RESHAPING A BULLET
So another new project begins! Madness and insanity set in during August 2006 maybe as
the clock ticked over 60 and I’m looking for something to fit the Premier Heavyweight Class. Lo,
a 1960 Don Morley Royal Enfield factory 350 Bullet is found in trials trim and it had competed in
the 2005 pre 65 Scottish. So it is duly secured via E-Bay and then the fun begins trying to
understand Wee Willie. Wee Willie lives (assumption!) in deepest Scotland, way up there on the
Atlantic coast where no man fears to tread. You may remember that Hadrian said “this is it” and
built a wall there to keep them out! The SSDT never goes that far North and as far as I know in
those polar regions its sleigh and reindeer only.
and Allied, the shippers, will actually pick it up at his house/croft? Now for the first piece of lunacy,
the crate has to be made out of “certified wood” acceptable to Homeland Security. Second choice,
pay another $200 and have it sprayed with Ossama juice to prevent terrorist termites! It duly
arrives in Houston and is here a day later.
are connected to the rear of the top yoke by two bolts that cannot exert enough pressure to
keep them tight and that is borne out by the 2 self tapping screws going through the clamp into
the bars. Man it’s long and heavy! Well having found suitable oils for the old girl it’s time to fire
her up and this she does and the motor actually sounds pretty good despite the horrendous high
gears. Clearly this is going to be a Major Project that will take engineering skills and ingenuity
which I may or may not possess.
know how. After all the laughing I start dismantling the beast having bought all the Whitworth
spanners that I thought I would need. Much research takes place viewing every Enfield that I could
find in anything close to modern day trials trim. Needless to say the best of the bunch was Peter
Guant’s (no surprises there!) but to come close to his machine is way outside my capabilities. His
has a shortened rod and barrel and the motor is way off the ground and looks very compact.
sensible and will paint mine Purple, well no surprises there. More research, and now I find
Spartan engineering in the UK who make the yokes and stem and a whole load of other goodies.
A big order is placed with them in February and I’m still waiting in the middle of June …. I know I
said I wasn’t in a hurry but this is trying my patience. The big problem was the wheel which
nobody could seem to be able to lace but now I’m told it’s done! So, new yokes, front wheel, new
victor style tank, primary 16 tooth, bash plate and 340mm Betor gas shocks. Of course there will
be new Renthals in either red or gold, Magura front lever, and a new goodie from
“Works Connection” which is a ball bearing clutch lever with a decompresor incorporated. Lots of
Purple tubing and even a purple plug wire.
Wheels, bars and tank all off and now realistically there’s not much left, but how does this
engine fit in here? Front bolts are easy, all 5 of them but only one actually joins the frame to the
engine plates. Down the back there must be others. Undo the first cross bolt and there is a
“CLANG” as a tube falls out and lands on the floor. Very interesting but it doesn’t actually go
through the motor? Undo the next one and same result “CLANG” as another tube hits the floor,
oh well. Now there is one bolt left with a nut on each end but no room to extract it??? Further
investigation reveals a cut in the frame so it can be moved in the vertical when undone. Take the
nuts off and then discover that there is a groove in the gearbox so this is a saddle bolt and
nothing else. All the other ironmongery, bolts and tubes were presumably from the original
the game is to somehow lose 3” off the wheel base and get another 3” of ground clearance.
What we need to do is split the frame at the seat tube area and make it similar to the Tiger Cub.
Weld in a substantial down tube to bolt onto the back of the gearbox and then hang the
modified swinging arm from there inside the primary case and gearbox. With that neatly tucked
away the rear down tube will follow the curvature of the chain case and look pretty neat while
losing a couple of inches. Up front reset the steering head to modern angles and bend the top
tube to accommodate the raising of the Titanic engine. Cut the forward down tube and machine
some new engine plates.
Much polishing of the engine and cutting the fin edges and then time to replace everything with
purple tubing and the plug wire. Nice idea! Take off the “plastic” diamond off the Lucas magneto
and try and take out the plug wire. However, 45 year old bakeolite does not respond and now
we have a pile of shattered fragments. From the memory banks I dimly recall this crap called
“bakeolite” it was used in nearly all electrical things and was made out of coal dust and was
forever breaking!! Glumsville sets in but then find a man in the UK who specializes in Lucas Mags
and after telling him that there are no numbers on the mag, just a green label that says “Lucas
Racing Magneto” he says he knows the one and yes he has the part and will put one in the
afternoon post… YIPEE!
instructor from officer training it’s time to apply his cryptic line of “if it’s Brass or Copper it shines!”
he was referring to the urinal at the time but the pipes came up a treat.
Well now it’s mid June and we are nearly ready for reassembly prior to Chroming. Barry needs
the yokes to check final rake and trail and with the new shocks we should be able to see the
final wheelbase. Then fabricate a seat or adapt one from the junk pile and cover with purple
leather. The brake is going on the right to tie in with the Yam back wheel and somewhere we
will need a stand anchor. The new footrests should fit nicely at the 22” point and then its bash
plate time to protect this monstrous engine. Finally cut off all the rear tubes and position a
cross rail for the rear fender. Should be able to angle the rear shocks for improved grip and
looks. (IT’S ALL IN THE MIND’S EYE!)
Monday 18 June, frustration is setting in as I want to get going but either it’s not here, not
finished or not ready! GRRRR! Barry says he is finishing up today, seeing is believing, and the
Spartan order was supposed to have left last Tuesday via Parcel Force so that could be here
today? … wishful thinking boy, handlebars coming soon. Then when I have it all here a
preassembly run to see if it all fits, then paint the frame, put the engine back in and wait for
the chroming and polishing (2-3 weeks)
progress has been made, albeit, remarkably slowly. The frame was finally finished and pre
assembly began after 2 sets of painting attempts in different shades of purple. Eventually the
color was found that matched everything and was close to what I had envisaged. Line up the
parts but, that swinging arm looks a bit funny? Yes, the strengthening gusset had warped it
and back it goes for some straightening. Purchase some heat shrink (in purple of course) and
redo all 5 cables. Fit the new yokes and newly machined spacers and the forks are in and
ready for the new wheel which is the same weight as the old one with the big hub. The new
wheel nearly fits! …. But the brake arm hangs too low so back in with the old wheel and
maybe use this one on the Cub? The engine has come up a bit and now the new tank won’t
fit so polish the old one like crazy and fit the new decals. This one works well as it has a
recessed area underneath to accommodate the rockers. Redo the pushrod cover in purple and
then fit all 5 purple covered wires. Nice idea but the nipples all need a little adjusting to fit the
new controls but finally they are all in place and look very neat. The reshaped saddle is treated
to 3 mouse pads and glued together before the final covering of purple leather.
a new pivot for the rear brake so that mister Yamahas back wheel (7lbs lighter) will fit so all
that remains is the back end build and fit the chrome Indian RE fender.
then seeing if it is rideable and competitive? Well the frame pieces go on with not too much
problem but lining up the wheel with the slightly offset swinging arm is a little more serious.
First change the spacers to line up the sprockets and then file a bit off the left side tube to allow
the sprocket nuts to rotate freely. The nicely chromed Yamaha brake cable is just a little short
so that gets replaced with the spare Sammy Miller Triumph one.
has that fixed after yet another trip to ACE for more bolts! Now for the chain tensioner which
has its own problems. he original Scottish home made effort mounted on the gearbox won’t
work with the shortened frame! The new spare universal one won’t fit either and finally I hit on
the idea of a Yam one mounted on the old rear brake pivot. A lot of filing and offsetting nearly
has it but the chain just touches the bolt ****! Well let’s reverse it and get the Makita in action
and grind off some of this surplus steel… just think of the weight saving?
works! On a personal note I’m suffering from a sore neck which has a trapped nerve to the
Cerebellum causing severe “fall down” dizziness and yesterday it was so bad that I became
disorientated and actually threw up… Mummy! This is not good!!!
silencer. Yes after a few hours of cutting and Makitaing the poorly chromed Indian Enfield part
is on. Tank and seat are easy but it looks a bit short at 50 and ½ inches wheelbase and nearly
12 inches ground clearance. Just need to make a bash plate to fit and maybe find some sort
of stand as its way up there! Pretty yes? Functional? Who knows? It scaled in at 273 and the
standard for the year was 309.
Back from the weekend and after cleaning carb and changing plug wires, just in case. Check
decompressor is freeing correctly and try again…. Nothing! Well now its time to change the
carb for a flange mounting Mikuni which is lurking on the Ossa. There is barely enough room
but amazingly it will fit and the mounting holes actually line up. Some dismantling of the frame
but eventually it’s in and after sorting out fuel lines it fires up and runs. Some rejetting and it
seems pretty good all things considered.
front a little but its still like being in the penthouse. Maybe swing the rear shocks forward and
that will lower the rear, increase the wheelbase and put the steering angle out a couple of
Back from Barry (on time!) with the new bash plate….. WOW what a lovely job. Now back to
ACE for some more bolts to finish off the plate and move the rear shocks forward which should
make it lower at the rear, increase the wheelbase and also make it look more modern.