Friday, October 5, 2012

The Bullet goes to Yea

The Bullet was taken on it's first hard-working ride today.  Previously it has meandered along slow twisty roads but today I made a 240km round trip on the more demanding road to Yea, via Kangaroo Ground and King Lake.   

I found that with the current Indian parts the bike feels happy with a top cruising speed of 75-80kph.  It pleases me to know that when it is rebuilt the engine will be an article of modern, high-quality English engineering and production, thanks to the parts available from Hitchocks in England.  I already have the mated Alpha roller big end bearing and Hitchcocks conrod sitting in a drawer, and the rest of the parts will be cheap by comparison.

I am offering a number of photos, from slightly different angles, because I cannot decide between them - this is such a beautiful bike!

And it rides beautifully too!  On the SR500 I used to fantasise that I was riding a 1950s British motorcycle.  Now I am!  There is no pretending.  And while it does not have the ability of the SR to push hard without fear of engine failure, yet it does have all else I could have wanted.  It feels wonderful to sit upright and ride along on a motorcycle that is so beautiful.  Were the roads not sealed it might have been the 1950s (well, the 1950s with mobile phones and roadside assist, and cappuccinos in Australian country towns).  The Bullet plods along at low revs in a way the SR never could, its heavy flywheel rolling away.  That's what I wanted, a bike which is pure old-fashioned torque and plod.

Despite being only 120km each way, it took me two and a half hours in each direction.  These roads include some downhill, decreasing radius corners which I usually have to remind myself to slow down for.  There was no question of that on the Bullet, and I thudded along like a fast bicycle.  I noticed myself becoming increasingly relaxed as I rode.  Everything felt predictable, yet pleasant, new, fresh, and detailed in the sun because the slow speed meant I could spread my attention across more things and take in the countryside. Oddly I noticed how much more a part of the scene I felt.  It is often said of a motorcycle that the rider feels much more connected to the world that does a car driver.  This is absolutely true, magically so.  But I felt that the Bullet can be compared to a modern motorcycle in the same way.  At these slower, patient speeds on this character-filled motorcycle I felt much more connected with the machine and the surroundings than I could on anything modern.


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