Thursday, May 10, 2012

Prepping a Royal Enfield Bullet for long distance trials

This Bullet joined the stable a few months back and featured in the post on riding along the Dorset Ridgeway. As purchased a good deal of money had already been spent on the bike with parts from the Hitchcocks catalogue and it was in street scrambler trim. The intention of the acquisition was to convert it to long distance trials trim and a frantic fortnight of preparation for the MCC Lands End Trial gave the results pictured below.

Unfortunately due to family commitments I had to be a no starter in the trial but I'm pleased with the modifications to the bike and with a little more development it will more than match my ability.

Indian Royal Enfield Bullet on the left as purchased.
I knew that I would have to add lights and re-wire the bike but as with all projects there was a lot more to do than expected once things started to come apart.

First item on the improvement list was the gearbox. I had bought a wide ratio gear conversion set from Hitchcocks. The primary cover came off and apart came the clutch. It's easy enough to rebuild a Bullet gearbox in-situ and putting it back together is straightforward. The box received new bearings and seals whilst it was apart and the two cogs that comprise the wide ratio kit pressed on to the layshaft and mainshaft without too much bother. The secondary drive needed lowering too so on went a new gearbox sprocket, then of course the chain wouldn't mesh so on went a good second hand chain. The cush rubbers needed replacing so with the wheel off and the rear sprocket and drum free running the bearings felt rough. It came apart and the bearing was found to be seized and turning in it's housing, that meant a new bearing and sprocket....

Bullet sporting the fifties ISDT look.

With the drive train sorted it was time to look at the suspension. The plan was to have the bike looking like a fifties ISDT machine. A pair of shrouded shockers went on the back. The front suspension felt harsh so it came apart and the springs were found to be a couple of inches too short so in went a set of Hitchcock's progressive springs and new seals. A set of headlamp brackets again from Hitchcock's went on at the same time as did a pair of fork shrouds. These were complemented by a cheap repro Lucas SSU 700 type seven inch headlamp. To complete the look up front a repro Smiths chronometric speedo was fitted.

Lots of changes to the Bullet and lots of weight added!

Other cosmetic changes were to fit a fifties style flat type toolbox which was a cheap ebay purchase and is probably repro. The alloy tank had way too small a capacity and I had a fifties trials one kicking around so that went on and in my eyes looks just right. A fifties battery carrier and a rubber type battery case hiding a modern gel battery furthers the look and the final minor mod was to fit a fifties tappet cover.

Despite an extra baffle the trials exhaust is a bit on the loud side.

The wiring was kept as simple as possible. Old fashioned Bullet connectors and cloth loom tape. An old aluminium computer rack panel was cut to shape to form a plate under the saddle which carries the powerbox and ignition key.

From this angle indistinguishable from an original.

Next step of course is to use it in anger. I'm very pleased with the overall result and a minimum amount of money had to be spent to get there. My involvement with a number of Bullets over the years means that there is a useful pile of spares at home waiting to be dipped in to.

There's certainly going to be a fair bit of development still to be done. It's a very nice ride on the road but awaits a canter on the rough. In the pipeline is a spare 500cc motor lying under the bench and a '61 all welded frame that it could all be transplanted into...

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