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Midlands Royal Enfield Customer Experiences

Pete Gibson - RE Clubman - January 2013

Mr Pete Gibson EFI Clubman 

Note by Steve Smith: we are very pleased to bring you the experience our customer Pete Gibson is having with the RE Clubman he purchased from us. Just to say that Pete is a dedicated and experienced motorcycle racer and has expectations based on his racing techniques. While the mods that he has made to the footrests and suspension are good and beneficial for him, people who are just interested in a good road riding experience should rest assured that the handling of the bike in standard form is excellent and quite adequate for the majority of riders. 

My Clubman Experience

After a brief period off my trusty Kwak Z1000 a ride round the block left me feeling that the motorcycle had become just a mode of transport, not what I wanted from a bike so the decision was made. I’d seen a Royal Enfield Clubman at the previous Bike show in 2011 and knew that’d be my next bike, kind of a “soft” way into classic motorcycling.

My order was placed with Steve Smith at Midlands Royal Enfield in Wem near Shrewsbury and waiting time would be approx 8 weeks. It turned out to be more like 11 but the wait was worth it. I rapidly started to put on the “run in” mileage so I could use the bike as my runaround at the Manx Grand Prix where I’d be racing at the end of August. First shake down service and I decided to ride the bike over to Wem, a round trip of nearly 200 miles but through the Snowdonia mountains along the A5. A short stop at Llangollen for coffee and for the second time the bike caused interest and blokes stopping to chat. “Good restoration!” seemed a common remark and surprise when they saw the reg. and the ’12 plate. On returning home it was apparent the bike needed some modification to suit my size as I could hardly move after 4 hours of riding! No time though, off to The Island!

The Manx, for those who don’t know, is an amateur version of the TT and includes classic racing. Loads of classic bike fans travel over to watch and wander round the Paddock looking at exotic classic race machines. I had the Enfield outside my pit tent together with my pit-crew Martins’ Neracar. It certainly generated lots of conversation and, surprisingly next to such a rare bike, the Enfield drew a lot of comment. Later that week we took a trip out to Castletown to the VMCC run out. Parked with dozens of old, fantastic classic and vintage bikes the trusty new Enfield soon had a crowd around it! A lap of the TT Mountain Course on the bike, albeit on open roads, was a real nostalgia trip and I managed a fairly traffic free run.
Steve (Smith) may have a copy of the video on his PC if you fancy a look and are in Wem.

You can see the video now by clicking the link below, or at the top of this article, as it is now on YouTube!!

Back to the Mainland and I started looking to move the footpegs backwards to make the bike suit my physique. To the rescue came Hitchcocks at Solihul. They do a kit with everything needed. They told me it should fit but had never tried it on a Clubman. It would at least require an exhaust modification. It arrived and, yes, the exhaust does need slight modification but it went straight on. A quick ride out confirmed almost perfect (for me anyway) riding position. Next came a phone call to Richard at Maxton Engineering. They are suspension specialists and I have their kit on both my modern race bikes. They supplied direct replacement rear twin shocks, 10mm longer to raise rear ride height. What a difference, suspension that worked properly! Now, though, it showed the failings of the front end. That was removed and again sent to Maxton to see if anything could be done. After much scratching of heads and looking at fork internals we settled on just putting lighter oil in the forks. Back on the bike and a test ride over roads I know quite well. I deliberately ran over mid corner bumps to test the set up. Wow! No more trying to tie itself in knots. Handling transformed and the bike still looks pretty much original.

Now the snow is here and all I can do is wait for some good weather to take the Enfield out for a proper run, probably up to Betws one Sunday. Wherever I take it though, three things are for certain, I’ll be riding a bike for bike ridings sake, it’ll draw attention everywhere and I’ll have a grin the size of Cheshire!

Pete Gibson