Vic Shield’s Bullet 500 with bespoke aviation alloy sidecar…
With their first machine launching at London’s Stanley Cycle Show in 1901, Royal Enfield can lay claim to the title of the world’s oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production. The original Bullet appeared in 1932, destined to become one of the most storied machines in motorbike history.
For a window into the lore and mystique of this British-Indian machine, we highly recommend the short documentary “Chasing the Bullet” from bike builder and filmmaker Chris Zahner (@prometheanliver) — a film from The Vintagent Selects collection.
In 2007, Enfield introduced their new 500cc unit construction engine (UCE), complete with fuel injection and an integrated 5-speed transmission — an engine that managed to pull the aging Bullet into the 21st century.
“This is a motorcycle with a lot of charisma — a throwback from a bygone era. It’s endearingly different to modern bikes, which can be a positive thing if you’re looking for something different. Warm to its character and you’ll have a massive grin on your face as you thud gently around the back lanes…” –MCN
Our friend Vic Shield of Vic’s Customs recently reached out with his Bullet 500 sidehack outfit, constructed using a sidecar shell hand-built from aviation alloy by an old fabricator in the southwest of England — one of just two the man built.
Below, Vic gives us the story behind his Bullet 500 sidecar outfit.
Bullet 500 with Sidecar: In the Builder’s Words…
I have had a few outfits in the past and like them because they stand out with the added bonus you can carry a mate plus beer. I saw the bare sidecar shell for sale and it was 1 of 2 made. I can’t remember the builder’s name, but he was an old fabricator in the southwest of England. It’s made from aviation alloy. I went to his workshop, bought it as a shell, and set about finishing it off.
Fabricated a frame and chassis for it with a hand brake, fitted lights and an old Brooklands screen. Trimmed the interior and designed a fitment system so the chair was as close to the bike as possible; I wanted it to be as small and lightweight as can be.
The Enfield was a low mileage 3k-mile bike when I brought it and I proceeded to cut it up. The rear end was removed and straightened due to it being built so bad in the factory.
A bobbed rear guard and bespoke seat were fitted. Alloy front guard and heavy-duty rear shocks added.
After only riding it for 2000 miles the fuel injection packed up; this was junked and I fitted a 32mm carb. It’s not as economical now but pulls much better.
The bike is on two wheels nearly as much as it’s on all three and still does 70mph when the roads are flat…hills are a different story.
It is another bike that can divide the community. Older people seem to love it; young kids love it; however, a lot of the sports bike owners cannot see the point…
You don’t need to go to a gym when you ride this bike…lol. It does handle well and not being hugely wide I can still negotiate traffic jams…to a certain extent.
Follow the Builder: vicscustomautos.co.uk