Innovation: Stylish, bold and unique. That’s how a motorbike in Kanglung, Trashigang is being described. Ugyen Jatsho, 25, has customised and assembled a motorbike.
Machines fascinated Ugyen from a very young age. He vividly remembers the time when he found a damaged chainsaw dumped in his neighbourhood.
He took it home and began repairing the engine.
“I was only nine years old then. After three years, I finally fixed the engine and it struck me that I could do better with machines. That’s how it all started,” he said.
He would dismantle toys and electric appliances to understand the mechanism behind them. After school, he spent most of his time learning mechanical works.
By the time he was 15, Ugyen started showing interest in bikes. He would be fascinated by how people in the west customised their own bikes.
“Ever since, I always had this dream of making my own customised bike someday. Money was the biggest challenge and I also had to attend schools” he said.
At home, he tried making basic household appliances. He proudly talks about a milk churner, a grinding machine and a vegetable drier he made for his grandmother during his high school days.
In 2010, he won a science exhibition competition where he demonstrated his electric chalk-dispensing box.
“I applied the mechanisms of an Auto Teller Machine on the chalk box,” he said.
“You insert a card, press the number of chalks you want and the box dispenses them,” he said. “Winning the competition made me believe I could achieve more in this field.”
In 2013, after Ugyen completed his diploma in Civil Engineering from India, he finally had time to fulfil his dream of making a bike on his own.
“Nobody supported my idea. People would say I was only wasting my time, but I didn’t give up,” he said.
In 2015, his elder brother, who is a contractor, helped him financially.
It took him about two months to collect materials and parts of the bike. He also learned welding works and began assembling the bike.
“The only imported parts are the engine and the wheels. The rest are parts taken from other bikes and vehicles, some household items and construction materials,” he said. “There were many instances when the bike failed but I kept on improvising it.”
Unlike other normal bikes, Ugyen’s bike has a charging slot for cell phones and it gears are shifted using a lever. On a plain road, the bike achieves a speed of more than 100km per hour and the fuel consumption is reportedly efficient. It cost him Nu 35,000.
Ugyen plans to take the bike to Thimphu for official tests and complete registration works. With further improvisation and refinement, he hopes to make more bikes in the future.
“I have a lot of friends on social media who have shared their interest in buying cheaper bikes that is designed like a Harley Davidson. And this bike is just what they have on their mind,” he said.
Tshering Wangdi | Trashigang