Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This Royal Enfield trials is really special

Dan Holmes, the former Royal Enfield dealer who took Royal Enfield to race at the Bonneville Salt Flats, now has a story to tell that sets some kind of record of its own. It combines:

A 620cc Royal Enfield Bullet motor.

The Enfield Girl.

A motorcycle once used to pull a boxy sidecar around in a Microsoft promotion.

And a trials model Royal Enfield Holmes once built, but never got to ride.

Typical of him, Holmes is just grateful it all came together:

"I am the luckiest guy in the whole world," he writes. "My engine builder (Glen Kyle) was bored late last winter and I had a project.

"When I sold all of my original Royal Enfield inventory, I decided that I would keep all of the duplicate parts I had in stock for a trials kit.

"I had always wanted to own and ride one as I had built one previously. When I got to the wiring a customer who purchased the original Cafe conversion from me, (literally the one featured in the poster with the girl on it), also bought the trials conversion at the same time. Note that I never got to ride it or hear it run.

Glen Kyle on the new bike.

"So back to Glen. He decided to take the project on and he sheepishly asked me if I would mind? Could I please have Glen Kyle build a bike for me! Glen Kyle is four-time National Hill Climb Champion; he was always a privateer and beat the factory riders! This was a gift from Heaven; all I had to do is supply the parts.

"Well, I had a spare set of electric-start crankcases and a stroker crank (Hitchcock's), billet I might add, and I had a spare mag, a takeoff Amal Concentric carb and an alloy barrel that was oversize. Glen calculated the swept volume with the crank combined with the 535cc piston, and wah lah: 620cc!

"I had to acquire a starter and the clutch, this and sundry other little bits. We chose to use a new five speed transmission and clutch — really shifts super. I had a set of alloy rims and spokes so I laced up the wheels and installed new trials universal tires. I had a set of instruments off of a Royal Enfield Lightning and we installed a cylinder head temp tach from Digitron. This is not vintage but it will help us avoid melt down.

"We attempted to start the thing and on the second try we sprang the sprague clutch and the starter gear. Glen knows no limits so he tested the starter gear and determined that the gear is over hardened and is predisposed to breakage. He made another one out of some secret softer material, and we were able to get it started.

"We found that with the mag being full advance all the time it was hard starting so Glen, asked me if we should install a distributor instead and I said, sure, if you would prefer! He then said perhaps we should install a second set of points and retard the timing using a switch to toggle back and forth. OK, well Glen Kyle has no limits and he did just that.

"So I have a Joe Hunt mag with dual points and we can run with or without a battery. I determined a long time ago that the best way to start with the electric starter is to, prime, choke, pull or push the compression release, crank and then add compression. This is essential on the Bullet for the starter sprag to survive and it is mandatory on the stroker.

"We have found as long as the timing is retarded and the flywheels are in motion the starter will carry it through compression and start every time.

"So I now own the only 620cc, electric start, five-speed Royal Enfield in the world, at least that I know of!

"The 620cc is a torque monster.

"I am not sure if we will be riding this frequently or not. I will ride it for sure. I hope that Glen will ride it and enjoy as much as anything. He always builds us equipment and I feel this one is his turn!

"The donor bike was one of the sidecar bikes for Microsoft that was used briefly for advertising. You could say Bill Gates once owned it!"

Dan Holmes' own video documentary of his Bonneville Bullet team at the Salt Flats is still available on eBay. Sales benefit Mark Brownlee, Bonneville Bullet rider, who was injured later in a motorcycle accident.


  1. Very interesting Dave, and I'd say it certainly is a very special Enfield!


  2. Anonymous1/04/2015

    Find your bike real good, can you please let me know what is the name of air filter and the wheels (both front and rear ) that you are using


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