In a small, shoddy workshop in Wadi Kabir, full of worn spares, rubbers, and used batteries, the walls painted in grease, there is no sophistication in the air. There are no ramps, no lifts, and no cool, techno-tools. The place reeks of engine oil and the only person in sight is a busy man in blue mechanic jumpsuit rushing about his work. Take a closer look around, you’ll notice he is hopping between half-assembled (or disassembled) bikes.
There is a row of shining motorcycles— Harleys, Hondas, Yamahas, and Suzukis—parked on the roadside opposite the shop. This is no ordinary repair shop, and the man is no ordinary mechanic. Ganesh Govindan, the man attending to the bikes is busy. He’s so busy that he likely won’t even notice you as you stand watching him.
Ask him something and he’d respond passively, clearly pre-occupied.
That singular focus is one of the things that has made him the most respected and sought after motorbike mechanic in Muscat, attending to everything from cruisers to sports bikes in the Sultanate for over 25 years.
Time is a rare luxury for Ganesh, who works alone, with no assistants, on everything from servicing to washing to ordering parts. As the saying goes, “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself,” and for this old school mechanic, quality matters more than anything else. “Even if it takes extra time, I ensure the bike is fully free of the problem it was here for. Also, I cannot think of leaving a bike to anybody else’s care. One small scratch could badly hurt the bike and the owner, and I make sure that does not happen. That’s what my customers love me for. They trust me absolutely and I will not break it,” Ganesh explained while he attended to an open clutch.
Passionate for his métier, the man is a self-taught genius, with no formal training, specialising in everything on two wheels from sports bikes to cruisers to small capacity bikes and even scooters. Hailing from the Indian state of Kerala, 49-year-old Ganesh has been into bikes since 1982. Right after high school he started his own bike repair business, and in 1990 he brought his business to Muscat on a friend’s recommendation.
“I feel like the motorcycles talk to me. Like an ailing horse, I can know the trouble with a bike by its sound,” he explained, and he has the track record to back up his claim. From the oldest bikes to the newest models, none have ever posed a problem he couldn’t solve.
“Though technology has evolved much over the time, still the science behind the engines is very much the same. Every part has a clear function; nothing confusing. From the small, single-cylinder Honda Unicorn to the six-cylinder Honda Goldwing, I am comfortable with, and enjoy, working on them all.”
However, he does have his favourites, including Honda and Suzuki motorcycles. “Their mechanisms are real simple, and the parts easily available. I really enjoy working on them – no obstacles.” On the flipside, Harley Davidsons are the most demanding.
“Everything is complex about them. You even require exclusive HD spec tool kit, as they are not metric,” he said.
A normal routine service is a same day affair at his place, though there is often a long waiting period, so his regulars know to call up and fix a time in advance. If there is some serious trouble with a bike, it could end up remaining with him for a much longer time.
“Availability of genuine motorcycle spares is a big problem in Muscat. If a bike needs a new spare, you mostly have to order it from Dubai and wait for days for them to arrive,” he explained. “Even though it takes a lot more time getting the bike serviced here than at the dealership or other mechanics, my customers still opt to get it done only by me, because they trust me.” Customer loyalty is what Ganesh treasures the most, boasting proudly that any customer who ends up once at his shop, will never again take their bike anyplace else. His long list of loyals includes not only riders from the many of the motorcycle clubs here in Muscat, but also riders from other GCC countries as well.
“Most guys who visit me are from the riding clubs. As the different clubs regularly keep travelling to the nearby countries, many riders from those countries visit me as well on the recommendation of riders from Muscat.
A lot of riders from other countries like Kuwait, Jordan, and Bahrain specially travel here to get their bikes fixed by me,” he said. A biker at heart himself, Ganesh also goes out riding occasionally.
So which bike does this old-school expert calls his own? “None,” he answered. “With so many bikes around, do you think I still need to own one? I can ride any and many,” he grinned.
Now that’s one lucky guy.
Want to make an appointment with the Bike Whisperer? Find him at Motorcycle Repairing Shop (Saeed Al Balushi Trading) Way No. 6508 Wadi Kabir +968 9937 5087 8am to 9pm —[email protected]