Aaaarrrrgh!…tappet adjustment mess…..

The expression “AAAARRRRGH!” aptly explains my feeling these past couple of days. In my quest for excellence in maintaining my bike, I went ahead ahead and re-adjusted the pushrods – (well, now even I have begun to correct people that the tappets actually have nothing adjustable in them …. tee hee).
The last time I did it, it had become a little too tight, and it had taught me a valuable lesson.
that was:
Even if you adjust the pushroads “p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y”, you can very easily loose the setting, the moment, you zealously tighten the locknut (ok, those of you who are not familiar with internals of a Royal Enfield Bullet might be scratching your heads — but what the heck….i am not writing for that group of people anyway :-p, no offence!). And when you putback te cover and start the bike, you realize you messed!

This is what happened the last time. I realized that they were too tight – leading to some loss in compression.

Nandan’s bench mark for tightness is that it should not spin and it should not sit tight. it should “jaaaaassssst” rotate gently with the push of the fingers….(the “it” btw, refers to the pushrod).

So this sunday, there was no session at Nandan’s garage – poor guy met with an accident. I called his house, and glad that it is only some bruises and no major injury.

Well with time on my hands and curiosity riding on highgear, i decided to warm up the bike (Now this has been another area of debate – whether the pushrods should be adjusted HOT or COLD???) – I have been taught HOT and I understand why it must be HOT. So my vote is anyday for HOT.

And This time I adheared to the principle of adjusting it carefully and gradually tightening the locknut with the fingers…and finally when a satisfacttory position was reached, tighten the locknut fully! And Lo and behold, I did it right this time.

It is only later – after riding a couple of kms that I realize that the bike was not HOT enough for the adjustment (I do not know the correctness of this statement – but it just what I feel).
I feel this way because after a couple of kms, I could hear the rattling sounds…. so I believe this time they were set loose!

So I guess it is going to be one more pushrod session – but i must admit that I have now become expert in the Theory atleast (ha ha ha self praise….self praise — well if noone else will do it, then why not do it yourself ??? LOL!!!).

But then These are things where excellence comes with doing the same things for more number of times…the mechs are good because they do it probably 10 times a day hopefully on different bikes…!!!

But i am determined to single mindedly pursue this and do it right…And at this pace, I feel that surely i will be able to.

Bye the way, this is the third post which mentions the name Nandan.. so just in case you guys got curious, who this guy is?
Here goes::

B.R. Gurunandan a.k.a Nandan is an expert technical specialist for the Royal Enfield Bullet Motorcycles. He is located in Bangalore and has a garage. He also imparts tech sessions to people like me, who are keen to learn bullet internals and eventually grow up to maintain the bullet themselves!
As nandan always remarks: “the bike needs to be tuned to the rider and not the otherway around”!!!


This website can be used as a primer for all those who wish to understand the bullet a little more:


3 Comments Add yours

  1. andyspeak says:

    Ok! Yesterday, I returned from the garage, and worked on the left one. that was the one which was really causing hte trouble – all that racket!!
    Now it has reduced and I have learnt a fewthings about how to hold two big nuts with two no.13s and then screw in the locknut…wow man i was ecstatic when I did that…and also yesterday the gear shifter adjusting was all exciting.. got all greased up and got to see the real internals –ha, this gets interesting with each session!!!

  2. Addy says:

    Hey Anand!
    Nice read.can very much relate to it.i guess being finicky about ones bike is a trait common to us all 🙂

    BTW this is Aditya from MadBulls.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey Addy, i knw u dude.. 🙂
    btb, good post andy. was lookin for gurunandan..
    – nishanth

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