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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. Your comments are welcome but there is a spam filter.
I hate spam.

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

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.

Oil Suction Gun

Maintenance Posted on Mon, May 08, 2017 21:08:16

Here’s a great little tool, made for oil changes. I wasn’t really looking for it but when I do find these handy things, I buy them. Even better, it was on offer at about half price.

Remembering the problems I had with filling the timing chest under the last oil change, and seeing that this thing holds up to a half liter of oil, which is what the timing chest needs, how could I say no? I had solved the problem last time by doctoring a half liter water bottle. It worked, yes, but it was far from ideal.

I won’t necessarily be using it to remove oil but it certainly will help with filling the timing chest which is pretty difficult to fill through the push rod adjuster hatch. I can’t pour horizontally…

The plastic tube is about 3/8 inch bore and can be replaced by whatever length one wants.

Another practical application, of course, is that if one overfills the sump at oil change, this can easily remove some of the oil.

Name Tag

Customisation Posted on Mon, November 07, 2016 14:21:13

I decided that Thumper needed a little more decoration on the front end. What better then, than to get him a name tag? I found an online press that makes transfers to order and got busy.
For the paltry sum of eight quid, I ordered the transfer which you can see in the picture below. It was a bit tricky to get it to curve with the mudguard but with a bit of fine fettling, it finally went on in one fell swoop.

Now everyone will recognise Thumper.

End of Season 2016

Travels Posted on Tue, October 18, 2016 14:48:51

It’s been quite a year. The weather wasn’t brilliant by any means but we managed to get a thousand Km on the odometer and no major mishaps or breakdowns.
I fitted a crashbar, sorted my GPS out and had the dent in the tank removed. I’m looking forward to Christmas, the missus has bought a windshield for me to fit to Thumper.
I ordered a Parts list Book and a Workshop Manual. These too, are going into the Yuletide pile.

Thumper has gone into hibernation. I brimmed the fuel tank and checked the oil level. The battery will be charged periodically if necessary. Right now he is sleeping happily in the shed, under his blankets and waterproof poncho. The poncho is a bit of extra unnecessary protection really. The shed is well insulated from the elements and I can even warm it up.

So, thanks for another year of joy Thumper. Roll on Spring, where we can get out on the road again.

Sleep well.

Removing the Dent

Maintenance Posted on Wed, August 31, 2016 19:26:03

I was forced to step off a while back. By a female jogger who had made herself deliberately deaf to the traffic by using ear-buds and blind by looking at the indispensible iPhone in her hand. She ran out in front of me and I was forced to drop the bike to avoid wiping her off the face of the earth. Luckily, I wasn’t going that fast.
The resulting contact with the road wasn’t too bad but my left knee caught the tank and left it with a sizeable dent. That was two years ago. Here’s the offending blemish.

Finally annoyed enough to do something about it, I decided to consult a professional. Not easy, because the body shops are good at cars but are, for some reason, unwilling to take on bikes. I finally found a newly started business and approached them. Reluctantly, they agreed to take on the job. I met up at ten in the morning and waited for the youngster to have a look at Thumper’s dent. “I’ll try.” he said.

I explained that I had seen a hot glue puller thing on the TV. He agreed that would do the job and so he got started. “My first bike.” he explained. “I know.” I said. Reassuring him that I knew the risk involved and would hold him blame free in the event of a catastrophic failure of the paintwork, he applied the glue and the tap and got to work with the puller.

Two minutes later and the dent was gone. He then got to work with a dorn and a hammer and dressed the area around the now non-existant dent. The result was about as close to perfect as anyone could get. The dent is gone for ever. Here’s the result.. Nothing to see.

There are those who would try to do this as a DIY project. There are kits that can be bought and there is also a process of heating the area and then rapid cooling with compressed air. I’m sure some will have had some success with this. I tried the heat and cool thing mysef but it didn’t get the dent out despite my concerted efforts.

In the end, I’m glad I went to a pro. We both learned something and, for him, my money is as good as the next mans. Maybe they’ll take more bikes now.
My sincere thanks to the young man who did the job. He’s a clever lad. I hope the business does well.

Crash bars

Customisation Posted on Thu, March 10, 2016 12:58:27

The one thing you hope you’ll never need.

I ordered a wrap-around type, mainly because I liked the look of the thing. It came complete with a fixing kit and no instructions. I suppose these things should be self explanatory. Here’s a picture of said kit, in all it’s glory, laid out as I think it should be.

I think I am missing a couple of nuts and bolts..

The two long brackets fit to the lower end of the frame. The bent bits at the top bolt together and pinch the frame just beneath the fuel tank. Don’t forget to release any cables from their plastic ties before you put this on.

Now one needs six hands but has only two. Which is frustrating to say the least. The trick is to mount the brackets and not tighten anything up. Juggling with the ‘u’ bolts and the brackets is not easy but gradually tightening the grip as you go will eventually pay off. Centre the whole shooting match up before finally tightening all the nuts.

Re-tie your cables.

Clean up and put the tools away.

I had to move my pump but found a spot on the crash bar where I could re-attach it.

All in all, I’m happy with the result. Now I only have one worry. The shed door isn’t exactly wide. I have to wriggle Thumper out and more so on the way back in. I hope there’s room enough..!!

Here’s a picture or three.. OK, the second one isn’t very clear but I’m sure people will get the gist of what’s going on.

Re-wiring the GPS

Customisation Posted on Fri, February 19, 2016 01:27:36

I know. I’ve already done the GPS thing. But I wasn’t happy about the wiring arrangement. It worked OK, but I didn’t like the thought of having it hooked directly to the battery, albeit with a switch between the two. I needed to find a wire to ‘T’ into that goes ‘hot’ with the ignition. The headlight nacelle is a birds nest of wires and I didn’t want to go in there. I’ve wrestled with this over the past year or so.

Then, a revelation!

Reading a post on the Royal Enfield forum, some bright spark pointed out that the horn goes hot with the ignition. That wire is easily found. Actually, there are two wires to the horn. One is live and the other is an earth, which goes to the horn button. Two minutes with the multimeter and I’d identified the one from the other.

I stripped out my original GPS set-up and simply re-routed the cable down the front of the frame and cut to length plus a bit. I clipped the horn wire and married the two ‘hot’ wires in a cable clip.
Obviously, this can’t be done on the earth side, otherwise the GPS would only work when the horn was being sounded, so I needed to find a good earth connection. Luckily there is a threaded end of a bolt protruding from my crank case so a simple connector could be placed there. Not being able to buy such a thing, I made one from a piece of thin steel plate and set it fast with an 8mm nut.

All connected up, I placed the GPS in its cradle on the bike and turned the ignition on.
Success! All works as it should.

I’ve since covered the connectors with shrink wrap. Looks really tidy now.

Here’s a few pictures of the wiring..

High Output Alternator

Customisation Posted on Fri, September 04, 2015 18:13:18

I was having problems with holding charge in the battery while out riding. I believe it is the result of having fitted electronic ignition and then adding a GPS. The problem really started with the addition of the GPS, which drains the battery within 35 Kilometres of leaving home. Switch it off and all is well. So I reckon the electrics were running at full capacity and the GPS was the tipper. After much deliberation, I decided to fit a higher output alternator. Beefing up the DC side can only be a bonus anyway, so the decision was made.

I found one in the Hitchcocks catalogue. Lucas. Stator and rotor. Expensive but necessary I thought. I ordered it.

I did some research. I’ve never refitted an alternator. I found a few video films on Youtube and asked around on the Royal Enfield forum. Feeling fairly confident, I set to work.

The footpeg and footbrake lever have to come off. Then the primary cover. The oil spill is spectacular. There is no drain plug on the primary so the cover comes off and the oil, well, ATF, just pours out along the entire length of the case.

I locked the primary chain in place with a block of wood wrapped in an oily rag. It’s easy, just rest the wood on the inside of the primary chain and turn the big nut holding the rotor in place. This action jams the wood between the chain and the sprocket at the clutch end and the whole thing locks up. I carried on and unscrewed the rotor. Then the stator. 3 nuts and don’t forget the washers. Then I disconnected the wiring from the loom and eased the wires out of the primary casing through the grommet. The stator can now be pulled. And then the rotor.

Time for tea and a fag, I thought. One has to nurture the inner man.

Duly revitalised, I returned to the shed and mounted the rotor. Again, use the wooden block to jam up the works and tighten the retaining nut. There’s a spring washer under that nut holding the rotor in place so give it no mercy and really get a good purchase.
On to the stator.
A note here. The high output stator from Lucas will require the OEM spacers on the mounting studs to be in place. I saw a video where the spacers had to be removed from the mounting studs due to the thickness of the stator.
I had also measured the diameter of the rotor and the internal diameter of the stator. The difference is 0,5 mm. Which means that one has 0,25 mm clearance all the way round. Not much to play with. Luckily, The Lucas stator has soft plastic or rubbery cushions fitted in the bore on either side of the pick up blocks that are the stator. So you don’t have to fiddle with feeler gauges. Smart. Mount and fasten the nuts and washers.

The wires leading from the stator should be on the outside and at the top. If you didn’t get that right, take it off and do it again. Then feed the wires out through the grommet.
The hardest part of that was getting the cable sheathing through the grommet. This required more tea and a little profanity. The truly frustrating part was, that the connectors on the wires were of a slightly larger size than the originals, which means one has to expose the female connectors and prise them open slightly to get a fit. Not easy with a confined space to work in and hands like shovels. Finally, it all fitted and the connectors were covered.

So far, so good. More tea, a smoke break and pat the dogs who had been following my progress with great interest.

Back to work then. While I was there, I adjusted the primary chain tension. Easily done and the primary case was off anyway, so why not? Cover on, brake pedal on, footpeg on. Then fill the primary with ATF and clean up the mess and tools.

Job done, I decided to start the machine. Thumper fired up on two kicks. The headlight works, the indicators work. I measure 13.2 volts at the battery at running speed. All seems to work.. Success…

..except the brake light and tail light. There is power to the brake light but it is weak. The tail light refuses to shine.

I’ll have to investigate… Oh, the joys of owning a Royal Enfield.


Update: 06-09-2015

I found the problem. Just a loose earth connection to the rear light. I loosened it off, gave it a wriggle and, hey presto, I have lights again. This will need a more permanent solution later in the winter but it works for now.


A Trip to the Swedish Woods

Travels Posted on Tue, September 01, 2015 23:07:04

And a night in a hammock..

I’d been planning a trip out with Thumper for a long time. I’d even found where I wanted to go so it was only a question of weather. Finally I could see two days of sunshine on the horizon so I packed my rucksack and saddled up and set off to the North.
Getting to Sweden from Copenhagen is easy enough. You take the bridge. OK, there’s a tunnel involved in the trip too but that’s the easy bit. Crossing the bridge is the hard bit. Well, it is if you are travelling directly into a stiff breeze from the East and travelling uphill to reach the apex of the bridge. The wind does get going over the open sea. It was a case of hang on and grin and bear it. Thumper did well enough though, holding a steady 50 mph all the way. Once off the bridge the wind settled down and the short stretch of motorway past Malmö went without further effort. Finally I turned off the motorway and headed East to my chosen destination. Häckberga.

Surrounded by woods, it looked like the ideal place to stop. One can camp almost anywhere in Sweden. I found out very quickly that I had picked the one place that I couldn’t really camp in. It was a nature reserve. Luckily I found a placard sign that defined the limits of the reserve and I spotted an area where I could raise my tarp and set up camp. I headed off.
I met two German lads who had also used the same spot for the previous night. They were just breaking camp as I arrived and after a brief introduction they offered me coffee and cake. Gratefully recieved and very good it was too. I set up home at the edge of the woods allowing myself a view of the surrounding countryside.

Parking in the woods wasn’t easy. The ground was soft so I had to find something to support the side stand. A log sufficed but to be sure, I strapped Thumper to a tree for added support and threw a cover over him.

Having set up my shelter and hung both hammock and mosquito net up, I set up my field kitchen, which is no more than a solid fuel folding stove and made a brew.

Not wanting to turn this into a camping monologue, suffice it to say that I spent the day wandering through the woods looking for wildlife and then settled down to a late dinner and an early night.

The trip home was uneventful. The roads in southern Sweden are good, even out in the cuds and very pleasant to ride on. They turn gently and the landscape rises and falls at a gentle rate. Traffic was light and I made good time getting back to the bridge. Preparing for another battle with the elements, I steeled myself for another ride into a headwind which never really materialised. The return journey was a much more pleasant affair.

I will do this again but preferably with some company. The evening drew out for me in the woods and although I don’t mind being alone I must confess to feeling a bit lonely at times. Even if I was surrounded by hares, deer and other wildlife which I couldn’t see but could clearly hear.

On the up side, Thumper performed like a trouper and never missed a beat. A truly grand experience and, as I said, one I will be repeating at some point.

Out With The Old..

Maintenance Posted on Fri, April 17, 2015 23:49:26

..and in with the new. Oil, that is.

It isn’t easy finding 20w/50 oil in Denmark. In fact, it’s virtually non-existent for some strange reason but being a stubborn old sod when I need to be, I found a supplier in Jutland. Jutland is a bit like a foreign country for us here on Zealand but they do have Castrol in real tin cans. I ordered a gallon.

I’ve never done the complete oil change on Thumper before. OK, I drained the sump once and the tank, if you can call it a tank but this time I drained the pump and timing chest as well. A lot of very black oil came out but no swarf. Which means that all is well inside the engine. I didn’t strip out the pump though. Thumper has only done 2300 miles (3700 km) so it shouldn’t be necessary until next time, or so I am told.
Getting the old stuff out is relatively easy. Remove the three drain plugs under the engine and the quill bolt at the bottom of the timing chest. Then leave it to drain for a half hour or so..

According to the manual, the whole engine holds 2.25 litres. About 5 pints in old money. For those that may be interested, a gallon is 3.8 litres

Filling it up again was a bit more problematic. To avoid a dry start, it’s a good idea to refill the timing chest. One can pour oil in through the push rod cover but how does one pour horizontally? One doesn’t. I fashioned a syringe like affair with a half litre water bottle and a piece of neoprene tubing. Bore through the bottle top and insert the tube. Make sure it’s a tight fit. Fill the bottle and put the cap on. Insert the tube into the push rod channel and squeeze the bottle. It takes a while, but it works.. After that, simply fill the engine with the remaining 1.75 litres of oil and the job is nearly done.
Start the machine and let it run for five minutes or so, checking for leaks. Stop the thing and wait a while. Pull the dipstick and see if your level holds true. Mine did.

Job done. smiley

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