11,000 on a Royal Enfield B5 Bullet 500

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to do a quick 11,000 miles on a Royal Enfield? First things first…one should grow accustomed to being asked a couple of questions on a frequent basis. What year is that? How long did it take you to restore that?

Answering the first question is not easy. Ours is a 2012 but thats really not the story. The frame is bolt for bolt the same frame in use since the 1940’s. Only the engine mounting plates have been modified to adapt the new 500cc single in place of the old original 350. Royal Enfield is the oldest continuing operating production motorcycle in the world.

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With the exception of a very few small issues in the first couple of thousand miles, this bike has been flawless. I change oil every 3,000 miles and utilize all three drain plugs in the sump. The original chain was replaced at 4,000 miles when the front sprocket was changed to the GT countershaft sprocket which is one tooth larger effectively gearing up the big thumper 4 teeth on the rear. This has improved fuel economy to about 65 to 68 mpg even when used two up as we frequently do. It also moved the inherent vibration of the rigid mount, non-counterbalanced single up to an indicated 65 mph. For me, the vibration at 65 is hardly noticeable but that is primarily because I move my feet to the rear passenger pegs at speeds about 50 because it smooths out the aero. Other than that speed, this is the little engine that could…and does. Obviously you must be someone who appreciates the power delivery of a big single cylinder motorcycle and I am. Especially with the 60’s era BSA muffler I installed in place of the massive and heavy factory canister. Surprisingly the fuel injection metering remained close to perfect with no modifications to it. Now the RE sounds as a big (British) single should. Yes, I know  it is made in India but it’s roots are all English. It bolted right up in about 15 minutes!

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The stock front turn signals were removed and in their place I installed a new set of Clearwater Lights Krista’s. These are the highest quality aftermarket lighting systems available for any motorcycle. Some of the features are, high quality hardware, HDLED’s, fully dim able and the added benefit of full power when you hit the high beam switch on the motorcycle, flash to pass or blow the factory horn. It was simple to unplug the turn signal wire and plug it into the small running lights that have been on either side of the headlamps since 1940. While not very bright, they are now the front turn signals. With Clearwater Lights, we can now see in darkness and be seen in daylight.

I really like the slightly expensive but very well constructed Royal Enfield accessory  side bags and the metal fuel tank allows the use of my old magnetic tankback that has been on about 50 motorcycles in the last 15 years.

Life with the Royal Enfield is so good that while other machines will no doubt come and go in the Talking Motorcyles garage, it shall remain for many years to come. A major improvement in initial turn in and over all handling as well as ride comfort was to install a set of classic Dunlop K70 Gold Seal tires. For the front tire I went up a couple of sizes to the 3.50/19. This filled in the gap between the tire and front fender nicely and transformed the in town handling characteristics all for the better. 6,000 miles later the front looks amazingly new and the rear is looking like it has at least 2 to 3 thousand miles remaining. The factory rear was toast at 6,000. When the rear is ready, we will install yet another Gold Seal and try to wear out the front by the time that rear is used up. At that point I am installing a new set of Dunlop K81/TT100’s front and rear to see how they work out. Both of those tires look period correct but have been modernized with up to date tread compounds.

I really like the bar end mirrors in daily use other than they are a little wide in a garage/radio studio full of motorcycles at times. On the road they are nice. The one modification that I almost failed to tell you about is the rear brake lamp enhancement. A narrow black motorcycle is not highly visible from the rear. To improve rearward conspicuity and safety, we added a Clearwater Billie Jr brake lamp. At only $129 this is inexpensive safety that flat works. They are almost offensive when you are following the bike closely at night but I’m ok with that. To see and be seen is how we stay alive out there in the urban jungle in my opinion.

Thanks for reading our blog postings, subscribing and sharing with you motorcycling friends. Please feel free to listen to our podcast, Talking Motorcycles with Barry Boone. Easy to find by a Google search, subscribe via the iTunes Store or simply subscribe on the podcast app you already have on your smart device or Apple TV.

Talking Motorcycles is powered by the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Bell Powersports, Dunlop Motorcycle Tires and Clearwater Lights.

Ride hard, ride safe and have fun!

Barry

The 8000 mile test ride on the HD Milwaukee-Eight begins

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My Grandfather, James Boone, was a Harley-Davidson rider. He and my Grandmother, Arpha Boone, rode well into their 80’s. My Father, Joseph William Boone and his two brothers, James and George were Harley-Davidson riders too. As a third generation Harley-Davidson rider, I take special pride in the American brand that has been producing motorcycles for the world market for 113 years. Today with over 300,000 touring and commuting miles on FLH Harley-Davidsons, I have a special understanding and relationship with the brand.

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Pictured from L to R: Joseph W. Boone, James Boone and George W. Boone. This photo was taken just after all three had returned from active duty in the U.S. Army in WWII.

We are fortune to own a 1958 Harley-Davidson FLH Duo-Glide Panhead Harley that belonged to my wife’s father. Colette and her siblings recall riding with their dad, Jerry Nace (also a WWII veteran) many times when they were younger. Jerry bought this bike from a good friend in 1959 when it was only one year old with 300 miles on the odometer. He stopped riding it in 1978 when it had 51,200 miles on it and never rode it again for the next 20 years though it remained in his garage safely tucked away. Today the bike is still 100% original and has 53,000 miles and climbing as I ride it once a week in the Daytona region. We have a Key West, Florida tripped planned for the Duo Glide as soon as we return from this trip to Santa Rosa, California. The Duo-Glide is historically significant because it was the first FLH to have rear suspension.

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The 1958 Duo-Glide just received a good bath before we left for California on the 2017 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic with the new Milwaukee-Eight powerplant. Living two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean means frequent washings. This old Panhead runs like new, has original paint and nearly everything else and starts with one prime kick and one ignition on kick nearly every time.

My history of riding long distance began with a 1989 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic evolution engine. Since then, I have owned/ridden every Electra Glide Ultra Classics to a total of more than 300,000 miles. That makes the opportunity that Harley-Davidson has given us to ride the new 2017 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic powered by their newest v-twin, the Milwaukee-Eight, even more special.

This is the 2017 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic. It was shipped to us by the Harley-Davidson Motor Company last Wednesday. We picked the bike up from Rossmeyers Daytona Harley Davidson in Ormond Beach, Florida Wednesday September 14th. Friday the 16th we began our annual West coast round trip from Daytona Beach. This year, I am Master of Ceremonies for the 2017 AMA Pro Flat Track championship event known as the Ramspur Winery Santa Rosa Mile on September 25th. After only 4 days and 1,600 miles I have made some discoveries about the new Ultra. Visually the only real change in the bike for 2017 is the new Milwaukee-Eight with it’s single camshaft design, balance shaft and four valve head. There is more change however. The 2017 touring chassis HD’s have new Showa top shelf suspension components front and rear. In our next story, we will begin to break down the things we have learned about the new powertrain, suspension and other aspects of the newest touring class motorcycle from Harley-Davidson.

This morning we are at Harley Davidson of Pueblo in Colorado for an overdue 1,000 mile service at 1950 miles. This afternoon we will head west on “The Loneliest Highway”, HWY 50 across Wolf Creek Pass. It is one of the passes in Colorado that I have not had occasion to cross and Colette and I are both excited to test out the new suspension and engine as we press on to Durango tonight.

Several times on our first days on the 2017, I can’t help but wonder what my Dad and Jerry would think about this amazing machine that is the grandson of their beloved Harley-Davidson motorcycles. I also wonder what my Dad would think about my motorcycle-centric life that he helped me begin when he bought me my first motorcycle when I was 6 years old. More on that later. Until then, we will be chasing sunsets late into the day headed West.

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Chasin’ sunsets…

The Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight

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We could not be more excited about spending quality time behind the windshield of the new touring class motorcycles from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company featuring the all new Milwaukee-Eight powerplant and revised suspension. Over the last three years we have documented many of our two lane and Interstate travels on Harley Davidson’s via this blog and soon we will begin posting new reports from the highways of America.

Our travels occur regardless of road and weather conditions as we simply press on. This time, we will add many new elements to our writing. Our discussions will include reports on the motorcycle with specific observations from the riders seat and passenger seat as well as coverage and recommendations on riding gear and equipment, great roads and highways that we enjoy and various regions across America with unique riding conditions.

Please bookmark and share this blog site with your riding friends regardless of what type or brand of motorcycle they ride. We are all inclusive and own/ride a diverse collection of motorcycles as do you. You are invited to follow our ride reports here and FB/Talking Motorcycles with Barry and FB/Barry Boone. We can be found on Twitter and Instagram as well and will be using all of the above to invite you along for our rides and to enjoy our radio show, Talking Motorcycles with Barry Boone!

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Happy Thanksgiving from Talking Motorcycles

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Today we say thank you to the men and women, past and present, of the US Military who serve and have served to keep us safe, protect our freedoms and defend our constitutional rights! America is the Land of the Free because of the brave!

Motorcycling is a passion that we all share. Today I am thankful for family and friends. I’m thankful for the joys of riding a motorcycle and more importantly having the ability to share it with  tens of thousands across America and the world. Motorcycling has the ability to bring people together from across a wide range of ethnic and political viewpoints.

Today we are also very thankful for those of you who listen to the show and enjoy this sport with us. The Talking Motorcycles nation is over 60,000 listeners strong and growing.

I’m also thankful for the people  and businesses that keep us on the road. Colette and I are grateful for the continued support of Crosley Brands and Bo LeMastus in particular, The Harley-Davidson Motor Company/Kris Schoonover, Chuck Koro and the staff at Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys as well as Bell Powersports, Dunlop Motorcycle Tires, Clearwater Lights, RacerGlovesUSA and Bull-It Jeans.

Mostly we thank those of you who listen to the show and continue to share our social media posts with your friends and family.

May we live each day with an “Attitude of Gratitude” and appreciate the people and things that matter in our lives. In the words of Don Henley, “To want what we have and take what we’re given with grace”.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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All new Talking Motorcycles internet radio show to debut Wed Oct 14!

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We are more than excited about next Wednesday’s Talking Motorcycles internet radio show. There will be no show tonight as we are spending time in the studio working on new music, clips and other content. Thanks to you we are growing in size and support from within the industry. Two weeks ago we announced the addition of The Harley-Davidson Motor Company to our family of sponsors as a premium level quarter hour sponsor. Next week we will announce our new Presenting Sponsor on the show! Thanks to great guests and your input we continue to tweak, hone and refine the show to bring you the content you ask for!

Radio creates a familial bond between the host and listeners. It’s always cool to do the show LIVE every Wednesday night at 8pm Eastern. Many of you listen via your smartphones. All smartphone users can have the show automatically downloaded as soon as the LIVE show ends for listening when you wish. That’s the beauty of podcast! For iPhone users it is as simple as clicking on the app you already have. It’s symbol is a microphone in a square purple box. Open the app and search “Talking Motorcycles with Barry”, click on the show’s icon and choose “Subscribe”. Bam! All of our shows from the past to the most recent will be downloaded to your device within minutes. It’s that easy.

Many thanks to Crosley Brands, Harley-Davidson, Bell Powersports, Dunlop Motorcycle Tire and Next Moto Champion for their continued support of the show!

Barry