Friday, January 12, 2024

Vintage Royal Enfield plug is new

Vintage style gearbox plug is brand new.
I thought you'd have to look a long time to find one of these. 

 This is impressive. It turns out that you can buy a brand new gearbox filler plug for an old four-speed Royal Enfield Bullet. (I have no connection to the seller.)

The new plug will even come with the historical lubricant requirements engraved in tiny, tiny print on the top of the plug. 

Who cares? Well, consider that the list of obsolete lubricants is just the sort of perfectly evocative vintage touch that makes owning an old Royal Enfield so much fun. 

For instance, motorcyclists never fail to ask me about the odd little lever on the side of the four-speed gearbox. (You won't have one of these if you own a modern motorcycle, or even a Royal Enfield built in the last couple decades.) 

"What's that thing?" they ask, meaning the neutral finder lever, of course. 

Looking closer, they might notice the little filler plug on the gearbox, with its faint suggestions that I top up the gearbox with Essolube or Energol. 

"This thing is really old!" they're likely to conclude.

My Royal Enfield is old, but not THAT old.

Yes, my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet, built in India, came with the separate four-speed gearbox that requires its own supply of lubricant, delivered through the itsy-bitsy filler plug, just as did ancient Royal Enfields built in England.

Well worn gearbox plug replaced original.
Well worn 1959 gearbox plug (foreground) replaced the plain steel plug in my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet.

But, truth be told, my well-worn gearbox filler plug didn't actually come with my motorcycle. It's much older, probably from the 1959 model year, when it was on an Indian Chief motorcycle (made in the UK by Royal Enfield for the American market).

I wrote about how I got it here.

My made-in-India Bullet originally came with a plain, steel plug. I just liked the vintage look of the old labelled plug, so I subbed it in.

It was the original steel plug that came with my Bullet that I decided was "haunted" after it mysteriously unscrewed itself! I wrote about that here.

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