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