Harshad TH and Sumith Sunil beat the lockdown blues by designing vehicles from scrap. These school students from Kerala modified their bicyles with engines. Although Harshad lives at Palluruthy in Ernakulam district and Sumith near Vaikom in Kottayam district, they came up with the designs in the gap of a few months. Their motorbikes, which look more or less the same, became the talk of the town after the videos of the vehicles were posted on social media.
Harshad is a class 10 student while Sumith is in class 12. While Harshad, the first one to make the bike, sourced scrap from his father TG Hashim’s automobile workshop, Sumith collected them from various scrap dealers. Among the scrap were engine, tyres, chain, socket, handles, suspension, speedometer and the like.
They both spent nearly ₹10,000. “I enjoy spending time in my father’s workshop. The lockdown gave me enough time to work on the design,” says Harshad, adding that the engine was from his valyuppa’s (grandfather) vehicle.
The bikes have iron pipes welded together to form the frame, with one of the pipes used as petrol tank. The inspiration for the design was the Mofa (mini moped) in which the chassis itself is the petrol tank, Harshad points out. While he took the help of a relative to weld the pipes, Sumith did most of it on his own. “It was extremely difficult and by evening my eyes started hurting,” says Sumith, known as Ambili in his neighbourhood. The 17-year-old adds that it was exciting to work with the scrap. “For example, the silencer was made from the spray paint tin. Since a large speedometer would have looked odd, I went for the one used in a petrol autorickshaw. My friend, Arjun, has been of great help,” says Sumith.
Harshad’s bike’s tank can hold just over one litre of petrol and Sumith’s two litres. They claim to get mileage between 40-50 km per litre. However, they cannot use their bikes on the roads now as they have to obtain relevant certificates.
Two years ago, Sumith had given a makeover to his bicycle to make it look like a motorcycle. Unfortunately it got damaged in the flood. “During the lockdown, I had initially planned to make a car. But that had to be dropped since the road to my house isn’t wide enough to drive a four-wheeler and also it was an expensive affair,” he says.
He can’t thank enough his parents, Sunil Kumar, an autorickshaw driver, mother Sinimol KC and elder brother, Sujith Sunil, who have always encouraged him. Before they got electricity connection in their new house, Sumith got a new battery to light LED bulbs in every room. “I charged it in my father’s autorickshaw,” he adds. He has exhibited his penchant for electronic devices in the rickshaw. It now has a reverse camera, besides accessories such as a music system and lights. “There is a calling bell in the passenger cabin. Now that a separator sheet is mandatory in all rickshaws, sometimes the driver can’t hear what passengers tell him. Now they can ring the bell when they reach their destination,” Sumith says.
Meanwhile, Harshad has already come up with his next invention — a boat made of PVC pipes, thermocol and wooden pieces. “Family and neighbours pitched in with funds. I made an oar and rowed it across the nearby lake. I hope to fix a motor, provided I get the money to buy one,” Harshad says.
Looks like both the designers are set on going places with their designs.