Author Topic: Wanted Iron Barrel  (Read 1255 times)

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Charro

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on: February 13, 2021, 08:33:26 pm
Want to buy an Iron Barrel Royal Enfield Bullet. Looking for one in decent mechanical condition, not interested in basket cases or project bikes. I'm located in New Mexico and have cash in hand.

Let's see what you have.

Thanks,
Andy@ 575-649-4118
2014 Royal Enfield C5
2004 Triumph Sprint RS
2004 Triumph Speed Four
2001 Triumph Bonneville
2006 Triumph Scrambler
1998 Triumph Speed Triple
1998 Triumph Daytona
2012 Ural Gear Up
"Tell me what kind of horse you want to ride. I'll tell you what kind of rider you are." (Old Mexican proverb)


Warwick

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Reply #1 on: February 13, 2021, 11:39:43 pm
Although they are out there they seem to be available in ever decreasing numbers. In Oz they are often not for sale on the regular sites (ebay, etc). Hope you find a nice one. They are fun bikes.
Kind regards
Warwick
2007 Bullet, 1999 Lightning, 1994 Honda CBR1000f, 2010 Honda VFR1200f, 2007 Kawasaki GPX 250, 2019 Interceptor


AzCal Retred

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Reply #2 on: February 14, 2021, 02:22:36 am
David Blasco's website lists several Craigslist machines, as well as having interesting & informative articles. Craigslist is a good resource to search. Right now running Pre-Unit (IB, CI) Bullets seem to be found in the $2500 - $4000 range. Most US bullets are from 1970's to 2008, when they were superseded by the new UCE (Unit Construction) machines. If you plan on some distance rides and want to spend more time riding than wrenching the UCE is perhaps a better choice. It already has a steel rod, needle con rod bearing and better piston, as well as hydraulic valves, 5-speed transmission, front disc brake and fuel injection, all for about the same money.

https://www.royalenfields.com/

What's your experience level? What are you hoping to do with an Iron Barrel Bullet? They are basically a 1940's design that were manufactured in India for nearly fifty years. Once sorted out they are reasonably reliable, ridden within their parameters. Pushrods, carburettors & points are pretty user friendly. They run reliably on flat ground about 50-55ish, so are better suited for back road excursions. Unless you pump in about $2500 - $3500 for a better bottom end with steel con rod, forged piston & alloy barrel it'll just grenade if you abuse it. A stock machine requires a "mechanically sympathetic" owner handy with tools, or you'd best be closely related to Jay Leno. Parts, tools and manuals are readily available from Hitchcocks Royal Enfield (https://accessories.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com/) in Solihul, England. Royal Post / Fedex is 4 - 10 days out and they give excellent, knowledgeable service.

Let us know more about what you're after and our motley crew here will be happy to help.  - ACR -


A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


AzCal Retred

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Reply #3 on: February 14, 2021, 09:35:12 am
Right now it looks like mostly UCE's and a bit of drive time. Availability changes all the time. Again, the UCE has more power, less maintenance, factory disc brakes & a 5-speed, same "thump" experience and a bazillion bolt-on accessories. You can bolt on an Amal if that's a necessity for you, Hitchcocks has the kits. I like my Pre-Units, but there is a lot more necessary fiddling. The 4 speed and low power means every hill will be taken at whatever speed the machine wants to "run free" at. Lugging them or buzzing them will soon get you acquainted with AAA in someplace inconvenient. They are an old design built in India. They can be made fast, but it's a $3000 - $4000 labor of love. Lots of low maintenance big Japanese shaft drive V-twins around for $2k - $3K that run 80+ all day if that's your desire. The Pre-Unit is a window back into 1940's motorcycling, warts & all, but fun in their own way.

https://tucson.craigslist.org/mcy/d/tucson-2016-royal-enfield-classic-500/7276599266.html
( UCE ) 2016 Royal Enfield Classic 500 Chrome - $4,500 (Eastside)

https://ventura.craigslist.org/mpo/d/simi-valley-2011-royal-enfield-500/7266051484.html
( UCE )2011 Royal Enfield 500 - $2,600 (Simi)

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/mcy/d/los-angeles-2017-royal-enfield/7266173638.html
(UCE) 2017 Royal Enfield - $3,800

https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/mcy/d/san-diego-2014-royal-enfield-gt/7274300613.html
(UCE) 2014 Royal Enfield GT Continental - $3,000 (San Diego)

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/mcy/d/san-pedro-2006-royal-enfield-500/7266039013.html
(Iron Barrel) 2006 Royal Enfield 500 - $4,500 (San Pedro)

https://houston.craigslist.org/mcy/d/houston-2010-royal-enfield-bullet-only/7274481180.html
( UCE ) 2010 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 - only 1400 miles! - $3,400 (59 @ Bellaire)
xxxxxxx
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


Seipgam

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Reply #4 on: February 14, 2021, 09:40:27 am
AzCal, by the look of his list of bikes I think Charro is pretty sure of what he wants and what he’d be getting with an iron barrel.
And he already has a UCE Enfield.

Geoff.
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1995 Royal Enfield Bullet 500
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AzCal Retred

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Reply #5 on: February 14, 2021, 10:03:15 am
Good Point!  ;D ;D ;D  I didn't look down there before - sorry.

"There's no substitute for cubic dollars..." With that fleet for an example, it'd have to be pristine, eh?
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


ddavidv

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Reply #6 on: February 14, 2021, 01:34:28 pm
OP has a Ural. He's well-versed in antiquated design and mechanical sympathy.  ;D
2007 five speed 'Deluxe', 2008 Triumph Bonneville, 2012 Triumph Tiger 800


cyrusb

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Reply #7 on: February 14, 2021, 02:26:24 pm
How far are you willing to travel?
2005E Fixed and or Replaced: ignition, fenders,chainguard,wires,carb,headlight,seat,tailight,sprockets,chain,shocks,fork springs, exhaust system, horn,shifter,clutch arm, trafficators,crankcase vent.


Charro

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Reply #8 on: February 14, 2021, 04:09:55 pm
Hello,
Thank you for everyone's concern about an iron barrel. I know their characters, I've owned a kickstart only 2004 4speed and a 2007 military 5speed and foolishly sold them. I currently own a C5, but I miss the old ones. That's why I'm looking for another.

Andy
2014 Royal Enfield C5
2004 Triumph Sprint RS
2004 Triumph Speed Four
2001 Triumph Bonneville
2006 Triumph Scrambler
1998 Triumph Speed Triple
1998 Triumph Daytona
2012 Ural Gear Up
"Tell me what kind of horse you want to ride. I'll tell you what kind of rider you are." (Old Mexican proverb)


Bilgemaster

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Reply #9 on: February 14, 2021, 06:02:38 pm
Just up on David Blasco's superb site is what looks like a real bargain in Utah, which in the big scheme of things is practically next door to you in that Land of Enchantment in which you dwell: https://stgeorge.craigslist.org/mcy/d/orderville-2001-royal-enfield-bullet-500/7276569448.html

She's a flashy pretty little thing--hardly a "project bike" or "basket case", though she may need a little wrenching love to button down a reported oil leak. I'd also be hoping that he or she held onto the OEM exhaust, but otherwise...If it were fewer than several time zones away, I might go look it over.



2001 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 - $1,400 (Kanab)

This is the legendary Royal Enfield Bullet 500. As you can see, it looks like it was built in the 60's. That's because the design hasn't changed over the years so it has retained that classic British motorcycle look (even though it was made in India...if you aren't aware of the story, Google it).
It has a new battery and new tires and the brakes work great. It starts and runs great, but as with a lot of British bikes, it has an oil leak that I never got around to addressing because I stopped riding it (I have another motorcycle I ride).
I really hate to see it go, but I also really hate to see it sit in my shed (covered) and not be ridden and enjoyed by someone.
Call, text or email for info.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 06:13:00 pm by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.

(Legal enough to pass muster if they don't look too closely in Woodbridge, Virginia, where the buses don't run at night, holidays or weekends and I'm a contender for 'Village Idiot')


Mid Mod

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Reply #10 on: February 15, 2021, 07:38:07 pm
What’s the name of that color? I wouldn’t have thought that orange would go so well with chrome. I really love it. The sport bike muffler doesn’t even bother me on it either and I’m not one to like mixing new and old aesthetics. 


AzCal Retred

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Reply #11 on: February 19, 2021, 03:36:17 am
Here you go..........Just some gas and a night in a motel away.

2001 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 - $1,400 (Kanab)
https://stgeorge.craigslist.org/mcy/d/orderville-2001-royal-enfield-bullet-500/7276569448.html
This is the legendary Royal Enfield Bullet 500. As you can see, it looks like it was built in the 60's. That's because the design hasn't changed over the years so it has retained that classic British motorcycle look (even though it was made in India...if you aren't aware of the story, Google it).
It has a new battery and new tires and the brakes work great. It starts and runs great, but as with a lot of British bikes, it has an oil leak that I never got around to addressing because I stopped riding it (I have another motorcycle I ride).
I really hate to see it go, but I also really hate to see it sit in my shed (covered) and not be ridden and enjoyed by someone.
Call, text or email for info.



A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


ddavidv

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Reply #12 on: February 19, 2021, 12:34:11 pm
I've been to Kanab. I think you'll want to trailer it home from there.  ;D
Absolutely worth a visit while you are there:  https://bestfriends.org/locations/best-friends-utah
2007 five speed 'Deluxe', 2008 Triumph Bonneville, 2012 Triumph Tiger 800


AzCal Retred

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Reply #13 on: March 03, 2021, 01:21:30 am
How's that new-to-me Bullet hunt going? Any pictures yet?
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


Charro

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Reply #14 on: March 03, 2021, 04:50:36 pm
Nothing as of yet. Cyrub offered his but its in Long Island, and the shipping would be expensive, especially during winter. But he's in no hurry, so maybe.
So the hunt is still on,

Andy
2014 Royal Enfield C5
2004 Triumph Sprint RS
2004 Triumph Speed Four
2001 Triumph Bonneville
2006 Triumph Scrambler
1998 Triumph Speed Triple
1998 Triumph Daytona
2012 Ural Gear Up
"Tell me what kind of horse you want to ride. I'll tell you what kind of rider you are." (Old Mexican proverb)


Hondo

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Reply #15 on: March 16, 2021, 04:22:02 pm
Not sure what your budget is but I have one done as a military bike. The top and bottom end was done by ACE Engineering here on the forum. It will turn 5500 rpms on the street and 6000 on the track. It will do 80 mph plus. I have over 11k invested in this bike. I'm asking 7000 k for it. I'll send pics if your interested. I have tons on documentation on the parts and upgrades used.


Bilgemaster

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Reply #16 on: March 16, 2021, 09:13:01 pm
Looks like that promising-looking one in Kanab, Utah must have sold as its ad has been "deleted by author".

I wonder if anyone here grabbed it? I had a sort of warm, fuzzy and optimistic feeling about that one.
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.

(Legal enough to pass muster if they don't look too closely in Woodbridge, Virginia, where the buses don't run at night, holidays or weekends and I'm a contender for 'Village Idiot')


Charro

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Reply #17 on: March 16, 2021, 09:25:49 pm
Hey Hondo,
I sent you a private message.

Andy
2014 Royal Enfield C5
2004 Triumph Sprint RS
2004 Triumph Speed Four
2001 Triumph Bonneville
2006 Triumph Scrambler
1998 Triumph Speed Triple
1998 Triumph Daytona
2012 Ural Gear Up
"Tell me what kind of horse you want to ride. I'll tell you what kind of rider you are." (Old Mexican proverb)


Hondo

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Reply #18 on: March 17, 2021, 06:31:43 pm
email sent


nonfiction

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Reply #19 on: March 17, 2021, 10:23:53 pm
Pretty fresh looking 4sp ES model in Central CA for short money:

ROYAL ENFIELD 2003 - $1,500 (Livingston, California)


2003 royal enfield
condition: excellent
fuel: gas
odometer: 5000
paint color: silver
title status: clean
transmission: automatic
ROYAL ENFIELD 2003
Like New
Very low miles
Just need a battery
It has been seating for a while
As is sale
Pink Slip is clean
Sale PRICE $1500 obo
Call (916) 803-7372

https://modesto.craigslist.org/mcy/d/delhi-royal-enfield-2003/7292337030.html


Adrian II

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Reply #20 on: March 17, 2021, 10:29:14 pm
One of the very rare automatic transmission models!  ;D

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


nonfiction

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Reply #21 on: March 18, 2021, 05:08:34 pm
Dang it, Adrian! I meant to point that auto transmission up-option out! :o


AzCal Retred

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Reply #22 on: March 18, 2021, 05:21:16 pm
That's the famous "Hyderabad-glide" model no doubt... 8)
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


suitcasejefferson

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Reply #23 on: March 24, 2021, 05:46:49 am
I don't own an Iron Barrel, but I can certainly understand why someone would want one. That is what I wanted when I first considered buying a Royal Enfield. I didn't even know they still existed. I stumbled onto the RE site by accident. I wanted one because it was a brand new vintage bike (not a "retro" bike that looks old but uses modern technology) at a decent price. That was back around 2002, and things kept coming up that kept me from getting one. By the time I was finally able to get a Royal Enfield (in 2013) the Iron Barrel was gone, replaced by the UCE. Now, I can deal with the UCE engine, it still uses very old technology, but it came with EFI and a cat con muffler the size of a small submarine. That I could not deal with. So I replaced the EFI with an Amal carb, and the cat con muffler with a much smaller lighter aftermarket muffler with NO emissions device in it. I'm still riding it (up to almost 14K miles now) but still have a desire for an Iron Barrel (and an Ironhead H-D Sportster)

I am completely qualified to own, ride, maintain, and repair one (if parts are available) I have been an auto/truck/heavy equipment mechanic for nearly 40 years. I have owned more than 50 bikes. I started riding and wrenching on motorcycles at age 8.

But for several years I have been watching the local Craigslist, and nothing suitable has shown up. Did all of them fall apart and get scrapped? It looks like if I am going to find one I am going to have to get serious and spread my search farther away from home, and to places other than Craigslist.
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Bilgemaster

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Reply #24 on: March 24, 2021, 11:55:57 am
I get the attraction, Suitcasejefferson. Don't get me wrong: I'd give a UCE a good home and like 'em fine, but there's just something about those much-maligned old "Iron Belly" engineering fossils that "scratches that itch" others can't reach. They're almost luridly pretty, for one thing. Another aspect I've been noticing lately is that if it is feeling "fussy" about something mine somehow lets me know almost telepathically. It's actually a little spooky. For example, day before yesterday on the homeward trek from one of my "Mental Health Jaunts" it began running just a little rough and choppy. The following day I just sort of sat with it, giving it nice wipedown, as one does, when it suddenly occurred to me to check the positive lead connection to the battery. Sure enough, it was a little loose. One couldn't really tell visually that this was the case, but sure enough it's running sweetly again. Before that it was a loose connection to the coil, and before that a slightly loose head steady bolt that was emitting a buzzing only at speed, at least such as that concept exists with on older model Bullet. In each case I just suddenly somehow knew  precisely what and where the issue was without the typical diagnostic slog. So, a little sympathetic intuition and not just "letting things slide" goes a long way in ameliorating their reputed "unreliability" and happily nursing them along. I'd be the first to suggest that they ain't for everyone, but given your background, and with the right sweetly-dispositioned bike, I do believe you're the right sort to make a go of it, clearly hearing your bike's mechanical "Manitou" (soul of the seemingly inanimate, see: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manitou). Sounds flakey, sure, but there you have it. I just suspect an "Iron Belly's" more solely mechanical and primitive guts might make a louder and clearer "squeak" than more latter-day designs.

As has already been mentioned in this thread, David Blasco's fine "Royal Enfields for Sale in the USA" site at https://royal-enfields.blogspot.com/ is a good place to keep a weather eye out for likely "Iron Belly" candidates for adoption near you, like that recent promising-looking one in Utah. I would only mention that if you're using a mobile device browser, for proper display you should either tick the "Desktop Site" option (under the three vertical dots icon at upper right) or just delete that "?m=1" business at the end of the web address or URL. Otherwise, you won't really be able to view it properly. Presently there aren't any Iron Cylinder Engined ones on there, but they'll be around again...
« Last Edit: March 24, 2021, 02:51:29 pm by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.

(Legal enough to pass muster if they don't look too closely in Woodbridge, Virginia, where the buses don't run at night, holidays or weekends and I'm a contender for 'Village Idiot')


ddavidv

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Reply #25 on: March 24, 2021, 01:08:07 pm
You have to remember the dealer network during the IB days was spotty at best. So, not many outlets to sell a motorcycle that interested few people.

I got mine on FB Marketplace. It seems to be where most of the stuff we used to see on C-list is now offered. I've probably found a half-dozen on there just browsing my neck of the woods over the last couple years. Most people shy away from them because antiquity and reputation so IMO it's a buyer's market.
2007 five speed 'Deluxe', 2008 Triumph Bonneville, 2012 Triumph Tiger 800


Bilgemaster

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Reply #26 on: March 24, 2021, 03:40:38 pm
You've made a good point, 'ddavidv'. Since craigslist instituted that $5 charge for motorcycle listings last spring, it's had something of a chilling effect on listings...not entirely a bad one, since it seems to have also driven off many of the chancers, scammers and multiple listings spammers. But perhaps David Blasco might consider adding those Facebook Marketplace ads to his listings the way he often does with eBay ones. Another suggestion for Mr. Blasco and prospective buyers might be to take a good look at bikes listed nowadays under craigslist's "Motorcycle Parts" category. There sure are a LOT of very sound-looking "For Parts or Restoration" bikes being found in there nowadays, where there's no $5 listing charge. Might be some real bargains there, since I don't think many buyers have factored in that whole immense $5 hurdle into sellers' calculus just yet.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2021, 03:44:16 pm by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.

(Legal enough to pass muster if they don't look too closely in Woodbridge, Virginia, where the buses don't run at night, holidays or weekends and I'm a contender for 'Village Idiot')


AzCal Retred

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Reply #27 on: March 24, 2021, 04:12:45 pm
Suitcase Jefferson - Operators are standing by.... ;D ;D ;D

A 3 day round trip, a mini vacation for the significant other & yourself?

https://modesto.craigslist.org/mcy/d/delhi-royal-enfield-2003/7292337030.html
ROYAL ENFIELD 2003 - $1,500 (Livingston, California)
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


Bilgemaster

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Reply #28 on: March 24, 2021, 06:31:35 pm
Suitcase Jefferson - Operators are standing by.... ;D ;D ;D

A 3 day round trip, a mini vacation for the significant other & yourself?

https://modesto.craigslist.org/mcy/d/delhi-royal-enfield-2003/7292337030.html
ROYAL ENFIELD 2003 - $1,500 (Livingston, California)

What's interesting is that the bike's not actually in Livingston proper, but just north of it in the little townlet of Delhi. So, I guess you could tell folks you imported it to Arizona from Delhi. As for the town of Livingston, it was supposed  to be named after Dr. Stanley Livingstone, the famous British explorer of Africa of "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" fame. But they screwed up the Post Office application and left off the final "e".
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.

(Legal enough to pass muster if they don't look too closely in Woodbridge, Virginia, where the buses don't run at night, holidays or weekends and I'm a contender for 'Village Idiot')


Parm

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Reply #29 on: March 24, 2021, 06:37:45 pm
I have been looking for an iron barrel for quite some time now, If anyone has one for sale please reach out. Preferably around the bay area I am willing to as far as L.A. Just a nice running example that is in good cosmetic condition.


nonfiction

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Reply #30 on: March 24, 2021, 08:26:31 pm
@Parm, I believe the silver 4sp ES model that's for sale in central Cali (see craigslist links above) fits many of your criteria, plus, cheap.


Parm

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Reply #31 on: March 24, 2021, 08:32:09 pm
@Parm, I believe the silver 4sp ES model that's for sale in central Cali (see craigslist links above) fits many of your criteria, plus, cheap.

I messaged him, he said it was sold.  :(


Bilgemaster

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Reply #32 on: March 24, 2021, 10:38:06 pm
Further to my earlier contention in this thread that Iron Barrel Bullets may be able to communicate with their fettlers, submitted for your consideration (cue Twilight Zone  theme music), I offer the following evidence discovered in a recent video by our very own "Bullet Whisperer", Mr. Paul Henshaw, at: https://youtu.be/KoMbxPI4ppI.

Towards the conclusion, from about 22:50 into the film, he explains how the new toolbox lid had shaken open during the ride, during which he had noticed some charging issues and difficulty restarting after a planned en route stop to check for oil leaks. He soon goes on to explain the actually fortuitous nature of that side case opening on its own like that, since it reminded him of a fuse within that he had bypassed temporarily to perform some electrical work, but which he had forgotten about. That missing fuse, was, of course the cause of the charging issues and difficulty starting. Was the case opening on its own like that merely "luck" or "chance" or something else...in the Twilight Zone. You must decide for yourselves. For me, my comment left for that video sums up my thoughts best:

Regarding the toolbox just "randomly" popping open like that, thereby reminding you about that fuse bodge you'd forgotten: Don't you find it a tad weird it just doing that? I mean, flipping open the damned case? Really?! C'mon! That's some Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang grade antics there! I've said it before, and felt odd doing so, but I tell you those "Iron Belly" Bullets got a SOUL! If you but listen, they'll let you know what they want and need. Clearly in this Bullet's case it'll even reach out and rap you on the kneecap if you mess with it. Next it'll be crank calls in the middle of the night...

(Ringggg!...Ringggg!)
"Hello."
"My plug...It's dirty."
"Ummm...Who is this?"
"VERY dirty...You should SEE my dirty plug."
"Seriously, who IS this?"
"You know who this is, Paul. You've always known."
(Click!)


« Last Edit: March 24, 2021, 11:15:27 pm by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.

(Legal enough to pass muster if they don't look too closely in Woodbridge, Virginia, where the buses don't run at night, holidays or weekends and I'm a contender for 'Village Idiot')


AzCal Retred

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Reply #33 on: March 24, 2021, 11:15:56 pm
True Dat!!  ;D ;D ;D
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


axman88

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Reply #34 on: April 05, 2021, 05:03:31 pm
I see that there is another forum member also interested in acquiring a RE Iron Barrel, who has opened a thread.  Since that person specified they aren't interested in going far afield, I'll post these leads here.

A 2007 model 65 is being offered up on the local Craiglist by a private seller:
https://chicago.craigslist.org/sox/mcy/d/oak-lawn-2007-royal-enfield-bullet-65/7301420694.html

And also there's this 2006 Electra Classic Chrome:
https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/mcy/d/arlington-heights-2006-royal-enfield/7296483622.html


Charro

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Reply #35 on: April 05, 2021, 07:40:43 pm
Thanks axmam88
I just called them. We shall see.

Charro
2014 Royal Enfield C5
2004 Triumph Sprint RS
2004 Triumph Speed Four
2001 Triumph Bonneville
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1998 Triumph Speed Triple
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"Tell me what kind of horse you want to ride. I'll tell you what kind of rider you are." (Old Mexican proverb)


Karl Fenn

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Reply #36 on: April 11, 2021, 08:03:49 pm
Well l know the unc needs probably less maintenance, but l want something with historic character like a preunit a trip back in time. I think in many cases the prices they ask are a bit rich, especially when you can get a brand new one for under four.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2021, 08:08:20 pm by Karl Fenn »


AzCal Retred

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Reply #37 on: April 11, 2021, 08:21:31 pm
That's what Charro is looking at, a Pre-Unit. They were made until 2008. They have a bit of overlap with the UCE machines. Affordable Pre-Units are a crap-shoot, it all depends on the dreaded Previous Owner's behaviour whether of not you have to strip it down to the crank & start fresh. If you have a "Friday Afternoon" motor you may need to strip it anyway.

Charro is intending to spend more money up-front on the theory that THAT owner has already sorted the machine properly, not just flailed away randomly bolting on unrelated Hitchcock chrome bits. Those bikes are out there, it just takes a keen eye, time & money to find them.
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


Charro

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Reply #38 on: April 11, 2021, 09:06:53 pm
 AzCal Retred is right its been an interesting hunt for sure.

 Seen some really good ones, and some not so good ones. But what amazed me is some sellers have disappeared when I asked for more photos.

  I'm patient and have time, I'll find the right one.

Andy
2014 Royal Enfield C5
2004 Triumph Sprint RS
2004 Triumph Speed Four
2001 Triumph Bonneville
2006 Triumph Scrambler
1998 Triumph Speed Triple
1998 Triumph Daytona
2012 Ural Gear Up
"Tell me what kind of horse you want to ride. I'll tell you what kind of rider you are." (Old Mexican proverb)


Karl Fenn

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Reply #39 on: April 12, 2021, 12:22:58 am
Well l think l will go for the half broken in stallion. Black one please.


Karl Fenn

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Reply #40 on: April 12, 2021, 12:30:40 am
Well this is a good point you make, the cranks do have a history and it's not fictional, of course he is right not to rush and buy a money pit, as l understand the engines can be unpredictable in terms of longevity, and then there's others that have covered over 30,000, l think to get a good one you definately need done your hunting gear.


AzCal Retred

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Reply #41 on: April 12, 2021, 01:10:10 am
If I was spending real money whatever I bought would already have a very recent Hitchcocks crank with steel rod and a forged piston sliding in an alloy barrel. That way the guts are pretty invulnerable as long as you keep oil in it.

I'm partial to the long stroke with the 84mm 6.5/1 forged slug. Effective CR is around 7.5/1 - 8/1 with no spacers and should make a very nice daily driver. Even more "tractory" that the standard Bullet and guaranteed "bulletproof for 30K - 45K miles, way more than anyone is likely to use it.
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


Karl Fenn

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Reply #42 on: April 12, 2021, 02:52:40 pm
So what do you think is the best bullet to buy in terms of reliability.


AzCal Retred

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Reply #43 on: April 12, 2021, 04:04:44 pm
I assume you are talking about the pushrod 500 singles? I think the "Electra" was the Swan Song of the Pre-Unit. It had the nice gear oil pumps, a crank-triggered CDI, working electric start, the new 5-speed and a front disc brake. I believe the crank had a needle bearing con rod also. All the stuff that many owners were doing to the Pre-Unit Bullet anyway. It would be my 1st choice.

The UCE should be an even better daily driver, but you'll need to bulletproof the fuel pump with supplemental filters and defang the auto primary chain tensioner so it doesn't overtighten. Other than that it has all the bells & whistles. The EFI works well (usually) if you keep out the solids. "Normal" tank rust is a killer on the EFI. You can always retrofit an Amal with the H's conversion, depending on where you live of course. A 10 micron filter easily keeps out carb-clogging solids, but the UCE's EFI needs way better filtration, likely 5 micron or less. If you could get the fuel pump out of the tank it's be easier to keep it alive with a real industrial pre-filter.

I like my '99 Pre-Units, but they are fun machines for me, a window into back to the 1950's. The ratios of the 4 speed determine your pace. The engine won't be hurried, and if you do it's at your peril. The hardware determines a large fraction of the pace of ride. The UCE & Electra are less so, more "Honda-like" in their usage, a bit more "gas 'n go". Their "Electric Leg" gets more important every year, eh?

My red Bullet, Krasny Oktobyr, sports an alloy barrel, forged 6.5/1 slug and H's "sticky" front brake shoes. The barrel was really worthwhile for me in SoCal, as was the forged slug. With 110 degrees Fahrenheit ambient summer air temps, heat rejection capacity is now increased, piston reliability concerns are reduced, and I can now stop reasonably. All the cables are H's H.D. variety and it makes a noticeable difference in feel & function. The transmission was converted back to right hand shift to eliminate the bodge. This was both a functional change and a retro preference. Right side shifting is an acquired skill for predominantly Japanese-machine riders, lucky for me I live way out in the sticks. 

But if you weren't talking about the pushrod 500's, I'd get the Himalayan. It's a user-friendly clean sheet design, easy to live with, keeps up with the traffic we're likely to encounter, & a bit lighter than the Interceptor. The trail geometry & suspension soaks up jolts from potholes & random road debris better. I'd save up the cash and have an H's 460 kit setting around for whenever I felt the top end needed attention, and make a good bike even better.

If you are primarily a highway/road rider and the weight isn't a concern, obviously the Interceptor is the way to go. 47+ HP, a 6-speed box and good road manners make that no contest.
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


Karl Fenn

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Reply #44 on: April 12, 2021, 04:17:59 pm
Yes it's the push rod version l want, the Electra sounds a good buy especially with the needle rollers, what years did they make them and what year would you suggest being a pre unit l would be happier with that the fuel filters are only superficial, l presume the chain is not a difficult task, anything else to look out for.


AzCal Retred

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Reply #45 on: April 12, 2021, 05:27:28 pm
Adrian II & PaulW are the Electra cognoscenti here. Personally I'd get any available complete Electra that looked & sounded intact and go from there, they are pretty scarce. Not sure what you're getting at regarding the chain, unless you are talking about the auto adjust, which is a UCE item, not Pre-Unit.
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


nonfiction

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Reply #46 on: April 12, 2021, 06:24:49 pm
Not an Iron Barrel, and not close to anyone, but this guy has had this very low miles lean burn bike on his car selling pages for over a year, not really advertising it. It'd surprise me if he wouldn't let it go for less, leaving you some dough to get it shipped to your home. https://islandmotorcars.wixsite.com/imc-site/buy?page=3


Karl Fenn

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Reply #47 on: April 12, 2021, 06:39:26 pm
Ok l see what you mean, l will have a look round see if l can find a low millage example, what year should l consider.


Adrian II

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Reply #48 on: April 12, 2021, 07:30:27 pm
Speaking as a fan of the Electra-X engine, I would sort-of echo AzCal's recommendation, with a few words of caution;

1. Crinkly;

2. Exegesis;

3. Fallopian.

OK, for some more coherent(?) words, the improved design of the AVL engine used on the Electra-X won me over when I bought my first RE, the steel con-rod and the needle roller big-end were the key points, and ON PAPER they were a great improvement. Sadly the quality of the Indian steel crankpins could be very patchy, and owners would end up playing big-end roulette. Some failed at as little as 7,000 miles, others are still going strong after 40,000. Mine managed 17,000. What was meant to be a major improvement turned out to be, for some Electra-Xs, a major weakness.

Then we have the electric start sprag clutch failure issues, well documented and usually due to back-fire damage, and the UK importers rushed out a spark delay kit to go with the original TCI ignition black box to try and counteract this before coming out with a revised green TCI box.

Also there was a redesign of the valve train which actually was MORE fragile than the original tried and tested Bullet design, the cam followers off the old iron barrel engine were replaced with tappets with thinner stems and adjusters which were prone to jumping off the ends of the tappets. The tops could be easily damaged, and the tappet feet could snap off and cause mayhem in the timing chest.

I would also say the loss of the older Bullet's decompressor valve in the head was a retrograde step.

Just in case all this seems a bit odd coming from a professed fan of the model, I would want anyone taking one of these bikes on to go in with their eyes open and be prepared for a bit of work, in advance if necessary, because a well-sorted Electra-X or AVL Classic is a very rewarding motorcycle indeed. Buy one that has already gone bang and build it up they way it should have been built, and it's then tough enough to take some tuning, should you want to.

The crankshafts are rebuild-able, you can buy con-rods bored out to take a hardened outer track (the originals just have the caged needle roller assembly running directly in the big-end-eye, Japanese-style) as well as being supplied with a UK-made crankpin. There are several outfits I would trust in the UK to make a decent job of the rebuild, I don't know where you're located, Karl.

The sprag clutch can be avoided by simply dumping the whole electric start, or else you can modify the cylinder head to take the old Bullet's decompressor valve and give the sprag clutch an easier time on starting (and stopping) the engine.

You can adapt the old Bullet's cam followers/tappets/tappet adjusters to fit the AVL engine, another thing less to worry about.

The Electra-X was in production from 2004 to 2007, most of the last new examples were sold in the UK by 2008. The early ones seem to have been most prone to the big-end failures. The Electra-X was also imported into the USA but seems to have been replaced after a couple of years by the AVL Classic, which was imported until 2009. Chain adjustment front and rear is the same as the earlier models.

If all that seems like too much hard work, the final version of the iron barrel Bullets, the Sixty-5 (and also the 5 speed E/S Deluxe in the USA) is quite highly though of.

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


axman88

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Reply #49 on: April 12, 2021, 08:28:37 pm
The Electra-X was in production from 2004 to 2007, most of the last new examples were sold in the UK by 2008. The early ones seem to have been most prone to the big-end failures. The Electra-X was also imported into the USA but seems to have been replaced after a couple of years by the AVL Classic, which was imported until 2009. Chain adjustment front and rear is the same as the earlier models.

If all that seems like too much hard work, the final version of the iron barrel Bullets, the Sixty-5 (and also the 5 speed E/S Deluxe in the USA) is quite highly though of.

A.

Thanks for the info on the Electra-X.  Very interesting.

I'm confused on what the difference is between AVL and Electra machines.  I see that Electra is included in same forum group as the AVL, but think I read some place that Electra was named for inclusion of electronic ignition?

edit:  Here's a link I found for the 2004-2008 models with some pictures:  https://www.bennetts.co.uk/bikesocial/reviews/bikes/royal-enfield/royal-enfield-electra-x-2004-to-2008-buyers-guide

Also, was there a Continental GT model from the pre-UCE period?  If so, would you know if that was imported into the US? 
« Last Edit: April 12, 2021, 08:40:34 pm by axman88 »


Paul W

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Reply #50 on: April 12, 2021, 08:41:26 pm
Adrian II & PaulW are the Electra cognoscenti here. Personally I'd get any available complete Electra that looked & sounded intact and go from there, they are pretty scarce. Not sure what you're getting at regarding the chain, unless you are talking about the auto adjust, which is a UCE item, not Pre-Unit.

I bow to Adrian’s far wider knowledge than mine. Although I own an Electra it’s not the usual model, it’s sort of a halfway house model.

Mine is a 350 Indian home market Bullet Electra, built in 2004. It’s an iron barrel engine, as per the original design and therefore has the floating bush bottom end bearing rather than the needle type and the old style rockers. It never had a starter motor and it came with the old style 4 speed gearbox, although I found a 5 speed box and converted it to right side change, to suit the traditional layout the bike came with.

The only reason this model got the name Electra was because it came with electronic ignition. It’s without a distributor or the associated drive gears - the timing case only has the two cam pinions; the upright bit is still there, but totally empty inside. The places where the timing pinion shafts usually go aren’t even machined out. The ignition system is TCI and is all contained in the primary transmission cover, apart from the control module under the seat.

Overall I presume this was RE’s first go at modernising the old traditional engine. The AVL was next with its different top and bottom ends and my knowledge of those is only what I’ve read.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2021, 08:46:35 pm by Paul W »
Paul W.


Karl Fenn

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Reply #51 on: April 12, 2021, 10:13:12 pm
Well thank you Adrian this has enlightened me greatly on the subject and given me great insight into the engine, however in saying that what is the most reliable engine of them all, l have heard much of the cranks giving up the ghost on those bikes, is the later unc any better for crank durability and longitivity?  Thanks everyone this has been a great learning experience.


AzCal Retred

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Reply #52 on: April 13, 2021, 12:48:44 am
The crank will always be an unknown quantity until you personally have installed a known good rebuilt unit. If you want to sleep at night, order the H's needle bearing crank with steel rod and install it. The alloy Pre-unit con rods can be another weak link, but BW opines they are generally OK if not abused. Certainly the pre-unit pistons are a liability, but easily remedied. Just get an auto club membership for free towing, carry a cell phone and don't worry about it. You are not the abusive type, it'll likely be fine.

Ultimately you have no control over factory parts, specifically crankshafts. They may last 5,000 miles or 50,000 miles. BW took one example apart at 80,000 and it was still within spec., so riding carefully and good maintenance can pay off IF the OEM parts were actually round & properly hardened to begin with.

Any of the pushrod motors will be a crapshoot, so if you are not interested in the likelihood of some required meccano-surgery, maybe a different machine is a more prudent option. The new Meteor might be a good fit, offering state-of-the-art electrical, new hardware reliability and traditional looks. Power is about the same, so you should be able to sport about with few concerns. The Himalayan is likewise a very reasonable choice.
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


Bilgemaster

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Reply #53 on: April 13, 2021, 01:53:14 am
I tell you what: if I hit all the good ones in the Powerball Lottery, the second thing I'm doing is getting my Iron Barrel on a boat to Wales for our "Bullet Whisperer's" full so-called "ASBO Treatment". What's the first thing I'll do, you ask? Probably a new set of jumper cables. 👍
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.

(Legal enough to pass muster if they don't look too closely in Woodbridge, Virginia, where the buses don't run at night, holidays or weekends and I'm a contender for 'Village Idiot')


Karl Fenn

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Reply #54 on: April 13, 2021, 01:26:56 pm
Well this is the thing it's many decades since l suffered from bad cranks or hearing about them, back in the 70s they were quite a common problem on the old brits, some could last 30,000 and others just 8,000,  and of course then a very big strip down to rectify the problem, and in many incidents new crank cases as well if the bearings had been spinning in situ, loctite has been around for a long time, total engine rebuilds are not certainly not cheap if done correctly. Of course comming from a BMW background crank failure was unheard of, quality German metal immortalised the crank, some of those cranks in the k bikes would cover 200,000, l think the problems must relate to Indian metals and bearings, they have known about the crank issues for decades but RE have never been able to get to grips with it or find a satisfactory conclusion to the problem, and there is indeed a problem that exists, the cure is a quality redesigned crank assembly which l feel would have resolved this costly issue, but they seem to have plodded on much like triumph in the 70s but ironically the problems were quite fixable with a bit of redesign, in fact the Germans offered Triumph a crank in the late 70s you could actually stand a coin on the tank with the engine running but they turned it down, l remember reading that article many decades ago, of course we all know the fate that followed, but in saying that l loved the triumphs but never took them further than the coast  due to reliability issues, pity really with the right brains and investment they would have been a brilliant bike on a par with the RE 650 today, they did handle really well, but it is apparent the engine design team had no clue, in saying all that l am not put off by a bullet l know how to ride and what an engine can take, l am now torn between a preunit or unc insight would be helpful it is my next must have. But with reflection l am just to old to due 80 hour shifts in the workshop those days are long behind me.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2021, 01:40:52 pm by Karl Fenn »


Adrian II

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Reply #55 on: April 13, 2021, 04:34:42 pm
By UNC do you mean UCE (unit construction engine)?

RE India kept the same design of big-end and con-rod for the UCE/EFI models as they had been fitting to the Electra-X and AVL Classic, most recent con-rods have had plain little-end/wrist pin eyes with no bronze bush, otherwise no change, so it really is a question of whether your crankpin was a good one or not. Sometimes the outer track in the big-end eye of the conrod can start to break up too, though it's less common. I get the impression that UCE/EFI big-end failures are far less likely but still not unknown.

The Electra name first appeared on a 350 Bullet for the Indian home market fitted with a crank-mounted CDI ignition in 2002, but it was replaced after a year by the TCI version, which is what Paul W has. Later model 350 Electras came with 5 speed gearboxes and electric start, sort of a scaled-down version of the Sixty-5 with electronic ignition. It was a popular model and the name was applied to some 350 UCE Bullets too.

The Electra-X was strictly for export, 500 AVL engine, TCI ignition and electric start from day one. The arrival of the 500 AVL Classic in the US seems to me to have been the result of push-back against the revised styling of the Electra-X by those who wanted the traditional Indian Bullet styling (and drum front brake). Finally in 2007, Indian customers could buy the limited-edition A500 Machismo which looked like a cross between the two.

MEANWHILE, back in Redditch, yes there was a 250 Continental GT in the 1960s, the last gasp of the Crusader range. Not sure about exports to the US or what the market for British 250 singles was like with the Japanese lightweights stealing the show. BSA/Triumph were still exporting their 250s.

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


Karl Fenn

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Reply #56 on: April 13, 2021, 05:09:29 pm
Yes l know about the 250 continental l owned one in about 77 78 a fast 250 but the gear box went bang that was the end of that, it wanted a tip to toe rebuild the cosmetics were getting bad, so l sold it for about 140 quid and bought a bsa 350, but as I remember the mileage was not that high about 12,000, many of the brits could get up to 30,000 the highest mileage brit l owned was 27,000 and still running well when l sold it. So overall the unc was probably the best crank they produced then? Was it the best engine.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2021, 05:14:35 pm by Karl Fenn »


Adrian II

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Reply #57 on: April 13, 2021, 08:00:43 pm
It was axman88 who was asking about the 250 Continental GT, probably better known to UK riders. Trying to reply to more than one post at a time!

I had a friend back on the Kent coast who rated the Crusader Sports and 250s generally very highly, though I was still into unit single BSAs at the time.

A.
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Karl Fenn

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Reply #58 on: April 13, 2021, 11:14:05 pm
I reckon l just got unlucky with that one.


axman88

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Reply #59 on: April 19, 2021, 06:46:43 pm
A 2007 Bullet 500, Green, with 3600 miles on the odo, NW suburbs of Chicago:

https://chicago.craigslist.org/nch/mcy/d/deerfield-2007-royal-enfield-bulletiron/7308800318.html