The Royal Enfield Bullet 500

May 2019 

Now that I have completed the Ducati SS, I needed a new project.

For a while now I have been wanting a bike for myself that resembles those very early 1940's ,  1950's British Bikes.   I wanted a bike that I could work on over this Winter and eventually ride about town.   My daily routine probably like so many other bike fans consists of  viewing  bikes for sale online.   And last week  I spotted a de-registered Indian Royal Enfield Bullet 500 up for sale.

The Indian Enfield  is a beautiful-looking machine. The frame and engine are the same as Royal Enfield’s Bullet, and the styling is exactly the same as when they first rolled off the production line in Redditch in the early 1950s

So this bike was definitely worth a look. 

The previous owner had taken some parts of the bike and it was his off roader around the back hills of Ashburton.

The bike was in good running order, but overall it was generally very scruffy.  But with this said, the Enfield  fitted the bill perfectly in terms of  old school styling, a run around town and will be  good  project that I can tinker with during the Winter  months, 


Below shows the photos of the bike as I purchased it.

 After some negotiation on the price I decided to purchase the bike. 

I hired a trailer and traveled down South to collect the bike which a bit of fun for a Monday morning.  The seller was great , not only did he help secure the bike onto the trailer, but he also provided me a short tour around his collection, current builds and stories  over a cuppa.  He also found the box that contained all the parts that came off the bike.

Arriving at the house with the Enfield 

The next day I was eager to inspect the bike and give it a good look  over.   Things that  require attention.

  • The bike has a lot of grease and dirt all over it, so requires a good degreaser , scrubbed down and washed.The bike 

  • Parts of the frame have flaky paint, so will require a rub down.  So nothing serious at all, just loose paint.

  • Dent in the tank.  Poor paint work on tank.,

  • Poor paint work on both mud guards

  • Poor paint on the metal side panels, battery box and one the other side

  • The instruments are in ok condition, but the housing needs a full rub down and repaint.

  • Seat has a few rips

  • Rear brake light damaged

  • Missing indicators and wiring for indicators had been cut 

  • Area around the speedo and volt meet has flaky paint

  • Side lights need new chrome parts

  • Brake lever is wobbly and requires a replacement

  • Front brake is useless

  • Need a new rear tyre as the sidewalls contain cracks.

  • Engine casing and carb require rubbing down 

  • Engine fins require rubbing down and painting.

  • The exhaust is rusty and needs re chroming or purchase a new header pipe

  • Chrome wire wheels in ok condition, but may get them enameled  black anyway.

  • Handle bars in ok condition, and again my get re-chromed or painted black.

  • Front fork covers have bubbled up rust and will rubbing down and blown over. 

  • The allow forks look fine and are in good condition, so would only requirew a gentle rub down.

The bike has a straight through pipe which will probably need changing over to a muffler to get 
through a wof.  The previous owner provided one, but I think its in poor shape.  So may need to obtain a replacement.


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This afternoon I had a couple of hours up my sleeve and rolled out the bike.  I was quite chuffed that the bike had not left its mark on the garage floor.  And I did check it had oil in it :)

Rather than doing bits here and there, I needed a plan.  So  thought it best place to start  at the rear of the bike and work forwards.

So I removed the seat and the metal frame which holds on the rear mudguard and can be used to house a rear seat.  With those bits removed I started on removing he loose paint and rubbing down the frame

Rubbing down the heads, along way to go....

Started cleaning up the casing

30 May
I had joined the New Zealand Royal Enfield club on Facebook.  And placed a post of the enfield asking for recommendations for buying parts etc.  One of the immediate things I needs was a replacement Brake Level.

During the same day a member called Trevor contacted me and said that he had a spare.  I had also mentioned that the front brakes were useless (I know they are not brembo - but even still).  Trevor mentioned that if these brakes were not set up correctly they are useless, failing that I would need new shoes.

The next day I received the brake lever a Workshop manual !!!   - What a star, So Something will be winging its way to Trevor :) 

31 May 

More rubbing down of the four cylinder heads and started on the engine casing and fins.   I watched a few Enfield YouTube videos and spotted one about a cheap way of cleaning up the engine casing.   The video was shot in India and they guys were using AutoSol and tin foil.   I used the same approach and the results we really good, easy to use and way cheaper than keep buying fine sand paper etc. 

I even had a go of painting parts of the frame that I spend days rubbing down.

and its come up really well.  There are some places that need improving.  So 

I rubbed those parts back again and will paint again.

As I do not have a spray booth and its Winter, a good work around is to put the spray can into hot water for a while.  It means that the paint goes onto the metal better, leaving a nice finish, and avoids orange peeling.

June 1st 

It is a public holiday here so got to spend some further time over the 3 day weekend working on  the Enfield.

Varied jobs performed over the weekend

Completed the left side engine casing

Painted the side stand

Installed the center stand

Removed the interior mudguard

Prep the interior  mudguard 

Paint the interior mudguard
Further sanding down the front frame
Apply another coat of paint to the rear frame

Start on the right side of the engine casing using tin foil and Autosol

Apply a second coat of pain the left side fins

Start applying first 

Clean and polish up the front forks 

Rub down the front fork housing to remove surface rust.  Will require a paint or wrap.

Front Brake
The front brake was pretty useless.  So read the manual and made some adjustments to the brake settings.   The brake now works fine.   However the brake level is broken and upon further inspection the brake cable going into the 
handle is also broken.  So I need to order a new cable, and then fit the new handle and brake lever


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