Monday, October 5, 2020

Africa Bullet Resurrection Part II

 After posting up Part I of the Africa Bullet 'restoration' I had imagined that the next post on the subject would follow a few weeks later and detail some minor step forward with the project. Instead I spent a few weeks labouring in my mind over what colour to do the bike (should I go for the red it was before or make it easy with black) and then when I got the frame back from the powder coaters went in to a frenzy of re-assembly and here we are on Part II with the bike looking fairly up together. Don't worry though there's still a lot to do....

Here's the offside view as it stands at the moment.
The keen Bulleteer will spot a very unorthodox spec
for a 1955 model. In fact if I am honest only really
the frame, swinging arm, engine and gearbox are
original to the bike.

Indian Enfield quick release rear wheel. I fitted this
for the Africa trip as it makes taking the wheel out
so much more easy. The original Redditch non-qd
wheel means you have to split the chain and
disconnect the brake to take out the wheel. The drive
side axle on the Indian wheel is slightly larger diameter
so to get it to fit in the Redditch swinging arm the slot
had to be filed out slightly.

I had slowly collected a few nice stainless bits and
pieces for the bike as I saw them and to spread the
cost. The idea of this bike is as a year round whatever
the weather rider. The more stainless the better. These
lower engine mounts came from a guy trading as JT
Classic Stainless on eBay. Highly recommended.

I had some stainless gearbox mounts from my last
Indian Enfield kicking around that I had never gotten
round to fitting. They are of a different size to the
Redditch ones (same spacing on the gearbox but the Indian
one is a lot taller) - they had to be re-drilled to suit
and cut down to size.

The stainless theme continues with the
front engine mount. Not so the bolts
though. I've used whatever came off the
bike as long as it was in decent condition
and correct size - you've got the reign in
the spend somewhere and having travelled
so far with the bike and taken it apart and
re-assembled it so many times these nuts and
bolts are rather like old friends to me....

Off-side view. The side stand is an Indian one - it
was lying around and besides they are pretty good.

Previously the bike was fitted with a casquette from
an early sixties model. It didn't look quite right and
I like the appearance of the separate headlight. I scored
this Hitchcocks top yoke fairly cheap so on it went.

Point of 'interest' for Bullet nerds...
The '55 model frames were current for
that year only - both the 350 and 500
ones have a casting rather than plate for
the swinging arm mount and the 500 models
have a detachable subframe that bolts up
with heavy castings just behind the saddle.

For riding around Africa I fitted a disc
front end from an Electra model. I've
got the original front wheel but decided
to stick with the disc - I hope to do some
heavy duty touring with the bike once more
sometime. Rather than the Electra fork I
switched to one from an UCE model - the
fork is a bit beefier plus you can keep the
traditional fork shrouds and mudguard
mounts - it just looks better. Trying to fit
different eras of parts together was a bit of an
experiment. Thankfully the thread on the
stanchions to the top yoke was the same.
The differences are that a longer axle is required
plus new shrouds as the diameter of the UCE
forks is slightly greater.

To get the UCE shrouds to match to the
earlier headlight ears I had to machine a
small aluminium adaptor.

In for a penny in for a pound on mixing up the parts.
I fitted a bottom yoke from an early sixties bike
as they are slightly stronger than the earlier
ones. Plus it has a steering damper. Not necessary
but it just appealed to me.

Next instalment coming up soon. The petrol tank, toolboxes and other sundries are going off to the powder coaters in the next few days. Soon as the petrol tank goes on hopefully we can start the beast up.


  1. Very cool that you're fixing up the old Enfield, and that you want to keep travelling on it. I look bff forward to hearing more!

    1. Thanks for the comment. Hope to have it on the road for next season. It looks up together but there is still plenty to do.