My Bullet 500's 1st wash in 7 years: Time to get her thumping again!

It became quickly clear that all original parts of Royal Enfield had survived a lot better than the aftermarket parts.

BHPian ebonho recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Yesterday afternoon, lounging around lazily after a nice hard Sunday ride (bicycle) with the boys, I got to thinking about my Std 500 under the covers, sleeping peacefully, undisturbed, for the past 7 years.

I had never even lifted the cover till that morning, when the helper of my old mechanic Rafiq Mamu called out of the blue, and said he was in the area. So I told him to drop in, and we chatted over a cup of tea (yes, when you rode a Bullet, your mechanic and his family and his workers get automatically adopted as a special operations wing of your extended family).

So I lifted the cover to show him what he was letting himself in for if he planned to get his tools home and help me start her. And I lay eyes on my baby, and the bug bit hard. So I dig her keys out from my key satchel. Put on my work t-shirt and shorts, and work cap coz I would be working under the blazing sun, and set off to dig up the Tomb of Tutankhamun!

First I used a broom to sweep away all the leaves from on top of the sun-baked and hardened canvas cover that was falling to pieces. Then very gingerly I shook the cober violently so that whatever creatures had made a long lease abode under it would get startled and scurry off (I hoped). I have snakes (non-poisonous Damans as well as very poisonous cobras) in my compound, as well as a golden nevla (mongoose), a multitude of cats, dogs, car-sized rats (goos), and a pet eagle, along with a herd of cows who for generations have chosen our home to calve in.

Then I removed the cover, threw it carefully to one side, and inspected the bike. Did not look so bad! Unlocked the handle lock on the side with my trusty worn-out key, and then muscled it sideways to clear the pillars (it had been pushed as much to the side as possible, to keep the rest of the garage free for the active bikes and cycles and gardeners tools). Since it had been on the main stand, I did not know the condition of the tyres or the air in them, but took a leap of faith and got her off the stand and dragged her out of the garage into the sunlight for the first time in 7 years.

A village of snails had made their home in the engine bay behind the block. A few big spiders went scurrying at the first stream of water from the garden hose. And then I got to work with a cloth in full earnest. It became quickly clear that all original parts of Royal Enfield had survived a lot better than the standard aftermarket parts (mainly the crash guard). The rims had rust spots. As did the kick and gear lever (both not on the bike originally when I got her from the Fursungi RE depot ... being an ARAI bike, over time, someone had removed these parts from the bike, and the company had them replaced by a mechanic Pramod before it was given to me).

The engine casing was covered in black oil weep. Thick and set and resistant to any efforts with cloth and water. Ditto the rust (battery box and air box, kick and gear and neutral finder, rims, front and rear brake linkages, ignition key switch on the headlight casquette). The crash guard chrome had badly bubbled and was peeling off in big strips. That seems to be a goner. Lots of the spokes and nipples need work too. Looks pretty surface-deep only. So went to work with a Rin bar and a new scotch brite. And got a lot of the crappy gunk off. The cases will need further metal polish and buff TLC but for now are pretty presentable for a 22-year-old bike. Or in no way any less presentable than the 53-year-old rider.

Now over to the photos!

The day I got her in 2002.

Let this new beginning story unfold. Can't wait to get her thumping again!

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