Tuesday 22 March 2016

Spaco PHBM 28 Carburettor

Picture courtesy: Dellorto Tuning Manual by Jet-Tech Motorsport

For the project "free flow", I have been looking for a good carburetor to upgrade to. Considering my bull's engine inlet and exhaust ports were redone (/expanded) a year ago and the bike is running with bigger jets (on stock carb), it makes sense to switch to a carb with bigger venturi to match that of the inlet port. In short, I decided on the carb which came with Machismo A-350 AVL. The only issue was, that model of Machismo had a very short run and a much shorter carburetor that came with it. But all hope was not lost and I had asked a friend to scan Karol Bagh's market for a used piece if he can't find a new one that is. Much to my luck he got hold of a box packed one from one of the vendors. I had a call with the vendor to ensure the item he was having at hand was indeed the one I was looking for. Long story short, that was the carb  I had been looking for. This model of the carburetor was manufactured under license from the Italian carburetor manufacturer Dell'Orto, for Royal Enfield. Spaco was the OEM manufacturer of this one. Considering EFI (Electronic Fuel-Injection) systems have already replaced (and will continue to do so) the old school carburetors on all upcoming higher cc motorcycles, a shining new box-packed carburetor is gonna be a rare sight in the coming years. Or at least that's what I thought. So why not get some close-up shots of my new toy before I get it on my bike. So here are some of the photographs I shot. Unfortunately, I didn't have a size 14 spanner handy, so couldn't open the bowl/floats chamber.

Spaco (India) cardboard packaging

The cab is seal packed in thick plastic (so no tampering is possible)

That's a neat-looking vintage part in my (humble) opinion :) LEFT SIDE (Air Filter side)

FRONT SIDE: You can call it a "Mechanical GUI (Graphical User Interface)" :D This stays on the right-hand side of the motorcycle and you would see me fiddling with it in the middle of nowhere when my bike stalls :/ (very rarely though)

RIGHT SIDE: Connects to the engine inlet

BACK SIDE: This one stays towards the battery on the motorcycle and is usually not accessible. The fuel line connects to the grooved metal pipe facing up.

BOTTOM SIDE: That bolt allows the drainage of the fuel if loosened slightly or the bowl to be opened completely.

TOP VIEW: The throttle cable goes here and connects to the slide

Top section opened

The slide, the needle, and the metal stay which locks one end of the throttle cable

Main jet opening

A closer look

Air intake side with idle air intake vents

Choke (starter) lever neutral/off position

Choke (starter) lever ON (/engaged) position

Side view: when the choke is ON

Main needle with adjustment washer set to 2nd slot

Assembling the top portion: Needle, Slide, Spring, Top cap

Pilot jet fuel passage

Slide half open (this happens when you have the throttle rotated one-quarter turn). For most of the older bullets, we cruise at this state at around 2000-4000 rpm (roughly).

Slide fully closed (when no throttle is given and the engine is idling)

The air filter goes on the left and the flange connects the carb to the engine inlet.

This carb is already been put on my steed and it is currently being tested during my daily commute. Yeah, I am taking the bike to the office to run this new carb in and troubleshoot any glitches. So far it's doing great and along with the free flow exhaust, there is a change in overall performance, I could feel, but I will hold my comments until this bad boy goes on the highway. Hope you enjoyed watching the photographs here. 

Update[06/03/2017]: At this point, the motorcycle (along with the new Carb) has done a little over 5000 KMs and doing absolutely great. As part of the test runs, I switched to a 95mm jet (instead of 110mm which came as stock) and that has been doing its job well. Initially couldn't find replacement jets for this model in the market as the thread size of the main jet was completely different (i.e. larger) from what we have from other makers available in the Indian market. After lots of research and lost hope, I ended up on EDC brakes' website and noticed they make aftermarket jets for Dell'orto. Upon enquiring, found the helpful guys at Motousher (one of the authorized retailers for EDC Brakes in India), who could import some jets for me from EDC. A big shout out to Motousher for helping me with this. You guys (reading this blog post), check out their website for all high-quality aftermarket accessories/parts for your motorcycles. The reason for my recommending them is simple; their response to my request (of a few carburetor jets which may not be much in terms of sales amount), shows their attention to the customers and to the motorcycling business as a whole. I wouldn't think twice before buying anything much expensive from these guys in the future, due to this first-hand experience. Now coming back to the carb, I am running with the new 95mm main jet (instead of a souped-up 95mm jet fitted with a plastic tube around to fit it into the carb's thread). The performance of the carb (along with other mods) has been excellent however, there have been a few issues as well. For instance, there are these petrol stains on the fuel filter side of the car all the time. This means there is some fuel evaporation from that side. Also, I use a cap at the point where the throttle wire meets the carburetor from the top cap, otherwise, there were a few instances where water got into the carb due to rain or pressure wash at the service stations. None of this was a deal breaker, as I could ride 5-6 days in heavy rain during my northeast trip and never had any issues (with the cap in place). And the stains look bad, but it's on the inner side of the bike, so doesn't bother me that much. All in all, I am happy with this change. I will continue using it, and if I come across anything worth sharing, will make an update to this post.



19 Inch Tyre Options in India for Bullet

With every passing day, it is getting difficult to get hold of good tires for my bullet's 19-inch wheels. Most of the modern offerings from RE are coming out with 18" wheels as standard (with the new addition of a 21" wheel for Himalayan). 

I am usually busy around the year either with my day job or planning/touring on my motorcycle. So by the time, I realize, that my bike needs a new set of shoes, it usually kinda becomes an urgent situation, as there might be a ride just around the corner. So I start digging the internet for available tires for 19" wheels and what is the tread pattern like and what sizes are available, etc. Online forums are informative, but the information found is usually scattered. 

So this time, while I am currently looking for a dual-sport front tire for my bike, I took some time out to collate the information on all available tires from well-known manufacturers for 19" wheels. Going forward I may add my experience with a few of them, which I have personally used or been highly recommended by a fellow rider. But again that's kept for a later stage. Meanwhile, if you happen to have any good/bad experiences with any of the tires mentioned here, do leave a comment. Mention the model of your bullet, and the specification of the tires along with your comments. That way this post can work as a good reference point for these (soon-to-be) vintage motorcycles. 

So without further ado, here are the offerings of tires for our old bulls on the Indian Market:

MRF (Madras Rubber Factory):

MRF Zapper FM 90/90-19 (Front):


Features & Benefits:
  • Front Fitment: Good Stability 
  • Directional Pattern: Better Maneuverability
  • Good Grip: Better Traction

MRF Nylogrip Plus 3.00(/3.25/3.50)-19 (Rear):


Features & Benefits:
  • Rear fitment
  • Siped block design: Excellent road grip
  • Tread with center groove: Water channeling
  • Flat center design: High milage and good ride comfort
  • Rounded shoulder: Excellent cornering characteristics

MRF MoGrip Meteor 110/90-19 (Rear):


Features & Benefits:
  • Rear Fitment: Excellent on /off-road application
  • Aggressive block design: Better stability
  • Directional block pattern: Good grip

Funny image for a bike tire, eh ?!! :P

Birla (Manufactured by Birla, India):


Birla ROADMAXX BT F21 3.00(/3.25)-19 (Front):

Features & Benefits:

Front Rib pattern offers high mileage with excellent road grip at curves and helps in better handling of the vehicle

Birla ROADMAXX BT R44 3.50-19 (Rear):

Features & Benefits:

  • Semi Knobby tread design allows better shock absorption enhances the riding comfort &amp
  • Can be used on any kind of terrain

Ceat (Manufactured by Ceat):

Ceat Secura F67 3.25-19 (Front):


Features & Benefits:
  • Rectangle Block & Straight Grooves: Better wet grip performance
  • Rib pattern: Excellent steering and cornering
  • Unique tread compound: Smooth ride and straight tracking

Ceat Secura Sport 3.25-19 (Rear):


Features & Benefits:
  • Sturdy Block Pattern: High Biting for better safety while cornering
  • Excellent traction and stability 
  • Good cornering

Ceat Gripp 3.25-19 (Rear):


Features & Benefits:
  • Angular tread blocks for superior Grip

Ceat Milaze 3.25-19 (Rear):


Features & Benefits:
  • Improved tread life with uniform wear for better durability 
  • Resistance to cutting and chipping for longer tire life

Dunlop (Manufactured in India by Falcon Tyres):

Dunlop Maxirib 3.25-19 (Front)


Features & Benefits:
  • Special Tread Design: Riding Comfort, Excellent Maneuverability
  • Special Feature: Low Rolling Resistance
  • High-Performance Compound: Better Mileage
  • Rib Pattern: Better Water Channeling

Dunlop Unigrip 3.50-19 (Rear)


Features & Benefits:
  • Sturdy Block Pattern: Excellent Road Grip
  • Extra Tread Depth: Higher Mileage
  • Strong Structural Design: Durability During Long Run
  • Special Feature: Excellent Cornering Characteristics

Michelin (Manufactured in India by TVS):
Features & Benefits:
  • Big block pattern contributes to confident and stable handling in dry conditions.
  • The optimized groove-rubber ratio provides super grip, efficient braking, and easy handling in wet conditions.
  • Reinforced casing construction for enhanced puncture resistance.
  • Abrasion-resistant tread compound provides high mileage in both on and off-road conditions.

MICHELIN Sirac Street TT 3.25-19 54P 4PR (Front):

MICHELIN Sirac Street TT 3.50-19 63P 6PR (Rear):

Pirelli (Imported through authorized retailers in India):


Pirelli MT60 90/90 - 19 M / C 52P (Front):

Features & Benefits:
  • Optimized pattern for on and off-road use: Grip on roads, good traction off-road (i.e. Versatility of use)
  • X-ply carcass: Great capacity to absorb the roughness of the ground (i.e. A comfortable ride)

Product photographs and specs provided here are taken from the respective manufacturers' websites and hence are fairly accurate. However, with every iteration, the design/specs may change/vary, so keep the same in mind while making any purchase decisions. At the time of writing this post, I am finding it difficult to source some models like the Pirelli MT60 and the Ceat Secura series in Bangalore. Similarly, some of the models mentioned here may be a bit difficult to find, due to the lack of availability caused by the drop in demand in the market. So you may have to enquire about getting such tires. But don't lose hope, as most of the time, there are some shops with such old stock of 19 inches lying around, just to be cleared off. You might get lucky ;)

In case of any additions/corrections/queries leave a comment.

[Update:29/03/2016] Michelin's Sirac (previously available in India) and 'Sirac Street' are two different versions of tires from Michelin. Hence when you are checking any reviews, keep in mind that 'Sirac Street' is fairly new to the Indian market. So any posts/reviews older than 2014 (I guess) are talking about Sirac and not the 'Sirac Street' shown here.

[Update:06/04/2016] After failing to source Dunlop(/Falcon) Unigrip or Ceat Gripp XL (not mentioned above, as it's out of production now!) for my front wheel, I decided to try the new Michelin Sirac Street 3.25-19 (mentioned in the list above). So I got myself one yesterday and so far have ridden 7-8 KMs with the new tire. Though it's too early to comment, I did try a few sharp cornering on good roads and it seems to inspire confidence. I shall update as I use it on highways, off-road (sand/gravel), and wet roads as and when I come across such terrains/situations during my rides. Currently, I have Birla RoadMaxx 3.50-19 at the back for the last 2+ years and they have been perfect so far, both on and off-road (also done Leh). So I can recommend it as a dependable dual-purpose rear tire.

[Update:21/04/2016] Did a 600km trip, which included riding in a hail storm (and heavy rain) for an hour or more, and then some extreme off-roading till the Mandalpatti peak. Happy to inform you, the Michelin tire hold up well and was grippy all through. It gave me a lot of confidence on the sand and rock during off-roading, which is happy with. Will continue to ride and update on this bad boy and now thinking of Michelin as a prospect for the rear tire replacement as well. Let's see. :)



Wednesday 9 March 2016

Retro is Cool - Royal Enfield Electra 350

Here are some of the photographs of my Electra, shot during the KTM Duke 390 photoshoot. The theme of these however is completely different from the other one. It's clearly more vintage. Hope you enjoy it!!

A friend posing with my ride.

If you like the work, do leave a comment. I am starting to like these posts myself, as it brings together two of my passions in life: motorcycles and photography. So you can hope to see more of such work in the future. Subscribe to the blog and stay tuned.



Tuesday 8 March 2016

KTM Duke 390 - an impromptu photoshoot

It was a long weekend and I wasn't riding anywhere! Can you believe that ?!! Anyway, I had some chores to take care and that's how Saturday and Sunday were gone. I did get the new carb and a new fuel line fitted to my Electra, which I had sourced from Karol Bagh, but that would be revealed in a post of its own. So there I was at home on a "no plans" Monday. I was trying to recall any weekend projects I had in my mind, that I could take up today. Oh yes. I had thought of doing a photoshoot for Yezdi Road King, owned and pampered by a friend of mine. I called him up in the morning and he was happy to know that his beloved vintage 2-stroke powerhouse would be exposed to some limelight. But there was one small issue, the bike was under restoration and was in an incomplete state. Sigh! However, he proposed.."how about the Duke?". Well.. not a bad idea and it's been a while since I photographed any sports bike (or street fighter for that matter). And considering the (well-justified) popularity of the KTM Duke in our country currently, I would be more than happy to shoot some pictures of it, for all the owners and fans. So we caught up and started hunting for a place. This turned out to be a bad idea, especially when we have already wasted the soft light of the early morning sun. I was not actually feeling very creative that day, yet wanted to step out and do something interesting. So despite picking the bad time (mid-day) for the shoot, we could manage with a few locations that came to our mind at that point.

We took a couple of shots of my Electra as well.. which will be shared in another post.

The beast with its master !!!

Hope you had a lot of fun viewing the photographs, as much as we had shooting them. If you want any particular model of motorcycle to be featured here, do leave a request in the comments and I'll see what I can do :)