Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Royal Enfield is the mother of invention

This winter, a warm, gentle massage and some hot oil may sound like a spa vacation to you. The left-side shift mechanism of four-speed Royal Enfield Bullets in the U.S. enjoys this lovely environment every day of its operating life.

As a result, somewhere along the road, your gear shift lever will sleepily vibrate its way off and tumble onto the road. If you don't need to shift right away, you could be miles up the road before you notice that there is no way to change gears.

The standard emergency bodge for this is a pair of vise grips tightly clamped to teeth of the shift. You tromp on the vice grips to shift gears.

Fortunately for me, I've generally realized immediately that the gearshift was gone and was able to walk back along the road to retrieve it. Once I had to watch it be run over by a car and flung through the air before I could get it. There was no damage.

How to keep it on? Tightening the pincher bolt obviously wasn't doing it. I tried blue Locktite, but it was apparent that the Locktite itself has just enough volume to keep you from tightening the pinchers adequately. Once the Locktite wore out I had to take another walk back down the road to pick up the lever.

A fellow on the Royal Enfield Yahoo! message board suggested drilling through the lever and its mechanism, lining up the hole perfectly to accept a screw (a cotter pin might have worked, too).

The prospect of drilling accurately through that much hard metal with my hand-held drill didn't appeal.

It was then that I noticed that the center of the mechanism that emerges from beneath the primary was drilled and tapped. It would accept a bolt. What purpose this has, I don't know. Perhaps someone anticipated my need.

I'm one of those people who will bend down while walking through a parking lot or along a road and pick up the stray bolt or nail from the ground. Saves someone a flat tire, I figure. From my junk drawer of accumulated hardware I found a bolt, washer and soft rubber grommet that when tightened would prevent my gearshift from leaving its mount.

Goofy as it is, this may be my favorite customization of my Bullet. Rarely has anything worked so well.


  1. Anonymous3/04/2009

    I thought I'd seen it all when it comes to "tricks" on the Royal Enfield, but this is a first. What a great and elegantly simple idea.

  2. Anonymous3/07/2009

    While this may keep your lever from falling on to the roadway, it will not keep the foot-lever from rotating on the shaft; the problem remains. That problem being that the lever's internal splines do not fully engage the external splines of the shaft. This problem is corrected by spreading the split-hole in the shift lever thus enabling its further purchase on the shaft and then secure the pich-clamp with a longer bolt.



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