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Enfield Bullet, a bugger-all motorbike.

“The Enfield Bullet is a bucket of bolts with all the personality of a wheelbarrow.”

What I find most amusing (as a one time Bullet owner in the 90’s) is there are people who will actually pay top rupees for a bucket of bolts like the “Royal” Enfield. Considering it’s built by a company that has no clue how to build a motorcycle, only a genuine fanatic would part with his money for this rubbish. Its actually more of a farmers crop sprayer on two wheels.

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OK, on a more forgiving note, it’s just a lovable antique that transports you to more happier, simpler times – but don’t forget to bring tools. Here’s a bike that can switch off the grin as fast as it switches it on.

As you must have figured by now, I’m not a hardcore loyalist, but a realist – aware that the word primitive comes from the Latin word ‘primivitus’ – meaning first of its kind. Quite frankly, to me the Bullet is old and has all the personality of a wheelbarrow. It’s really not meant for a real-world trips and is just a weekend warrior’s idea (i.e. a run to the shops and back) of dealing with his mid-life crisis.

Why Enfield Bullet?
1. You’re a cop.
2. You’re a milkman.
3. You want to be a cop or a milkman.
4. None of the above? OK, then you’re a middle aged chap with the time and discretionary income to recreate the bike you had—or wished you had—in your younger years.

What’s wrong with the bike.
It’s not reliable. It’s extremely thirsty, lacks range, unjustifiably heavy, bad electrics, bad rear drum brakes, chrome-sprayed, lacks detailing (bolts don’t have washers to prevent paint from scratching), bad weld finishing, lots of vibration, very noisy, mechanically suspect and usually ridden by nostalgic gits.

Riding at a sedate 65 has you in the meat of the clip-on bars’ vibration zone, which feels like a nice vibra-massage at first but can grow annoying over a distance as you feel the piston’s oscillations up the spine and into your brain.

Also beware of the plenty of false neutrals between gears. And then there’s the decompressor in some older models.

Another very unique Bullet feature is the signature puddle of oil it leaves behind on the ground. A sort of slow bleed to death.

Some background.
It was first produced in 1933. That makes the Bullet the oldest motorcycle in the world in continuous production. Something along the lines of the ‘classic’ Ambassador car. And we know what became of that.

In 1967, the original British Royal Enfield company closed its plant for good in Redditch, England. But by then, its subsidiary in India had already been stamping out Bullets for years, for use not only by the Indian police and military, but for civilians (mainly farmers and thugs) as well.

Since the 50’s, there have been 3 styles of Enfields.
1. The Royal Enfield Cast Iron (CI) Engine – 4 speed gear box with left side brake peddle, a very simple design that had a bad reputation for crap quality control, inconsistant metalurgy and questionable castings. However, it’s only these pre-1985 engines that can provide the classic Bullet Thump and famous low-end torque. Also, its CB (contact breaker) points knocked less at low speeds than the new TCI (transistor controlled ignition) ones.
2.  An interim all-aluminium engine called the AVL (lean burn) from Austria. Despite looking similar to the CI engine, the AVL had a 5-speed transmission, electronic ignition, electric start and an efficient geared oil pump.
3. The new Unit Construction Engine (UCE) is the modern single unit found today. It’s more powerful, more fuel efficient, with better oil circulation (rotary pump), hydraulic tappets, auto decompression, better big-end bearings, fuel injection, hydraulic valve lifters and so on. Even the company warranty reflects this. They offer a 40,000 kilometer/two year warranty on UCE bullets while they used to offer only 10,000 km/1 year warranty on the Cast iron and AVL engines. But the cost you have to pay for all this so-called technology is the lack of the famous Bullet “Thump”. A sound which must never be confused with the dull, lacklustre sound of an Enfield owners brains thumping around in his empty head.

Even Harley Davidson agrees its owners are wierd.
Harley Davidson, one of the most sacred brands imagined admit their bikes are wierd. The company CMO Mark-Hans Richer noted that a Harley “might have an engine, it might have wheels, and it might run on roads” but “we’re really not about transportation; it’s not about getting from Point A to Point B. It’s about living life in the way you choose.”

But there’s still some hope.

The Enfield Continental.
The new RE Continental GT racer – proof that Enfield is desperately trying to change its’bucket-of-bolts’ image.

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Taking its inspiration from the café racing scene of the Sixties, Enfield has launched its vintage-look 535cc Continental GT model. This new Royal Enfield carries forward no parts from the original Bullet. Okay, almost no parts: Bolted solidly in four places in the Continental GT’s engine bay is the same old unit-construction EFI Bullet Single, punched out to 535cc (87.0 x 90.0mm) and now powering a lovely little Continental GT with a steel frame designed by Harris Performance, beautiful new bodywork courtesy of Xenophya Design (both U.K. companies), brakes from Brembo, alloy Excel rims with fat spokes, Paioli gas charged shock absorbers and Pirelli Sport Demon tyres, 41mm fork tubes and all the right “café racer” design elements. The red paint, thanks to the new paint shop in the new factory, looks very nice, though the silver metalflake applied to the triple-clamps and fork sliders isn’t exactly period correct.

Keihin carbs, Desno alternator, Austrian gears and Brembo brakes as mementioned earlier. Even here, the injection mapping isn’t great; but once rolling, they say there’s good torque down around 2000 to 3000 rpm.

And then there’s the URAL from Russia.
Looking for a real retro bike, check out the Ural ST motorcycle from Russia.

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http://www.bikeexif.com/ural-motorcycles

To sum up, Enfields are expensive, inefficient and unreliable compared to the new powerful bikes available on the roads these days. But if you’re longing for some nostalgia and some “thump” between the legs – then this bike could be all you ever need.

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The mother of all zooms

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Weighing 16kg and measuring 880mm in an overall length and there is just no comparing optic to match this lense in its basic spec.

Italy’s La Stampa, published two images showing photographer Dylan Martinez with the 35-pound Nikkor 1200-1700mm f/5.6~8.0s P ED IF lens.

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His team was waiting to capture the new pope at Saint Peter’s Square. The so-called “Mother of all zooms” has 18 elements in 13 groups (3 x EDs), 2°-1°30′ angle of view and minimum focusing distance of 32 ft.

Twitter Tools

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Recommended Tools:

1. Hootsuite
This is the app every b6usiness on Twitter should use. It’s also one of the few third-party apps I’ve gladly shelled out extra to upgrade to get the pro features. With Hootsuite you can post to multiple social media networks at the same time, enjoy built-in link shortening, and view such things as pending tweets, mentions, etc, in a customizable interface. The ability to schedule future posts is a particular favorite. I found the bulk uploader to be a bit clumsy, but otherwise this is an essential social media tool. Period.

2. Manageflitter
The Twitter interface doesn’t offer optimal tools to manage the list of those you follow, especially if you follow more than a couple of hundred people. Manageflitter allows you to sort this list in a more robust manner than Twitter itself. You can see who hasn’t tweeted in ages, who tweets too much for your tastes, who hasn’t followed you back, and about any other option you can think up. Another new feature is allowing you to post to your Twitter profile via Google+. Once you use Manageflitter, you’ll be hard-pressed to give it up.

3. Followerwonk
Recent changes to Followerwonk have made it slightly less user-friendly, but we still recommend Followerwonk for finding targeted profiles to follow. What they offer is the ability to do much better searches than Twitter itself. So for example, if you are a small business looking for people in your area to follow, Followerwonk will allow you to find them with their powerful search tools much easier than similar searches within Twitter.

4. FollowFridayHelper
If you haven’t learned the value of shoutouts and follow Friday (#FF) mentions, you’re missing out on gaining new followers. When a person mentions you in a #FF or shoutout, you are more likely to follow them back. So when you send shoutouts, you are likely to gain more solid connections and followers in return. But when you follow 2000 people, how do you know who to include? That’s where FollowFridayHelper comes in. It will analyze your tweets and mentions and suggest people best suited for a #FF mention. Simple and easy to use, this is a great tool.

5.Tweetcaster(Mobile app)
I’ve tried several Twitter mobile apps, and this is by far my favorite. It has a beautiful interface and allows you to manage multiple Twitter accounts. So I may receive notifications for my business or private Twitter accounts, all from the same app. There are even some advanced search tools that beat many desktop Twitter apps.

Popular Twitter apps NOT recommended:

1. Truetwit, This app seeks to reduce fake followers and spammers by offering a validation service. Though it seems to have good intentions, there are a couple of reasons I don’t like it. First of all, unlike most of the other apps which connect via your Twitter login, this one requires you – and anyone who wants to follow you– to sign up. Next, most people don’t care who follows them, so why go through such a service to restrict that? Further, if you’re concerned about spammers and followers, you can merely select “Protect my tweets” in the Twitter options to require authorization of followers. It seems like Truetwit’s value doesn’t fall much beyond Twitter’s built-in capabilities. Finally, anyone who tries to follow you with Truetwit enabled will receive a message that they must sign up in order to follow you. I know that when I see one of those Truetwit direct messages, I delete it and forget about following that person – and I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment. So while you may have less fake followers (which isn’t really an issue for most people), you very well may have less real followers as well. Not a valuable trade-off.

2. FllwrsAgain, the idea is good – sort of like Manageflitter, where you can keep track of who follows you and who doesn’t. Fllwrs doesn’t have as many features, and will post the dreaded “so-and-so unfollowed me today [checked by fllwrs.com]” – and this message is why I dislike it. The concept of posting unfollowers makes you sound like a Twitter crybaby. I unfollow people all the time – usually because I find their tweets to be irrelevant or uninteresting – but I don’t particularly like them announcing it all over Twitter. Plus, when you announce your unfollowers, aren’t you also announcing that you’re losing popularity? Maybe they unfollowed you for a reason – do you want to announce that?

3. Twiends, This one doesn’t even sound like a good idea. You basically follow Twitter users on Twiends to earn “seeds” which you can then spend to “buy” follows on Twitter. The few times I tried it, most of the followers were fake or spam profiles, and a large percentage of those ended up unfollowing me shortly thereafter. Those that I had to follow to earn my seeds were not people I’d normally follow, and I ended up unfollowing them as well. I found it to be a waste of time.

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