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Author Topic: New guy here  (Read 348 times)

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banjelele

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on: September 15, 2018, 07:06:10 pm
Hi guys. Was just reading through posts on your forum today and thought I would join. Not sure how much expertise I have to add but I've had my Bullet for about 20 years now. I live In Saskatchewan. Back in 1995 Terry Smith imported 200 of these Into Canada. I found mine a couple of years later with 3000 kms on it.  For maybe 10 years old "Tonto" my faithful "indian" "sidekick" was my only bike.every ride was a great adventure. I've decoked him  twice and when the 3rd time rolled around I put a whole new head on him. He's running stronger than he ever has.Tonto is a 350 deluxe.All chrome. The Indians called this model the Machismo. By the time I got him he already had cafe bars and handlebar end mirrors and I left him as is. He's never let me down or left me stranded and now I'm sorry to see winter come. Soon have to park him for a few months again.


Arizoni

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Reply #1 on: September 15, 2018, 07:30:09 pm
Welcome to the forum.

I'm sure after 20 years of riding Tonto you have some good stories about your rides and you must have learned a lot about what he likes and what he doesn't like.  Feel free to share anything you think we would like to read. :)

You say he had 3000 km on him when you bought him.  How many km does he have on him now?
Jim
2011 G5 Deluxe
1999 Miata 10th Anniversary


banjelele

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Reply #2 on: September 15, 2018, 09:17:17 pm
His way too optomistic speedo quit some years ago. I installed a bicycle speedo and have been able to keep track that way. Near as i can tell, about 30,000 kms.


banjelele

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Reply #3 on: September 15, 2018, 09:26:28 pm
The longest ride was from an hour south of Regina to where we live now. About 200 miles bucking a 40 kph Saskatchewan headwind. Hunkered down over the tank to reduce wind drag. Most of the ride at about 40 mph. Long day. Never skipped a beat though. That was 16 years ago.I


Adrian II

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Reply #4 on: September 16, 2018, 02:14:01 pm
Hi,

seems like this one was a good build from day 1. In 1999 or thereabouts the 350 Machismo lost its classic engine and became the first of the lean burn models.



A.
Grumpy Brit still seeking 500 AVL Bullet perfection! Will let you know if I get anywhere near...


Bilgemaster

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Reply #5 on: September 16, 2018, 02:28:36 pm
Welcome aboard! 350s are a rare breed among the rare here in North America, so it'll be interesting to read your take on it.
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal in India.


banjelele

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Reply #6 on: September 16, 2018, 02:48:46 pm
Wow, that lean burn engine sure looks different from Tonto's. Thanks for the pic.


banjelele

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Reply #7 on: September 16, 2018, 03:16:08 pm
Thanks Bilgemaster. It seems that not too many of the Canadian market iron heads were 350s either. When I got Tonto the only other one was a much Plaines 500 but it wasnt running due to a blown piston.Advanced timing seemed to be the culprit. Anyway, I've be as really regretted the purchase.Tonto is a pretty good trail bike too. That fellow still has the 500. It still isn't running. Maybe I should try to deal him out of it.


Adrian II

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Reply #8 on: September 16, 2018, 03:28:43 pm
I think you should at least make an offer for that 500!

As for the later Machismo engine, they factory were looking at emissions regulations even then, the lean burn engine seemed the way to go before fuel injection took over. Despite this the classic 350 Bullet remained in production until 2010 or so, the last ones being for the domestic market as European emissions regs were cranked up another notch.

To get the lean combustion the engine needed a more modern cylinder head design and a higher compression ratio, but with an alloy barrel to stop things getting TOO hot, as the lean burn principle needed a restrictive inner pipe in the exhaust down pipe as well as a very lean-jetted carburetor. The first ones got genuine Dell'Orto PHBH28 carbs to boot. With all the extra fuss and bother going on up top, the stock crank wasn't deemed up to the job, so the plain floating bush big end and alloy con-rod were replaced by a Japanese-type steel con-rod on a needle roller big end. A new timing cover with high-capacity gear-type oil pumps replaced the old set-up, and the cherry on the cake was a crank-mounted CDI ignition with a modified alternator.

A few of these bikes were privately imported into the UK and the USA, I don't know if any ever headed North across the 49th Parallel. The A350 Machismo was also the fore-runner of the 500 Electra-X and 500 AVL Classic, which WERE official exports between 2004 and 2009.

A.
Grumpy Brit still seeking 500 AVL Bullet perfection! Will let you know if I get anywhere near...


banjelele

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Reply #9 on: September 16, 2018, 11:03:17 pm
As much fun as a new bullet project would be I'm not sure where I would put it. Have to sell some other much loved machines to make room for it. (6 bikes crammed into my single car garage now) even if I could cram it in there would be no room to move around and work on it. I'll have to let it simmer until I can find space. :) If I can figure out how I'll post a pic or 2 of Tonto.


banjelele

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Reply #10 on: September 17, 2018, 02:37:41 pm
No luck yet on the pics. One thing I can say is that the vibration on the 350 must be considerably less than the 500. There certainly is some but I have never found it unpleasant. In fact the bike wouldn't feel right without it.
Maybe a year after I got the Bullet a friend with more money than sense bought 2 brand new Triumph Bonnevilles. He dropped one off at my place and asked me to break it in for him. Glad to oblige. Well that bike had easily twice if not 3 times the performance of old Tonto. And yet I just didn't enjoy it. There was no character. Smooth as a sewing machine. A rather bland exhaust note. And twisting the throttle felt like turning a reostat.(hope that's the right term). Anyway I found it way more fun to go slow on the Bullet than fast on the
Triumph. Maybe that says more about me than it does about the bikes......


Arizoni

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Reply #11 on: September 17, 2018, 05:50:50 pm
I agree with your opinion on the Triumph Bonnie.

Although I only rode it about 35 miles as a "test ride" I thought the machine lacked character.
My mothers old Singer sewing machine made more noise and the seat felt like I was sitting on a very hard ironing board. 
I also gave it a thumb down for its lack of a center stand.

Yes, it had nice power, good brakes and it's handling was responsive but it generally felt like one of the typical Japanese motorcycles.

After I finished with that test ride, when I got back on my Royal Enfield it was like coming home.  The old familiar vibrations, the sound of one big bore piston chugging away and the light flick it right or left without even thinking handling all combined to make me glad I hadn't traded it in on the Triumph.
Jim
2011 G5 Deluxe
1999 Miata 10th Anniversary


blasphemous

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Reply #12 on: September 17, 2018, 10:03:38 pm
I actually have a 2017 Triumph Scrambler and I can attest to the lack of character, it is bland bland bland, but reliable. I get more joy out of my cast iron, I keep the Triumph around for the reliability and highway speeds. Welcome to the group.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2018, 10:06:20 pm by blasphemous »


banjelele

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Reply #13 on: September 17, 2018, 10:10:54 pm
The U.S. guys and amen to that. Changed fork oil today. Seems to have cured the brake dive. Easy too. Only took about 1/2 hour including cleanup.dont know why I didn't do it long ago.


Bilgemaster

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Reply #14 on: September 18, 2018, 12:02:15 am
[...snip!] Changed fork oil today. Seems to have cured the brake dive. Easy too. Only took about 1/2 hour including cleanup.dont know why I didn't do it long ago.

Funnily enough, it was changing the fork oil on my own 2005 Bullet 500 when I first got her back in December that began really convincing me that she and I were gonna get along just fine. Whenever I acquire some old heap the first thing I do is change all its fluids. The fact that it was so thoughtfully designed to be so damned easy, certainly compared to other bikes I've owned, for a schmuck like me jumping on a dozen years down the road since she rolled off the line in Chennai, to perform this all-too-often odious and troublesome maintenance just gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Too bad the later design Continentals' forks are not so accommodating.

Another portent that I'd be just fine with my Royal Enfield Bullet quality-wise, despite the brand's many nay-sayers and haters out there, was when the very same week I got her I also found the most superbly-designed little "Diamond TTK" pressure cooker made in neighboring Nepal in a thrift store nearby for five bucks. I dunno...I guess it just gave me faith that metallurgy, design and fabrication on the subcontinent wasn't all  rubbish. With somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 miles in her saddle so far, roughly doubling her mileage since getting her, including a fairly long trip from Virginia to northeastern Pennsylvania and back with nary a hiccup, I guess I'm ready to knock wood, give praise where it's due, and call her "reliable."  Used properly, she's a fine little tourer, and as I often tell folks, "They're such a bargain that I'm surprised everyone  doesn't have one."
« Last Edit: September 18, 2018, 12:12:40 am by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal in India.


banjelele

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Reply #15 on: September 18, 2018, 08:09:09 am
I'm kinda surprised looking at kijiji here in Canada that people are asking almost as much for our old iron heads as they are asking for the brand new ones. And that there are  new 2016s still in stock. Could be old Tonto is worth more than I paid for him all those years ago.


Bilgemaster

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Reply #16 on: September 18, 2018, 11:01:05 am
I'm kinda surprised looking at kijiji here in Canada that people are asking almost as much for our old iron heads as they are asking for the brand new ones. And that there are  new 2016s still in stock. Could be old Tonto is worth more than I paid for him all those years ago.

Asking ain't getting, but a well-sorted "iron belly" certainly isn't likely to lose real value, and will very likely gain some within reason. After all, they're not making any more of "the REAL thumpers." In India they're apparently now selling at a huge premium. But let's be honest: most folks I meet here in the Land of the Plastic Spork have never even heard  of Royal Enfield. So as an "investment vehicle" (pun intended) a Bullet is probably not your very best bet hereabouts. It presently lacks any real brand name recognition. An unmolested '70s or earlier Triumph, Norton or BSA would be far likelier to increase more in value more down the road, that is, unless Royal Enfield makes any real inroads into our dwindling North American market, such that folks might actually begin googling "Royal Enfield for sale" the way they might "Triumph Bonneville for sale."  All that said, if you could pick up that ailing 500 you mention for, say, a couple-few hundred bucks as a "project bike", and have the wherewithal to square her away, it probably wouldn't be the dumbest thing anyone's ever done with their "Bordens", Eh?
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal in India.


banjelele

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Reply #17 on: September 18, 2018, 02:29:00 pm
Well, speaking of metallurgy I always respected the head on my Bullet wasn't quite right. That little engine just never had the performance I had read about from others. The valves needed quite frequent adjustment and after 15 or more years of riding and having the valves and seats lapped once or twice, the valves were so deep in the head that I had to take the exhaust pushed apart and grind a wee bit of length off of it to increase the range of adjustment. I finally gave up and just bought a whole new head with valves installed. Actually I think it came from classic motorworks. I believe it was 300$. I didn't care. Just wanted old Tonto to run again. Now he runs better than I remember him ever running. Top gear tells the tale. Bucks headwinds and climbs hill's better than it used to. Sounds good too.


banjelele

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Reply #18 on: September 18, 2018, 03:50:20 pm
Speaking of metallurgy for years I suspected that the head on my Bullet had problems. It just never made the power I had read that other guys were getting. Through the years as part of the decoking process I did have the valves lapped. Finally even had to shorten the exhaust pushed to get enough adjustment range.
Finally I went looking for a new head and found one with the  valves already installed. About 300$ as I remember. That cured it. Better compression. Better torque. Climbs hill's better. Bucks prairie headwinds better. A much happier machine all the way around.