Sunday, February 27, 2011

I'm still sorting parts. Got all my Enfield wheels taken apart and the rims cleaned up. All of them are useable as-is. I've picked the best four out of the six to use for this project.

Then I got to thinking about the cafe racer front wheel. It really needs something better than the single leading shoe 7 inch drum brake that's standard for most Enfields. Hitchcock's lists an India made twin leading shoe front wheel for 127 English Pounds that would be a nice upgrade, and should go right into my old Interceptor front hub.
But I think I can do better than that for a custom cafe racer. I've got an old Suzuki GT750 "Water Buffalo" front fork and wheel with dual disk brakes that I bought years ago because someone wrote an article in the Royal Enfield Owners (USA) Newsletter about how those would mount right up to an Enfield frame.
I'm not sure what that guy was smoking, but they don't just "mount right up" to an Enfield frame!
So, the thing sat in my barn for 25 years. Forgotten. Until yesterday.
Maybe there's a way. I went and got it.
The original problems were that the steering stem is the wrong length, and the bearing races aren't the right size. The idea presented in the article I read said that the fork bearing races were the same diameter, so you could use the Enfield parts that fit in the frame with the Suzuki parts attached to the fork triple clamp. That turns out to be wrong. They can be assembled that way, but the bearings would have very short lives. I didn't even try it.
However, the upper stanchion tubes are the same diameter as the Enfield forks. What if I adapted the Suzuki fork legs to fit into the Enfield triple clamp?
This might work.
A bit of trial fitting, and I knew that the Suzuki fork legs would have to be cut down, and I'd have to thread the ends of them because Enfield forks screw into the upper triple clamp. The Enfield triple clamp is also narrower than the Suzuki one by about 2mm, so I'd have to cut the brake caliper bosses on the suzuki fork lowers 1mm on each side to maintain the caliper position relative to the rotor positoins.
But it could work.
The big advantage being that I can still use the Enfield trademark "casquette" combined headlamp, speedometer houseing, fork crown.
I've cobbled up a crude picture of the Suzuki fork with an Enfield upper triple clamp.

So, for the three of my followers (I'm sure there will be many more to sign up now that I've lowered myself to using Japanese parts!), what do you guys think?
You know how to reach me outside of this site.
Some of my purist friends are aghast at this. I should be using a Norton Commando front brake, or at least a Water Buffalo drum brake! Sadly, I didn't know any better 20 years ago when I bought this front end, that four leading shoe brake would be nice.
Well, this is what I have, and it's the best possible front brake I could use on this bike while avoiding spending excessive amounts of money. If it doesn't work out, I'm keeping my Enfield front forks.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

No News is Good News?

As I promised, I'm not updating this blog on a daily basis. I don't have time for it.

But I haven't been ignoring my project.

What I learned when I restored my BMW R69S and my BSA 441SS "Shooting Star" was that the only way to finish a restoration in a timely fashion is to do something on it every week, if not every day, no matter how little you can get done sometimes.

So, since I last updated this blog, I've been sorting and cleaning parts. The goal being to decide what's good enough to use without major re-working, what I can sell off to help finance this adventure, and what's just plain junk.

Don't expect pictures of me removing spokes from wheels, knocking old wheel bearings out of hubs or washing parts. I'm not going to waste my time taking pictures of every single thing that I do. (I don't want to get my camera dirty, or waste even more time, cleaning up so I can touch it!)
I will post pictures of significant items as they're finished. It's going to be awhile before I need to bring the camera out to the garage!

I've taken apart two rear wheels in the last couple of days. One with a 19 inch rim that will work for the Indian, and one with an 18 inch rim for the interceptor. Both rims can be used after a good cleaning with WD-40 soaked steel wool.
The hubs will require careful cleaning, and maybe some polishing.
The one with the 19 inch wheel had a Dunlop Trials Universal tire on it that's probably been there since 1960. It was so hard, I thought it still had air in it!
Getting it off was simple. I used my Sawzall. Cut all the way around it, with the blade facing up. Once it was split, I worked the inner tube out of the way. Whoever put that tire on really did a lousy job. The tube was pinched under the rimlocks, and also for about half the circumfrence of the rim, the tube was pinched under the bead of the tire on one or both sides. Great job.
After cutting the tire in half, I used a dremel tool with an abrasive disk to cut the wires in the bead. Waited for my wife to leave the house for an errand so I wouldn't have to explain why the garage was full of burned rubber smoke.
For the wheels, my next major step will be a call to Buchannan's to order some stainless steel spokes. First real money to be spent. About $100 per set x 4 sets.