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Long stroke crankshaft for 500/535cc EFI engine including the GT

All English crankshaft for the fuel injected 500/535cc EFi engine including GT

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long distance touring bike modifications

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long distance touring bike modifications
Started at 08:11am on the 3rd December, 2017 by Clive
Clive Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Hello everyone. I am in the process of buying my first enfield. The bike is going to be used for long distance touring into remote parts of Southern Africa. With this in mind I would really appreciate anyones input as to how I can end up with the most reliable bike, and especially one that's easiest to repair. I am thinking of getting either a new Bullet 500 or Classic 500. The Classic 500 being my first choice as I prefer the 2 single seat option and rear mud guard. But I'm also open to the bullet 500 if theres something obvious I'm missing.. One thing I will be doing for sure is buying the carb conversion kit to change from EFI to carb. Main reason being that I know a carb and want to be able to repair with ease. My other little concern is the ignition system on these new bikes, does the new bullet and classic use different ignition systems? Please bear with me as all my previous bikes had points! All I can see from the enfield website is that the new Bullet uses a 'TCI Unit, Multi curve' and the classic a 'Digital Electronic Ignition'. Is is possible to convert from these to points on a 2017/18 model? If not which of the 2 systems would be the better choice with what I have in mind? Would I be able to repair these roadside by carrying spare parts? Again, I need a bike that I can repair myself in extremely isolated countries. Mechanically I am fine with repairs, its more electrically that I'm not 100% confident with these new electronic systems. looking forward to your responses and any other input you may have for me to end up with the most reliable bike. Cheers
Posted: 08:11am 3rd December, 2017
stinkwheel Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Electronic ignitions, in general, work fine and aren't prone to failure. When they do fail, it's usually the electronic ignition module itself, they generally can't be fixed, the faulty parts need to be replaced. (unless it's something like a broken pickup mounting or a broken wire). The rest of the parts like generator coils, ignition coils and HT componants are pretty much the same as conventional vehicles.

In my experience with electronic ignitions in general (but not the enfield ones specifically), where you'd land up with a problem is if tyou get charging problems resulting in low voltage or a flat battery. Even the modern pre-unit bullets won't self excite so if you have a flat battery, you're stuck.

So, possibly counter intuatively, the thing that is most likely to leave you with a non-functioning electronic ignition is a stator failure or a faulty regulator/rectifier. In remote, third world countries, I'd even go so far as to say battery theft would be a prime cause of failure so a locking battery cover is a good idea. Consider investing in a small jump starter battery pack? (they come pretty small these days) Or even a solar system capable of charging a flat battery so you can put some charge in then limp back to civilisation on "total loss" if necessary -if you're in Africa, there ought to be plenty of sunlight-.

In reality, the things that will be most likely to leave you actually stuck are broken cables, punctures and bearing failures. Cable repair kits are neat or tape a spare cable to the outside of the existing one.

It's worth having a small multimeter and some knowledge of how to use it. Sticking a laminated wiring diagram to the inside of a body panel (battery cover?) isn't a bad idea.

If you're going through desert or salt pans, regular air filter cleaning will become a necessity, you may want to look into something that is serviceable other than the standard paper element filter.

You may find yourself using horrifically poor quality fuel sold out of bottles at the side of the road so an inline paper filter is a must, carry a spare. Go for glas bottles rather than plastic. Inspect bottles for signs of watering. If they're running up to you shaking the bottle about, they may be doing it to stop you noticing a layer of water settling in the bottom.

Have an awareness of how to deal with your bike sucking water into the engine.

I'm not sure where they're at with the sprag clutches on the new bullets but they have historically had problems with them failing so I'd make sure you have a kickstart.
Posted: 12:56pm 3rd December, 2017
stinkwheel Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Oh yeah. Partially sawing through your clutch and brake levers from the inside about 1/3 of the way in from the end should leave you with a useable stub if you crash. This makes them snap at the cut rather than at the pivot.
Posted: 12:59pm 3rd December, 2017
Andy M Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
If you havn't found it already you need to get on the Horizons Unlimited HUBB. Lots of guys on there who've done this although not many on Enfields outside India. Personally I detest carbs so can't help on that score. One item you will need to sort are the tyres. OE fit is TL with tubes so roadside repairs are impossible. The OE chain is utter **** so you will need to replace that. If you decide to remove the blinkcode diagnosed, 85 mpg, FI with a can of half swollen O-rings I would take great care to seal if not totally replace the rest of the loom. Its pretty good but uses a lot of sureseal connectors that are designed to be sealed, not left open. You will indeed need serious fuel filters. Given the poor quality of many Indian parts I think I would replace the wheel bearings, battery and control cables as part of the prep. One downside of the Bullet is having to drain the oil to get at the front sprocket. You'll need to carry the gasket as well as enough oil filters for one every couple of thousand miles. Andy
Posted: 06:37pm 3rd December, 2017
Alan R Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Sounds like a case for a Honda Transalp or Africa Twin to me...
Posted: 10:14pm 3rd December, 2017
Leon Novello Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Going to those places, I would also be taking large gun, and keeping in my pants.
Posted: 10:43pm 3rd December, 2017
Clive Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Thank you stinkwheel and Andy. You have both given me plenty to think about! Andy it's funny you say that, perhaps I need to look at more bikes before I make a mistake. It has always been a dream of mine to do it on an enfield.. but I think I may need to have an honest look at this and consider the other machine I had in mind! Thanks again. Clive
Posted: 03:10pm 4th December, 2017
stinkwheel Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
If I was going to pick any bike to ride round the world, it would probably be a modified (to carry more fuel and luggage) Yamaha XT225. Light, low state of tune, aircooled, go anywhere.

Either that or a Honda Hero for similar reasons and because the chances of finding spare parts if needed are very good.

If I was taking an Enfield bullet, it would be a pre-unit 350 in a low state of tune.
Posted: 03:18pm 4th December, 2017
Mark B Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
When I was riding a 350 Bullet around India a few years ago, there were a lot more Hero Hondas around than Enfields. I wonder if that tells you something...!
Posted: 04:11pm 4th December, 2017
Andy M Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Light is good. The world moves at 40 mph so forget 1200cc behemoths with canbussed ashtrays. You need to be able to do your own maintenance so you at least don't get ripped off by the local mechanic. Don't think its all Sunday night TV open topped Landrovers, Toyota Landcruisers have FI and aircon and the locals can fix them. You need to be able to buy parts and tyres. A Bullet ticks a few boxes, especially if thats a bike you know. Personally I'd see what 400cc Honda and Yamaha clones the Chinese are importing into either South Africa or Morocco. It may be a Sierra Cosworth to the local guys Fiesta 1.1 , but at least you aren't asking them for Ferrari parts. Andy
Posted: 06:22pm 4th December, 2017
Andy M Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Carnet costs are a factor too. You might tell the UK provider (no longer RAC) your Bullet C5 is only worth £3000 and have to put £6000 on deposit for Egypt. A Chinese 400 bought in Rand is going to be much less. £12000 BMW's are cheap compared to what the sponsor paid for the support truck, but not when its your own money. A Bullet with a UK reg is good compromise. Andy.
Posted: 06:28pm 4th December, 2017
mustaphapint Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Have a read of Jacqui Furneaux's book, 'Hit the road Jaq!' She covered many thousands of miles around the world on an Enfield (admittedly older than the one you're planning to take) but it will give you a view of problems you may face and how almost anything can be overcome. Apart from anything else it's a damn good read.
Posted: 08:42pm 4th December, 2017
Clive Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Thanks everyone. Andy and Stinkwheel I certainly agree, light is definitely the way to go. The other bike I am now considering is a Suzuki DR 650, the bike is simple, bullet proof, and just about unchanged for 20 years now. Admittedly it is a bit heavy. The DRZ400 is the smaller brother. The 400 being better for tight off road and the 650 for longer straights. If it weren't for the big difference in seat height I would choose the 400 over the 600 (I'm 1,68m). But unfortunately the 650 is a lot lower. I hear you on the XT225, nice little machine. There are so many accounts of people riding these smaller bikes around the world. I just really like a bit of grunt under my seat though, especially for long straights where I like to cruise at 110km/h at low revs. The nice thing about the DR 650 is that its still a lightish bike in its class, when compared to the BMW 650 DAKAR, Kawasaki KLR and Honda. So I'm back to square one!
Posted: 09:19am 5th December, 2017
stinkwheel Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
It's a shame they stopped making the DR350, they were about perfect. I do like the idea of aircooled engines for touring and very hot countries. Less to go wrong.
Posted: 09:32am 5th December, 2017
Percyp1 Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Coincidentally I own a DR650 set up for touring and a RE C5 for fun. All thie aforementioned ideas are good ones. My added comment about the Suzuki, which I love, is that it is a bit heavy. I’d go single cylinder and light.
Posted: 12:17pm 5th December, 2017
Percyp1 Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Coincidentally I own a DR650 set up for touring and a RE C5 for fun. All thie aforementioned ideas are good ones. My added comment about the Suzuki, which I love, is that it is a bit heavy. I’d go single cylinder and light.
Posted: 12:17pm 5th December, 2017
Rattlebattle Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
I believe that a newish B5 or C5 would do the trip with a bit of prep, a lot of which has been mentioned. I'd be inclined to replace the battery with a Motobatt or similar AGM type with high cranking power. I'd also cable tie the regulator rectifier to the frame - the vibration can fracture the mount otherwise. Just about ANY modern bike can have problemd with the original R/R unit. A higher spec MOSFET one on any make would be a good idea. RE are no worse than other makes in this respect. On my C5 I've fitted the host's carb conversion. apart from adjusting the tickover it worked fine with the supplied jetting from the off. I've found no bits in the carb filter after a few thousand miles but if I did I'd fit an inline filter. You get a reserve position too. When I had issues with the EFI it was all sensors/connectors to do with the squirt side (injection) not the bang side (ignition). Whilst I have lost the automatic altitude adjustments that EFI would provide I've gained the extra space in the tank previously occupied by the fuel pump, the ease of unclogging blockages, a more reliable system of dealing with low fuel (ethanol melted level float anyone?), a better air cleaner and more space in what used to be the air cleaner metal box. I've also lost the irritating bistart lever and any worries about the fuel pump packing up. I think of the ECU as a Boyer ignition box now; it's reliable and has to be better than two bits of metal bashing together. Electronic ignition has been universal for years and is fit and forget reliable.Take a few spark plugs (NGK). The RE is pretty rugged and should handle things ok. Just my opinion.
Posted: 03:30pm 5th December, 2017
Clive Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Thanks Rattle battle for your response, still in descion mode so all your comments help
Posted: 03:38pm 5th December, 2017
Clive Subject: long distance touring bike modifications
Thanks Percyp1, as a DR650 owner, are you saying that you’d choose the DRZ400 over the 650? Any input you may have on the 650 would be very helpful. Is the weight manageable? Thanks
Posted: 03:43pm 5th December, 2017

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