An ‘outlaw’ mechanic in Hanoi has become famous for his skill of transforming old and illegally imported motorbikes into classy and expensive vehicles.
The man is called Q., the owner of a workshop located deep in an alley in Nam Tu Liem District of the Vietnamese capital, which is specialized in turning cheap bikes into high-value ones only suitable for certain groups of users.
The facility has five large rooms, each used to store tens of thrown-away motorcycles with high-capacity engines, between 150 and 1,000cc, from such famous brands as Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki.
The process of transforming those rusted bikes into extraordinary vehicles is no big deal for Q.
“You have to be a risk taker to ride these types of motorcycles,” the mechanic stated. “If you get pulled over by traffic cops, chances are that your bike will be confiscated.”
Q. added that he also provides extra service that covers necessary paperwork proving the bike’s legitimacy for those customers who need a sense of security, which costs quite a lot.
Old motorbikes are seen at the workshop of Q. in Hanoi. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Pointing at a Honda Steed 400cc, the man stated that the vehicle is sold at VND40 million (US$1,765), with documents to legalize it costing another VND35 million ($1,544).
Switching his attention to a Yamaha Virago 250cc with a rather ‘monstrous’ appearance, Q. said that it was assembled with components from four other bikes of the same type.
In order to make such a motorbike, Q. spent about VND15 million ($662) on the old bikes for their usable parts, the man said, adding that he earns some VND40 million in profit for each Yamaha Virago.
Seeking legitimate paperwork for these motorcycles can take up to a few months as the process involves many phases and Q.’s wide network.
According to Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Xuan Hoa, an official from the Hanoi Department of Police, local officers have discovered several cases of faking legal documents regarding these types of bikes.