PETALING JAYA: Two architects have hung up their technical drawing tools in favour of the wrench to pursue their dream of running a motorcycle modification business.
Kamarul Azahar Azman, 33 and Adi Marwazif, 25, have left their day jobs as architects to open motorcycle workshops in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam.
Kamarul, who co-owns KerkuS Motorworks in Kuala Lumpur, said he started working on motorcycles with a friend as a hobby in 2012.
“We started in our own backyard in Keramat and then opened a shop in The Garage KL in the middle of last year,” he told FMT.
He said he learnt to modify motorcycles from YouTube as well as from experienced builders.
“I’m still learning and I feel uncomfortable when some look up to me,” he said. “There’s still a long way to go. I have a lot more to learn. It’s really great that most experienced builders you meet are willing to teach you what you want to know.
“YouTube is very useful. You can pretty much find anything you need there.”
He said he used to modify motorcycles part-time while working as an architect until he opened the workshop.
“Now, it’s the other way around. I’m working on motorcycles full-time and only doing architectural work part-time.
“Business is not great and that’s why I’m still forced to fall back on architecture. But the passion keeps me going.”
Kamarul said he chose to work only on classic cafe racers and this made it even more challenging to turn a profit.
“My market is very niched but as long as there are rich people in this country and working-class people who want to relieve stress, there will be people coming to my shop.”
Cafe racers are lightweight, light-powered motorcycles optimised for speed and handling. They are ideal for quick rides over short distances.
Adi, on the other hand, had worked as a landscape architect for only a few month before he quit to open Prelova Studio two months ago.
“I found architecture very boring during my short stint while I have loved motorcycles since I was a little kid,” he told FMT.
“I learnt the inner workings from friends and other modifiers and mechanics.
“I started working on bikes from home. Since I also do maintenance work, I have regular customers.”
Adi has also tried his hand at motorcycle restoration work.
“In 2015, someone from Damansara came to me with a 1962 Honda Benly 150. The bike was in terrible condition. He wanted me to restore it and I agreed to try. It took me nearly three months to get it done.”
Kamarul and Adi agree that their grounding in architecture is a big help when thinking up designs for motorcycle modifications.