s pleasing to the eye, you often can’t help but feel a little jealous because every time you look in your inbox you are bombarded with a vast array of rides that, save for a massive crime spree, are most definitely not yours. But today I think I can safely say that I’ve taken it to the next level. See, looking over the photos you see before you, I found myself not only jealous of the bike shown in the shots, but also of… well of everything. There’s the polo horses. The garage full of sweet rides. A house that looks to all intents and purposes like a palace, and a guy called Vijay that owns the lot and runs a custom bike shop too boot. And then he’s gone and done the whole thing in Rajasthan, often acknowledged as one of India’s most beautiful spots. Don’t you just hate him?

A Birmingham Small Arms and a Bloody Snarly Associate

Here’s Vijay. “‘Laado’ is a Rajasthani word for “precious or sweetest,” in my case “my favourite” a.k.a. ‘Mahri Laadli.’ It was 2010 and Rajputana Custom Motorcycles had been running for less than a year when I went to see my friend John Harwood at his design studio/factory outside town. He walked me around the compound explaining the various different processes that went into making their array of one-off artworks. He does everything from cutting jewelry, casting brass sculptures, to detailed engravings and inlay work on ornaments. He is also an avid ‘British biker’ who excels in his field of art but also shares a common love for two wheels.”


“I saw… a BSA M20 sticking out from behind
some heavy cobwebs and a plank of wood”


“In one of the rooms I saw the headlight of a WWII BSA M20 sticking out from behind some heavy cobwebs and a plank of wood. I dragged her out with the wheels jammed and in complete tatters… she’d been parked there for 20+ years but had not really rusted anywhere.”

So many cool bikes. We’re green with envy

“I loaded her in the back of a Jeep and had her transported to the workshop immediately. We changed her spark plugs, oil, replaced the air filter and fired her up in 10 odd mins – surprisingly.”

“We then went on to overhaul the engine and gearbox… furthermore we built a few brass parts and had them engraved as highlights. Note that we did not chop any part on the original M-20, we simply added different mounts & the Avon MKII Universals to make her look more raunchy! She’s been great fun to gradually work on and it’s a good thing she is my personal bike… Sunday riding is always a pleasure with Laado.”

  • This is what a bobber is all about – what American ex-GIs did with war surplus Harleys and Indians. It just looks right. Kudos to the builder.

    • That’s a real bike of the “if i can’t buy it, i’ll steal it” type.

  • Randy Moran

    That is really nice. Great job!

  • arnold

    ’bout time a real bike showed up for the show.

    Vijay’s tats are interesting too. Sleeve and sleeveless. I need not wonder how that goes over with the polo crowd.

    • arnold

      The bike seems to be a hit at the polo club though.

  • rennie61

    In a word STUNNING. Couldn’t really be more stripped-down. Shows in instant what is so right with vintage bike design and what is so wrong with most modern bikes.

  • Sideroad

    Bloody good job!

  • garage_monster

    gorgeous. freaking great job, man

  • Fast gabe

    Proportions are perfect
    Which is what every custom needs to start off with

  • Fast gabe

    Proportions are perfect
    A great custom starts off with this

  • SportsterMike

    Nice bike. Reminds me of the one I saw 30 odd years ago that a mate built for his girlfriend from a pile of bits.. we didn’t call them bobbers though… just an old hack built as ‘cheap as chips’ and it certainly didn’t look this good

  • bky911

    Awesome job…the quality of the job, simplicity of design and excellent proportions…Fenders? Well, Rajasthan hardly gets any rain anyways!

  • Mondo Lulu

    Great bobber. Even better photography – the shot of the dog and the framing of the horses in the bg elevate it above the “this is a bike and its bits”. Time to raise my game…

  • Bruce

    Simply beautiful. I have an old BSA M21 – the M21’s 600cc – which I’ve restored into a lovely bobber. I’ve included a picture for comparison. They make fantastic bikes and yours is an absolute treat. Well done.

    • Well done, Bruce!

    • Bruce. Get in touch with me – andrew{at}

    • Excellent bobber, Bruce. I love these simple yet beautiful British old school style customs.

  • vishal

    super vijay singh , because VIJAY ,,,, awesome

  • John

    This thing is killer. My next project is 50’s BSA. I just finished restoring my grandfathers 51 BSA D1 for my cousin. It left me with a full roller. This is great inspiration!

  • Love Rajputana Custom Motorcyles.. !!

  • itsmefool

    Yep, love it! It’s especially cool considering he didn’t have to mangle the original to get it looking like this!

  • Great bike, but I have a question, why does the bike have tank pads in a few pictures but not in others?

  • neoleaver

    Just ‘right’.

  • Marcus

    Perfect. Only word to describe it!

  • Hi
    Sorry to ask the tyres that on the bike
    Look awesome.i am looking for similar
    Tyres for my bike and was told against
    This that the tyres are rear only.
    Have You encountered any problems
    Riding the bike ? Grip wise
    Would you recommend this or not.
    Must admit they do look great

  • Robert Wysoki


  • looks good but is it safe

    looks nice but the front brake arms on upside down so a bit of cable strech & the arm will touch & NO BRAKE. Also …..bending forks around a tyre ??

  • I had to laugh when I saw this bike’s name and that it was in India. I don’t speak any Indian languages, but I do speak pretty good Nepali, which shares many common words with Hindi and a number of other South-Asian languages (anything evolved from Sanskrit).

    In Nepali “Laado” is a very rude word for “Penis”, I assumed it must be the same in Hindi and thought the builder had called his bike “the cock”. I was almost disappointed to find that wasn’t the case.

    Very sweet bike though. My grandad had an M20, sadly he sold it before I was old enough to ride 🙁

    • i guess you are worng.penis=loda(in slang hindi),Laado=my favorite (in local Rajasthani terminology). i hope your confusion is cleared now :-p

  • M_scow

    Any chance we can get some of the pic’s posted in Wallpaper quality?

  • Gonzalo

    Hey this is my Royal Enfield. Nice bike congrats

  • neat bike. He did a good job to fix it up from how he found it. I often recommend to people that want to get into pre WWII bikes that they consider buying a M20 as their first early bike. They are affordable, plentiful and easy to work on. I like this one, except for those darn tires. If he swaps them back to a Avon SM and Speedmaster, the bike will handle a lot better. And then he can un-bend the front forks since they’ll fit the normal tires. Minus the mudguards it looks 100 pounds lighter and 50mph faster than stock. Good job, let’s see more guys riding early machines.

  • RCM fan

    damn u vijay


    thank you boss for making up your mind heart determintion to customise the bike & showded the world that indians are also capeble of doing any sort of work plz contiune the work let god bless you with more super ideas but plz make simple customization dnt complicate too much dnt look good but plz dnt remove both the fenders as you knowour indian roads& our people how they talk hope you can ustd

  • Kev Hulse

    i had one of these and sold it halfway through restoration many years ago.. heartbreaking in retrospect