Another lesson learnt July 2019
The other evening I set off to a local bike meet/show, that raises money for charity, it's only about 6/7 miles away, but starts around 5pm. Couldn't have been worse for me and the old Enfield especially as my route included some road repairs/traffic lights and rush hour traffic. If there is one thing the bike doesn't like, it is slow speed queuing and in/out of gear!
But, I also realised the bike wasn't running as sweetly as usual, with very little power. Before I'd done a couple of miles the engine noise had me suspecting I was on one cylinder, so pulled up at the roadside. Sure enough, one cylinder was hot, one was cold, so out with a plug. The plug was covered in oil, and a chance glance at the glass oil level tube showed no oil in the tank! I spun the engine over whilst in gear, using the back wheel, with one plug out, in an attempt to clear any remaining oil. Lo and behold, it fired and proceeded to run happily on one cylinder. Interesting, so I cleaned the plug, put it back in,and fired it up again (using the back wheel). Still only on one cylinder and with little oil, so I decided to take it back home and cut my losses.
Next day, I drained the crankcase, thoroughly cleaned the plug (the gap had been bridged by oil), refilled the oil tank and fired up the engine. It ran fine after some initial smoking, so I timed the oil drip setting to 35 drips per minute and discovered it was quite a bit less open than my previous "rack of eye" setting.
I also discovered after a test run, that the rear brake was even LESS effective than normal, so out with the brake cleaner and thoroughly cleaned the rim and shoe.
I had heard people comment that it is possible to start these bikes "on the back wheel " but had been reticent to try it. Having done it a few times now, it's a nice little party trick to have up my sleeve, so every cloud can have a silver lining!
For those that have no idea what I'm talking about, it was possible 'back in the day' to start low powered motorcycles by priming the petrol, putting the bike on the rear stand (so the rear wheel is well clear of the floor), putting the bike in low gear, and pulling the tyre round sharply with one hand, whilst holding the bike steady with the other. If the bike is set up correctly, the engine will turn over compression, fire and run, but you have to remember to take it out of gear before dropping off the rear stand! You also had to remember to get your hand away from the tyre before it got dragged up into the rear mudguard - all in all, a method unlikely to gain 'elf and safety approval.
Hopefully all is now well for the trip down to Stanford Hall on Sunday for the VMCC Founders Day event. The theme this year is 70 years of the Enfield Bullet, so my bike could be hidden behind 70 other Enfields, or pride of place in the centre - we'll see.
FOOTNOTE: The bike shared exposure with the 'new' Indian RE KX for a short while, until I noticed that folks were leaning over my bike to ogle the plastic concept bike. I quickly moved it elsewhere, before someone knocked it over! Took the bike round the arena, but nearly disgraced myself, as the arena was a bit small for riding with the bike in low gear, but the field was too bumpy for feathering the 2 speed gear and riding one handed.