Hannibal Royal Enfield Flat-Tracker

“This is a flat-tracker that eats its own kind,” said Will Keith at Revelry Cycles in Sydney.

HANNIBAL started as a conversation about how Royal Enfield Bullets might well work on flat-tracks in Australia. There’s a bit of a resurgence of flat-track circuit racing in Australia at the moment and we’d like to promote it to a level where we can get a Royal Enfield class, get Royal Enfield dealers involved, and let’s start racing. Flat-track racing can be done a lot more grass-roots than drag-racing, without spending a ton of money. I personally think the geometry of the Royal Enfield is ideal for flat-tracking. So, based on that conversation, I procured myself a set of AMA Pro dirt-track tyres, that are the right size and specs, race only, from Dunlop. I had them sitting up on the counter for a few weeks, and a lot of the guys who build Royal Enfields came around and said, “They’re never going to go on a Bullet; they’re too big.”

We had an open day coming up so we took a Bullet out of our rental fleet, set it up on the bench, took the fenders off, stripped it down to make it look like we were doing a flat-tracker project. It started a lot of conversations; a lot of people were interested in doing the flat-tracker kind of thing.

At the same time, we started to see more and more scrambler style motorcycles. We had one in here one weekend, a Royal Enfield Classic. I rode it around the parking lot and it was one of the most dangerous, ill-handling motorcycles I’ve ever been on. The owner had fitted some really bizarre, knobbly, square-profile tyres. It was ill-conceived but everybody who walked in said, “Can I have one of those?” The look of it was cool so they wanted one.

A few days later we had a slack day in the workshop so I said, “Okay, let’s put the tyre on the rear of the Bullet and see what we’ve got to do to clear the swing-arm.”

So we took that big fat tyre and mounted it on the wheel, set it in the swing-arm, and discovered if we came back a couple of adjuster notches, it actually cleared—so let’s break out a new longer chain—we got it on there working under power and moving and clearing.

“So let’s put the front tyre on.” 

Initially, the front tyre wouldn’t clear the fork covers so we took the fork cover assembly off, cut it down out of the way, put the front wheel in and, “Hey, it looks like we’re all clear.”

We took it down off the bike-lift and started riding it around the parking lot, and as soon as you roll it into the first turn, you know instantly that these tyres handle; it’s like riding on rails.

The next couple of days we’d ride it in the afternoons; have a beer and ride it around the parking lot, before we decided we were only a tail-light, some turn signals and licence-plate brackets from getting it registered.

Royal Enfield has these two cute running lights either side of the headlight. We put some super bright LEDs in there, put amber lenses over them, so we could use them as turn-signals.

We took the original rear fender and cut it down real short; got rid of the electrical and air-cleaner boxes.

It turned into a two-week project before it was cosmetically finished. I’ve been riding it back and forth to work most days since.

On our last open day, we let everybody who asked ride that motorcycle and we sold lots of tyres and air-cleaners and all the stuff that goes with it, just because they rode that bike.

The engine is completely standard, except for the muffler and air-cleaner. There’s no Power Commander or anything, it’s stock fuel injection, and it runs great, smooth and clean, and it feels like it’s so much stronger. People who ride it come back and say, “What did you do to this motor?”

The much taller tyres certainly change the gearing, and it lost a lot of weight. Anything you need is there but there’s nothing there you don’t need.

People ask why we called it Hannibal. I guess because this is a flat-tracker that eats its own kind.

For more info on building a Royal Enfield flat-tracker, contact Will Keith at Revelry Cycles, 336 Parramatta Road, Burwood, NSW 2134; 02-9715-7354.

photos by George; words by Will Keith at Revelry Cycles.

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