Royal Enfield Bullet – ‘The Badger’ V2.0
Damn show offs. That’s right – we’re calling it as we see it. The guys from Cycle Icons are show offs. Why? Well listen up, ’cause we’re about to rain on their little parade big time. First they go and create one of the sweetest little Enfields we’ve ever seen. It get a serious amount of coverage and applause from almost everyone, except a few guys in the EXIF comments section which means they are obviously doing something pretty friggin’ right. Job done, yeah? Break out a case o’ cans and rest on your own merits, yeah? Of course! But not for these guys. So what do they do? They go again. ON THE SAME BIKE! C’mon! And as if that’s not bad enough we think they’ve actually gone and made it better. Boo! They’re like that high-school jock who saves the game by scoring in the final minute and then scores again with seconds on the clock just to make sure no one missed the fact that he’s so annoyingly talented. Do you have a mental image of him in your head? Good. Now swap the team uniform for a Cycle Icons Tee. See where we’re going with this?
Here’s the opening blurb from the all-too-flash Team Badger homepage: “Code Name: Project Badger. Royal Enfield based. 500cc “iron barrel” engine… Road and vintage race legal. Kitted for both a license plate, and a number plate. ACE Fireball powered… Hi quality, low brow. Goes like stink. A ride it to the track, flog it in the heat of battle, and ride it home proposition. Possible in this day and age?”
And here’s the pretty boy himself – Leon “Too Much Talent” Stanley. “Though Cycle Icons had originally conceived of the Badger as a cafe/road racer, the seeds for a flat track effort got sown last spring, long before before version 1.0 had even turned a wheel, or set out on its maiden voyage to race at Mid-Ohio’s Vintage Motorcycle Days. Back in April, while visiting the shop with his family, Scott Rounds had mentioned the idea of doing flat track version of the Badger.”
“The idea picked up steam just days after the Mid-Ohio adventure, when good friend Bill Clarke called to swap notes about our respective race weekends. Bill had just debuted his RD350 based flat tracker at Oakland Valley Raceway Park, and he was still giddy, having had an absolute ball. Great track, great people, nice low key atmosphere, he said… His short suggestion was: “Leo, you need to put some wide bars and Dunlops on that thing and go flat tracking!” He made it sound temptingly simple. And a helluva lot of fun. And with Oakland Valley being a more manageable 100 or so miles away, riding the Badger to the track was looking a ton more user friendly then Mid-O’s brutal 450 mile test of endurance. Hmmm… the wheels were turning, so to speak.
It did indeed sound like a tantalizingly simple conversion. We hit up good friend of the badger, Lloyd Vintage for some wide bars. We already had a pretty groovy, old school, tracker style tank sitting on the shelf, and again enlisted Mark Rounds to wow us with another of his handed painted creations. Capping off the low brow, shoe string effort of it all; another friend of the Badger, Sammy Sabedra, hooked us up with some vintage Carlisle race rubber. Seemed like the major bases were covered.”
“The build was straightforward. But it seems like no matter how you plan, more often then not, it comes down to the wire, with the conversion to flat tracker essentially beginning the day before the race.
“Brakeless? Evidently I have a lot
to learn about flat track”
September 18, Sunday morning came, and you couldn’t have asked for a prettier day for a ride. Or a race, for that matter. The ride up was beautiful. The racing was a mixed bag. Scott and his dad, Frank, figured the Badger would be most competitive entered in “750 Ironman Brakeless”. Brakeless? Evidently I have a lot to learn about flat track, as brakeless was the way it was done back in the day. So off came the rear brake pedal and cable. Wow, ain’t that a man! Scott was running with some beautiful bikes, not the least of which were a flat head Harley, and an even more gorgeous Indian Scout. Though still coming to grips with an unfamiliar bike, Scott looked great in practice, and I had high hopes for some good racing. But, just before the heat race, the clutch suddenly packed up, thus ending our day. The Bob Newby racing clutch is now sitting on the bench awaiting installation!”
“The Badger’s future plans? We had hoped to make it down to the Barber Vintage Festival in Alabama, Oct. 7-9, for a last bit of road racing before season’s end, but events conspired against us.
But the meet that has really captured our imaginations is the East Coast Timing Association speed trials in Maxton, NC at the end of October. Yeah, let’s see how fast we can make this thing go. 120? 125? It could be could practice for Bonneville next year. Ah, next year. Some more road racing, for sure. Then there’s our unfinished flat track business. Maybe a vintage trial or motocross…”
Seriously though, thanks to Leon and the boys for blessing us with the exclusive for the Badger V2.0. You guys should be proud – she’s a beauty. Oh, by the way – mind if we all come to that party you guys are having at your parent’s house while they are out of town this weekend? What? You don’t mind? Sweet! Now about that brunette “Rebecca” girl you just broke up with…
(Thanks to Scott Rounds and Ron Truch for the photos)