Tribulation is a mongrel based on a mid-1950s Royal Enfield pre-unit 250 Clipper in trials trim, which needed more than a little bit of spit ’n’ polish when it arrived. My first jobs were to strip and rebuild the engine, and source and refinish a different petrol tank. While the paint was drying (literally) on the tank, my thoughts turned to the gearbox and the rear end.

I’ve been fooled by RE gearboxes in the past – they’re devious devices and not to be trusted. When I rebuilt Connie, my ’59 Constellation, I didn’t touch the gearbox other than lubricating it, as it all seemed to be OK, selecting gears, etc. And all was well – Connie’s gearbox is the best RE 4-speed box I’ve used. Easy, slick gear selection, no false neutrals, lots of confidence, all good.

When I acquired Rusty, my rusty 350 Indian Bullet, I applied the same principle. Unfortunately this proved to be a bad strategy as the box was awful.

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