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Other Modifications

The Bike


I'm usually very happy to use hand signals whilst riding my claassics. However, for this jounrney it seems prudent to fit indicators; especially for use in Europe. Paul Goff, a specialist supplier of classic motorcycle electrical parts, has supplied the bulls-eye indicators and relay. These indicators were originally fitted onto the handelbar ends of 1960s BMWs. I have seen them used on the bar ends of Bullets and they look great. As I will be squeezing my bike through numerour hotel and guest house gates and doorways, I've mounted mine on the headlamp clamp bolts on stainless brackets made by Derek Thom. Contact: 62 Clare rd. Prestwood, Bucks, HP16 0NU. Tel: (+44) 01494 8682

Crash Bars

A silly fall, such as slipping on diesel on a filling station forecourt, can cause damage to both bike and rider. I've fitted Indian army front and rear crash bars which were supplied by UK Royal Enfield distributors, Watsonian Squire. Originally painted olive green, I've had them powder coated black. My only concern is squeezing the bike into guest house courtyards at night, but the benefits far outweigh any loss in manoeuvrability. Contact: Tel: Tel: (+44) 01386 700907

Stainless Steel Hose

To supply oil to the oil pressure gauge, Andy Berry made a simple feed which is fitted to the rear of the oil filter housing. I was told to buy some Goodridge-type stainless hose to connect the feed to the gauge. When I looked around, I saw no point in buying an inferior copy of the real thing, so I went for a genuine Goodridge product. Stuart Cookson of K300, a Goodridge Brake lines, hoses and fittings specialist, proved very helpful. He supplied the hose with the correct connectors pre-fitted to each end. Contact: Tel: (+44) 0161 355 1275

Front Brake

The front wheel of the 1953 500 Bullet was fitted with a single 6" drum brake, the same as fitted to 350 Bullets and the 500 Twin. The 700cc Meteor was launched at the same time, but had the far superior dual 6" front brake with a full width hub. This type of brake was not fitted to Bullets until 1955, but I decided to fit it to mine for improved safety. I bought the complete brake assembly off eBay. I had to replace the original steel fork bottoms with later alloy ones that accommodated the dual brake. That was the easy part! In order to keep the early type alloy fork crown, Andy cut and weld some later type fork shrouds over the early type screw-in shrouds. After the weld was dressed down, our painter Brian Dees did a great job with filler and the resulting finish is superb. Of course it would have been far easier to fit an original pair of 1953 Meteor forks, but they are a very rare item indeed. Finally, I had to fit a whiffle tree cable holder to the brake lever on the handlebars. Theses are readily available form Hitchcocks. I understand that it is possible to fit these dual brakes to Indian Bullets to enhance their classic appearance, but the models of the last decade are fitted with modern brakes, either a 7" twin leading shoe or a disc brake, so no benefit in performance can be gained for these bikes.

Oil Pressure Guage

The oil pump spindle is notoriously weak on Bullets. Failure can rapidly lead to a top end seizure. As my journey will take me through some very hot climates, I am keen to monitor oil pressure. We have fitted a new Smiths full face mechanical oil pressure guage. These are made to original drawings and specifications using original tools and dies by Caerbont Automotive Instruments. Contact: Caerbont, Abercrave, Swansea, SA9 1SH. Tel: (+44) 01639 732200

Spare Studs

Most fittings on my Bullet are Whitworth with cycle thread; not easy to find in the middle of nowhere should one break. Andy Berry came up with a brilliant solution. He took 3 long studs (1/4, 3/8 and 5/16) and threaded them a few inches in from each end. Should any snap on the bike I can now saw a replacement to size in a matter of minutes.

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