Saturday, June 20, 2009

For Sale: Royal Enfield Big Head Bullet

A 1961 Big Head Bullet is back up for sale on eBay in Spokane, Wash. I first saw this bike on eBay last October. No Buy It Now price is listed this time, but in October it was given as $8,500.

The seller describes the motorcycle this way:

"When did you last see one of these? Enfield in England produced a very small number ( just a few dozen) of this highly desirable model right at the end of production. It differs significantly from the standard Bullet model. It is considerably faster with a very special cylinder head with all the valve gear built into the head instead of the old type leak prone separate rocker boxes...

"Valves, piston and cams were all improved for performance. It also benefits from the special Lucas competition magneto and AC generator. The engine is better known in the States as the Fury desert racer model but the Big Head road version was only available in UK."

The seller, Roger, told me last year that he "searched for four years before finding the Bullet in England. Imported it and enjoyed it as my main ride on summer club runs and rallies."

Motorcycling magazines of the day found the Big Head Bullet would do 91 mph, according to Roger Bacon's book Royal Enfield, The Postwar Models.

In his ad, the seller says: "The performance of this bike is most remarkable, Tall gearing, complete lack of vibration, excellent handling and the four shoe front brake make it my usual choice for club runs where the bike is perfectly capable of holding its own with more modern and larger size machines. The bike is completely original and unmolested. It even still has the original selling dealer's name on the rear mudguard. Sadly, my collection has to be thinned out..."


  1. Anonymous6/20/2009

    The "Big head" Bullet is really nice. Why didn't they adopt the obviously superior design? Can the BH be dropped onto any Bullet cylinder head, or was it a unique engine? It needs a front "slasher" license plate too!

  2. Really nice Dave, Im hoping that my 612 Superstar will be like the old big-head bullet when it's finally completed. Shame really that RE didnt get that bike out earlier and in numbers, might have fought off the Japanese bike industry onslaught for a while longer! :)


  3. As the 1960s came in, Royal Enfield in England put its efforts into 250cc single-cylinder motorcycles and 700-750cc twins. The Big Head Bullet was not pursued. But it was a glorious finish to the line.

  4. Speaking of twins, why didn't RE continue with those? Or why haven't they started them up again? Seems like there would be just as much appeal, if not more.

  5. The question is asked constantly. Important to remember that the circa 1949 Bullet design that has been produced for so many decades in India left England for India in 1955, where it was frozen in time. Improvements to the Bullet like the Big Head, and the raging Interceptor twins of the late '60s made no particular impression in India and they ended when production ended in England. If India did begin building a twin now it would certainly be an up-to-date emissions compliant design. Other makers already provide for this market. So it would be quite a lark.

  6. Anonymous12/29/2010

    Since that last post, the excellent Hitchcock's Motorcycles have started producing Big Heads, so you can build your own Big Head bullet, or even a Fury with an Amal GP carb. See their website for details of a Fury near-replica built using parts from their catalogue.

  7. mrp2u1960@gmail.com6/17/2011

    I have a Enfield motor,Im not sure of the year or size can anyone help me out.there are two vin numbers. one on the front of the motor HDS769. and one on the primary side SM4361 with a (R)below the SM

    1. Anonymous4/08/2012

      your mystery engine# smr 4361 is a 1957/8 indian apache motor the number on the right hand front crankcase hds 769 would have appeared on the top
      of the gearbox also [hds also denotes 1957] depending on what time of the year it was made it
      could have been a 58 model

    2. Anonymous6/24/2015

      engine no 1967742 frame no 196742/91x is this a indian or English model royal enfield need to find out any help would be great


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