Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Making a newer Royal Enfield look even older

A Royal Enfield of today journeys back to the 1950s.
Kevin Walker came across this website while searching for information and discovered inspiration instead. Photos of the Royal Enfield-built Indians of the 1950s gave him the notion to modify the sad-sack 2001 Royal Enfield he'd bought for a bargain price. And he has gone to extraordinary lengths to do it.

Here's his story:

"...It is not an old model, a 2001 Classic to be precise. I bought 'Jinxy'as I call him from a friend after being offered it as a non-runner for £500, or $816.45. It was while searching the web for decent pictures of what it should look like, as it was a bit sorry looking, that I came across your website. And from the moment I saw the Indian Fire Arrows and Chiefs I knew what I wanted to do and how he was going to look.

The light bar's matching visors work well with the headlight.
"So far I have junked the original handlebars in favor of Royal Enfield Thunderbird ones, replaced the original levers with Amal reproductions, along with repo Lucas style switches, and added a front light bar and lights.

"The front mudguard has gone and been replaced with a deeper 350 Bullet one with alloy Indian head mounted on it. The dual seat is no more and has been replaced by an unsprung single seat, which has been recovered and had an extra inch of foam added.

"The horn has had an adapter plate made and fitted to take a larger Indian style chrome cover. The points cover has been replaced with an alloy one bearing an Indian badge and a complete exhaust has been replaced with a Harley/Indian style fish-tail silencer.

"The original speedo has been replaced with a Smiths replica (showing) 0-80 mph.

Sparto-style tail light was popular in the day.
"The rear mudguard has been fitted with a Sparto (limp willy) replica. Studded mudflaps with reflectors have been fitted. A round chrome Harley Davidson air filter is awaiting fitting.

"I have replaced the old battery holder/cover with a chrome one, side boxes have had locks removed and plates/brackets fitted to allow use of flower bolts, and a new chrome side stand has been fitted.

"Paintwork has been re-sprayed with Renault Etruscan Red and Audi Brilliant Black.

Instrument faces look vintage.
"There is still lots to do but considering I have owned the bike since late October, 2013, and only started working on it in February, 2014 under the car port I think it's coming on nicely — beginning  to have the retro look I wanted.

"Still lots to do: paint the wheel rims red with a black center line where the spokes fit, and get some white wall tire trims; polish the hubs; do some re-wiring so that the electronic ignition unit, flasher relay etc. etc. fit inside the nearside box leaving just the coil under the seat.

"Though I am in no rush to finish it this year...

"As to the nickname 'Jinxy:' all the parts that I have re-sprayed — mudguards, side boxes/lids, tank, mudguard stays — have ALL at some point fallen over, meaning they had to be done again!

"I did begin to wonder if it were jinxed and I was not supposed to have it, especially as I gave riding some 17 years ago as I have arthritis in my spine."

Jinxy isn't the first remarkable Royal Enfield transformation Kevin has performed. The 54-year-old old resident of Kent in the UK started riding motorcycles in 1978 at 18. In 1984 he bought a 1963 Royal Enfield that he was told was a Continental GT — which is what it looked like.

Author Roy Bacon, who wrote for Classic Bike magazine at the time, confirmed for him that it was in fact a 250cc Crusader.

"At first I was disappointed, as being into the '50s rock'n'roll and Rockabilly scene I wanted a cafe racer. But not being put off I started to restore the Crusader, tracking down second hand parts, stripping and re-spraying them using aerosol cans, replacing the cafe racer parts with Crusader parts, using the money from the sales as I was not earning much during my nurse training.

"Eventually I brought the whole thing indoors, placing it in the back room of the house while my parents were away on holiday! On their return I did some fast talking, saying that the weather had been bad and there was not much more to do. I  got my dad to help me with some wiring, and used jewelers rouge to polish the alloy casings so they looked like chrome, and one quiet Sunday while they were in another room I read that it was possible to start her up without a battery being fitted.

"Hmmm, this I had to try. At first there were several pops then an almighty roar as she started and I rode her out through the patio doors and into the garden, with the biggest grin on my face!"

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