Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Musket: A Custom Royal Enfield V-Twin

Aniket Vardhan is this month's DIY hero, without question.

The vintage Royal Enfield Bullet, a classic Brit bike single, went out of production in Jolly Olde England long ago, but is still being manufactured today in Aniket's native India. In fact, there's a network of dealerships in the USA... there's even one right here in Portland, Classic Scooter & Cycle.

Aniket ostensibly came to America in 1999 to earn a degree in Industrial Design (ID)... He did earn that degree, but he says the real truth is, one day in his hometown of Delhi he encountered some guy on a Harley-Davidson, and was captivated by that patented H-D 45-degree V-twin exhaust note. He vowed then and there that he would one day visit their homeland to see them running free in their native wilds.

But in his heart he still cherished a certain significant piece of his native culture: the Royal Enfield Bullet. Only problem is, the Bullet is a single, not a V-twin! Aniket resolved to fix that defect*. He vowed to himself that he would design and build a true V-twin based on the 350cc top end, and plug it into a modified Bullet chassis. He pulled it off through years of patient work and study, hours of flogging the mouse in his Rhino 3D CAD system, and even learning to run a milling machine to create the mold patterns.

You can go to the Musket V-Twin website and get the full story in his own words. It's a great, well-designed site, complete with blog, and an entire section on the process he employed to create and build his first prototype (which really appealed to the engineer in me). Yes, I said "prototype" as he, having gotten a big response from motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world, is going to put engine kits into production for fitment into modified Bullet chassis... and a 1000cc model based on the 500cc Bullet components is forthcoming, also. Meanwhile, check out his video of the bike in action here.

*Just kidding about the single cylinder as defect part... I love thumpers, and my first bike was a Triumph 250cc single, which I miss.

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