Meriden Triumphs 101

- by Pete Snidal (C)2004

How This Manual Came To Be

There are two things I've been for most of my 63 years on this planet. One is a wanna-be technical writer; the other a motorcycle fan. The first motorcycle I was able to get my hands on (that could be made to run) was an ex-WD 350 Royal Enfield Bullet - the Canadian/British Army bike from WWII.

By that time, I had already learned that the second thing you have to have, after you acquire just about any piece of machinery is a good manual. Unfortunately, I couldn't find _any_ manual for my "new" motorcycle. The situation was complicated somewhat by the fact that most of it came in a couple of cardboard boxes - it was in a state of "some assembly required."

The only book(s) I could find on the subject were one afficianado manual, which assumed a widespread and general knowledge of motorcycles, and was a sort of pocket-size coffee-table magazine, called _Book_Of_The Royal_Enfield. It offered up lots of esoteric information, such as what years the "famous pre-war Enfield V-Twins" were produced, but very few specifics on my mundane little workhorse 350. The only other book I could find that even mentioned Royal Enfields was the excellent, but not particularly detailed due to its universal coverage, the Nicholson Brothers' _Modern_Motorcycling_, an early '50's edition.

Later I began to come across Triumphs. The manual situation was completely different for them - from the beginning, the factory workshop manuals - and even the owner's manuals - were comprehensive and beautifully written and illustrated. If a little technical. But in those days, few if any non-technically-inclined people were inclined towards motorcycle maintenance, or even toward motorcycles in general, so it all worked out very well.

This was not the case for the Enfield Bullets. Even after the discovery by The Rest Of The World that these instant collector pieces were available, as they had always been since 1955, from India, it seemed that there was still no really satisfactory owner/service manual, especially for beginners - and there were plenty of people buying new Bullets primarily for the nostalgia value. Nostalgia over a time of simpler motorcycles, that looked and sounded like motorcycles, and over a misspent youth that didn't spend enough time in Auto Shop, and too much time in Bookeeping classes, gymnasiums, Physics and Chem labs, and the like. And some of those with this kind of youth now wanted to master the black(fingered) arts of motorcycle mechanics, with particular to maintaining their new instant collector pieces.

What came of that was, around the year 2000, I began to write a new manual, a sort of _Idiot's_Guide_To_Volkswagen_Repair_, something that would enable the complete newbie to get a grip on the esoterics of maintaining his RE Bullet, yet hold all the information needed for the experienced mechanic to do any and everything necessary, from basic tuneup to complete overhaul. This is especially important, not only because of the unique demographic to which these machines appeal, but also since the few Dealers are so thin on the ground.

Hence my first manual - for the Enfield Bullet. It was the product of many hundreds of hours of dedicated work on my part, having taken a lot of my spare time over a period of some years. No small number of "Beta Testers" provided the necessary proving ground for me to evaluate the usefulness of various sections of the manual. It has been very successful, it makes me a few dollars every year, and, more importantly, gives me that warm fuzzy feeling of having been helpful to a lot of my fellow-motorcyclists the world over.

The irony is that, in the past 40 years or so, I haven't had any running Enfields. But I've owned many Triumphs. I currently have a '69 TR6 for a daily rider, and two T100 project bikes which will be finished "soon." I love the Meriden twins; between you, me and the fence post, I think they're the best value on the motorcycling road today, and are still underpriced by at least 50%. And these machines have also been picked up by a lot of people new to the motorcycling fraternity, who haven't had the time to mis-spend their youth the way some of us did, and who need to get "up to speed" as quickly as they can before they begin to glean information from the esoteric pages of the regular Triumph Manuals. I've had a few people on the royalenfield and triumph-twins internet yahoogroups suggest I might put my hand to writing a CD manual similar to the one for the Bullets, and I got to thinking about it.

This is not the '50's. There aren't a mess of $300.00 and under rigid frame Speed Twins and Thunderbirds around to practise on as we hone our backyard mechanic skills. Most fresh-to-Triumph-Twins owners aren't teenagers with time and old Triumphs to kill learning the ins and outs of maintenance. Rather, they're new custodians of increasingly valuable and now-esoteric vintage machinery, who are often not "up to speed" with the dry and detailed, though excellent, factory workshop manuals - or even the after-market dilutions of same. They are, I think, a market waiting to be exploited (he says, rubbing hands gleefully!) by the appearance of a user-friendly yet detailed and comprehensive shop manual written by One Who Has Been There.

Thus this CD. It will likely soon be produced in book form - although time will tell. Personally, I much prefer the CD version of the Enfield book. It's easily searched, information is quick to find due to the linked text aspect, and a page or two can be printed out and taken to the workshop to aid in whatever project is at hand. When the work's done, the pages become useful for cleaning the bench-top; there's plenty more where they came from!


Let me quote from the introduction to the original Enfield CD:

"I have been wondering how to have it published, with two main questions in mind:

The first problem was handled initially by deciding to write the manual in .html format, and to distribute it on CDs as you see here. The potential for cross-linking files, inserting graphics, etc. is just mind-boggling compared to print medium, and it has been well-received indeed in this form. Furthermore, it is completely updateable; as changes come to mind (and they really do, as feedback from owners comes in!),

As for the second concern, getting paid reasonably for my time, I have decided just to appeal to all of you who find a copy in your hand/computer to deal fairly with this thing. It is a simple matter to take the disk to anyone with a CD burner, and burn copies for all your Enfield-owner friends, neighbours, and relations, and it for this reason I deal this heart-felt appeal: Don't! OK? Just pass on my address, and on receipt of the sum of $US 25.00, I'll be happy to mail a copy anywhere in the world. (Latest fee schedule and my address should be a link off of )

If you prefer to burn him/her a copy yourself, I think it's entirely fair enough to ask that you send me the sum of $US20.00 per copy as a "registration" fee. Paypal is fine - just click "send money" and fill in ""

And finally, if you find yourself in possession of a bootleg copy of this manual, and you feel that the poor slob who spent so much of his time making your life easier is worth a contribution, please follow your heart, as Sir Alex has said.

Thank you. I have faith that I'll be repaid by the majority of "trumpetheads," as I have by a number of Bulleteers, both types being the honest fun-lovers that they are. Peace be with you!

"We're All In This Together"

Your Author and His Friend
Ralph, 1962
Pete Snidal,
6515 Sleepy Hollow Rd.,,
Grand Forks, BC
Canada V0H 1H5

Same guy, 40 yrs later

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