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Thumper Diaries

About the blog

This blog is to be a diary of our activities and the trials and tribulations of owning a Royal Enfield Bullet 500.

For spares and such, I normally go to Hitchcocks Motorcycles

For a complete log (linked index) of all the posts in this blog, go here: Diary log

Rolling tool kit

Maintenance Posted on Sat, April 18, 2020 01:20:06

I had to do something to use my time while being locked down because of the dreaded Corona Virus. Looking to use that time well I decided to give Thumper the once over, checking lights, battery, oil, tyre pressures and all the ususal light maintainence one does before setting off on any trip.
All easily done and well worth the effort. Then I decided it would probably be a good idea to go through my spares and tools that I normally take with me out on the road.
I won’t be stripping tyres off hubs at the roadside or any other large repairs in the case of catastrophic failure but there are minor things that may crop up, so one has to be prepared to a certain limit. I pulled it all out to see what I had packed once a long time ago and luckily have never had to use..
I have some feeler gauges, a multi tool, chain lube, a spare plug, tyre repair goop, bulbs for an indicator and tail/brake light, a double ended screwdriver, an adjustable spanner and an assortment of spanners and some electrical ties. It all fits in the right hand tool box.

Besides this I have a mini pump for tyre inflation which is kept on the crashbar in a purpose built cradle to be used with the goop in the event of a puncture. I have spare fuses too. These are taped to the relevant fuse holders.

I need to get a cable repair kit and a new roll of duct tape.

As I said, I have never needed it so far, but it’s nice to know that one is, at least, a little prepared. I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it….



Under Pressure

Maintenance Posted on Tue, April 14, 2020 22:34:04

I normally carry a small hand pump with me on the bike in case of puncture. My emergency plan consists of the goopy stuff that one sprays into the flat tyre but one still has to get air in there too and my lungs aren’t up to the task. It is attached to the crashbars in a cradle made for just that purpose.
It has served me well but I felt the need for something more professional for use in the shed. I now have something…

My dear wife, having heard my lamentations over this state of affairs, bought me a mini compressor from Black & Decker for Christmas. A compact little machine which can be driven by mains electricity or from a 12V take off. It is a little cumbersome to take on the bike but for use in the shed it is superb. I can also carry it in the car, so it comes with me on longer trips. One never knows…
The air line and the electrical lead fold nicely away under the top cover and the 12V line is coiled up and packs away in the back of the body. The required pressure can be preset on the front of the machine. Very useful in case of emegency. Just to give a sense of size, the box measures 12″ x 6½” x 7½”. Here it is:

This is all very well but I also needed a compressor for other simple jobs like spray painting, a washer pistol, an air gun for dusting off and so on. Not having a tank that i could pressurise, I needed a real compressor. But not too big. The shed isn’t that large. I found one the other day. From Stanley. It will compress air up to 8 bar and will drive a rattle gun. Again, required pressure can be preset on the machine. Electrically driven, this one does what I require of it and is still very portable. I had to buy attachments for it but these are not expensive. A spray gun, a washer, an air gun, a tyre pessure gauge and air line all came in a kit at a very reasonable price.
I reckon I’m covered…



Standing Room Only

Customisation Posted on Fri, April 10, 2020 21:25:08

Thumper lives in my shed. It isn’t the worlds largest shed and I need to stand at the bench to get anything done. It has always been a bit of a squeeze with Thumper up on his centre stand. Even when I put his front wheel up against the wall I lose a foot and a half of space when I pull him up onto the stand. I decided something had to be done.
Normally, I reverse him onto the shed. I thought that if I had some way of parking him with the front wheel right up against the wall then the problem would be solved. A transport stand fixed to the wall might be a solution. The internet is my friend so I went off to investigate. I found one and ordered it. Cheap, cheerful and Chinese it may be, but it is a solid piece of kit. Some assembly required, as can be seen here:

I found one of the pillars that support the wall of the shed. Not easy, because the shed is insulated, and screwed the now assembled transport stand to it. I decided it wasn’t going to be stable enough with just the one small screw so I drilled through the front end of the “shoe” and set another, heavier, screw to secure the thing. Then I pushed Thumper forward into the stand. He went in with no problem and a satisfying mechanical clank as the shoe fell into place holding the front wheel. The stand is adjustable according to wheel size but luckily I had guessed right and no further fettling was required.So there he was, up against the wall and I had the space I required behind him to use as I please.

Although he is held in place by this thing I decided it wasn’t particularly stable with respect to sideways movement. He was in danger of tipping. One usually uses straps in conjuction with these stands. Now I understood why.
I don’t have anywhere to fix straps. My solution was to construct a stand offering support beneath the crash bars. I measured up and found some solid timber in my stache. An hours work and the job was done. Here’s the result:

So there it is. Thumper is nicely parked up against the wall and I have gained 18 inches of work room at the other end. I wasn’t so much worried about him tipping as I don’t usually touch him when he’s parked but accidents will happen and my Grandson is often in the shed with me. I could hold Thumper if he falls, but a youngster wouldn’t have a chance. A biproduct of the whole exercise is, that I now have an alternative stand to use if I so need it, because my constructed stand could be used anywhere.
Now that’s flexible design for you…



Wax on – Wax off

Maintenance Posted on Wed, August 29, 2018 00:14:10

I don’t normally endorse any products I buy. Most are equally as good as the next if one follows the directions on the tin, box or whatever. Occasionally one finds finds something that amazes one though. Such a thing happened today.

I recently switched cars. I traded my old Citroen in for a Volvo. It isn’t a new car by any means, but it is built to last. Anyhow, it has a few scratches on the paintwork. No dents, just small scratches. I went off to buy some scratch remover and the guy at the shop told me to put wax over the repair. Got any wax? I asked. Yes he did, recommending this stuff.

This is Meguiar’s Ultimate Paste wax. Apparently it’s a synthetic polymer wax and is particularly water phobic. I don’t profess to know a water phobic synthetic polymer if I see one, so I took his word for it.

The tin contains an applicator in the lid, a soft towel to polish with and a huge tin of the wax.
It worked on the car, which is a silver grey colour that doesn’t really show a shine other than reflection that one would expect from a grey paint.
So far so good and no surprises.

Having finished with the car, I thought it might be fun to try the wax on Thumper’s lovely big black tank. I normally rub Thumper down after every run so I know he’s clean. While I was there, I got carried away and waxed the mudguards, the fork covers, headstock and lamp and what bits of the frame i could get to and the tool boxes. Wait a few minutes for this stuff to dry, it says on the tin. I did.

Then I started polishing it off.

What a shine! Deep glossy reflections that I could use to shave in. Everywhere. Thumper never polished up like this before. Whoever Meguiar is, he’s a genius. His wax is great!

I won’t be using anything else to polish Thumper with in the future. Thoroughly recommended by yours truly. smiley



Saving the GPS

Customisation Posted on Tue, June 19, 2018 21:46:13

I’d almost given up on the GPS. The mounting box had suffered a short circuit which I am sure contributed to my battery problems, so I stripped it all out.
The GPS unit is still working though, so I thought I might try to find a way to remount the thing and run it off a USB cable. There had to be a way.
I’ve always liked the idea of having the GPS central to the handlebars. So that became the focus of my efforts.
There are two large bolts holding the bars in place. I could perhaps use those as mounting points. I needed a plate to mount the GPS on and something to work as a mount for that unit. I still have the old mounting block for the GPS even if it is useless. I stripped it all down and removed the old mounting block from the ugly set up it once hung on.
The back of the block has four screws to secure it onto anything I decided to make. I went off to the drawing board- Here’s the result:


I had the steel plate, a pillar drill, files and a hacksaw. I had to buy 5mm screws, washers and a length of aluminium tube with an internal diameter of 5.5 mm to fashion the spacers. The measurements were tricky but I hit the target every time so very little fettling was required to assemble the whole gadget. The spacers are necessary to allow clearance for releasing the locking mechanism which holds the GPS unit in place.
Removing the bolts on the handlebar mount is not as straightforward as one would assume. The tensioning bolts under the bars have to be released to allow the large top bolts to be removed easily. After that, fitting my plate was easy.

This is how it all looks:


The mount from above:


And with the GPS unit in place:


I can see over the GPS to look at the ammeter. The unit does not get in the way of the ignition and it is all pleasingly far way from the tank. I’m pleased with the result. If this doesn’t end the GPS saga, then I’ll drop the whole idea of having a GPS on Thumper..!



First run, 2018

Travels Posted on Mon, May 28, 2018 00:15:50

The weather has been particularly nice all through spring this year. It pained me that Thumper was out of commission for so long that, when he was fixed, I had to get him out. I haven’t refuelled since I was forced to send him to the shed so I was a little worried about ethanol and stuff but, as it turned out, all was well.

I decided to take the usual cruise around the island on which I live. It’s not a long run by any means but it can be quite picturesque, varying from woodland cover on the roadside to open coastline. There is a cafe at the harbour in Dragør which I used to visit regularly. It is popular with the biking fraternity. I decided to make a point of stopping there.

There is no real green laning allowed in this land. The State has laid claim to most of the woodland and cars and bikes are not welcome. There are private woods, but without permission to be there, you are trespassing. Occasionally the road passes through woodland. That is the closest we can get. I found such a road yesterday.
It isn’t long but it is a pretty place to ride. I couldn’t resist a photo opportunity.


It’s a bit “Robert Frost”. Whom I shall now quote: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep..” Which indeed they are. Unfortunately one can’t ride through them though. So I had to stay on the black bit..

Out of the woods I headed for the coastline. Plodding around at a steady 40 MPH is a grand way to spend the morning. There is an open piece of road on the coast though, where we can exercise a bit of accelertion and sustain a higher rate of knots. I did so. It was exhiliarating…

Soon at my cafe, I parked up and settled for a coffee and a cigarette. To my chagrin I discovered that one of my two favourite cafes had suffered a fire. The building is virtually gutted but somehow, they kept the outside area running and are working from a mobile kitchen. Hats off to them.

Break over, I set off further up the coast, past the airport for a Tom Cruise moment and then further on toward the eastern coastline.
Again, a break to suck up the sea air and a chat with a fellow Brit who was attracted by the sound of Thumper’s engine. A good chat with him and a cigarette later, I pointed Thumper toward home and took a leisurely ride back to my humble abode.

Having ascertained that all is well with Thumper I am considering a longer trip to the North of Sealland to visit my old mate and my daughter.
We’ll see how that goes.

It’s great to be back on the road again.



He lives again!

Maintenance Posted on Wed, May 23, 2018 17:56:24

After many hours chasing wires and checking connections, I could find no reason for Thumper’s lack of life. Then, in desperation, I connected a battery charger to the bike and lo and behold, power all over the place. I couldn’t really understand this, because the battery was showing me 12V on my meter.
Having voiced my consternation on the usual Hitchcocks forum, someone suggested a new battery may be all that is required.
Well, having tried everything else, what choice did I have?
New battery bought today. Twenty quid or so.
I connected it all up. Put the charger on to top up the new battery and, after an hour, I thought it was time to try and start him.
The usual routine, fuel on, ignition on, set him to run, start help activated. Decompress and turn it all over two or three times. Here goes…

One kick!

That’s all it took. Thumper fired up and barked his thunder for all to hear. Once again, I ran around outside the iShed with arms in the air whooping with delight..
Joy unbounded!
Then a quick roar around the block to check that all is well. It is. Tyre pressures had fallen in the nine months of idleness but otherwise, no problems.

The weather is particularly nice at the moment. It’s going to be a long day on the coast road tomorrow.



Electrickery

Maintenance Posted on Sun, February 25, 2018 20:48:16

Someone left a comment on one of the posts here, inquiring as to why I have seemed to stop posting.
The answer is very simple, although the solution to my troubles is likely to be not so simple. Thumper is out of commission at the moment. Indisposed. Broken down.
Not mechanically, I hasten to add. No. It’s the dreaded electrics.

I don’t know much about the mysteries that are electric. Thumper just cut out and died and is bereft of all power. The battery appears to be OK so I presume something shorted out and remains so. There is no life in him anywhere.

Danish winters are remarkably cold, even when they are mild, so spending hours in the shed is out of the question for the moment. As soon as the weather warms up, I’ll be on to it.

I have no idea where to start…. this will be a long process.



Fuel consumption

Maintenance Posted on Fri, May 26, 2017 01:27:30

Something I do worry about is the amount of fuel I have left in the tank. I have no fuel gauge to go by. I know that if all goes according to plan, when Thumper stutters and dies out on the road, I need only to turn the fuel tap to ‘reserve’ and I can continue on to the nearest petrol station. Hardly comforting though, as I don’t really know how much fuel I have in reserve!
For the past year I have been keeping an eye on the mileage (or should that be kilometerage?) compared to the amounts of fuel I put in the tank. It is not entirely accurate as one cannot guarantee that one always fills up to precisely the same level in the tank, but it is close enough to draw some sort of conclusion.
My preferred fuel is Shell V-power. It may be a little more expensive but it is of a slightly higher octane content and burns very cleanly. Thumper loves the stuff and he runs sweetly on it.

My conclusion is that I cover about 24 Km/litre. In old money that is about 69 MPG, allowing for my limited maths skills and uncertainties as mentioned above.
Thumpers tank holds 14 litres of fuel. That’s a little over 3 gallons.

My range then, is around 336 Km or 207 miles. Not too shabby. Eh?

So I’ll be filling up every 250 Km or so from now on. Now, where did I put that notebook..?



Lockable Storage

Customisation Posted on Mon, May 15, 2017 15:35:35

I decided I needed more storage space on Thumper. The tool boxes are OK, but when I go out for the day I need more stuff than I can load up with. Brew kit, camera, a snack or two, all builds up and I’m not much for wearing a backpack. Looking for an answer to this quandary I found a money box on the great interweb. It measures 300mm 217mm and is 100mm high. That would fit perfectly on the carrier rack. Cost, around £10.00. I ordered one. Here it is:

So the big question is; How to fit it to the rack?

As anyone with half an eye can see, the two central crossbars on the rack are offset toward the left of the picture. They are 16mm in diameter and 105mm apart.
I bought some pipe clips that (luckily) fit exactly round them and decided that would be the best way to mount the box. So a good deal of measuring is involved here. The screw holes are 35mm apart on the clips and I need to position four of them. The rack is slightly longer than the box and slightly not as broad. Technical drawings are not my forté but here, for the sake of explanation and the curious, are my drawings. The top one being the template for the holes and the second is my idea for attachment of the box to the luggage rack.

So, armed to the teeth with confidence and power tools, I can do this.. but not until tomorrow. I’m waiting for the box to be delivered. Logistics. What is one to do?

I’ll be back with an update and more pictures tomorrow.

The following day..
The box arrived in the afternoon. So much for getting up early to greet the postman…

Hurriedly unpacked, I set off to the iShed to get cracking. The inner shelf in the money box was of no interest to me in this instance, but it will make a great screw holder.
I bored the holes according to my excellent template and hey presto, it fitted exactly. OK, the bolts are a bit too long and protrude into the box but I can fix that with the Dremel cutter at a later date.

There is room for my camera, a small thermos flask, a packed lunch and a bit more besides. Maybe spare cables and the like. Just to complete the picture series, here’s a few shots of the finished job.

Happy bunny. I’m pleased with the result. OK, it won’t replace a full bodied top box but that was never what I wanted. This just gives me that little extra storage space I need for a day out in the cuds or shorter journeys to friends and family.

Hopefully, I can try it out very shortly.



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