Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What my Royal Enfield Bullet needs is more levers

Nothing retro about my Royal Enfield's handlebar controls.
My 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle is the motorcycle I wanted in 1955, when I was a kid. That's why I like it so much.

But it's not perfect. Specifically, the handlebar controls are combined in a 1990s style plastic lump incorporating headlight, turn signals, horn and decompressor controls. There's nothing circa-1955 about this.

Vintage-style controls are available on the aftermarket but fitting them is a little bigger project than I'm anxious to tackle. In line with my usual procedure, I'll wait to fit those until the ones I've got break.

And besides, what I want, really, is something more.

I want the controls Buck Rogers would have had on his space motorcycle. Childish, I know, but it's a childhood fascination that has me on a Royal Enfield in the first place.

1953 Mercury dashboard with aircraft-style levers behind wheel.
Fortunately, we know exactly what Buck would have used, thanks to the 1953 Mercury. Although a car, the Mercury of that era used dashboard lever controls that would have looked appropriate on a heavy bomber.

Growing up, the neighbor had one of these cars. I was fascinated by the lever stalks behind the steering wheel. Even as a kid I knew they probably did nothing more than turn on the heater. But they looked as though they would control a supercharger, or, maybe, torpedoes.

Left-side controls.
Right-side controls.

The photos here are of a 1953 Mercury for sale on CraigsList in Ohio.

These are the kinds of levers I want on my motorcycle, ideally in a streamlined pod someplace visible yet unobtrusive.

What could they possibly control? That I don't know...

1953 Mercury looked best from the back.
...but the front hood scoop looked flight approved.


  1. One of the most beautiful cars ever

  2. One of the most beautiful cars ever

  3. clarkthespark4/05/2017

    Good story. Enjoyed it much.


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