SHARE
Old style . . . Angus Hamilton’s repairs to his 1951 Royal Enfield 350 Bullet should be completed by summer, giving the bike a new lease of life by the time it turns 70.

Angus Hamilton has been waiting more than 20 years to ride his motorcycle, but hopes the wait will soon be over.

The Otama farmer was a teenager when his father bought the 1951 Royal Enfield 350 Bullet in the 1990s.

“I wasn’t allowed to touch it,” Mr Hamilton said.

“It was his mid-life crisis vehicle.

“He passed away four years ago and I inherited it.”

The bike was in need of repairs.

“It had been sitting for about 10 years.”

A friend had pulled the engine apart to find out the problem and fixed the carburettor for him.

The fuel tank also had to be relined.

However, the bike was still not moving forward properly.

“It starts and it runs, but then it dies,” Mr Hamilton said.

There was just one more piece that needed to fall into place.

“Hopefully, the bit getting fixed now is the last bit.

“It’s the magneto, the old version of a coil.”

He had sent it to Wellington to get it fixed.

Magnetos were a hard piece to come by because new ones were not sold these days, he said.

“Modern Enfields are all electric-start.”

It was a great bike, he said.

“It’s easy to handle.”

The old-style look of the bike was one of his favourite things about it.

However, the Enfield did have a few potential hazards to be wary of.

Unlike sport and farm bikes, the brake was on the left side.

“You’ve got to be aware of it.”

Kick-starting the bike was another trap for the uninitiated.

Doing it wrong could result in a broken leg, Mr Hamilton said.

“Enfields are known for their high compression.

“It’s all part of the fun.”

He was looking forward to finally riding the bike.

He thought it would be ready by the summer.

“I’d like to have it before the Burt Munro Challenge in February.

“I want to take it along.”

He also planned to take it along the route of the Otago Motorcycle Club’s Brass Monkey rally.

This would be a homage to his father, who had taken the Enfield to the rally in 2007.

“In the summer sometime, with some mates, I’d like to re-do that trip.”