Driving report Egli-Enfield Super Bullet Clubman

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Driving report Egli-Enfield Super Bullet Clubman

Driving report Egli-Enfield Super Bullet Clubman
Snob on wheels

Fritz W. Egli, the figurehead of the Swiss tuning profession, occasionally treats himself to a motorcycle project that focuses on aesthetics and nostalgia, not costs. Super Bullet Clubman is the name of its newest rolling extravaganza.

Axel Westphal

09/10/1999

There is a philosophy behind every motorcycle. Fritz W.. Egli delivers them free of charge. “Do you remember the good old days,” he writes in his brochure, “when motorcycles were still made of steel and aluminum, not of colored plastic.” His swipe at Japanese high-volume production is unmistakable; but the master, whose successes as a racing team owner and designer in the endurance world championship should still be remembered, is by no means blinded. According to the motto: old is automatically good and Japanese is always boring.
Far Eastern perfection and reliability are precisely what he wanted to breathe into his latest creation, the Egli-Enfield Super Bullet “Clubman”, the complicated name of the simple motorcycle. With enormous effort and at no cost.
For the Enfield importer, it made sense to make the simply constructed engine with the technical level of the 1960s desirable for a clientele who would like to see a nostalgic outfit paired with modern reliability. To do this, Egli dismantles the Enfields delivered from India and rebuilds them with many improvements and new parts. A customer then gave him the idea of ​​building a lightweight sports motorcycle with the single cylinder.
Of course, the Eglish central tube frame made of nickel-plated chrome molybdenum steel, the tuner’s trademark, had to serve as the basis. No screw remained on the engine as it used to be. Own aluminum cylinder, self-machined larger piston of American origin, larger valves in the completely redesigned cylinder head, long-stroke crankshaft (105 millimeters) with special main bearings, dry clutch, toothed belt primary drive, 36 mm Keihin flat slide carburetor, to name just the most important things. The customer can look forward to a little more than 40 hp from 624 cm³ displacement. Exclusivity is guaranteed: So far, only two copies of the Clubman exist at a price of a good 40,000 francs.
Accelerate: Operate the choke on the carburetor, pull the huge compression lever and tap the kick starter vigorously. There is a deep humming sound, speed barely 800 rpm. It’s good that the reverse switching sequence of the pedals with the first gear on the top right from old Ducati days is still stored in the brain. The Egli-Enfield pushes forward with a gentle blow. The little streets in the hilly hinterland of Zurich prove to be ideal terrain for the lightweight machine. The much-cited term of driving “as if on rails” has to be found here again. The little Clubman is not familiar with the uncomfortable straightening up when braking in an inclined position, often inherent in modern motorcycles with lush tires. Metzeler ME Z1-tyred 18-inch wheels with a modest width at the front are 110/70 tires, at the rear a 140/70 tires – this is not to be expected. The required hardness of the fork made by Egli itself – hallmark: the two connecting pipes above the fender – and the Koni struts in no way spoil the ride comfort, although they clearly tell the driver whether the road builders have slipped again while repairing the wintry asphalt damage. The front disc brake, which has nothing less to offer than a Spiegler eight-piston caliper and is powerful, but not too poisonous, is definitely part of the modern age. While the rear counterpart goes to work rather overzealously and sometimes lets the tire come to a standstill all too abruptly. But actually you don’t need them at all.
It can be expected that a single-cylinder motorcycle with a total weight of 139 kilograms will sweep extremely nimbly around the corners and be as easy to handle as a mountain bike.
No question about it, the Indian single à la Egli doesn’t have the power of a modern stew à la KTM. Nevertheless, the motor, supported only by a four-speed gearbox, pushes forward sustainably, so that the astonished driver can soon read almost 160 km / h on the speedometer with a digital display that has been borrowed from a bicycle. Curled up like a fakir, however, that is due to the air resistance. Too bad that the wonderful driving feeling is clouded a little by the extremely unwilling transmission. Although also revised by Meister Egli, it demands a lot of strength and sensitivity from the driver’s foot. Now you can feel it again: The Clubman just comes from a vintage car.
Egli wouldn’t be Egli if he didn’t allow himself a few lovable technical quirks. Be it the rubber fastening of the slim aluminum tank, which is a bit crooked on the top tube, or the huge switch from the days of the tube radio that activates the VDO oil temperature indicator – what for? – or the electronic Krober tachometer rescued from test bench tests. Almost a collector’s item.
One thing is certain: anyone who shows up at the motorcycle meeting with the Egli Enfield Clubman is sure to get everyone’s attention. Without such motorcycles the scene would be poorer.

Portrait of Fritz W. Egli – career of a legend: Fritz W. Egli

»Flaring gasoline with pleasure«, he said once when MOTORRAD hosted a tuner meeting at the Nurburgring in 1987. There is no more succinct formulation of how Fritz W. Egli, a renowned designer and tuner from Bettwil in the Zurich hinterland, understands his profession. Today’s Swiss importer for Chang Jiang, Enfield, MuZ and Sachs became known in this country for its simple and effective central tube frame including self-constructed telescopic forks, with which wobbly Japanese boxes mutated into track-stable sports equipment in the 1970s. Racing successes in the endurance world championship with drivers Georges Godier and Alain Genoud (Bol D`Or victory 1974) and Jaques Cornu (fastest lap in the eight-hour race on the ring) each with Kawasaki 1000 cc four-cylinders underpinned his image as Designer. From 1977 to 1987 his sports machines found brisk sales, not least thanks to the German Egli importer Reinhold Kraft. In total, Egli sold over 3000 of its frame kits worldwide, including a number of complete motorcycles. When the Japanese perfected their motorcycles in the mid-80s, extensive chassis modifications no longer made sense. For an interim period, the Swiss switched to tuning heavy eight-cylinder Ami sleds such as the Chevrolette Corvette until he managed to get by with importing the niche brands mentioned above. Today the 62-year-old employs 13 people in addition to his wife in a spacious property, formerly a farm.

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