Instead we had 1/2 inch of ice and sleet.....
The fuel tank is a Ross Thompson restoration and looks great as you would expect from him. It was flushed before installation and a small amount of fuel was left in it overnight to ensure my restored petrol taps didn't leak. A small leak around one's base was remedied but the taps seals held up. While the tank was off I installed the air filter, fit the battery, tidied up the wires, and placed the cover over the electrics. Fitting the rear section and installing the tank finished up the process and it was outside for startup. Time to tickle the carbs, turn on the juice, and give it a boot.....
There were a few bugs to work out as with most major overhauls I have undertaken. The battery mount I had devised and its cover had to be re-engineered as the mounting base material was too soft and the whole unit shook quite severely. There were leaks around the oil filter, primary cover, and tachometer drive unit which mostly disappeared when torqued down a bit. Although I am sure other bugs will work themselves out after riding it a bit, the RE is off to a good start.
The Interceptor ran quite well after final tuning.
As found before restoration......
What were my "first ride" impressions of the Interceptor? I was not disappointed as the bike ran through the rev range as it should and the Albion went through the gears in what I assume is its factory "heavy" shifting. I may have a bit of adjusting to do on it but I have to admit I like the neutral finder. It appears that I had done things correctly as it goes straight down the road and handles fine in the curves. I feel no discernible vibration or grabbing from the clutch and it seems to function well. The front brake was a bit weak but adjustment at the brake end of the cable put it right. The rear pedal also required tightening a bit to get its stopper working well too.
I am used to riding BSA's and Norton's with little experience on anything else from the early 70's. Those machines both have their own unique feel. The BSA with its nimble steering and the Commando with slower and steady characteristics. The Interceptor fit closer to the Norton than the BSA. I think the wider front tire made it a bit heavier feeling in the turns but it does seem to respond to commands reasonably well. The Albion takes a deliberate effort to shift. The long lever and large gears contribute to this feeling I believe. Not a bad thing just different than the BSA's short lever length and the Norton's custom rear-sets, or "awkward for me" Norton factory arrangement.
I like adding a tooth to increase the gearing for secondary road speeds.
The engine on the Interceptor is impressive to me. It has good power from low down and engine vibration is not too bad. I assume this is due to its long stroke configuration and the dynamically balanced crankshaft. A very smooth system especially for its era. I look forward to putting many more miles on it in the years to come.
My first run with the Interceptor...I confidently declare initial success....cautiously.
My plan for the Interceptor was to take it back to its original configuration and show it for a year or so. I stuck to this plan quite closely. After taking it to shows this summer I will make several upgrades that are working well on my other bikes. A Trispark ignition with 6V coils, LED lights, and solid state electrical components for starters. The clutch may get a bit of attention too.
The Street tracker look has always appealed to me and I will probably leave the tank and bars alone although I am tempted to install home market bits if I can find them. The European configuration looks like a more enjoyable setup to ride and I like their styling.
Royal Enfield employee Marlene is seen here on a UK Market Series II Interceptor.
I have thoroughly enjoyed getting the Interceptor back to its factory new condition. I have always obtained satisfaction from bringing things back to life. Whether its grandpa's antique lantern, grandma's washing machine engine, or a barn find BSA, I have enjoyed them all. On to the next......