The Rubber Bullet
Take a standard EFI Royal Enfield Bullet and stretch it... easy... if it’s made of rubber!
The brief was simple: Tony, one of the coolest guys we have ever met, was looking a bobber to blitz the country roads in his native Kent. But, he also takes frequent trips to Belgium to visit friends so he needed to be able to put his luggage set on the bike.
He also really likes the look of the standard Bullet rear guard so his preference was to keep the standard rear guard so he could have the best of a conventional bike and a bobber.
"Either you have a bobber or a conventional bike... both are mutually exclusive...right?"
Either you have a bobber or a conventional bike... both are mutually exclusive...right?...maybe not.... let us see!.
We put our special thinking caps on, and decided to design a system that used two rear guards that could be easily swapped over. By day the Bullet would be a neat bobber, and at weekends she could be a vintage tourer!!
Problem is, when you bob an Enfield and remove the rear fender, the rear wheel sits so far forward in the frame, the bike looks like it’s taken a serious shunt up the rear... not pretty and not at all bobberesque.
My Harley bobber was sitting in the corner so I used it as ‘visual reference’. We unbolted the rear wheel on the Enfield and moved it back until it looked a bit more in keeping with the lines of a bobber.
Then the trusty tape measure came out and it was decreed that the swinging arm needed to be stretched by 6 inches!
"As many of you will no doubt testify, a 6 inch stretch is never easy..."
With the Enfield, both sides of the swingarm dont run parallel, so a simple cut/insert/brace/weld was not an option. We ended up cutting both ends off the original arm and making up a jig to reconstruct the new swingarm only with an extra 6 inches in length, making sure to keep the wheel in the same position only further back and all the angles correct.
Stretch fitted with the standard rear guard
We were remaking the shock mounts anyway, so took the opportunity to add a slightly longer set of shrouded rear shocks. This not only gave it a classic retro look but the extra length would help balance the swingarm stretch.
"Both sets of fixing points are discreet so unless you were looking for them, you wouldn’t know they were there"
With a bobber, the rear guard sits close to the rear tyre and if rear suspension is fitted to the bike, the guard will rise and fall with the wheel. Whereas a conventional rear guard (as fitted to the enfield) is fitted to the chassis and the rear wheel rises inside it.
It took a bit of figuring out but we managed to fabricate two different fixing points, one for the bobber guard and the other for the conventional guard.
Both sets of fixing points are discreet so unless you were looking for them, you wouldn’t know they were there.
With some creative cutting and welding, an old classic Enfield guard had been remodelled to fit the EFI Enfield and the new mounting points.
The wiring for the rear light and indicators are neatly routed up the underside of the guard and emerge in a little connector block that can be simply plugged into the main harness.
The same plug was used on the conventional guard to ensure a ‘plug n play’ scenario.It only takes a couple of minutes to change over the guard and transform the bike from bobber to tourer.
We tried various seats on the bike and the only one that would do it justice was a traditional Harley style bobber seat which we mounted to a specially made frame that incorporated the saddle springs while still offering protection to the EFI gubbins.
"only one that would do it justice was a traditional Harley style bobber seat"
New black bullet style mini indicators were fixed to the bobber fender and a neat vintage brake/tail light mounted to complete the rear.The chain had to be lengthened by a foot which made it pretty long, so we inserted a little roller to give it a little support when whirring around the sprockets.
The final touch was a custom made chain guard to keep the MOT lads happy.
The stance of this bike is spot-on.
Side by side stretch on the left, standard right
Despite being a fair bit longer than standard, the handling is, if anything slightly improved over standard. It took a lot of sighs, puffing and head scratching to get the angle of the swingarm just right.
Too low and it would most certainly cause the chain to go slack and pop off, and too high would cause the chain to snap. Lucky we are good at sighs, puffing and head scratching and the end result is exactly what the customer wanted, and I’m sure you will agree, it really looks the business in both guises and we really love the final product, but more importantly, Tony is over the moon with his new creation
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