Friday, November 29, 2013

Kick start, carbureter make a Royal Enfield C5 "vintage"

This Royal Enfield C5 really does look like a motorcycle of the 1950s.
Lots of owners add "vintage" accessories to make their Royal Enfields look older than they are, but few go to the trouble Maciej of Warsaw, Poland did.

This Royal Enfield enthusiast changed the look of his 2010 C5, eliminating the nacelle and fitting a period tail light structure and lights. It looked great.

That was just the beginning.

"I started with some cosmetic changes to make it look more like early '50s models but this was not enough," Maciej wrote.

"I missed something in the experience. I was fortunate enough to find guys in the town who are not afraid of serious work and they are also RE enthusiasts, so in stages kick start was added, Amal carb replaced EFI stuff, electric starter was removed, big bore kit installed, new exhaust fabricated and fitted, etc.

"It ended up as a genuine ‘modern classic’, and while one could say this was a step backwards, I’m delighted with the outcome; after some teething problems it’s an absolutely fantastic bike to own and ride a daily basis."

Early Royal Enfield C5 Bullets came with electric start only. Customer demand forced the factory to add the kick start on the production line but it was not an option owners who didn't have it could retrofit.

Maciej bought his C5 in early 2011, as a compromise between the genuine vintage machines he admired and a reliable modern motorcycle he could ride daily. Even before it left the dealer he chose cosmetic modifications to make it look older.

"But as it turned out all of it could not help the fact that I started to be bored with the simplicity of starting it with a button; also I discovered I would prefer it to be more ‘mechanical.’ Too many computers in our lives! I know this sounds weird but this is how it was; it’s about feelings."

Maciej's C5 with vintage look but still with fuel injection and without a kick start.
Compare it with the stock photo below.
Trading his C5 for a newer one with kick start would have sacrificed the modifications already made. And so it began.

"After I came to the decision to go radical, then no obstacles could stop me, although identifying and then obtaining correct parts was a nightmare indeed.

"Hitchcocks helped as they could but they were not sure themselves what needs to be installed; also they sent me some parts they thought OK while in reality they weren’t, for which I don’t blame them at all — they admitted at some stage they tried to develop a kick start conversion kit themselves but they gave up as it was too complex to be practical.

"Anyway, you could imagine the frustration when we discovered the kick start shaft they’d sent was a B5 part, which was 3-to-4cm too short. This we realized after the crankcase was assembled.

"I think this gives you a flavor of what it was. There were also many other lessons to learn with the carb conversion.

"The Polish Royal Enfield dealer also helped a lot in sourcing the right parts, although getting things from India could take some time. And of course without the clever guys at garage nothing would really happen.

"Yes it was frustrating, yes it was costly and time-consuming, and yes I think it was worth it."


  1. Maybe he can tell us more about adding the kickstart? In discussions I have read it is quite complicated.

  2. Yeah. Some close up photos will help too.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.


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