Harley-Enfield...Not loadsa money
It wasn’t always going to be a vintage bobber, truth be told Harley-Enfield was well on its way to becoming a pointy chopper until our Barry swanned into the workshop and threw a Spaniard in the works…
There I was minding my own business, diligently working away creating another sportster based chopper when my mate Barry, of vintage years himself strolled into the workshop, lifted off the peanut tank and plonked an old Royal Enfield classic 500 tank onto the scantily clad chassis and muttered “that would look nice” supped his tea then walked out grabbing a few digestives on the way past..
Feck sake… he was bloody right, but I’d already done loads of work bringing this build in a totally different direction, so there was only one thing for it…. Strip er down and start again
“that would look nice...”
This time building the entire bike around an old beat-up Royal Enfield Classic 500 EFi petrol tank. Yes, the forks would need machined and shortened, the chassis would need redone, the wheels would need changed, the tank would require major surgery to get it working with a normally aspirated Harley engine and to sit properly on the chassis, the bars would be scrapped and start again, the rear end would need redone… luckily I had already freshened up the engine so it was good to go… But it would look cool as a bobber with an Enfield tank..
After a few minutes Barry walked into the workshop to pilfer a few more Digestives and get a refill of tea… I didn’t know whether to punch him or hug him… so I just called him a bollox!
Harley-Enfield looking resplendent in the sun
We started brainstorming how it might look, Barry was in favour of keeping some shiny bits stating “in the old days they loved their shiny bits”. Although battered and dented, the tank was the same colour it is today, a classic ivory cream with a burgundy insert, it looked regal and classy so we decided then and there to stick with the colour scheme. Usually paint is the very last decision I make when building a bike, so this was a first!
"I didn't know whether to hug him or punch him... so I just called him a bollox!"
We decided against a chain conversion and instead stuck with the original belt because we were going to stay with standard tyre size and wheel clearance was not an issue.
Without doubt most work went into getting the Enfield EFi tank to fit and function on the Harley backbone. Clearance between the bottom of the tank and the rocker covers had to be as close as possible.
The underside of the tank was cut out and completely re-welded to get it sitting right. The petrol pet-cock was a pain in the arse… With the tank sitting so low, it was a bit of a challenge to ensure the pet-cock cleared the chassis and engine, but was low enough to be effective. Last thing I wanted was to be running out of petrol with half a tank still left!Hours of painstaking work paid off and the tank is absolutely perfect in position, stance and function.
The rear fender is made from an off-cut from a previous build… I never throw anything away. The ribbed centre was just the look we were after, and with another old fender piece spliced into it, it worked a treat. The fender struts were made from 8mm round bar, shaped and welded into position on the fender. The assembly attaches at the lower shock mounts with a custom made C-shaped bracket which allows the fender to be removed without having to take the shocks off. The rear fender is fitted to the swinging-arm so it moves with the wheel, this means we could take it nice and low but still keep the bike rideable.
The speedo is fixed below the bar mounts and sits just above the petrol tank. Getting a speedo housing was proving difficult, as nothing available on the market can close to giving me the position I needed. So we got our hands on a 3D-Printer, and an hour on the computer designing a suitable speedo bracket was time well spent. We sent the CAD file to the printer and, like magic, a perfectly formed speedo bracket appeared before our very tired eyes. Another first… our first ever 3D printed part was fitted and it works perfectly.
With the tank sitting so low on the chassis we had to relocate the ignition switch, so we made a small bracket and welded it just below the battery box. The ignition switch was popped into the bracket and it sits neatly out of the way behind the riders left leg. While relocating the ignition, we took the opportunity to redo the electrics. The old wiring loom was stripped and replaced with fresh new cabling which will give this yoke many more years of trouble-free electrics.
It really is a beautiful wee bike to ride. It’s light and agile, the 1200cc engine more power than you would ever need in a bobber. It is smooth and the steering is super light, due to the extra wide yokes and beach-bars that give lots of purchase. The bar end indicators also work really well, my initial concern is, they might stick out too far, but the bulky tank and the V-Twin Harley lump mean, she is quite wide regardless and even with the extra few inches girth, it doesn’t look out of shape.
The plan is to sell the bike... if anyone can pry it out of my vice-like grip!!