The ‘Vicious’ Roar of Change

Report and pictures by: 
Ariffin Jamar

Tucked away in the industrial estate of Paya Ubi, Vicious Cycles can be found by sound rather than by sight.

The roars of powerful engines that is.

In the workshop, Mr Matthew Lim hunkers over a gleaming hunk of chrome. This journalist innocently asks what engine it is and a torrent of information bursts forth. It is a 1994 Harley-Davidson Evolution and is highly sought after. The 35-year-old can tell you everything from its heritage to the power it holds. Think of Vicious Cycles as Orange County Choppers (OCC) on popular reality TV show American Chopper. Like OCC, it is a workshop that customises rides.

“It’s a place by bikers, for bikers,” says the boss proudly.

Mr Lim’s team of six can do almost everything, from switching out the handlebars to pimping the ride and even building the bike from scratch. He has loved bikes for as long as he can remember. After graduating from ITE, Mr Lim became a selftaught mechanic at a local garage famous for its work on scramblers. But about two years ago, he got “bored” of his generic ride and itched to create something new.

And so Vicious Cycles was born, he says with a laugh.

His wife, Madam Teresa Tay who is in her 30s, runs a tattoo parlour in the space upstairs. She is also part of the Vicious Cycle team and uses her creativity and design abilities to create bike accessories. She also does pinstriping, a technique of hand painting designs on the fender, tanks and body of custom bikes.

The best job they’ve done so far? Overhauling a mangled ‘94 Yamaha FTW200. The piece landed itself coverage in a big Australian publication devoted to custom bikes in 2012.

“The customer trusted me, so I went all out,” says Mr Lim.

So close are the team and their customers that they think nothing of going out on rides together. We spot him fiddling over every detail of the bikes in the workshop.

“Bikes are like babies,” says the father of one, who is expecting his sec- ond child any day now.

“The more love you give, the more you get out of it.”

The article related to these pictures was first published in The New Paper on Sunday on January 12, 2014.