A Few Mods for the Enfield
Biting the Bullet
Associate editor Landon Hall shows the winning style that took him and the Enfield to a blistering 80mph.
Photo by Matthew Stallbaumer
Regular readers will recall we’ve been painting northeast Kansas red-and-chrome with a 2005 Royal Enfield Bullet Deluxe, loaned to us by North American Enfield distributor Classic Motorworks, who’s pitching the Bullet as a “retro classic custom.” This spring we decided our Bullet was ready for some upgrades, so we thumbed through the parts book, ordered some goodies and started to fiddle and tweak.
Beefing up performance was top priority. To that end, we replaced the stock carburetor with a 30mm Amal MK2. The new carb kit costs $318 and includes an aluminum manifold, rubber inlet and cone-shaped performance air filter to replace the original airbox and filter. The conversion was straightforward, but the wider slide cap on the new unit rubbed up against the gas tank’s rear mounting bolt. Turning the bolt around gave us a little more room, but we still had to put a slight bend in the rubber inlet hose to make things fit. In conjunction with the shorty muffler we’d installed earlier in the year, the carb is a nice power enhancement. After the swap, associate editor Landon Hall cranked it up to 80 to pass both editor Backus on his Laverda and a Cadillac, nearly bringing tears to our eyes.
We were cosmetically compelled to dish the stock seat in favor of a deluxe solo perch ($199). Surprisingly, the seat is less comfortable than the original, and the stiff springs push you to an awkward forward lean. But nostalgia overrides comfort in this case, and on a deserted, dusty road with nothing but wheat and silos in sight, it feels like 1955 is back again.
We also added a chrome distributor cap ($7.95) and replaced the stock mirrors with chrome bar end units ($15.95 each), which are sweet, though they tend to move around a bit due to the thumper’s considerable vibration. Overall, it’s still a blast around town and a little more punchy at a green light, and we like how she cleans up. Our main complaint thus far is the seeping head gasket (with just over of 1,100 miles on the counter). We can’t figure out if we should be concerned or if Royal Enfield is just that good at re-creating the classic British bike experience. — Andrew Perkins