Storing and restarting a Bullet motorcycle

Of late, I had to park my bike for long periods of time when I’m away traveling. I ride a Royal Enfield Bullet Electra 5S. (I have a black and silver model). The Bullet manual has detailed instructions on how to store the bike as well as to restart it. However, here are a few quick and hopefully useful steps that I found from experience.

Before Storing:

1) Disconnect the battery. This is very important. The bullet is heavily  dependent on the battery and will not start without it.

  • Remove the battery case.
  • Next, there will be two rubber straps that hold the battery in place. Reach out to the back of the battery, on either side there are hooks that hold the straps in place. Just unhook both the straps.
  • Next unscrew the leads from the terminals. Carefully preserve the nut, screw and the washer set of each terminal.
  • Put the battery case back on.
  • Store the battery in a cool and dry place.

2) Drain the petrol. Petrol slowly evaporates from the tank when stored for a long time. So you’re stuck without fuel when restarting the bike.

  • For this bring the fuel control knob to the OFF position.
  • Remove the small rubber pipe at the end that leads out from the fuel control knob.
  • Place a dry, clean bottle at the place where you removed the pipe. Turn the fuel knob to the ON position, all the petrol should now start flowing out of the tank into the bottle.
  • Once all the petrol is collected, reconnect the pipe and bring the knob to OFF position.
  • That’s it (And that’s why its so darn easy for those frickin’ petrol thieves!)
  • Store the petrol bottle in a cool, dry and safe place.

3) If the bike is parked outside, cover the bike with a tarpaulin cover – to prevent dust and rainwater from getting in.

4) Wash your hands and go eat a snack or something.

When it’s time to restart:

1) Reconnect the battery.

  • Get out the screw, washer and nut sets.
  • Place the battery in the holder.
  • Align the leads to the battery terminals making sure you use the correct polarities.  The screw plus washer set will hold the lead to the terminal on one side and the nut has to be on the other side. Keep tightening the screw till the lead is firmly connected to the terminal. Repeat for the other polarity.
  • Now just turn on the ignition and check if the neutral indicator light comes on. If so, you’re battery is good. If it doesnt, try the indicator or the brake light. If nothing works then the battery is dead. In such a case, haul the darn thing to a battery shop where they’ll charge it for you overnight for about 20 Rs.
  • Once the battery is connected, tested and in place, don’t forget to put the  straps back on. This is a bit of a pain fucking nightmare, so you’ll have to struggle.  Hook the battery strap into one hook and then pull the strap tightly – you’ll have to stretch, press, grunt and squeeze. A lot.  Once the first strap is in, the next one will be much easier.  (That’s why test the battery before putting the straps on.)

2) Fill in the fuel into the tank and bring the petrol knob to RESERVE position. This is to ensure that there will always be fuel supply.

3)  Next, remove the spark plug and just blow any carbon away. This is the critical step, removing the spark plug will cause built up air pressure to be released. If you don’t remove the spark plug, you’ll be kicking away until you have fractured kneecaps. All right then put the spark plug back on.

4) Now, press the clutch and crank the kick-starter lever. The lever might be difficult to press, but keep at it. If it moves without any pressure at all,it’s a good sign. Do this 15-20 times, this will allow the oil to circulate in the engine.

5) OK, showtime!  Turn on the ignition and make sure the engine switch is ON. This is easy to overlook, especially the engine switch.  All right, decompress the engine, and then give it a few solid kicks. If you feel the engine sputter – this is a good sign. Couple of kicks later – the engine should start. Fucking awesome! Give it some throttle and let it run at moderately high throttle for a couple of  minutes. Progressively lower the throttle and check if the engine runs.

If the engine doesn’t start at all, give a couple of minutes break and then retry with the choke on. It should work. All in all have some patience and don’t give up, I’ve usually found about twenty to thirty kicks to be the max to start the bike. (If it doesn’t start at all, fuck it and just call the mechanic.)

6) Ride into the sunset.