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.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Back Hub Set Up

Because Enfield have been building them for over 50 years, they do seem to have got 'em nailed. This half width hub was bought from India some months ago in preparation for this. Originally the hub has a fixed spindle journalled up between the two inner races of the wheel bearings. As the rear end section is made to replace the back end of the later full width hub type frame, there is a discrepancy with the width of the axle slot on the drive side. The standard full width hub incorporates a QD system, with the sprocket and rear brake set-up remaining attached when the wheel is removed. The half width hub, whilst utilising a similar cush drive arrangement is not QD.
This led to thoughts of making stepped spacers or welding a short spacer onto the drive side wheel adjuster to make up the gap. Then in a flash of realisation it occurred to me that the wheel bearings are the same in both set-ups, so why not use the push through spindle of the later design on the earlier hub. An order was sent to Hitchcock's for a new spindle and half spindle along with some later (post '98) adjuster snail cams - these have 24 rather than 19 notches for more adjustment. The price of standard parts for Bullets is so cheap it's really not worth messing about with old and worn components.
The bearings were fitted into the hub minus the fixed spindle and sure enough the new spindle slid through in an identical manner to that of the full width version. Another difference is the hole in the brake plate, the earlier one only has a 14mm diameter hole for the spindle whereas the later ones accommodate the half spindle. This made for a brief hold up until it was realised that the new brake plate would probably fit the new early drum, of course it did......result!
The half spindle is used to support a hub carrier bearing in the later application, this is not an issue on the half width, but it does not allow it to be used in the standard orientation. This needs to be machined to fit it in the space available, which is in progress at the moment. A spacer also needs to be made to take up the gap between the inner races of the wheel bearings, this will be the same length as the raised centre portion of the fixed spindle, with a spider arrangement at each end to maintain concentricity with the hub body when the spindle is inserted.
Once the machining has been done and the hub can be bolted up solidly, the rim offset can be measured and the wheels can be built.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Craig's Mullet

Well, Craig has answered the call and sent in a write up on his Meteor/Bullet, or Mullet as he would rather have it. Although I'm posting it here, there has been a page created as well so it is not lost in the passage of time to the older posts section. Thanks Craig you are a star.

When I bought my Royal Enfield in 2003 I wasn’t looking for or even considering a Royal Enfield, I wanted another Triumph like I’d had in my yoof! But bloody hell they were a lot more than the old days!! I got directed to Haywards in Cambridge by a guy just outside Biggleswade, we’d stopped to have look at his roadside advert for a BSA Golden Flash which turned out to be in a right state! However he was keen to show us his recently acquired Royal Enfield Bullet Clubman that he was storing in his dining room extension! He raved on about how friendly & helpful Haywards were so we decided to pootle on over! The rest they say is history!
The Bullet (as it was known when I originally bought it) was a fairly ordinary 350 single, but it had that ‘Olde britbike character’ look to it. I enjoyed its plodding ability for a while, but started getting the itch to give it a bit more oomfff! Even before It came into my possession it was a bit of a mongrel, the engine was a 1963 brit motor in a 1970’s Indian frame.
At the end of 2004 I spotted an advert in ‘The Gun’ magazine of the Royal Enfield owners Club, for a 1953 Meteor 700 twin engine that said the engine would easily fit a modern Bullet frame, my itch was beginning to get scratched!
A call was made, beer tokens exchanged, & I became the owner of said engine, not only that I have kept in touch with the Mark & we are now good friends! Also Mark is a font of knowledge when it comes to all things Enfield, a good friend indeed!
The engine had been sitting under Mark’s workbench for quite a few years, having bought it ‘sans motorcycle’ for spares for his own ‘proper’ Meteor, & never got round to using it. There was no knowing when it last ran, we just knew it was a flipping long time ago! I didn’t want to throw a whole load of money at it so removed the heads, barrels & engine covers to check for any obvious issues & was pleasantly surprised to find that when the engine was laid up, it had been filled with lovely clean oil, & that no serious problems were apparent. So I thought that I’d just whack it in the Bullet frame & see if I could get it running. It really was a straight swap, honest! Using the same engine plates, chain & even the 350’s carburettor!
The ‘Mullet’ was born.....
......that was eventually!! Despite correct sparky things, petrol, timing etc we couldn’t get the bloody thing started, even after much kicking & my mate pushing me up & down the road. It wasn’t until I wondered what would happen if I switched the plug leads over that we had instant success!! Definitely a Doh!! moment. After a bit of tinkering it ran pretty good for motor that was over 50 years old, hadn’t been started since god knows when & was using a carb from a 350 single! It ran quite happily like that for at least 18months, but I eventually treated it to a brand new 30mm Amal Concentric scored off ebay for £30!! Couldn’t believe it! That made it run a bit better!
I’m not one for loads of spit & polish so I’ve been letting it slowly grow into itself, don’t get me wrong though I like it to be relatively clean & tidy but with the ‘patina’ of use! After something like 4 years use which included trips to South Wales & Devon as part of the Round Britain Rally, without any major mishaps or surgery, I decided to give the motor a bit of a makeover & had a re-bore, new old stock pistons (which again I got from ebay dirt cheap! Luckily they turned out to be the correct next rebore size too!!) I also fitted new valves, guides & had the distributor rebuilt. It still rattles like buggery though, which would probably be helped by replacing the timing & dynamo chains.
I have made various changes over the years to make it mine, like fabricating a new battery carrier from an old rubber battery & relocating it between the rear mudguard & engine, making up some new support brackets for the rear mudguard. I’m not trying to make it fit any style or label, just doing things on a budget and that are pleasing to my eye. There are a few more ideas in the pipeline, so we’ll see where it ends up!

Well it came.........

.....and it's on. The seat is much wider than I had anticipated, didn't even offer it up on the 350 as it certainly won't cut the mustard on that. It does smell nice though being leather and it looks pretty well put together. I'm a bit disappointed with the fixing kit as well. The pivot bolt is a Set Screw, i.e. threaded the entire length instead of a bolt which has the plain shank to bear the load. Secondly there is a top hat bush that is supposed to go into the bottom spring eye to relieve the wear on the stud, this does not fit the spring.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Seat Double Whammy.....

Ordered up this seat for the Marauder yesterday, it's a bit of a two way deal really. Gets the Marauder back on the road where it belongs and gives me the chance to offer it up on the 350. Going by the picture it appears that the front bracket is bolted on, and therefore adaptable, certainly don't want the nose cocked up in the air like that. Covered in leather and 65 notes it can't be bad, although it does beg the question, if it's made in India where does the leather come from? surely not a cow.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Marauder Disaster

Went to a little gig over towards Saffron Walden yesterday, a few of my old mates turned up including my long time pal Chris on his 77 T140V. Chris is a fan of off roading and trail biking big time. He told me that he came over, on his standard Bonnie, mostly off road and the tracks were hard and for the best part flat. So when it came time to leave I went back with Chris who inevitably took the more adventurous route home! I've done a bit of trail riding in my time and the thought of doing it at night holds no fears, and the Marauder coped admirably, big singles seem to thrive on this sort of work.
What didn't fair so well however was the seat, as shown above, I thought the cover had finally fully torn across the back as that's been tatty for some time. On closer inspection this morning it was revealed the mattress spring set up has broken in half, oops!
Looks like an order to Hitchcock's some time today is in the offing.

Indian Enfield

There's Enfields from India and there's Indian Enfields. A rare Indian badged Interceptor seen at Geoff's yesterday,it belongs to his son Dean who is the Enfield guru who lent me the girders.
The running gear is pretty much the same as the Bullet and the engines will go in, or so I'm led to believe. Craig has got a 500 Meteor engine fitted into his Bullet, couple of pictures of that would be handy Craig.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Peelions? We don't need no steenkin' peelions!!!!

Received this lovely aluminium rear muddy from Al at Skeleton Chop Shop, as you can see all ribbed and in the original Wassell style. It really is a trick piece, and holds the radius of the tyre really well, albeit the standard 19 incher at the moment. Although the narrow tall tyre look is growing on me. I may renegue on the 5.00 x 16 option and go 4.50 18 instead. Being made from ally it doesn't have the strength to take a p-pad or the like, yeah like that's an issue!!!!.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Like the look of this

Definitely short and to the point, probably about the minimum amount of metal needed to make it look legit. Just worried about the back of the silencer, and whether it will clear the frame rail. Certainly the road we'll be going down I think, even if it's not this exact system.

Monday, 20 September 2010

A Couple More Dimensions

Missed a couple of dimensions yesterday.
The tube diameter of the main blades is 11/16" (17.6 mm) and the space between the axle plates is 5 inches.
If anybody wants a set, you better let me know sharpish as the man Winters in India and it won't be long before he's off.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Girder Info

Well here you go then, feel obliged to say, the first pair I saw were in Army Green and looked a far better proposition as far as first impressions are concerned. The man himself wasn't there so his Dad got these out of the other shed, probably thinks he'll never see 'em again.

Click on the pic to see the nitty gritty

Centre of wheel spindle to bottom yoke 19.5" (Cross piece below stem)

Links between centres 3.5"

Stem length between yokes 6.5"

Stem diameter 1.0"

Front End Frolics

Went over and borrowed the reproduction Triumph 3HW girders this morning to offer up. It turns out the stem is not long enough for the headstock, so it's a non-starter without re-engineering. If anybody wants any dimensions or detailed pics drop me a line, they will be here for the next week.

Time for another look at the teles then, the two inch extensions were removed from the top of the legs and the yokes dropped. The legs were clamped on the bottom yoke only to take a look see. Amazing the difference two inches here and there can make, pulling the front down loses the chopper/trail bike look. It will mean getting two shorter adaptor slugs made up or the original modified but this could be the way forward. Sorry Steve.

Fitted the alloy front plates to make sure all was good there, popped straight on and look the part, so a bit of a result there then.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Have you checked yours today?

Before getting stuck into the arse end I scored a new footrest through stud. I hadn't seen what was in there but took the gamble that it was knackered. This is what came out, as you can see, not what the designer intended. Don't know why the footrests themselves would survive nuclear attack but this bar is made from steel more akin to toffee. If you've got problems with footrests sitting at a jaunty angle or they're constantly coming loose, check this puppy out.

Oh Hell Yeah Baby

It was an early finish at work today, so it was a good opportunity to get down and dirty with Mr Makita, it was getting obvious that the time was right to do that thing.

The bike was hauled up onto a paddock stand and strapped down. Exhaust, chain and back wheel came off in pretty sharp order. I was going to whip the swinging arm out as well but the spindle seemed to be pretty happy where it was. I will have to get it out as it will be handy to use when setting up the single sided rear hub, as there are one or two differences between that and the later full width unit.

The welds holding the back end assembly on at the top tube were ground through using a thin cutting disc on the angle grinder. Two through studs were removed along with the footrest support bar. The rear section was then lifted clear.

After cleaning up the tube around the cut area the hardtail was offered up. This lined up with little effort, allowing the through studs to be refitted.This in turn aligns the top bracket for drilling, this was duly done and the whole plot tightened up.

This is what we're talking about, a long way to go but the foundations have been laid, Oh hell yeah baby

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

From The Lightside

These arrived this morning, 5mm thick alloy engine plates, pretty damn light in the hand that's for sure. Don't know what the weight for weight comparison is but we will. Would be nice to get a set engraved in an old school style before fitting them on though

Thinking about tanks

Been thinking about potential petrol tanks over the last couple of days. Staying with the mantra "Light is right" it's definitely going to be made from aluminium. This trials tank is in the Hitchcock's catalogue, certainly a nice narrow affair, but I am not totally convinced by the overall shape.
I have always liked the shape of the early Bantam tank, as shown in the last picture in the fork yoke sequence. I have spoken to John at The Tank Shop and it wouldn't be a problem to make something along those lines, the problem lays in the time he is quoting.
Of course the Hitchcock's one will bolt straight on and is available, wish I could get my hands on one to look at properly.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

World's fastest Indian..................Enfield

Good luck chasing your desires Kunal, read more here.

Monday, 13 September 2010

From the Sub-Continent

From the boys at Rajputana Customs in India, comes this board trackeresque modern unit motor Classic.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

.....and the crowd yelled out for more

Well Rowan did any way. Seeing as the front end has got to come out to offer up the Triumph 3HW girders when I get them, I figured that they might as well come out this morning allowing the opportunity to check out the alloy yokes that have been slumbering in The Bullet Bank for long enough now.

Pretty straightforward job although the drive side leg was pretty tight to unscrew from the casquette.

The new yokes are made as well as they look, and assembled real easy, with all dimensions seeming to be spot on. Amazing the difference removing that iconic casquette makes to the look of the bike already.

Before the front wheel was put back in the single sided hub was offered up to check for fit. Everything seemed OK other than the brake anchor slot being a smidgeon tight on the leg. Maybe a millimetre out of the slot, maybe kiss the tab on the leg with a file.

Front wheel back in, and an old set of bars on to enable the plot to be moved about. Looking reasonable at this stage.

Back on the deck with an old Bantam tank thrown on for appearance sake. Ground clearance looks somewhat excessive, which is hardly surprising as they are made for trials conversions. Overall though it's not looking too desperate, albeit in a Street Scrambler stylee.


....and you thought Haynes were vague

Not that the engine can come out yet as it needs to be in, to keep the front loop in line when fitting the hard tail, this extract from the Enfield manual shows exactly how simple it is. Or not as the case may prove to be.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

.....and so it begins

Well, good people, the time has come. A few hours this morning has seen the 350 go from a clean, gentleman's commuter to an instant Brat style contender. Because of the long period these bikes have been in production it seems that any problems in assembly have been ironed out, as the tear down was a breeze. It really underlines the fact that a rigid conversion could be carried out over a weekend if the parts were to hand.
Still undecided what to do with the gearbox post, the angle always seems incongruous to me and matches no other line of the bike, it's pretty damn structural so cutting it out is a non-starter, mayhap a wraparound dummy oiltank/battery box, maybe not ????.
Some of the bits that have come off will be refurbished and go onto The Marauder for next year's pre-summer tart up. If anybody wants any of the bits give me a shout and we'll come to some sort of arrangement.