The bike kinda builds itself,
all I do is put it together.

The contents of this blog is a record of work carried out by the author and other third party information and pictures gleaned from various sources on the internet. It is published for academic interest and entertainment only. It is neither suggested or intended that any work or modifications shown here are to be carried out by any party reading the blog.

The Hitchcock Rigid Conversion

Mission Statement

This blog has been set up as a record of my attempt to build a cool Bobber style bike out of the Royal Enfield Bullet. With the cost of genuine early British and American bikes and parts spiralling upwards in the face of the current global economic climate, building a retro style custom is rapidly becoming cost prohibitive. Initially, there will be a period of accruing parts and information as the bike I intend to re-create is my daily rider.
I have heard so many horror stories about the Indian made Bullet from people who's mate used to have one, that I have lost count. All I can say is that I have covered over 20,000 miles on mine in the last three and a half years, and feel happy that it is quite capable of doing another 20.
So if you like the idea or just curious, you are welcome to come along for the ride.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Wheel Building

With the festive activities pretty much over and done with, and a break in the Arctic conditions, I popped over and picked the wheels up. Pleased ? Well you could say that, they're looking as cool as the weather and twice as bright. The rims are Akront Morad and not Borranis, a shame in a way but the drive towards period originality in the custom world has pushed the price of original Borranis through the roof. These look the same and Akront were a big player back in the day, don't matter which they are they're still a bastard to clean. Wait for the holidays to finish now and get 'em rubbered up.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Off to the side

Sorry chap's too cold to get down the shed so I offer up this for your delectation. From Heiwa in Japan, it knocks my socks off, can't find anything that I really dislike about it.
I reckon that Street Trackers and this, the Brat Style are the future of customising, because donor vehicles are available and they're still cheap, get in early.

A Bit Of An Update

Andy Berry phoned up last night with a progress report on the motor. The hold up is the crank, when he stripped it to replace the floating bush with a roller big end the drive side flywheel had been galled where the crank pin had been pressed in during manufacture. This is now at Alpha bearings getting the two flywheels line bored to accept a new slightly larger pin. Otherwise everything else in and on the motor is ready to go back together. I'm not really fretting about this as it's got to be right, and from what Andy is saying it will be a joy both to look at and use.
So I'm afraid it's gonna be a little longer yet chaps.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Bloody Snow !!!!!!!

The wheels are done, or so I'm told. Can't get over to pick 'em up due to the prevailing weather conditions. Ho Hum!

Friday, 17 December 2010

A Strange Affliction

The Madras Marauder is my sole means of transport, and as such gets used in all weathers including the sub-Arctic conditions we are experiencing across Britain at the moment. Generally the Ol' Girl is fine, starting and running on demand on the coldest of mornings, and that hasn't changed. However, of late, after running for a mile or two it started to miss, well not really missing as the exhaust note still sounded about right, but there was a decided un-willingness to rev and a hesitation. So I checked the points, the plug all the normal shit but to no avail, still the same. Thoughts of big end failure started to sneak in, and wouldn't go away, although stopping and starting again when it was in this condition was not a problem and it certainly felt free and smooth enough on the kick-start.

I'm running a 180 Watt alternator with a solid state rectifier/regulator package, all bought from a well known aftermarket manufacturer of such things, and a 60/55 Watt Halogen headlight bulb. For the last six months it's been overcharging when running without lights, so I've been lights on man since then, no problem there, just a bit gay I suppose. I wondered if that was the cause of the new problem, although the ammeter showed a reasonably well balanced state of affairs, I'm not sure if the AC from the alternator was "getting through" the regulator and screwing with the ignition coil. As a quick and easy test I opened up one of the two alternator leads and inserted a switch in line. This allowed me to effectively remove the AC input from the system when the problem occurred, just to see if there was an effect.

An effect there certainly was, when the gremlin kicked in the switch was operated to isolate the alternator and the cure was immediate, back to smooth normal running. This brings another force to bear though, drawing about 6 Amps from a small battery is not a long term prospect. So with temperatures struggling to get up to freezing it was a fun filled ride to the salt mine this morning, groping around under the seat to hit the switch whilst wearing gloves, being a manual cut-out type of thing.
Problem found then, but not the cure as yet, because of the weather and Britain's refusal to concede that we live in Northern Europe, the postal service is all to cock. I mean, snow at Christmas who would ever of thought it ? I phoned Paul Goff today and he is going to get a rectifier/regulator in the post Special Delivery so hopefully it'll be here Monday and normal service can be resumed. Just a point here, Paul did not supply the original unit that has gone FUBAR so this is new ground we're covering here.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Yokohama everywhere

The ripples from the Yokohama show spread far and wide nowadays, it is rapidly becoming the International show of the year. Came across this earlier from Stoop Motorcycles in Japan, now I ain't sure myself as to the aesthetics of it, but it does go to show that the Bullet is gaining a following within custom circles. A quick peak at their site reveals a novel approach to the hard tail conversion.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Up and coming over at Sideburn

Gary and the boys over at Sideburn have been given/lent/donated a barely used EFi Bullet by official importers Watsonian Squire. They will, of course, not be leaving it as it is, Gary reckons that there are some radical alterations in the offing for this unsuspecting puppy. Judging by their previous projects it should be worth following, and it will be on here.
Not really sure what is available yet performance wise, although Hitchcock's are listing a Power Commander for them, so it could be ground breaking stuff.
Good luck chaps, you've got backing from this corner.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Feast Your Eyes On This

I know, I know.............. it ain't an Enfield and it ain't by any stretch a Bobber. What it is though is a Ron Wood Racing 800 BMW (Funduro) Flat Track warrior. You've gotta be a hard ass chopper man not to appreciate this.
On reflection, it could be argued that it is the evolutionary offspring of a Bobber. Accepting the fact that in the early days bikes were stripped of the unnecessary weight to make them faster both on the street and the ovals, then this surely is a direct descendent of that ethos.

Rollin' On

Took the opportunity to borrow the daughter's car this morning. Got the hubs, rims and spokes over to the wheel builder, also took the back wheel that I've had in the frame as an offset check. Means that the rolling chassis is no longer that, but I feel the inconvenience is worth it for a couple of weeks.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Flying Bullets

This is where six hundred and twelve cubic centimetres will get you. Hitchcock's Twin Shock series scrambler, nipping along you would of thought.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Anybody fancy a winter project?

Had an e-mail today with what could be the start of something good. Not for me, at the moment you understand, but if anybody is interested e-mail me or leave a comment. Here's a copy of the message;

1946 Model G 350 cc that needs finishing off, the engine and gearbox have been done the frame repainted wheels and hubs rebuilt and new tyres fitted, the headlamp repainted all the parts are with it to complete the restoration it comes with the original buff log book showing just one owner from new, the frame and engine show matching numbers, price is £1750,

It's not the bike pictured above, but that's what it should look like.
But there's a good foundation for a nice bike, no messing about waiting for a hardtail there. I'd be on it like a shot if I had the room and everything else in the queue was finished.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

This is more like it.

When the I first saw the front page of the new Kustom magazine JUNK my eye was immediately drawn to the bottom left. Sitting there in a little pane is this sweet looking Ariel Street Tracker, looking quite familiar in it's general demeanour. I mailed Billy Whizz, one of the main men behind the new magazine, to see if I could get a sneak preview of the bike. He kindly sent this unpublished page over so I/we could get a better look, well worth it as well in my opinion. Nice bike, nice bloke, this country is rapidly running out of decent folk and them's that are left should be supported. If anybody needs a Christmas present to themselves, their wives or the cat a sub to JUNK will fit the bill.

New Cistern Ornament

This dropped through the door this morning, the 2011 Hitchcock's Soft Pornorama. The 2010 copy can now be replaced from it's position of honour on the cistern above the throne. Not really much new for the Classics other than the prices, lots of extra pages on EFI models and a section covering Amal carbs and bits in the back.
There is a new oil pressure relief valve been added, cuts in at 30 PSI and splices into the rocker feed line and diverts flow back into the tappet adjustment window.
Bound to be more in there on closer inspection, got a year to find out.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

If ya get me drift!

Come on now people ya gotta admit it's got potential back there!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Steering Stop, Stopping The Steering.

Got a bit carried away with the mudguard situation yesterday, realised today that there are no detail shots of the steering stop plate, mounted and doing it's stuff. Well here it is, in all it's stopping glory.

These are the bolt positions for the actual stops themselves, whether they remain as a couple of cap heads or not remains to be seen. Probably strength versus weight they are better than most things. Aesthetically, they look like, errr, cap head screws really, but still, they do have an engineery feel to 'em.

This part I'm really pleased with, the protruding threads are the bottom of two more M10 cap heads. If you open the picture up you will see that there is effectively zero clearance between the bolt and the plate, the holes were cut at 10 mm diameter dead size. The holes in the bottom of the yoke are bored 16 mm and the heads of the cap screws have been lightly skimmed back to 15.9 mm, the steering stem bolt hole is 12.2 mm for an M12 bolt. So less than 0.3mm (0.012") to play with anywhere, this will eradicate any movement of the plate in operation, that may work on the steering stem bolt. The whole thing went together without the thought of hammer, file or drill.
The post on "The Design Process" may of seemed long winded and over fussy, but the end justifies the means, and the job is most definitely a good 'un.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Now I Ain't So Sure

Keep looking at the pictures I posted yesterday, and my eye is drawn to the front muddy every time. There's no mistaking that it's a lovely piece and beautifully hand crafted but is it right? It follows the contour of the tyre perfectly, it's the right length and in isolation it looks great. But it's not in isolation on the bike and I feel that it is not really in keeping with the overall look. I'm seriously considering contacting Al at Skeleton Chop Shop and going for a shorter version of what's on the back.
Any thoughts or comments greatly appreciated

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Most Of The Bits Hangin' On There

Toddy beat the seat base out of a bit of sheet metal and sent it down in the week, the man is certainly gifted as shown by his work on the Ironworks site. Trying to find something "off the shelf" had proved nigh on impossible, as everything seems to be Harley biased and far too long. The Biltwell seats are certainly lovely looking things, but at 13 1/2" long almost require pillion pegs. This base is, to my eye, proportionally correct for what's trying to be achieved here.

Ignoring the grease can "spring" and the pissed rear muddy, this is pretty much what the finished view will be from the back. The motor should be plainly visible out of the sides and definitely be a presence in the set up.

Here's the headlight mounted onto the steering stop plate extension, there will be a round spacer between the light and the plate to push it up a little. I'm a little undecided at the moment, the light looks almost too small in relation to the rest of the bike. Maybe by the time the cables and stuff are on there filling the gap behind it will look better.

Well this is pretty much how it's gonna look when it's all done,not really much more to get now. The wheels need to be built, that's the next step I guess, then the rear muddy can be finalised and fixed as can the front one. Once the rear guard is fixed, the seat can be mounted and the special custom grease tin can be sidelined. The tank position is about set, it's sitting on a piece of insulating foam that I got from, strangely enough Pipelagging.co.uk and it fits a treat, with an inch wall thickness it should keep them nasty vibes from wrecking the tank. Still pondering over the exhaust style, hi-level or swept back, probably best to wait 'til the motor's back before making that decision.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Design Process

When it's time to create a custom part to do a job, I usually find that a good idea takes about a week to filter it's way up through the crap and throwaway thoughts that initially come to mind. It's pretty safe to say that the first plan will not be, or even similar to, the finished article.
The part in question in this example is the steering stop. The Spartan Engineering yokes are designed for trials use, and as such are not supplied with any steering stops, or for that matter anywhere to mount any. It is a must have feature, as any work carried out mounting the tank can only be done safe in the knowledge that the forks will not, cannot suddenly swing onto full lock and clout the tank. I didn't want to drill the yokes so whatever was there had to be utilised.
The steering stem is held into the bottom yoke with an M12 bolt, which is obviously concentric with the arc of the turn of the forks, so that is a good fixing point for a plate to be attached. The next hurdle was sorting out a sturdy way of stopping the plate rotating around the single bolt, luckily Spartan bore two 16mm diameter holes in the underside of the yoke for lightness, ideal for two pegs to locate. As a bonus it was also possible to utilise the same bracket to mount the head light, again saving the need to drill, and a bracket that serves more than one function is always good.

The bracket was first drawn out by hand, just to get a feel for the overall look of the finished article.

It was then redrawn using a CAD package to the exact finished dimensions, and to get the various fillets and curves finalised.

After completion using the CAD system it was printed out onto self adhesive label stock at full size. This in turn was stuck to a piece of plastic card, and the holes drilled and the outer shape cut out using scissors, this makes for a strong template that can be handled and test fitted. Bolts were fitted into the holes and the assembly offered up beneath the bottom yoke. The two bolts shown in this picture are the actual steering stops.

Once it was established that everything was in order the CAD drawing was e-mailed to a sheet metal company and the part was laser cut from 5mm thick Mild Steel to the exact dimensions needed. Job's a good un as they say.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Hubs Back And Front Back

When the two half width hubs originally arrived from India, I was never really convinced about the finish, it was certainly black enough, but the thickness of the paint did not seem to be much. The last thing that you want is for the hubs to be going rusty or the finish deteriorating after the wheels have been laced. Not really a lot you can do if that happens, short of stripping the wheel down and doing what should have been done in the first place.

I had ordered and received two flanged alloy rims and spoke sets from Hagon's, and Martin was all set to build the wheels up. I looked at the hubs again and decided that seeing as I'm not blessed with X-Ray vision or indeed specs, the paint had to go just to know what was on there.
Initially I attacked the hubs, well when I say attacked it was more a threat, with Nitromors the original paint capitulated without any effort at all. Revealing what seemed to be one coat of black lacquer straight onto the steel, a finish more akin to the black japanned wood screws that were once available.

I sprayed the cleaned hubs with a zinc galvanising spray followed by black acrylic, the problem was that it was too cold and probably too damp to get a decent finish and they came out almost grey, such was the bloom on the paint. Seeing as the weather outside will neither be warmer or drier for a few months yet, and the chances of doing them indoors was a non-starter, I laid them off to Pete. He runs a car repair and recovery service complete with spray booth, and he phosphated them before shooting them in 2 pack black. Certainly a better result than I could achieve at the height of an arid summer, so now it's a matter of whipping the bearings in and getting the hubs to Martin. Should be looking at a set of nice wheels pretty soon.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

A Step Closer

Well Holts were good to their word, when I ordered this tank they quoted 3 to 5 weeks and here it is. Basically a trials Ariel tank to suit an HT5, Tony has made it without the front fork indents normally seen on trials bike tanks. He's made a lovely job of it, and with a centre bolt fixing it's certainly going to be easy to mount.

The size may turn out to be a curse in the long run, but it will have the desired effect of making the motor visually dominate the bike, making it look like a big single.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

It's a funny old world

Seeing as nobody answered the call for a "D" shaped speedo, and to buy one costs a ton plus, and then the price of a rebuild! it was time to seek an alternative. Got this off of the Bay of Fools for what is a song in comparison. As you can see, it's New Old Stock, in the box and only showing test miles, result!. The odd thing is though, it came from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, so it was made in Cricklewood, North London, sent out to Malaysia and then back here and it still ended up costing half what a comparable unit would have cost from a UK supplier. Dunno?????? go figure

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Looking Better For The Massage

When Hitchcock's supply the rear section it comes with a drilling jig cum top spacer. This is great for getting the positions of the holes for the top bolts, but looks plain ugly when left on there as a spacer. You maybe able to see it in earlier frame shots, once you've seen it you won't forget it.
Because of that the frame has had a bit of a holiday and been reworked in that area, it's now all welded up and the bulky jig thing has been reduced to the bare essentials, the bolts have also been replaced by steel pins and blended in.

The opportunity was also taken to get rid of the brackets that are supplied to mount one of the standard triangular tool boxes.

Crikey, where did this come from!!!!!!!

Stumbled across this, sounds nice, looks nice.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Modern Alternative

Grant sent this across, obviously a unit Bullet, but looking every inch the real deal trail bike. Really cobby and purposeful, probably the nicest variant that I've seen up to now.

Friday, 5 November 2010

A Couple Of Teasers

Craig sent this pic across, for sale on the Bay e few years ago, nothing much else known other than it got a good price.

This came off of the new AEE blog, built by Tom McMullen when AEE was just a bike shop. Again no other pictures.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

What do you think........?

Peter pointed me to this 350 Bullet on the US Bay of Fools. Striking with the choice of colour, wouldn't ya say? Nice combination of parts, not much done at all really, but what has been done has been done with care and attention.

I reckon that's a Hitchcock's tank on there, all you need do is, stick a pair of Renthals on it, instant Flat-Bob, Brat Trakker, whatever. Nice, the more I look at it, it does show an instant access to the custom world for very little down and it is the basis for constant change and ya can still use it.

Like this, Hmm? belt drive ya say?
Don't know if the folding footrests are standard US issue, be handy if they are.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

More Goodies

Got this today from Lowbrow, made by TT & Co in Japan, it's 4 1/2" diameter and surprise, surprise, made from cast aluminium rather than pressed steel. It's a really well made piece and will look the Ratz Knackz hangin' out the front.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Nice, very nice indeed

Phoned my old mate John up the other day, regarding thin front mudguards that were minimalist. Like the old cafe racers used to run, and of course to keep to the running thread through this build, it had to be aluminium. John is the driving force behind The Tank Shop and as such is probably the best man in the country for such things. Because of this, he is also extremely busy and I realised that there is a waiting period, but rang anyway. When I described what I was after, he told me there was the very thing sitting on the shelf.
As you can see in the pictures above, it don't get any closer to perfection, exactly what I had envisioned.
Happy? You betcha!!!!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Desperately Seeking......

.....one of these, I would rather not have to surrender my first born in exchange for it. Condition doesn't really matter as long as it is complete.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

More from The LightSide

Had a parcel when I got back from work, I love parcels. This one came from Sammy Miller's in Hampshire and was full of nice alloy bits. As you can see it is pretty much the full handlebar/control set, except for the decompressor lever and a dip switch. Any ideas on where to get an alloy decompressor lever would be very much appreciated.
The levers are genuine Amal as opposed to the similar looking Taiwanese knock-offs, as is the twist grip, gone for the trials style 90 degree number to route the cable along the bars, instead of hanging straight down.
The cross brace on the bars is destined for the skip as it has no use on a road bike unless I come off a lot more than anticipated.
I guess that this pretty well nails it style wise as more flat-track than Bobber style, but after spending hours looking at it, it feels the natural thing to do.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Weight reduction

As the Bullet is only of the 350 persuasion, weight of components is a bit of an issue. Pretty much everything that can be made of aluminium will be. In "Tuning for Speed" they even go as far as discussing drilling the centre out of the bolts on the bike to reduce even more weight.
A not inconsiderable saving in weight can be effected by waisting the bolts down to a diameter equal to bottom diameter of the threads, leaving a short parallel at each end to centralize the bolt or act as a register for the engine plates if required; alternatively, if the bolts have solid heads they can be drilled down the centre, as shown in the diagram, the hole (which must be accurately concentric with the outside) extending very nearly to the beginning of the thread. Far from weakening the bolts, this treatment actually makes them less prone to fatigue-failure and, if carried out consistently throughout the whole machine, a perceptible mass of excess metal will be eliminated.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

As Rare As It Gets!

Saw this when I visited Andy the other weekend, a genuine 1936 ex-works racer. I never knew that Enfield got seriously involved with Road Racing as they are better known for their exploits in Trials. But this goes to show that they definitely had intentions in that field.

As can be seen from this, not particularly good, shot, it featured a 4 valve bronze head, similar to what Rudge and, I believe, Excelsior were doing at the time. Andy said he also has the original Magnesium crankcases for it, but they are put away somewhere safe as they really are irreplaceable.
I have sent Jorge at My Enfields a copy of these pictures and he is going to contact Andy for a more in depth chat about this unique bike, and do a far more informative write up.