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Friday, April 28, 2017

Another way to improve shifting of Royal Enfield Bullet

The left-shift linkage of my 1999 four-speed Royal Enfield Bullet.
Note the hole at bottom for bushing that holds it to the gearshift arm.
I've crowed about how wonderfully my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet now shifts, with its custom massaged (by me) left-shift linkage.

The four-speed Albion gearbox, designed to shift on the right side of the motorcycle, shifts on the left in the U.S. thanks to a cross-motorcycle shaft that ends in a crude set of linkage arms held together by bushings and cotter pins. This bodge carries the shifting action behind the primary drive cases to the left-side gearshift.

I replaced the worn nylon bushings with metal bushings and filed away at the motorcycle and the linkage arms until the shifting action was free of interference. It now works great.

But the truth is, I could do even more to improve things, if I had any energy left (I don't).

That's because one of the linkage arms has a nasty twist in it, right at the end, where the bushing rides.

...side view shows a bend right where the bushing fits into hole.
This means that every time I move my foot to shift, this bent arm gives the whole mechanism a punishing off-center twist that must contribute to wear. Eventually, I am sure, it contributes to general looseness and sloppiness in the shifting.

My guess is that somebody at the factory gave the thing a swat with a big hammer in an attempt to get the mechanism to work at all given all the interference it originally encountered when it moved.

I tried to straighten the twist, heating it first with a blowtorch. But nothing I did was sufficient to straighten this crude bit of metal.

All that said, I say, nevermind for now. It works — finally. And I want to go riding.

1 comment:

  1. One of the similarities between USA dinosaur bikes of a certain age and India dinosaur bikes of a somewhat more recent age is the clumsy right to left shift conversion.. Harley folks from that era referred to the right foot shift as being"on the side which God intended it to be." An indication of how wellTHAT conversion
    worked. With either side shift the H.-D. gearbox was about as "agricultural" as the R.E. Both my dinosaur machines are right foot shifting, R.E. by conversion H-D. at birth. An theoriginal owner of my R.E. said he suffered mightiily before and during his conversion.

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