Friday, January 11, 2019

Cut-down front fender gives Royal Enfield a new look

Motorcycle with slim front fender.
You wouldn't expect to find that front fender on a classic Royal Enfield Bullet.
When I saw the front fender of this 2013 Royal Enfield B5, for sale on CraigsList in Wheeling, W.Va., I assumed it might be a part taken from the Royal Enfield Continental GT, or other motorcycle.

The trim little fender certainly has a cafe-racer look. I contacted the seller to see if I was correct.


"It's the original cut down; just wanted something a little less heavy looking," he replied.

Wow. Cutting down a fender to reshape it certainly is in the "bobber" tradition. And it is attractive.

The B5 was the Royal Enfield model designed to most summon up the original shape of the 350 Bullet, beloved in India. With winged tank badges and the traditional square-cut opening of the rear fender, it probably seems the model least likely to lend itself to customization.

But this owner has added other touches, including the saddle bags, wrapped exhaust, bar-end mirrors and a sporty looking exhaust. Note the unusual hand rails for the pillion seat, providing firm places for the passenger to get a grip. (I was wrong about this: see below.)

Motorcycle with modifications.
Note the slim exhaust..
Obviously it's a motorcycle altered to suit its owner. I happen to like it — although I think the front fender might look better in black.

The reason I spend so much time cruising eBay and CraigsList for Royal Enfields up for sale is that it is an opportunity to see what real people are doing to their motorcycles.

Take a look at the other Royal Enfields listed for sale on this blog and, if something catches your eye, click on the link to the ad. You'll generally find more and larger photos in the ads themselves.

And maybe some good ideas for your own Royal Enfield.

UPDATE: After this item ran, the owner emailed me this additional information:

"Just to explain the other things you noticed, the silver on the fender is matching the pinstripe on the tank, and the mentioned passenger handles are actually an attachment point for a rear bag. I only ride one-up on this bike."

Which suggests something else you can do when you see something you like: contact the seller to ask for information.

Friday, January 4, 2019

How I wash and wax my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet

No costly wax for my precious Royal Enfield. I use this stuff.
But this is not an advertisement.  Find any product you like.
So I take my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet out to get gas, since I plan to be away from home for a couple weeks, and I like to leave the tank full to fight rust.

I get the bike good and warmed up. I love the way it shifts now. It took a lot of work to make my left-shift four-speed Bullet shift better.

Once back home I let the motorcycle cool for awhile and then wash and wax it.

I use Zip Wax, my usual. It cleans and leaves a shine. Since it's a liquid, not paste, I'm confident it won't damage the paint or leave swirls. This is not an advertisement. This is not sponsored content. I use this stuff, but you may find something you like better.

I apply the soapy solution from its bucket of water, using enough on the cloth to soak off the dirt but not enough to seep into the electrics. I start on the tank, and work down to the dirtier parts.

I dry the bike as I go. There's no need to hose it down — I'm thinking about not soaking those electrics again. There's no need to buff the wax. Once wiped with a damp towel the bike simply air dries.

As the towel moves over the fender it detects a loose screw holding a stay. It's always the same one that gets loose, from vibration. I tighten it. The screw has moved around enough to wear off the paint around it. I make a mental note to remove it and touch up the paint when time allows.

With the Bullet now dry and shiny I put some fresh motor oil on a rag and go over the chrome. It's the only sure way to avoid rust. For now the oil sheen adds to the shine, but it will get dirty fast. Better that than rust.

The final step is to wipe clean and oil the chain. I apply used motor oil with an old toothbrush, trying to work the oil into the rollers. That's where wear happens that can ruin sprockets. Replacing sprockets is expensive.

The process of oiling the chain feels more like basting than lubricating. I wipe off the excess — oil left on the exterior of the chain does nothing but attract grime.

With the bike now ready to sit unused in the garage for a couple weeks, I pull an old bed sheet over it. The old cotton sheet is worn thin and soft from a hundred washings. It won't trap moisture the way an expensive motorcycle cover might.

I switch off the garage light and close the door. I'm already thinking of our next ride. It was a good day.

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