March 2017

An Enfield came in to be repaired. My friend bought it a long time ago and has not used it much. When he bought it the electric start was not operational. Apparently one of the gears between the starter and the primary drive had lost a number of teeth, so it had presumably been removed. Now my friend was thinking of selling the bike because he was not using it, and it seemed logical that it would sound more attractive if everything was working.

He had thus managed to acquire two gears which were needed, and brought the bike and all the new and old bits to me.

The 500cc Bullet seemed to be in awe of all the two and three cylinder bikes in my shed so it kind of lurked in the background.

I tried to get a better picture of it, but the poor thing was petrified with terror so the photo did not come out well.

I pulled the primary cover off and revealed the drive setup, albeit without any connection to the starter. It all seemed pretty well made although some of the fasteners and spacers appeared to be afterthoughts. At least it was all pretty low mileage so it was pleasant enough to work on.

I got the entire thing stripped and began to fathom the starter mechanism, seeing as how I had no diagrams and had not been privy to what had been taken apart. It was actually rather straightforward and I was confident that I could make it all work.

Which I did, although I did not manage any more photos of the proceedings. It simply happened that I was in the middle of another build so this just had to turn around quickly and leave. Of course - that seldom happens.

I got it all together and it started rather reluctantly on the now functional electric start. I took it for a test ride and it seemed very sluggish, not as sprightly as I would have expected from a 500cc single. Even an Indian one.

I was suspicious of the timing. It gave the impression that it was somewhat retarded, so I tracked down some info on setting the timing, but it was terribly vague. What I had noticed was that the timing adjustment seemed to be at the most retarded end of its operating range. In the absence of any definitive data I simply altered the settings to advance it quite a bit. It now started more happily, and when I rode it there had been a transformation. It now felt like a serious bike and behaved in a most exemplary fashion. I thought it handled well and seemed to have a good blend of performance versus brakes.

I gave it back in its new happy state, and have heard nothing since. Perhaps the owner felt enthusiastic enough about its performance to keep it.