JETS Motorcycles builds a Super Meteor street tracker…
At the time of its introduction in 1952, the Royal Enfield Meteor 700 was the largest British twin on the market. It was built specifically for the US market, where parallel-twin Triumphs, Nortons, BSAs, and Enfields were in hot competition on the street, strip, and desert sand.
Whereas most of their rivals had developed 650 twins from scratch, Royal Enfield based their new twin on two 350 Bullet singles, which guaranteed that future improvements to the Bullet’s piston and combustion chamber could be passed on to the new 36-bhp 700cc twin:
“Enfield did not simply take two 350 cylinders from the Bullet single and attach them to the 500 twin bottom end — but that’s a neat summary of the process…” –Classic Bike Hub
In 1956, the 40-bhp Super Meteor arrived, becoming the first production Enfield capable of triple-digit speeds straight off the showroom floor:
“Over the years, many Royal Enfields had been tuned to race at 100mph and beyond but the Super Meteor was the first Royal Enfield capable of hitting the ton straight off the production line.” –Royal Enfield
Recently, we heard from motorcycle designer Jeff Duval, the godfather of JETS Motorcycle — a consortium of best-in-class craftsmen who come together to produce motorcycle specials:
“Nowadays, JETS attempt to rebuild motorcycles of all ages and of all origins — US, Europe, Japan et al. We try to never denature the DNA of any iconic model but modernise and optimise its performance as if the factories had wanted to do this themselves, as Carol Shelby did with the old AC Bristol and Fiat with their Fiat Abarth 595…”
Jeff himself has quite the life history, having enjoyed stints as a lead singer in a 1960s rock ‘n’ roll band, a trooper in the elite SAS, and the European distributor for Performance Machine and Arlen Ness — based on a 1992 trip to California.
For this build, Jeff wanted to hark back to the golden days of California motorcycling culture, when British big twins reigned supreme from the desert to the drive-in:
“In the halcyon days when British Twins were still ruling the SoCal sands, the Enfield 700 and 750cc twins were generally regarded as the most business-looking motors of that generation. Whilst they might not have possessed the gunpowder blast offered by BSA, Norton, and Triumph US specials, they had greater reliability whilst showing comparable 50 BHP.”
He purchased a Super Meteor 700 imported from Canada via Hitchcocks Motorcycles, entrusting the engine rebuild and upgrade to another Enfield guru, Andy Berry of Preston, NW England. For the frame, he went to England’s legendary Wasp Motorcycles, who agreed to adapt one of their BSA A10 frames to fit the Enfield motor, building the chassis out of nickel-plated 7/8″ chromoly.
The bike then went to the workshop of Tony Taysom (Lamb Engineering) for a complete build and bodywork. The famed Glenn Moger handled the saddle, while the fine folks at Image Design Custom laid down the paint.
Truly, the names who’ve had a hand in the creation of this ‘sled are like a “Who’s Who” of the UK’s top two-wheeled maestros, which is just how Jeff and JETS intend it — in fact, it’s an underlying principal of the JETS ethic:
“The avowed policy to only ever use the best craftsmen in the industry…”
Below, we get the full details on this California-inspired Super Meteor sled, nicknamed the Enfield 700 GTC2 Mistral or “Mistral” for short.
Super Meteor Desert Sled / Street Tracker: Designer Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My passion for motorcycles started when I first visited England in the sixties, finding myself outside a pub with, parked outside, a BSA Spitfire MkII and a Royal Enfield Constellation; both red, chrome, and black. Inside the pub, four lads, three guitars and a drum set, whose sound and energy already would preview a revolution unlike any seen before.
This screaming double discovery of deep emotions would change my life forever. When I got back, I started importing English second-hand motorcycles and other Marshall, Vox, Sound City, etc. amps to Europe with some success. At the same time, I was “headhunted” to become the lead singer in a rock ‘n’ roll band, which, in the late Sixties was often booked as first act to A List artists that were world renowned.
A few years later, like millions of “haired” people around the world, the release of Easy Rider completed my conversion to the US Big Twins, but not at the expense of Rest of the World’s iconic machines. This corruption was to be total and final!
Following a promising military adventure in the special forces (6 Marine Para (SAS)) cut short by the ardent need for other adventures, I returned to my first loves and settled in England definitively, where I meet the Battistini brothers, Rikki and Dean, with whom I share all that is funny, forbidden, immoral…
At Christmas 1992, we travelled together to San Leandro, CA, and we succeeded, never knowing how, in convincing Arlen Ness and Performance Machine to entrust us with the distribution of their products throughout Europe.
Twenty years on, JETS Motorcycle was founded with the same idea: bringing together great talents around a certain idea of the motorcycle. At its core today: Rikki Battistini of Battistinis Custom Cycles USA and Colin Moore of Moore Speed Racing in the South of England, immensely aided by a string of Best in Class craftsmen whom we are proud to salute on this occasion (in alphabetical order): Dan Collins, Ian Borrowman, Jean-Francois Vicente, John Parry, Sean Reynolds, Tony Taysom and, of course, the Team at Image Custom Design, Tom, Steve, Mandy and Sammy, who have now reached the highest painting skills developed by PaintMeister Jeff McCann (RIP) several decades ago…
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor?
Royal Enfield Super Meteor 700 engine. Wasp Motorcycles 7/8″ chromoly BSA A10 frame modified for the Enfield motor.
• Why was this bike built?
Nowadays, JETS attempt to rebuild motorcycles of all ages and of all origins — US, Europe, Japan et al. We try to never denature the DNA of any iconic model but modernise and optimise its performance as if the factories had wanted to do this themselves, as Carol Shelby did with the old AC Bristol and Fiat with their Fiat Abarth 595 to mention but two.
We do not take on individual briefs as it takes years to design and build such machines, but we do sell them when completed and have tested the validity of our travails on the road.
We do not have the souls of “collectors”, but a creative bulimia; a completed project calls for a new project!
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
In the halcyon days when British Twins were still ruling the SoCal sands, the Enfield 700 and 750cc twins were generally regarded as the most business-looking motors of that generation. Whilst they might not have possessed the gunpowder blast offered by BSA, Norton, and Triumph US specials, they had greater reliability whilst showing comparable 50 BHP.
To celebrate such happy days, JETS are building what such a SoCal sled might (or should) have looked like!
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Design & Build
- Design: JETS’ Jeff Duval
- Build: Legendary Tony Taysom of Salisbury
- Original Enfield 700cc Super Meteor rebuilt from scratch by guru Andy Berry with many mods for performance and reliability.
- Re-carbureted with twin Amal MkII Concentrics mated to a performance cylinder head. ALL parts supplied by the legendary Allan Hitchcocks.
- Standard but rebuilt Enfield 4 speed gearbox.
- For that SoCal Desert Sled allure a dramatic 7/8” chromoly nickel plated BSA motocross frame was hand crafted by Mark and his small team @ Wasp Frames.
Suspension & Steering
- Ceriani 38mm Competition forks and rear shocks supplied by Csaba Kalderal of CR Suspension, Budapest, Hungary.
Wheels & Brakes
- Three Beringer 2AP11 racing calipers mated to 3 Mick’s 11.5” mirror polished stainless discs.
- Ally polished rims and hubs by Central Wheels shod with Rear 4.00-18 64V / Front 90/90-21 54V Roadrider MKII Avon TL.
- 4” GPS speedo and rev counter by Speedhut USA.
- Electronic indicators by Motogadget.
Bodywork & Seating
- Again, heavily customised / modified by Tony Taysome for that SoCal desert allure.
- SoCal style leather saddle by Glenn Moger of Eastleigh.
- Perfect for rides around the bars and cafes of the San Diego Bay…before pretending to race at their famous Del Mar park!
- Critically killer paint was again entrusted to Camberley’s Image Custom Design emporium (Tom, Steve, Mandy, and Sammy)
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Enfield 700 GTC2 Mistral or “Mistral” in short…
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
It’s that San Diego Beach to da bar feeling with a pleasant pillion companion…
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Well all of it; a real Labour of Love…
Follow the Builder