HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!
Absolutely blown away looking at this surprise in the mail. A 2015 calendar with gorgeous studio shots of the Magnum 1120, shot by none other than the owner himself. Also included are shots of the 998 and 700. Did I mention that he used to photograph bikes for a living for some of the best known bike mags in the USA?
He also added several tasteful touches such as the way-cool-old-school brass double horn, an oil-filler-cap temp. gauge, a custom decal on the side covers, custom fuel filters, tachometer (runs off the coil pulses) and the bike's own vanity plate...it says MM 1120!
It is humbling and surreal to see this. Imagine the time and effort to set up the shoot, the lighting, the viewing angles, the stances, then edit and sort through hundreds of shots...all done by someone still battling cancer.
We think he's winning.
From the days when we were worried if he'd get back the strength to kick the sucker and ride, here we are, looking at this.
In his own words, "Doing this is my therapy".
Hats off to him and Happy Holidays to everyone!
ORDER THE CALENDAR DIRECT FROM ZAZZLE AT:
They have big holiday discounts these days, check it out and keep checking!
Dear friends, I'm very happy to tell you that the Musket 1120 'Magnum' has been ridden by its new owner, in spite of his difficult health situation. To remind you, he is a retired motorcycle journalist, lifelong collector, historian, writer and experienced builder. His collection includes a MkII Interceptor, a Vincent, two Fueling W3s amongst various other classics. He also happens to be battling cancer.
Fingers were crossed that the treatment would eventually allow him the energy to get on it, kick it over and hit the road.
Well...he did. And he wrote me his detailed riding impression.
He has also, very kindly, offered to be a reference for those of you who may be seriously considering a bike built by me.
I can check with him and pass on contact information if you are interested.
Musket V-Twin Riding Impression
I hope my experience with the Musket V-Twin will help others considering the purchase of this very unique and capable motorcycle.
I decided to order a Musket V-Twin in late 2013. A low mileage 500cc Enfield Bullet donor bike was located and shipped to Aniket Vardhan. The build proceeded at a very steady and suitable pace. I received ample communications about the progress of the build. There was very good response to feedback, as well
By Spring 2014 the bike was delivered in turn-key, ready-to-ride condition. Fit and finish were very good. I added a Baron’s electric tach which worked perfectly with the Musket battery coil ignition system. And a Hitchcock solo seat replaced the sprung unit .
The Musket weighs much less than 500 pounds (420) -- unusual for a bike of its displacement. Even before starting I noted it was easy to move around.
The Musket uses dual compression releases (one for each cylinder) and lever operated carburetor chokes which aid in kick starting. In the starting drill, the rider eases the engine just to compression at Top Dead Center on the rear cylinder. The release is then pressed to relieve cylinder pressure. Then the engine is turned via the kickstarter. Because of the uneven v-twin firing, there is a long interval while the crankshaft is turning before the engine nears TDC on the front cylinder. This interval allows sufficient inertia to develop so that the front cylinder fires under full compression, and the engine starts. I confirmed that the kickstart arm was on the splined shaft in the best position for maximum engagement.
Even though I weigh only about 150 pounds (and am debilitated due to a medical condition), I was able to successfully kickstart the Musket. The Musket twin coil ignition produces a nice hot fat spark at kickover speed. The engine starts and runs cleanly and responds to throttle without hesitation even when cold.
Once underway, the beneficial low weight of the Musket is further apparent. It is lithe and nimble without being overly responsive or twitchy. Tracking through even tight, decreasing-radius curves is very uniform and steady. The twin leading shoe front brake is progressive and effective in its stopping ability. It is easy to modulate front and rear brake operation. The front fork action is compliant to bumps and dips. The rear swing arm suspension was set at maximum preload and fairly stiff for a rider of my weight.
I would describe acceleration as explosive. So much so, I did not even open the throttle fully. Even 3/4 throttle made the bike leap ahead like a scalded cat. Due to the low overall weight, engine torque and 5 speed transmission, there was ample flexibility going up through the gears. I found handlebar and foot controls well placed and easy to use. Clutch actuation felt linear and substantial with being overly heavy or grabby. Shifting is crisp and precise. I had no difficulty finding neutral. First was low enough for smooth starts but still high enough to be useful on the road. Overdrive fifth is a good match for US highways.
I found no objectional vibration or buzziness at any engine or road speed. Mechanical noise from the engine was relatively modest. The exhaust note was sharp, loud and distinctive. Further muffling for urban environments might be in order. Although not nearly broken-in nor retorqued, the engine was relatively oil tight and the exhaust clean.
In this modern age when most large displacement motorcycles are fully dressed and weigh in at 600 to 1000 pounds or more, the Musket is breath of fresh air. Its tasteful functionality and spectacular performance hearkens back to the illustrious mid-20th century heyday of big engined kick-start British sporting motorcycles -- like the Vincent Black Shadow, Royal Enfield Interceptor and the Trumph/BSA Threes .
In this hall of Fame, the Musket will surely take its place. It is the best of the old and the new. Ride the Musket and you are contributing a new chapter to the legacy.
-- an early customer
I've lost track of how many hundred times in the past few years I've been asked..."how much is it?" And how uneasy and looming that question was. Seriously, getting the creative type to cough up numbers on his work of passion is akin to expecting the shy nerd to ask the neighborhood hottie out on a date. He can't possibly express such base details and wishes that it would all be magically clear without a word being said. Huge explosive internal pressures will cause much anguish, brooding, soul-seeking and avoidance.
But, one day, teeth are gritted and steps are taken. Today is that day and I can't quite describe how tortuous and murderously mulling the past few months have been.
I suppose there's a very simple way to look at it. You see, this project is now my *real job*, not a part-time passion. Apart from all those noble pursuits of paying homage to and reviving the spirit of the golden age of two cylinders and two wheels, this lump of metal is now livelihood.
My LLC is called Indus Valley Design in homage to the ancient 5000yr old Bronze Age civilization which included north-west India and was known for its metallurgy. Indus is also a union of "India" and "US", expressing succinctly the story of my life :-)
So, here we are.
The PROCESS page contains almost all you wanted to know but didn't know whom to ask about turning a Bullet into a Musket.
The ORDER page will give you those much maligned-yet-necessary numbers. Plus a bunch of other details. God is in the details and there certainly are plenty.
Utterly indebted to my great buddy Chumma of ACE with whom every little detail and aspect was thrashed out over great brews, righteous pizza and late night falafel joints of the sort you find only in NYC. Chumma's years of experience at ACE, running the Fireball business with Tom, the insights from which he shared with great generosity were invaluable in getting things sorted.
Go ahead, click on either page.
It only took ten years to get here.
Hope to get some inquiries coming in!
Very best wishes,
Rofomoto in Royersford PA is a dad-son team that crafts highly accurate Featherbed frames in both Slimline and Wideline versions.
At their workshop, en-route to NJ, we did a test fit on one of their beautiful, precise, cnc-mandrel-bent frames. A couple of tweaks will result in a Featherbed frame just for the Musket motor. Work is ongoing. This frame's stem bearings can be made to accept a stock Enfield front end or a different one. The Musket motor in this frame can be a very cool canvas for builders to render their vision with.
The adventurous Chumma, aka Mr. Fireball visited me in C'bus in late Sept., taking a much needed break. He came up with a great trip for us- take the Musket 998 to NJ for the Classic Cycle LTD annual classic motorcycle picnic. In NJ, we made some meaningful music with our machines, the Fireball#1 and the Musket 998. Curvy, hilly 120 miles riding to and from the meet. Some great response from classic riders and wrenchers. Finally came across a Series II Interceptor with the Musket at hand (thank you, Mr. Keane!) , had to pose the two together.
Dear friends, owing to a steadily accumulating inbox that has proved hard to keep up with, (several hundred still need to be replied to) I'm going to turn off the "contact" link for now.
As the vast majority of mails are inquiries about pricing/ordering, all the information needed will be available to all on the "price and order" page when it goes live.
Believe me, this all-important number is excruciatingly complex to calculate in terms of the several variables and unpredictable factors involved and discussions and research have been ongoing for the past months.
If you need to reach me anyway and it can't wait, please send me a message on Facebook:
In the meantime, after some much needed dazed downtime after severe metal fatigue, I'm back at the shop and various little bits and pieces are being fabricated for the remaining engines in the batch to get them ready for assembly/installation- oil filler necks, filter caps, ignition covers, custom banjo fittings, oil lines, engine plates, etc.
Pictures of progress coming soon.
Happy July 4th!
My dear friends, finally done. Can't begin to describe the complicated welter of emotions right now, a mixture of disbelief (is it really done?), relief, anxiety and total exhaustion. Hope it runs well for the new owner. Pictures were taken hurriedly on the very last day before the truck was due to arrive, thanks to continuous thunderstorms that entire week. As always happens, glitches, problems, changes till the very end. Freak wire randomly shorting out juice to front coil on the *last day*, after running perfectly during test rides in the prior two weeks! Luckily caught it before going on a wild goose chase of carb and ignition troubleshooting. To recap, this build has:
1. 1120 cc from 89mm pistons.
2. Custom "Musket" alloy cylinder barrels with cast-in tappet adjustment window.
3. Custom 7075T6 alloy conrods.
4. Heavy duty needle roller big end bearings.
5. Polished alloy mudguards.
6. Polished crankcase and timing cover.
7. 5 speed gearbox converted to right shift. This is the first build with this box.
8. Thumb-push decompressor valves on both heads allow light kick effort using the required procedure. As you know, the customer is fighting cancer and therefore is grappling with significantly lower muscle strength. To make it easier to start this big twin, the first idea tried was to lock one of the decomps "open" to remove that cylinder from compression/combustion and basically start it on just one cylinder, just like a single. Once running, release the other decomp and it would run on both. This didn't work, probably because the tiny decomp valve opening gave too much resistance to air flow and didn't allow enough flywheel momentum to develop. By accident, the procedure which turned out to work fine on the V twin is to get the *rear* cylinder decompressed on the compression stroke, close the valve and then kick firmly - now the flywheel has a full 360 + 59 degrees of rotation before it reaches tdc on compression for the *front* cylinder and this luckily allows the kickstart to get a full kick *without* compression resistance being encountered. Phew.
I can't deny that this build has been challenging in the extreme and there is a tremendous amount learned...about what not to do and how not to do it. Am taking a much needed breather while the fried brain drowsily tries to rewire itself, been a zombie for quite a while.
Heartfelt thanks to all of you for your support!
Hullo there...taking a minute to share this recent arrival...an 800lb crate full of Enfield engine parts that I'd ordered from India finally reached here, safe and sound. Plenty of essential bits like cylinder heads, cams, rockers, pushrods, studs, pumps, gaskets...the list goes on and took a long time to compile...I kept coming up with more little doodads to add to it. Have opened all the boxes by now and everything seems to be intact. I must say, getting a crate shipped over via ocean...is not something for the faint of heart. Various complicated little documents and regulations and fees needed, none of which is intelligible to a mere mortal, best to go through a broker, which is what I ended up doing, in spite of the hefty additional fees.
The large chunk of my hard earned savings that went into getting this here is making me sweat but it also confirms that I'm in this for real, for sure, no turning back.
Have plenty more pics of build progress, engine is installed in the frame, got kicked over, compression is excellent. Wiring in the ignition, installing carbs, will be uploading pics soon.
Progress on replying to emails is very limited for now and I really appreciate your patience. This build completed, my primary focus will be to provide you with the information you need...which is continually being gathered and updated via this build. A LOT was learned and refreshed in my memory in terms of ALL the little things that are needed to get a complete machine.
Thank you very much, once again.
My friends, this is going to be a difficult post.
Just uploaded plenty new pics of the recent work done on the new rods, barrels and crank, you can take a look below. But, I'd like to share with you the sad side to this story.
As you know, all of these new parts are destined for the very first customer build.
A rare person indeed, now a friend more than a customer, a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast and collector.
In the initial discussions of options months ago, I mentioned to him these new products I had in mind and he immediately was on board to try them out, knowing that they would be the very first test prototypes being built. That is the spirit of the true enthusiast, willing to take the risk.
And, here is the cruel twist.
He was recently diagnosed with stage 3 cancer.
The goal is to simply get this machine done as quickly as possible and get it to him so he can ride it, enjoy it, let it hopefully be therapeutic, medicinal in some way before health issues make it hard or impossible to ride.
I can't deny that fatigue is certainly hindering the brain and body from performing to full capacity and stupid mistakes brush past, dangerously close.
Without making any melodramatic statements, all I'd like to say is that your positive thoughts, wishes, vibes will be greatly appreciated, even if unspoken.
I apologize sincerely for the overdue replies to messages, they will be addressed as soon as time is available. In the meantime, your patience is deeply appreciated.
With best wishes,