Friday, June 23, 2017

Royal Enfield's old Albion gearbox tells a story

Royal Enfield four-speed gearboxes, separated by 40-plus years.
My 1999 made-in-India left-shift gearbox is at right.
I've only just praised the obsolete Royal Enfield four-speed gearbox on my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet, and along comes an eBay advertisement for a similar but obviously far older example of the same thing.

And, my, doesn't it look familiar?

There are differences. The older one is right-hand shift, of course, as most were. Only where legally required were they made to shift left, as is mine.

Note oil filler plug at top right of gearbox. Mine has one there, but...
But, wow, get a load of the bolt that covers the top oil filler hole. Stamped on it — in oh, so tiny type — are the oil specifications for the gearbox.

Castrol, Mobiloil, Shell, Essolube, Energol. Great old names that mark this gearbox as a product of Redditch, England.

...the older gearbox filler plug is labelled.
The poor filler plug is a bit bunged up but I would love to have it. The filler plug on my made-in-India gearbox is plain.

I'm a little surprised that the filler plug specifies oil.

My understanding was that gearboxes back then were filled with grease from the factory, as there was no proper seal on the sprocket side to retain oil.

My 1999 gearbox came from India filled with what some used to refer to as "elephant snot." That stuff stayed put.

When I tried using oil the gearbox it soon bathed everything behind it in oil. At a sprocket change my mechanic fit a seal, and oil has worked fine for me ever since.

Canadian Royal Enfield enthusiast Chris Overton kindly identified the old gearbox, based in its serial number, as being from a 1965 Series 1 Interceptor.

I wonder what stories this eBay gearbox could tell of its travels.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Custom Royal Enfield tracker for sale on eBay

This custom Royal Enfield tracker ended up for sale on eBay.
What happens to Royal Enfield specials? This one is for sale on eBay by CafeRacerXXX.

Royal Enfield North America supplied the donor 2014 Continental GT and CafeRacerXXX readers voted on how it ought to be modified and even what color it should be.

Voters chose a tracker, with high-mounted exhaust, over a scrambler or custom cafe build.

Sean Skinner of MotoRelic transformed the machine. The eBay advertisement includes his blow-by-blow description of the build. He did the design, disassembly and assembly but work such as painting went out to specialists.

The end result is eye catching and certainly unique.

Pipeburn noted that, while it was essentially "designed by a committee" it was "a committee that actually had a clue" — motorcycling enthusiasts.

The ironic thing, it seems to me, is that in creating this custom "Royal Tracker" the Continental GT's rearset controls had to be modified to allow conventional straight up-and-down seating.

In other words, it had to be made to work the way every Royal Enfield except the Continental GT works right out of the box.

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