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Author Topic: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?  (Read 1901 times)

young gun

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Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« on: April 15, 2013, 08:26:52 PM »
Hi all,

I'm reading "Royal Enfield, The Complete Story. A book which I'm sure a lot of members have read and it was with great interest that I discovered the specs for the 1949 Bullet 500. It's quoted as doing a top speed on 126kmh and a steady 96kph?! I'm lucky if I can get a max speed of 96kph let alone 125! What sets the bikes apart and what makes the newer Bullets do much slower than their older counterparts?

Is it poor manufacturing on the Indian side? Just curious because riding my bike and 125kph seems incredibly optimistic. Even if you could get there, the bike must be shaking like crazy.

ace.cafe

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2013, 08:43:09 PM »
They are not really slower. Probably most of the difference comes in the later models which have the pollution control stuff on them, along with the big restrictive muffler and restrictive air filter.
The old British models had free-flow air filters and free-flow exhausts as standard equipment, because that was before bureaucrats started ruining things.

 An Indian-made 500 Bullet with a decent air filter and the carb rejetted to use with a free-flow exhaust system will do 126kph too.

However, there are differences.
The Redditch 500 had a slightly smaller intake port, and had slightly different cam timing to suit. And it had an Amal carburetor, not a Mikarb. And it had the aforementioned free-flowing stuff on the intake and exhaust.

If your Bullet 500 can only do 96kph, then you have some room to get it tuned better so it can do the 125kph that the rest of them can do.
However, the 96kph is still the right speed for sustained cruising. Neither of these bikes were intended to cruise at higher speeds than that. But their maximum speeds for short bursts were around 125kph.

Regarding the "shaking" you mentioned, that is not inherent in the Bullet.
Yes, it is common, but not inherent. If the engine is built properly with a good crankshaft balance and truing, and good bearings, it is quite smooth. This is something that we commonly correct when we do our performance builds such as the Fireball. And it can be done to regular Bullets too, when the crank gets rebuilt.
Sometimes the factory didn't true the cranks as well as we might like them to. Then they vibrate like the dickens.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2013, 08:49:13 PM by ace.cafe »
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barenekd

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2013, 08:47:35 PM »
126 kph =78mph 96 kph=60mph. Where do you see any difference there?
The UCE will do 82 and cruise at 65-70.
A 1953 road test I have shows a top speed of 78 and they gave the highest comfortable cruising speed of 70. On the other hand motorcycle testers tend to flog the hell out of the bikes!
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« Last Edit: April 15, 2013, 08:52:20 PM by barenekd »
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ace.cafe

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2013, 08:51:59 PM »
126 kph =78mph 96 kph=60mph. Where do you see any difference there?
The UCE will do 82 and cruise at 65-70.
Bare

I believe he's referring to the later model Indian-built Iron Barrel models vs the old Redditch models, and you're right about not seeing any real difference. But the later models might require some free flow stuff to do it.

I think Young Gun's bike might not be making that 126kph top speed, so he might look into working on that aspect of it.

« Last Edit: April 15, 2013, 08:58:09 PM by ace.cafe »
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barenekd

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2013, 11:16:36 PM »
I agree, it's Mr. Young Guns bike. It could be jetted wrong or timed wrong or lacking compression. Any of these could give him lousy performance. I guess it was lumping his bike in with all the Indian made bikes just got confusing. I've seen many posts on this forum that certainly indicates that Indian made iron barrel stay with or outperform UCEs. Yes there is some variance in quality, but one should be able to chase down the difference. There aren't really that many performance changing parameters to check out on an individual bike.
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Ice

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2013, 12:32:28 AM »
 Agreed something is amiss with the bike.


I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

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young gun

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2013, 05:16:11 AM »
I don't know guys, I've read many posts, posted on my threads or others saying, expecting anything more than 100 on an Iron Barrel is not smart, short burst, sure, but cruising is 80 to 85.

And I quote...

Quote
BTW, I would not include 105kph in your goals to achieve with this bike for cruising.
I would use 100kph as max, and use that only occasionally.
It's not a matter of what anybody might consider a "reasonable request". That is immaterial to the situation. It is all about what the bike can withstand. If the engine blows up, it doesn't matter at all how "reasonable" you thought your "request" was.

So now there are conflicting statements? 96kmh (ill forgive 4kmh) would be a perfect cruising speed for me (well back then at least, my situations changed so its less of a priority) but I was told forget it, I've purchased the wrong bike if that's what I was expecting?

So I'm not looking to argue and tbh I've taken this boards professionals statements to heart, you guys know infinately more than I do on the subject and that's why I ask these questions, to learn. I was told if I push my bike to 100 consistently I will more than likely seize the motor? And tbh when I 1st got my bike I pushed it to 110 on the clock for about 30 minutes, and besides a bit of shake it seemed fine with more to go so the bikes willing but I am nervous about blowing it. So I dont think there's something amiss with the bike, i'm riding it like this because I was told to.

So now I'm confused :) again I'm not looking to argue, I'm here to learn. And currently I'm happy with the bike, an I am going to re-iterate this since I think my statement was taken in the wrong way before, I am not looking for or expecting Ducati like performance, I would just like to know where the limits are. I'm a firm believer in riding motors properly ie they are pushed when they need to be but driven right across their "range". This, in my opinion keeps the cobwebs off and keeps the motor lively. But right now it would seem I'm riding like that little "one owner granny" and that can be more detrimental to an engine than giving it "horns" :)

And to be fair, the UCE engine is not relevant in this discussion, I assumed that if this was posted this in the Classic section people would realise it refers to the older bikes, apologies. This discussion is refers to the iron barrel motors.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 08:24:08 AM by young gun »

ace.cafe

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2013, 10:52:05 AM »
It seemed to me that you indicated that your bike could not achieve higher speeds than 96kph.
This is different than just using 96kph as a maximum cruising speed.
The bike should be capable of doing 125kph in a short term max speed burst.

So, we have two subjects here regarding speed.
You should continue to use 96kph as your maximum sustained cruising speed limit.
However, your bike should be able to reach somewhere near 125kph as a maximum speed for short bursts such as passing a car, or if you are doing some sporty riding on twistiy roads which allow you to have short bursts of high speed interspersed with slowing down for corners. The key factor here is not sustaining the higher speeds for long.

I apologize if I was unclear in my statements previously, but I always put the accent on the cruising speed limits so that people don't take their stock Bullets on the highway and seize a piston by doing sustained speeds over 96kph.
But that is a different thing than not being able to reach 125kph in a short burst as a max top speed for passing and such.

I hope this is clear now.

Regarding the fact that you were able to do 110kph for 30 minutes that time that you did that, it doesn't really mean that you would be able to safely do that again. The conditions were favorable for it, and you got away with it. It might be able to do it again. It might not. This is why we don't do it, because it often results in engine problems. It doesn't mean that you are guaranteed to have an engine failure when you do it, but years of historical data of these stock bikes show us that you might have one, so we advise against tempting fate.

The reason why we reacted the way we did from your post is that we were thinking that if your bike could not reach 125kph, then there must be some reason for it, such as being out of tune or something.

So again, to be clear, there are 2 different speed limits on these bikes.
The max speed it can attain, and the max speed it should safely cruise at.

And if you modify the bike properly for more power and cooling ability, then you can raise this cruising speed limit substantially. The bike can be made to cruise higher speeds when modified correctly. These caveats are mostly regarding the stock bikes. And slightly modded free-flowing bikes that are stock otherwise will generally get a few extra kph of cruising speed up to 100kph or so.

I hope that clears it up. All we want to do is help you avoid having expensive problems from things that have been seen often in the past history of the Bullet, and we use that data as a guide for our recommendations. We're not trying to kill your fun. There have been many Bullets seized at higher speeds than what are recommended for cruising, and this "cruising limit" has come about empirically after seeing what was "safe" to cruise at, and what speeds the problems were occurring at.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 11:13:59 AM by ace.cafe »
Home of the ACE Fireball 535 Bullet,  Ace GP Hi-Lift Roller Rocker Head . Pistons, cams, etc. Highest performance Bullet engine mods available .  AVL mods. Redditch 700/750 Twin mods. UCE kit soon.

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Blltrdr

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2013, 02:16:52 PM »
I agree with Ace. You can roll on the throttle and get these bikes going pretty fast but are facing the problems of poor metallurgy and inconsistent specs. Who built your motor and when? Was it the motor assy guru or his impatient apprentice who is looking forward to his weekend off which just happens to start in one hour and he is right in the middle of assembling "your" motor. "If you play you pay", could be your Bullet riding mantra. It is a gamble to over stretch the limits of these motors. No need to baby, but stay in the parameters set forth and your motor should sing for many miles and years. But there are a few gamblers out there that do not take others advise wisely and will meet their fate sooner than later. One thing to remember though, Ace and Chumma are there for you in your time of need. They are sympathetic to the seizing of your motor and will do their best to correct that problem so you will not be so much a gambling man than just your average joe that likes to run his bike fast all of the time instead of some of the time.
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young gun

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 04:38:02 AM »
Thanks guys, great answers :) I was a bit nervous the post would be taken the wrong way!

jedaks

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2013, 09:33:44 AM »
Young Gun, you remind me of myself when I first got my Bullet. I couldn't leave it alone and I obsessed over minutiae. I hung out in Enfield forums asking every question I could think of and I had become paranoid from reading accounts of mechanical failures due to poor quality components and bikes being ridden too hard.

A while ago Ace wrote an excellent post on this forum called "Bang for your buck" and Bang for your buck next level". Search for them and you will find a gold mine of information on how to make these bikes faster and stronger the right way.

I have that same book, Royal Enfield the Complete Story, and I read an interesting bit in there that said the cast iron barrel was retained because tests didn't show a substantial difference in cooling between iron and alloy barrels. I find that debatable, however remember that these bikes are British, and even in the height of summer Britain doesn't have anything that we would call "hot weather".  I mean to say that if cool air is rushing over a hot cast iron engine, it will keep the engine cooler and problems caused by excessive heat build up will be reduced. But put that bike in South Africa, or the USA, or Australia or anywhere high temperatures and high-speed roads are common and you have a different story. Reducing heat is a big part in being able to cruise.
If you are on a budget, a free flow air intake and exhaust, and richer jetting will do a bit to help.

ace.cafe

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2013, 11:12:18 AM »
At the time when the Bullet was designed and sold as new back in the 1950s, the normal speeds on roads was only typically about 45-55 mph. Cars too.
People didn't drive at the rates of speed we see now. So back then, it wasn't such a big issue.
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jeep44

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2013, 05:56:04 PM »
I wonder about the size of that 1950's British test driver-maybe 130 pounds?
Get someone these days at maybe almost 100 pounds more, and with all the added weight of the electrical starter, and the Indian Enfield is never going to match what they did in '55.
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pooletx

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2013, 03:05:56 AM »
I have a 535cc Sixty-5 with a sidecar and cruised this past weekend at 96kph for two hours, no problem.  Old style exhaust, K&N cone filter, mikarb.  I know the Cozy rig isn't heavy but I think that I could've gone 65-70mph easily for an extended period. 

High On Octane

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Re: Differences between the British and the Indian bullets?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2013, 04:45:37 AM »
While were on the subject, I've been meaning to ask.....

Ace - What is the safe max cruising speed for my '58 Enfield/Indian 700cc Twin?  I have a brand new Amal 930 concentric and I'm about to put the Thorspark electronic ignition on it.  I know you told me it's around 40 hp and I remember reading somewhere when I initially researched the bike that it has a top speed of about 110mph.  Is this true?

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