Friday, July 17, 2020

Look at mirror shows me my Royal Enfield is laughing

Photo of head of original equipment mirror with blob of glue on it.
Big blob of hot glue didn't make this mirror less floppy.
Suggested motto for my old 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet:

"Your Sense of Humor — Don't Leave Home Without It."

I was only two blocks into a ride today when I reached out to adjust a rear view mirror — and the head of the mirror came off in my hand.

Regular readers of this blog know that I have a thing for rear view mirrors. Whenever I come across an old-time photo of a motorcycle I check to see if there is a rear view mirror. I'd really like to know when they became common equipment.

The mirrors on my own motorcycle have a history — of goofiness.

I've complained that the original equipment mirrors looked like Mickey Mouse ears. And I complained when their stalks refused to hold the mirrors steady. And I complained when the heads of the mirrors became too loose to hold an adjustment.

I bought after-market mirrors to replace the originals. But recently, when one of the aftermarket mirrors broke off I returned one of the original equipment mirrors to the handlebars to replace it.

This instantly reminded me how bad they were. I finally got the stalk attached to the handlebars firmly, only to find that nothing I tried seemed to cure the problem of the floppy head.

I tried painting the ball-and-socket joint with nail polish to increase friction. I tried shooting hot glue into the joint to freeze the adjustment in place. Finally, I just filled the socket with J-B Weld and glued the head solidly in place.

Mirror with gray glue drying in adjustment slot.
Mirror, taped to my toolbox upside down, with J-B Weld drying.
The J-B Weld held up fine. But the plastic case of the mirror snapped at the socket when I foolishly tried to adjust it, leaving the head of the mirror in my hand.

I shouldn't have tried to adjust it, since it was glued, but what good is a mirror that isn't aimed correctly?

I dug out the broken after-market mirror, removed its broken stalk, and attached the head of that mirror to my now naked original-equipment stalk.

If this works I will finally see a smile when I look at myself in the mirror.


  1. I bought a pair of regular top-mount mirrors from the local motorcycle supply for $20 with 10mm shafts instead of the useless spindly 8mm ones of the OEM mirrors. I also bought a 10 x 1.25mm tap, then removed the mounts from the handlebars & drilled out the mount holes and tapped them for the new mirrors. The sturdy shafts stay put in the larger holes, and these cheap mirrors come with stylish color coordinated & shouldered lock nuts. Like most mirrors, they offer excellent views of your own forearms unless you wiggle the bars a bit when checking behind. Good bar end mirrors are best IMO, but do make your bike "wider". Also, tears tend to come out of your eyes when your bike falls over smatching one your nice $30 each bar ends, so I stick with the "economical" top mounts. I think the Magura controls put the mirrors in the lever bracket? so there may be less disassembly in that case.

    1. Yes, my mirrors mount into the lever brackets. It's difficult getting tools into place to tighten them up and the brackets aren't so heavy-duty that one is inspired to use too much force.

  2. Mine came sans mirrors but there was a cheapo bar end mirror in a box. I was always skeptical of those things and location but stuck it on because its what I had. Darned if I don't almost prefer it now. Just need to get one of better quality so it doesn't move about randomly.

    1. Avoid the side stand or parking on soft ground... ;-)

  3. Some folks complain about the OEM "Mickey Mouse" mirrors, but I've been perfectly satisfied with mine on my '05 Iron Barrel "Military". They don't vibrate unduly, are a nicely understated black, and unlike the bar-end types that many riders favor, mine give me a great view back there without needing to shift my focus of vision so far from the roadway ahead. My right-hand one had an issue with loosening from time to time at the lever assembly's screw-in mounting point when I first got it a few years back, but a couple of drops of Harbor Freight's "Medium Threadlocker No. 42" has stopped that (see: ). Every Enfield owner should have a little bottle of that stuff in their toolpouch. Hell, it's only $2. Get a few. Daub a drop of two on every fasteners you henceforth so much as look at, and you'll be a happier camper.

  4. Anonymous7/30/2020

    Your mirror description mirrors my own setup on my '99 Bullet. My first mirror escape was at about 30mph, it hit the curb and bounced about 75ft. I remember being somewhat perturbed by the damaged plastic, but, I like you, used a blob of JB Weld to re-secure the assembly. However, while letting the epoxy cure, I used several strips of masking tape to hold the mirror in the proper position. It took several long strips like an antenna guy wire to get it just right. Works for me and I now have 35,000 miles on the clock.

    1. Good going! That avoids my mistake: I glued the mirror into a position that was not exactly right and the plastic head would not withstand my instinctive attempt to adjust it.


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