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Author Topic: question about bikes  (Read 4069 times)

tusiu69

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question about bikes
« on: November 14, 2007, 06:24:39 PM »
hey, I'm planning to buy my first motorcycle next spring, and I'm not sure what kind of a bike should i get, RE or some Japanese one. i really like RE, because it's good looking, and fairly cheap, but are they as reliable and dependable as those Japanese ones?

deejay

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2007, 06:42:08 PM »
hey, I'm planning to buy my first motorcycle next spring, and I'm not sure what kind of a bike should i get, RE or some Japanese one. i really like RE, because it's good looking, and fairly cheap, but are they as reliable and dependable as those Japanese ones?

Compared to a new Jap bike? No.

You have to realize that the Classic Bullet is 50s technology. It's reliability depends on your dedication to routine maintenance. Mine is VERY reliable.

luoma

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2007, 08:23:05 PM »
If you tell us a little bit more about yourself, such as mechanical skills, and the kind of riding you are planning on, we may be able to steer you in the right direction.

tusiu69

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2007, 08:47:44 PM »
well I'm 19 years old, and my mechanical skills are equal to zero, but my dad has some good knowledge about bikes, and I'm willing to learn from him. the kind of riding I'm planning is just an everyday riding to work, school etc. I'm not a fan of high speeds or anything like that. i do believe that i would take good care of my bike, because i always dreamed of having one, especially one with a classic look like RE.

BanditRE

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2007, 09:07:40 PM »
Well if you don't know much about mechanical things now, you sure will if you buy one and own it for a while! In all seriousness, they are very maintenance intensive compared to new bikes, but the maintenance is all very simple. Its all about your what you expect out of your bike. If you want to ride it and change the oil twice a year, then you're in for a big disapointment. Similarly if you expect to have absolutely no problems at all, you'll be in for a suprise. But don't let me paint too dark a picture here.

Although they are new, they're were designed 50 years ago. They were manufactured recently, but can not be compared to those bikes made in state of the art Japanese plants.

If you think you'll enjoy fiddling with it in the garage and learning how to wrench on your own wheels, then this could very well be the bike for you. There is NOTHING like this bike for sale today, and you could do alot worse than buy one of these. They handle well, look beautiful and you'll enjoy every minute you ride it. They're easy to ride, easy to maintain and the parts are cheap (especially compared to the big four Japanese bikes). The support from CMW and various forums around the internet are second to none (including this one).

The initial break in period is important and takes a while to get the mileage up before you can start riding it to its full potential, but if you don't adhere to the rules, you can be in for problems. Don't be put off if you're really interested, just don't go in with your eyes closed either.

Let us know what you decide and ask questions if you have any. A good idea may be to try and find someone local to you that has one, and go see it, sit on it and ask them all the questions you can think of.
2007 Military. It needs some company now the Suzuki has left the stable..........

scoTTy

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2007, 09:33:08 PM »
apples and oranges man....  ;)

dogbone

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2007, 11:09:34 AM »
The difference b-tween the  Enfield and the jappers is pure class.
There are great followers of Orientals, but not for me.
I wish it were made in usa, the it would be perfect ;D
99 Enfield Bullet 535
a man isn't drunk,if he can lie on the floor without hanging on

LotusSevenMan

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2007, 11:24:32 AM »
Dogbone.
Harleys are made in the USA............................... and we hardly find them perfect in the UK.  :D
We pay daft prices over here. Typical prices are the equivalent of 20,000 plus dollars for the larger touring stuff.

tusiu69
Much as we all love the Enfield and like others to join in with 'our' choice of machine, I would say in all honesty a small 125 like a Honda CG would be a better bet for a first bike. Reliable and simple.
When you get the hang of it all then go the Enfield route as there is nothing to beat one  for smiles-per-mile and that's from me who done the whole Jap thing and still have my VTR 1000cc V twin and a Kawasaki 250 twin two stroke screamer!

See http://www.wisebuyers.co.uk/motorcycles/bike-reviews/Honda/CG125/283/
« Last Edit: November 15, 2007, 11:26:43 AM by LotusSevenMan »
If it ain't broke-------------------------- fix it 'till it is!

Royal Enfield Miltary 500cc  (2003)
Honda VTR FireStorm (SuperHawk) 996cc 'V' twin
Kawasaki KR1 250cc twin 'stroker
Ducati 916 'L' twin

dewjantim

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2007, 11:32:48 AM »
I really haven't found my RE all that maintenance intensive. During the first 1500 miles a lot of things need adjusting frequently, but the last 4500 the bike has been as maintenance free as a Jap bike. The things you must do to keep the bike running are explained in detail in the owners manual and tools are included. If you can read and follow directions, you will have no problem. Just check the oil frequently (before every ride) and keep the level between the full and add marks. These bikes like to cruise best at about 55 mph (indicated), if you want to go 70-75 all day long on the interstate, get a jap bike.......Dew.
If it hurts, you're not dead yet!!!!!

dogbone

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2007, 01:34:18 PM »
Hardley Ablesome, used to make good bikes, before amf took over. Among my favorite's were the XLCH Sportster. The new yuppiedavidsons aren't my style, and are ungodly overpriced, even in the states. What I would really like would be a Enfield twin ;D
99 Enfield Bullet 535
a man isn't drunk,if he can lie on the floor without hanging on

Reaver

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2007, 12:55:22 PM »
I learned to ride on my uncle's Indian, and then after 17 years of not riding, decided I was going to do it and bought a slightly used RE.  I love the simple 1950's of it, although I am currently fighting a case of no spark - I believe it might be the coil, maybe an American coil instead of the Lucas would do the trick.  But, I found that even on the side roads, trucks were breathing down my neck.  So, I bought an 04 HD Fatboy 88B c.i.  The Fatboy is my daily driver - 34 miles one way to work in most weather, much cheaper than the F350 dually 4x4.  But every once in a while, the RE calls my name.  My daughter is telling me I should trade it in on a newer RE with a sidecar.

Thumper

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2007, 07:02:54 PM »
You know, I'm coming to the conclusion that it's not so much that REs (and Urals and others like them) are so maintenance-intensive...

It's that modern bike designs result in almost maintenance-free MCs!

Face it, about all you have to do is change the oil and filter - and on the rarest occasion adjust the valves clearance.

I think we've simply become accustomed to neglecting our modern MCs with no consequences!

I know that the majority of my post-60's Japanese MCs had engineering so spot-on that most of the maintenance consisted of checking things that were *still within tolerances*. You can easily get spoiled by that...

What does all this mean in terms of the current topic?

Well, MCs of older design still need routine and careful maintenance. Take care of them and they can be trouble free (or almost trouble free). Unlike the Japanese and modern Euro counterparts, maintenance on REs should *not* be neglected! On the other hand, routine maintenance is really no big deal once you're in the habit.

Do you want an appliance or a motorcyle?

Matt

indian48

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2007, 07:09:53 PM »
I think that the appliance or motorcycle question is spot on and sums up everything about the RE and whether it is right for you!
If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well

mrunderhill1975a

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2007, 10:39:51 PM »
I think the RE would be a great first bike, provided the purchase also includes the snidal manual, and factory shop manual.  What maintenance are we talking about? Replace the points, adjust the timing, change the spark plug, change the fluids!  Once a person understands how the points work, it is simple stuff.  Find the high lobe on the points cam, set the gap to .015",  rotate the piston to TDC, rotate back 0.8mm, adjust to timing plate to fire there, and you are done.  First time it took me an hour, now, I do it in ten mins.  What other maintenance, adjust the tappets, same thing, simple, get to TDC and see if the pushrods are "thumb free". If not, loosen  the nuts and adjust until they are.
The only other maintenance is checking the various bolts that may have come loose during a ride as a result of the vibration.  Locktite cures this. 
For me the maintenance is about half the fun of having a bullet.  Try to do maintance on a Yamkasaki, forget it, you just throw it away and buy a new one.

Thumper

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Re: question about bikes
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2007, 09:13:15 AM »
What maintenance are we talking about?

Preventive maintenance. Things like this:

1) Check condition of spark plug
2) Torque cylinder head and adjust valves (see next section, II, for detailed steps)
3) Adjust decompression release:
o With feeler gauge still in the exhaust valve and piston still at TDC compression, loosen the lock nut on the decompression cable at the tappet cover and screw it in enough to give the flat side of the cam room to fit back under the “top hat”.
o Replace cover (and gasket). Make sure o-ring is still inside the cover nut.
o Check the effect to see it for yourself: pull decompression lever and see that the feeler gauge is gripped tightly. Now release it.
o Now go ahead and adjust cable for about 1/8” to ¼” freeplay at the lever.
o ALTERNATE METHOD – following Service Manual procedures: They say to adjust the freeplay until you just feel it affecting the feeler gauge (just like your test effect above). I do not like this. You have just adjusted your valve and now you are affecting it with the decompression release! I think they meant to say: adjust it until you just feel it affecting the feeler gauge – then back it off a few threads so as not to affect valve clearance.
4) Run bike to thoroughly warm engine, primary and gearbox
5) Drain engine oil: unscrew dipstick, remove all three drain plugs, clean screens as needed, wipe off dirt from plug area, inspect crush washers (replace as needed).
6) Remove oil filter: 13mm acorn nut and crush washer (if you don’t see the washer, it fell into the oil!), outer cover, spring, metal washer, small o-ring, large metal washer, large o-ring. Lay them out on a clean towel. It might help to use a magnet or an ultra thin needle nose pliers to pluck the components out. It took me awhile to ‘persuade’ them to come out. Lube filter and install components in reverse order. Note: You might want to replace the old filter temporarily back inside the housing just to see how far back in it goes; then make sure the new one goes in just as deep. My new filter would not go in far enough. It turned out I had been sent the wrong filter. Luckily, I had another spare that did fit. Allow oil to fully drain. (refill is below)
7) Check gearbox oil: fully loosen the hex bolt under the clutch cable. It’s the one with the copper crush washer. Make sure oil oozes out. If it doesn’t, top-up gearbox oil until it does ooze out.
8. ) Unclip both connecters from the alternator wires coming out of the primary case. (one clip with yellow wires; one with green and white wires.) Remove shift lever (10mm) and foot peg (14mm). Remove allen bolts and drain. Carefully remove cover. Check tension at top of chain for 5-6mm freeplay. Adjust with 11mm as needed. Remove gasket, noting how it goes over the alternator wire. Carefully wipe it clean and dry. Wipe inside of case clean. Pre-fit allen bolts back in through gasket to help hold it in place. It has been noted on the Web  to check the alternator stator retaining nuts/bolts/screws to ensure that they are not loose. Reinstall cover, tightening allen bolts in cross-hatch pattern. Make sure to do one final check of all bolts. Refill with 14.2 ounces 15w40. Reconnect alternator harness clips.
9) Fill engine oil with no more than 1.75 quarts. After maintenance, verify correct oil level after thoroughly warming engine. If you attempt to put in the specified 2.37 quarts it will overflow.
10)  Check clutch freeplay at lever and adjust as needed. Lubricate at lever, wiping off  excess grease and old dirt. If needed, fully lubricate clutch cable.
11)  Check level of brake fluid in reservoir. Lubricate at lever, wiping off  excess grease and old dirt.
12)  Lube rear brake grease fittings on both sides. Mine on the right side pulled right out. It was difficult to screw it back in. By applying pressure to the foot brake lever, I was able to screw the fitting back in. Lube rest of rear brake linkage, wiping off excess.
13)  Clean and re-oil air filter – or replace – or whatever is appropriate for your model. If cleaning a K&N-like filter, allow 24 hours to dry before re-oiling.
14)  Check throttle freeplay. Check for smooth throttle movement. If needed, lubricate throttle and throttle cable.
15)  Check battery electrolyte level: remove front battery flap and bracket/holder (2 screws). Pull battery forward enough to see fluid level. Reinstall battery and vinyl cover.
16)  Check rear drive chain tension at top for 1 to 1 ¼ inches. Check in several spots. Adjust at tight spot as needed. See section III below for detailed steps. Clean off chain as you feel necessary. (I use WD-40 with chain on bike and then wipe it off). Lube chain and wipe off excess.
17)  Check fork oil level: Unscrew cap, use small (1/8 to 3/16) dowel to verify 14.5 to 15 inches. I had to add fork oil. If you have to add it, add small (1/2 ounce) amounts until you get the correct level. Otherwise it’ll overfill and you’ll have to drain it at the bottom like I did! When replacing threaded caps, you might have to pry the rubber grommet (that cables go through) out of the way to gain enough room.
18)  Check steering head bearings: Turn, pull, push and otherwise firmly twist handle bars. Steering stem should turn smoothly and there should be no ‘slop’.
19)  Check wheel alignment. I used a metal pipe. Also check to make sure both drive chain lobed cam adjusters are set to precisely the same settings. (More info down in section III).
20)  Check spokes for tightness. Check in same place on each spoke. Check by tapping spoke with a spoke wrench and listen for nice ting-tang, ting-tang, ting-tang on each pair. Flat sounds jump out at you and indicate a loose spoke. Front wheel spokes might sound overall a bit different than rear spokes. Allow your ear to adjust to the ‘right’ sound.
21)  Check fuel filter and replace as needed. Unscrew petcock bowl and clean as needed. Inspect petcock screen. Replace bowl.
22)  Examine exhaust and exhaust brackets. Ensure all are tight and firmly secured.
23)  Examine tires. Check tire pressure.
24)  Lube: footpegs, shift lever, kick start lever, side stand.
25)  Armor-All: Fuel line and filter, starter solenoid and cables, battery flap and fuse holders, ignition wire and spark plug cap, starter motor cable, horn wires, brake hose, exposed cables: throttle, clutch, decompression lever, electrical wires, crankcase breathers, alternator wires (coming out of primary), speedo cable and fender grommet, foot peg rubbers, brake pedal pad, kick start rubber,  turn signals, brake light lens, fork boots, leather saddle bags (remove to get to buckles), seat, grips, mirrors, instrument grommets, switch gear and plastic ignition nut.
26)  Clean spokes and wheel rims. Clean left side of rear tire. Armor-All tires.
27)  Check any remaining fasteners not already checked. Check timing gear cover screws. Check oil line banjo fittings (22 and 13 mm). Check front (13&12mm) and rear (18mm) motor mounts. Check bottom crankcase-half stud nuts (10mm). Check horn bracket and chain guard rear  bracket for stress cracks.
28)  Wipe painted bike surfaces clean.
29)  Polish aluminum.
30)  Place holder: don’t forget to re-lube and reinstall your air filter if you let it dry for 24 hours.


II Torque Cylinder Heads and Adjust Valves
At just over 1000 miles, my Electra X shows oil weeping around the cylinder head gasket (not the base gasket). It was time to torque the head cylinder nuts and check the valves while I had the valve covers off.

1. Remove fuel line at petcock
2. Remove the rear gas tank mounting bolt (14mm). It is the short one.
3. Remove the front gas tank mounting bolt (14mm). It is the long one.
4. Remove gas tank
5. Remove spark plug
6. Remove valve covers (5mm allen). I tapped upward with hammer and screwdriver to carefully dislodge. I used a knife for final separation.
7. Remove cam cover (13mm)
8. Placed piston at TDC compression. Used dowel carefully to monitor piston rise and checked rods for spin.
9. Tightened cylinder base nut (10mm)
10. Torqued 6 cylinder head nuts to 24 ft/lbs:
o Front left (ex)
o Right rear (in)
o Left rear (in)
o Front right (ex)
o Left center (near spark plug)
o Right center (behind oil lines)
All had a small amount of tightening after breaking free.
11. Check valves at push rods: spin freely; minimal or no up/down or side/side movement. Note that the pushrods themselves are not visible. The adjusters and locknuts attached to the lower end of the pushrod – protruding into the top of the cam case – are what you twirl and adjust. (13mm attached to pushrod, 10mm locknut, 8mm adjusting screw that butts against the tappet). You might want to remove the 11mm stud (that holds the cover on) in order to get better access.

Check valves at rocker arms: Intake and Exhaust:  .1 mm cold.

Follow-up Notes: Adjust valves to .1mm cold (a loose .004 and a very tight .005 – or .005 does not fit). At this setting of .1mm I tested the feel of the ‘twirl’ resistance and movement – up/down/side-to-side. This way I can set it using the twirl method in a pinch (as the Owner’s Manual specifies).

12. Replace cam cover and gasket: using the kick starter, turn the engine over and with the other hand raise the decompression “top hat” about 1/8 – ¼ inch. This will allow the cam in the cover to slide under it when you refit it.
13.  Replaced valve covers, spark plug and gas tank (front, rear – thread lock, and fuel line).



III Drive Chain Adjustment
1. Make a note of the current position of both the left and right side lobed cam adjusters. Pay particular attention to any manufacturer punch marks in the sides of the lobed cam adjusters. Both adjusters should be adjusted the same relative to those marks.
2. Remove the cotter pin from the axle nut
3. Loosen the axle crown nut
4. Loosen the larger axle nut immediately being the crown nut
5. Loosen the brake stay (anchor) nut located just below the brake rod and to the left of the axle nuts
6. Loosen up the rear brake (rod) adjuster nut
7. Verify that the adjusters are still where they were initially noted and that loosening things did not allow them to move. Rotate each lobed cam adjuster one position and verify that they are both the same distance between the punch-mark and the adjustment pint/stud.
8. Check chain tension at the top rung for about 1 inch of play or slackness.
9. Tighten fasteners: Large inner axle nut, crown nut*, cotter pin, brake-rod adjuster, brake stay (anchor) nut
10.  Check your rear brake adjustment. Check your cam marks one final time
*If you find that after you have tightened the large inner axle nut or the crown nut, the axle seems loose (e.g., the wheel assembly wiggles, the axle turns freely): Take off both nuts. Put the crown nut on (without the large axle nut behind it) and tighten it down to help draw the axle through towards you. At this point you should notice the difference. Take the crown nut off; replace and tighten the large inner nut and finally replace the crown nut once again.

Matt