1959 Enfield Standard 350 Navilu Diesel

At the start of our journey, we had a 1959 registered Enfield Bullet 350 Standard with G2 chassis at our hand. The previous owner longed for good fuel economy, thus converting the bike to a diesel engine. These make shift changes resulted in the dire of mechanical work in the motorcycle. Needless to say, most of the bodywork was in bad shape partly hiding poorly done welds to the chassis in places.

Looking at the motorcycle, one couldn’t help but realise that, it was clearly intended to be a bobber. So it only made sense to take off the extra weight –  airbox, battery box, mudguards all had to go. We then went by getting the stance right by lowering the front. Installing an old school bicycle style springer saddle to give it a period correct feel which was wrapped in brown leather, handstiched to perfection. It indeed is bloody comfortable! The old rear shock absorbers were swapped by OEM gas charged shocks, altered spring rates. The rear was lowered as well to get it to squat right.

A bike rides as good as its tyres, and so stock 3.25-19″ were replaced with Shinko’s 4.00-19″. The new tyres were marginally taller and considerably wider, thereby making the centre stand feel too short to be able to keep the motorcycle upright. This change in the ground clearance was taken care of by fabricating custom mounting plates for centre stand.

An old school butterfly style handlebar was added to get the ergonomics spot on. We fancied the idea of flowy handle bar so we added custom made bar end levers in brass and finished them up with some chrome treatment, helping us de-clutter the handle bar. Sizing the cables correctly was a challenge to achieve effortless clutch operation. We finally, encased the grips in leather grip wraps from The TripMachine Company, and polished them to match the saddle.

The build was beginning to take shape and we decided to bring the motorcycle up to modern times and started work on the electricals. The motorcycle was originally running a 6V system, but custom alternator and hand made wring loom birthed a 12V custom electrical system, capable of running 200W on demand. This meant that the old filament bulb in the headlight had to give way to a Philips LED bulb, and an additional fog light sporting a 100W, 3000K Philips Rally bulb.
In order to get a clean look, we decided to hide the turn signals, which were custom assembled using different parts and converted to LED as well. We also hand fabricated a custom housing for turn signal switches.
To get heads turning, we decided to change the existing horn to the Hella Trumpet horn. With deliberate work, we made the air compressor and other electronics to be hidden in one of the tool boxes. Battery, Iginition switch and fog light switch were neatly integrated into the other tool box.

We carefully hand fabricated the mudguards and stays to fit snugly and avoiding any mishaps when the beast unleashes.

During test rides, we realised our motorcycle possesed the characteristics of a peacock – it can make people’s jaw drop as it danced while being aloof all the time. Peacock is also our national bird and being from an army background, all those childhood lessons in patriotism started to make sense. The motorcycle was stripped and the chassis was set up in a jig to restore it to it’s original specs. Post that it was sent for a custom hydrochrome paint.
The fuel tank was cut and fabricated to fit our badge. Then all the body parts were sent off for a befitting paint job. It was prime that we maintain/ reflect manufacturer build quality. More on the lines of Enfield, reimagined by TIME:CYCLES, and hence sent a lot of remaining parts for finishes like chrome electroplating and powder coating. As a part of reimagination, we reworked the speedometer and also added a clock on the dash and delicately placed actual peacock feather on the face of the dial. The horn reads Navilu, a Kannada word which translates to peacock. A few other parts like front brake cam, part of the flywheel, wheel hubs, fog light mount, air filter and a diesel fuel line were carefully hand-painted in gold and detailled to perfection. All in all, every little part of the motorcycle screamed “Peacock”.

It was time to tend to the 522cc, Air cooled, mechanical fuel injection, pushrod diesel engine. It started life as a stationary engine built by Greaves-Lombardini, intented for agricultural applications. We took the engine apart, replaced all the bearings, new piston and made other corresponding changes. The exhaust was originally running towards the front of the motorcycle and the air filter behind the engine. So for better(read: cooler) air, we swapped the valves and lapped the head to our spec, swapped the pushrods and viola, the engine was breathing fresh air now. We also kept in mind our theme and carefully fabricated the exhaust to replicate the sound of thunder at certain revs.

We moved to the clutch, upgraded it to accomodate more plates and tended to entire Albion gearbox internals. A larger, custom made, 19T front sprocket was installed to aid to the overall delivery. We also decided to get rid of the engine cover and let the exposed flywheel create some drama, just like the Peacock dancing in the rains.

Once we put it all back together, the motorcycle moved in ways that could possibly help us win the peahen and put all the Peacocks out of business.
We are smiling ear to ear, enjoying the riding experience and the eyeballs people give on the streets, for they have seen something unlike anything else!
Surreal, indeed.

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