This week, we take a closer look at a man whose reputation for resurrection of old motorcycles precedes him. He is truly one among the Yogis as very few people have the wisdom to do what they desire in life. He chose to do what he loved in life and now he brings back classic old motorcycles back from the dead.
Yogi Chhabria or Yogi as he is popularly known is one such individual. He started working at age 14 and did jobs for a total of 17 years before he settled on his dream job of restoring and customising old motorcycles and scooters. Born and brought up in South Bombay, working on motorcycle/scooters is something he acquired from his father who also worked on them.
Describe your journey up until the conception of YC Design?
I used to hang out at a local mechanic's place since a very early age and took interest in learning the basics of a two wheeler. In 2004, with the help of the very same mechanic, I did up my first motorcycle and then later worked on some motorcycles of friends and family. This was alongside my regular job, so basically all work was done over the weekends.
In 2012, I decided to quit corporate life once and for all and follow my passion of working on vintage and classic motorcycles and scooters. In September 2013, almost a year after quitting my job and a whole lot of planning and preparation, I started YC Design and there has been no looking back for me ever since.
YC Design deals with restoring and customising motorcycles, mainly old school and vintage motorcycles and scooters. One hashtag I generously use on myself instagram is #lovewhatido and this is exactly my message to the world. I do what I do because I love it and that is what brings me progress and what get me results.
Ever since I was a child, old motorcycles and scooters have fascinated me and this fascination has translated into a passion that has shaped a life working around these old motorcycles.
What are your particulars when it comes to doing up a Motorcycle?
I make sure it is as close to original to possible. But if the customer demands upgrades like bigger brakes and other mods to make the Motorcycle more usable for everyday needs, I shall do those as well.
I don’t work on the latest motorcycle. If someone approaches me with a new motorcycle, my natural reaction is to send them over to other people. I enjoy working mostly on classic motorcycles and I make sure I enjoy each work that I take up. Hence the reluctance to work to new motorcycles!
Which according to you has been your best ever Motorcycle build till date?
For me, every built is better than the previous one. I constantly strive to make each build better than last one. So I'll have to say that for the time being, it is the latest build.
How many restorations do you do at YC Design in a year?
I do anywhere between 15-20 restorations a year. This year I'm striving for 25 and I'm currently already at 9 which keeps me well on track to reach my target as of now.
So what sort of services do you offer to someone looking to restore or customise a Motorcycle at YC Design?
Basically I get Motorcycles from Clients who are from all corners of the Country. I get the Motorcycles restored, modified and delivered to my clients. Even if someone approaches me with an idea of doing up a Motorcycle that they have still not procured, I can procure the Motorcycle for them and then work on it. Everything is possible.
What are the motorcycles that you personally own?
I own a few motorcycles myself. They are the 1995 Suzuki shogun, 1970 Luna Moped, 1998 Suzuki DS80, 2014 Honda CRF450X, 1986 Yamaha RD350, 2014 Hero Impulse, 2006 Honda Dio, 1959 Lambretta, and the 1996 Yamaha RXG.
Why do you like 2 stroke motorcycles and where did this love for them begin?
Well, I bought my first motorcycle (which I still own) in 1997. It was the legendary 1995 Suzuki Shogun and that's where my love for 2 strokes began from. What I love about 2 strokes is that they're non-fussy engines and they are extremely exciting. Sounds great too!
If you could only save one of your motorcycles...which one would it be and why?
That would be my 1995 Suzuki Shogun. It is my first ever motorcycle and it is a big reason I do what I do these days.
What is your inspiration behind starting a business of restoring these old motorcycles?
My father was a grease monkey and I think it rubbed off on me too. I have in my blood that same passion my father had for these old motorcycles and that I think has to be the chief inspiration for starting YC Design.
Which is the motorcycle that you deal with the most in your shop and why do you so many people want to restore them?
I do up a lot of Yamaha's and Lambrettas at the shop. Both these machines have a huge nostalgic value and that I think explains them being the motorcycles I deal with most at the shop.
Do you own any other motorcycle except your two strokes? Tell us about it.
As I said earlier, I own a host of 2 and 4 strokes. My Honda CRF450X is the most exciting 4 stroke I own. It's an Enduro and is very quick and agile.
How can someone contact you for enquiries?
Well, for one, they can visit the shop if they are in Mumbai. It is located in Girgaum. Here is the full address if you want to pop by :-
Jyoti Studio Compound
You can also reach out to me on instagram - yogichhabria_ycdesign and via email at email@example.com
You can also buzz me at 9820109654
If you have a Two Stroke story to tell, email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org