Saturday, May 26, 2012

A better, better looking gearbox for Royal Enfields

Hitchcocks offers a better and better looking five-speed transmission.
A new, improved, made-in-Britain five-speed gearbox is now available for Royal Enfield motorcycles old and new.

Hitchcocks Motorcycles spent four years developing the new transmission not only to work better (Hitchcocks says) than the made-in-India five-speed that comes on Bullets today, but to look like the original Albion four-speed transmission of yore.

Importantly, unlike the Indian five-speed, the Hitchcocks gearbox will even fit Royal Enfield twins.

Since it looks like the old four-speed, it won't spoil the looks of a classic, English made twin or Bullet, at least not from a distance. One telling omission appears to be the lack of the treasured neutral finder lever.

But that will not matter to the rider who wants to improve the performance of his four-speed Bullet or twin. These people exist; I wrote earlier about how some owners of older Bullets can fit the Indian five-speed gearbox. Unfortunately, this was no help to owners of Royal Enfield Interceptors and other twins.

The new Hitchcocks five-speed is listed as fitting most twins and Bullets except the very newest models and it offers road and competition gearing. Naturally you will want to contact Hitchcocks at to make certain it will fit your motorcycle.

The gearbox shifts only on the right side of the bike, up for first and down for the remaining four gears, a pattern that may be unfamiliar to many Americans.

A greater stumbling block will be the price of the Hitchcocks five speed, 2,975 British pounds, almost $5,000 without tax and shipping charge.

"Unfortunately even though we have written off all our development costs on this gearbox, the manufacture of such a quality item in small batches is not cheap!" Hitchcocks' catalog  notes.

The catalog states that "the ease of gear change is something that would be expected on a modern Japanese bike."

For $5,000 you could buy a modern Japanese bike, transmission and all. There will be relatively few customers for this item, which makes the bragging rights even more valuable.

A nod to Tim Britton for bringing the new transmission to our attention with his article on the Classic Bikers Club blog.

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