A couple of weeks ago, I finalized a deal to get my very own Royal Enfield Bullet. It’s a 2003 Thunderbird, with a different design from the regular Bullet motorcycle. I’d put in a good bit of research into motorbikes in India and after much thought, decided to go for a cruiser and there seem to be only two bikes that fall into that category here: the Enfield and Bajaj’s Avenger. I’m new to bikes and it took me a while to flesh out my impressions – but the overall idea was to have a bike I could take long trips on. This was a deciding factor – long trips mean that the bike has to deal with longer runs on the engine and a small engine just won’t do – so a 350cc or 500cc was the answer.
Choosing between Bajaj and Enfield, I decided to opt for the simpler design which I could, given the inclination, take apart and put back together. I hope to maintain the bike, with some guidance, on my own. So an Enfield it was – and then the rest was chance. I found a bike in decent condition that needed a bit of work to fit my needs.
This is what I started with:
And I had a few things that needed fixing:
- No mirrors
- No Indicators
- Twisted handlebar
- Broken cup for the speedometer
- Broken headlight glass
- Some leaks from the gearbox
- Locks that were a bit rusty and
- A funny gearshift (way too much play here!)
With my good friend Zubin, I proceeded to get a few things fixed near Chirag Delhi – clutch, gear and the headlight glass. We got a bit of the twist out of the handlebar, but more work was needed – and I needed a Helmet! Zubin helped by lending me an old one.
After much delay, we visited Karol Bagh a couple of days ago. It was almost unbearable in the heat, but I was in luck. After buying the helmet from Veekay stores, I asked Kunal if he knew of a good RE mechanic. He directed us to Tribhuvan, who was in a small alleyway opposite.
With Tribhuvan, I prepped a rather long shopping list over the next 4-5 hours:
- Rear indicator and lamp wiring
- Mounting plate for the indicators and license, and nut bolts for the same
- Flasher (for the blinking indicators)
- Indicator switch – mine was way too rusty to operate
- Some washers for the leak
- Lock kit
- Speedometer cup
And I let him at it. I’d go shop for a bit and then hang around watching him and his associate work on the bike. It was amazing how rationally the bike was made –it’s to be expected, I know, but for me it was just amazing how he took bits and pieces apart and then put them all back together again. What he did was a simple matter than refitting the engine, but it was still fun learning about how it was all put together. It just inspired me to learn more about the bike.
So, with that, this is what the bike looks like now:
And now, I’m looking forward to the next maintenance cycle to get it all fixed up for a tour.
I’ve been busy buying some tools for my trips and still have to organize a storage/saddlebag for it – it’s all quite heavy!
- Spanner and box Spanner kit
- Puncture Repair kit
I still need to get some other bits as a roadie:
- Clutch cable,
- Accelerator cable
- Brake cable
- Spare tube
And more than anything, I need to learn how to make these repairs!
Luckily, I’ve found that I’ve got a good bit of Enfielders in my group of friends and we hope to convert a few more!