Always ready to try something new, people are turning to bicycles with a passion — for convenience, for the planet, for exercise, for fun and, of course, for the coolness factor. Yes, the coolness factor.
Once upon a time bicycles were black, boring, and had spindly wheels. But today, having chosen to downsize from four wheels to two, riders want to dictate the looks and handling of their bicycles. Helping them get their rides just right are two “bicycle studios”, Pro9 Bicycle Studio in Mumbai, run by Faisal Thakur and Zubair Lodi, and Ride 2026 in Pune, run by Sami Makki.
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These two essential cycle-stops import and modify bicycles for customers, who can also bring in their own bicycles with specific requests on what they’d like to change. It helps, of course, when customers are specific in their demands — even if they ask Lodi to “make it all pink, put streamers on the handlebars, and a Hello Kitty theme all over”.
Standing in a shop that smells faintly of grease and is full of rugged bicycles, this sounds surprising. Lodi hurries to clarify that this customer was seven years old and female.
One customer gave Pro9 the details of a bicycle he’d seen in Dubai. After a month, Pro9 handed him the bicycle — imported, modified, ready to ride.
Makki, the owner of Ride 2026, mentions a slightly different customer base: “I have a lot of doctors coming in, who’ve taken to cycling as exercise and also to endorse its health benefits for their patients,” he says. “Many companies were selling a lot of junk in India in the name of bicycles and accessories,” admits Makki. He set up his small shop to help keen bikers get sincere and creative support for their bicycles. In his words, he helps “people spend less time fixing and more time riding their bikes.” Ride 2026 is also the exclusive distributor of Orbea bicycles from Spain.
So, are people looking to make their bikes better-looking, or more useful? Both, it seems. Endurance bikers want sturdy rides for the many inviting mountain trails outside Mumbai and Pune, while city riders want to jazz up their bikes and ride comfortably on bumpy roads.
Lodi recently created a bicycle ordered by an entertainment channel, which wanted a “World Cup Cricket” bike. Built to hold bats, balls, stumps, arm-guards, and even a scoreboard, in addition to the rider of course, the only thing this cycle did not carry was a pitch and enough players for a full game of cricket.
Of course, imagination and execution don’t come cheap. The customisation may cost as much as twice the price of the bicycle itself. At Pro9, costs can range from Rs 9,000 for a simple, folding bicycle, to Rs 1 lakh or more depending on the work required.
If you’re thinking “I could almost buy a Nano for that much money,” think again — you won’t have to refuel the bicycle at Rs 65 a litre. At Ride 2026, basic entry-level cycles cost Rs 15,000, and costs spiral upward as your wishlist evolves.
Even so, if you don’t yet have a bicycle, plan to buy one, and take it to these guys before you hit the road.
Pro9 Bicycle Studio, Off Carter Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai; call 9833964439
Ride 2026, Shop D1, Chaitraban Residency, Aundh, Pune; call 9890617580