Saurabh Jyoti and his bikes: A unique love story

When talking about bikes, one of the first names to come up is that of Saurabh Jyoti, Director of Jyoti Group of Companies and Chairman of Syakar Trading Company, the authorized distributor of Honda in Nepal. Saurabh is one of those individuals who are obsessed with motorbikes. With some of the best collection of bikes along with Batman, Superman and Transformers’ merchandise in his personalized garage, his obsession and passion for motorbikes is exceptional.

Esparsh Sarawagi talks to Saurabh Jyoti to learn more about his fascinating world of motorbikes.

How did your obsession with bikes begin?

Since we have been the distributors of Honda for the last fifty years in Nepal, I have always been around bikes and I have grown up seeing many Honda bikes going in and out of my home and office. Even during my college days, bikes had great charm which boosted my passion for them. Though today it’s a part of my business, my love for bikes continues since my early childhood.

When did you learn to ride bikes?

I started riding motorbikes when I was fourteen. Then, I started using them on a daily basis during my college days as bikes were something everyone loved at that time and I used my bike to commute to college every day.

Which were some of the bikes that you rode in your early days?

The first bike I rode was Honda CD 125. Then I went on to ride Honda NX 250 Dominator for on-off travels. During my college days, I used to ride Yamaha RD 350 twin cylinder which I have got back now.

When did you start collecting motorbikes?

Collection is not something that I have added at once. I have been collecting bikes since I was eighteen years. I have a passion for all kinds of motorcycles whether its super sports, touring-bikes, cruisers or on-off road bikes

Tell us about some of the bikes in your collection and your favorite among them?

When I buy a bike, I make sure that it’s a part of the motorcycle history, unique and has a limited production. I just got CBR 1000 RR Fireblade which is a 25th Anniversary edition and has also got a badge on it. The previous CBR 1000 RR I had was also the 20th Anniversary edition. Similarly, I have a Suzuki B-King which is a limited production bike. The Honda Africa Twin DCT is a new addition which is one of the first DCT models in Nepal and is a legendary model which won the Dakar Rally and was made after ten years. It is gear-less and has quite advanced technologically.

My favorite is the Honda Dax 70 since it’s my father’s bike. Another favorite is my Yamaha RD 350 as I used to ride it to college. At present, my favorite is Honda CBR 1000RR which is the latest 189 BHP, full electronic controlled with rigid frame, anti-wheelie, all LED headlight and full titanium exhaust.

Which is the most expensive bike in your collection?

As of now, it’s the Ducati Diavel which is full carbon and has lots of custom parts.

What is the first thing you look for when it comes to buying a bike?

Different bikes have different appeals to me. I bought the Africa Twin because I wanted to go to Lhasa on it as it’s good for touring. For power, speed and agility I got CBR 1000 RR. In super moto, I got my MV Augusta Rivale 800 because of its stylish look and its light weight though it’s a 900-cc bike. So, I look for different purposes before buying different bikes.

Which one would you prefer: Sports or vintage?

Both have their own charms. Sports bikes are more modern machines while vintage are timeless classics. Choosing between a modern bike and a vintage is like choosing between your children.

What are some of the modifications that you generally make with your bike?

I think more than the modifications, I generally fit the original parts that are authorized by the manufacturers. When I buy a bike, it generally suits my need and requirement and thus I don’t make that many modifications. Also, modification is illegal in Nepal. But, in general I make the modification with the parts. The original parts that I swap are like the silencers to make the bike lighter. Sometimes, I go with lithium ion battery instead of an acid battery in the older bikes so that I can save few kgs. I am also particular with the tires and make some modifications in case of on-off road tires. I also tweak with a lot of decorative items which include Bat-Man wraps and other customizations.

How do you maintain that pro-look with any bike you ride on? What is the secret?

I think it’s about how much you care for your bike because whichever bike you ride it reflects your personality. Just as I make sure I wear a nice suit when I go for a party, while on a ride I make sure that my bike is in running order, the pressure on the tire is up to the mark, side-light and head-light are working. I also maintain and clean my bikes regularly. I guess that is why my bikes are always newer-looking.

Can you recall any crazy moment with your bike?

There are many crazy moments. I have fallen off my bikes many times and have also had surgeries due to it. The most memorable time is when I went to Manang with my wife last year. It was Carbonator 250 Tornado whose power went down by about 30% as we went up. We fell off many times and also got lost. Riding uphill on the road to Manang after dark was very challenging and one of my craziest moments.

Which is the longest ride you have ever been on?

My longest ride was to the Muktinath which took me eight days there and back.

Which luxury bike-brand do you wish to add to your collection?

I am looking forward to getting the CB 1000 R Neo Sports Café which is a new concept bike by Honda. Another one is the Kawasaki Supercharged H2R from the Ninja Series which is a first supercharged motorbike and the third is a Confederate P51 Combat Fighter.