Musket 998 Just About Finished

Musket 998 shows off the new bobber look

Musket 998 shows off the new bobber look

We've been really fortunate here at The Kneeslider, you and I have been able to watch an idea come to life from the first sketches and designs, all the way to the advanced stages it's reached right now. Aniket's Musket 998 is a study in persistent pursuit of a goal and many aspiring motorcycle builders could learn a lot just following the progress.

Musket 998 has a more bare bones appearance

Musket 998 has a more bare bones appearance

A new batch of photos showed up this morning and it's clear Aniket has made a lot of design decisions so he could get on with the final build up.

Here's Aniket:

Tried to give this one it's own character compared to the first one which was rather a smooth and mellow tourer. This one is more along the lines of stripped down to bare bones. The 'pipe and muffler on both sides' caused quite a bit of agony particularly as the curved downtube left limited room between the front wheel and itself for the front pipe to cross over. The classically beautiful symmetrical exhaust of machines such as the 1939 Triumph Speed Twin is very dear to all of us and was a worthy cause to strive for, in spite of the challenge posed by this V twin as opposed to an inherently symmetrical parallel twin.

Routing the exhaust to achieve the symmetrical look - not easy on a V-Twin

Routing the exhaust to achieve the symmetrical look - not easy on a V-Twin

The slim rear mudguard is actually a stock front one. Custom stays were made to mount it to the swingarm which allow it to hug the tire closely and move with it over bumps.

The custom downtube was curved to allow room for the front cylinder without increasing the wheelbase too much- only 2.5", which brings it to 56.5", only 1" more than a Vincent.

The left-shifting gearbox was converted to right side shift by fabricating a custom gearshift lever and a simple linkage, avoiding replacement of the inner and outer covers and shift mechanisms. The clutch has also been beefed up to handle the extra power and didn't exhibit signs of slippage yesterday.

The bike looks good from all angles

The bike looks good from all angles

She was taken for a brief yet truly exhilarating ride yesterday, she goes, solid punchy torque available right from idle. Have to break it in, must be easy on her for now. It's going to be very cold for the next few days, which I will use for tying up random loose ends such as cleaning up random wiring, re-routing cables etc.

The V-Twin looks right at home

The V-Twin looks right at home

I like the look of this, modifying the front down tube allows the V-Twin to snuggle right into the space formerly occupied by the single and the symmetrical exhaust really adds to the appearance. Right now the bike looks very near the finish line, but builders know how these last hours of "tying up random loose ends" as Aniket mentions, can take a surprising amount of time, but we're having some cold weather at the moment so there's no need to rush.

I have a hunch quite a few Royal Enfield owners out there are getting an itch to do some major work on their bikes about now. This could get interesting.

Link: Musket V-Twin

UPDATE: It's on the road - watch the videos!


      • says

        Not at all! Disc brake kits for Bullets are available! Another option is to simply adapt a freely available front end from a Japanese bike and get much better front suspension in the bargain.

  1. B50 Jim says

    I agree with Carolynne! Aniket, you have done a fabulous job! That engine is a work of art surrounded by great classic style on a modern bike. Obviously you had Edward Turner in mind — if he had done a V-twin, this is what it would look like. I’m not taking anything from you; Turner was a genius for motorcycle design. You went to a lot of trouble to get the symmetrical exhausts, but it’s worth it. Still, a V-twin naturally runs its exhausts to one side; all the classics are like that so you could have gone one-sided as well. No matter — this is one fine machine!

  2. Carl La Fong says

    Beautiful bike, but I’m afraid the pipes don’t do it, for me. I have one word for Aniket, Vincent.

  3. Dave says

    I want one… I want one…I want one…I want one!!!!!! The pipes don’t turn me on nor does the bobber style. BUT, I want one! No money, no honey so I’ll just have to live with my trusty Bullet and dream. Thank you Aniket and namastee.

  4. Brian says

    Paul is right:
    To get the bike to this level, is quite a feat. We can all comment on appearance issues, but all those design elements are results of engineering decisions, costs, or equipment available. Example, nowhere would the right side shift be legal. The whole world is left side, but, if he never sells them to anyone, but friends, no one will care. If the bike had to be inspected by any DMV from another country, they might be in trouble.
    It’s still very nice work.

    • says

      This crankcase has the tunnel through it which accepts the newer 5-speed transmission with the left shift arrangement on it. All that is needed is to use the primary chaincase and tranny and right-side brake pedal, from a later model left-shifting 5-speed, and “voila”.
      Left-shifting Musket 998 with an even better gearbox.
      And there are conversion kits for the 5-speed to make it right shift too, in case anyone likes the right shifting 5-speed.

      And if necessary, there are even some left shift kits for the 4-speed gearbox.

      There may be regulatory impediments of various kinds in different countries, but the side it shifts on won’t be one of them. It can shift on either side with the right components.

    • tim says

      I dont have any ability or inclination to comment on whether or not a right side shift would be “legal” in any given jurisdiction (though I might just try and look it up in my country now that my interest is piqued).

      The worst thing about a right side shifter would be people who didnt grow up riding bikes with that shifter arrangement: basically everybody who started riding since the, what, mid-late 70’s? I have ridden a right side shift motorbike exactly twice in my life and it was a novel experience. Sure, with time, I think it would become ingrained in your muscle memory, but I have way too few brain cells left to use them actually THINKING about shifting the gears on the bike I am riding.

      Thats a minor niggle though, and as Tom Lyons says, probably fixable.

      This bike is a great achievement. Aniket must be proud as punch. Looking forward to more youtube vids.

  5. sfan says

    As I have said before, Aniket, you are a rare combination of genius engineer, craftsman and artist. Congratulations. May the market system find the right way to reward and empower you … without distracting your vision and instincts.

  6. Orlando says

    Love it! Wouldn`t change a thing. I for one love what you`ve done w/ the exhaust – sophisticated, symmetrical and great problem solving.

  7. B50 Jim says

    It appears fairly close to production-ready. The right-side shift is not an issue — Aniket used an external linkage, and a production model could easily be left-side. (I understand Aniket’s devotion to right-shift; I ride old English bikes, and God meant a motorcycle’s shift to be right-side.)

    That aside, if R-E gets interested in this concept, they’ll have the resources to take it to market. Let’s hope!

  8. Scotduke says

    It looks fantastic, better than the original Enfield. The exhaust layout looks better this way too. The original system with two pipes on one side was a good idea but had a kink in it, and this layout works better. If I was buying one I’d rather have the left side shift, but since it’s only a linkage issue it’d be easy to switch back. It’s a quality build for sure.

  9. Scotduke says

    Just a thought – but change the sprung saddle for a short race seat and the bars for clip-ons and it’s a cafe racer. I like the simple tail unit a lot. I agree that the factory had better be paying close attention. I like the colour too, understated and subtle.

    • says

      It doesn’t have ACE heads on it in these pictures..

      However, we have ACE heads, cams, and pistons for it any time he wants them.

      We already have a very special high performance build lined up for one of these 998 V-Twin engines as soon as we can get a crankcase from Aniket.
      I’m very much looking forward to it.

      • B50 Jim says

        That will be the perfect V-twin — light, powerful, and beautiful! I’m sure Paul will let us know when it’s ready. If Aniket gets it into production, I’m sure buyers will line up. Can’t wait to see it!

  10. Jim Kunselman says

    To Aniket,
    The Musket is so beautiful, that I’m just amazed I hope that you can get your motor into production.
    Good luck!

  11. Pete says

    Very super nice fantactic result !
    I really like the look (and the sound also, from the earlier video).
    With upswept pipes you have a winner here !

  12. Z_Money says

    This is just fantastic ! I am going to start saving money. I am hoping Tom Lyons gets his hands on one of them soon.

    • says

      The external oil line can be routed behind the exhaust pipe, if desired. There is no requirement to run the oil line outboard of the exhaust pipe. Each builder will route the oil line as he/she desires, as long as the oil gets where it needs to go.

  13. B50 Jim says

    Don’t worry — Aniket wouldn’t screw up like that. Click on the top photo to enlarge it; there’s a good 3/4″ clearance. plenty for air to circulate and keep things cool.

  14. hoyt says

    This is tremendous. It seemed to come together rather quickly too since that last update.
    Stylish, sleeper hot rod.

    question about the header: what about running the front header parallel to the rear & then tuck it under the engine (right after the lower front engine mounts) & exiting the left side at the left foot peg?

    • hoyt says

      I suspect Maintenance would be more involved that way. I like the effort to have symmetrical exhausts

  15. says

    Hullo hullo!
    I see there are yays and nays for the pipes…aaah, well, did my best. Primary reason was to keep it different from the first one. Also, wanted a hybrid of all the elements that I love about vintage British bikes- both parallel twins and Vees. The rear view of a ’39 Speed twin makes my heart go thump-thump. As do the ‘both forward’ pipes of a Vincent. And there you have it.
    Needless to say, myriad layouts of pipes are possible and the next one will very likely be the 2 into 1 ala Vincent. Think I’ll do that with my own Musket Fireball. Although the thought of being astride that machine feels me with nervous terror…this bone-stock motor already surprised me with it’s willingness to escape suddenly from beneath my butt in an alarmingly rapid fashion. But then none of my bikes have been fire-breathers :-)
    I suppose, even completely stock, with its 45 or so hp, what works for it is that it is around 400lbs….a full 150lbs lighter than a current Sportster.
    About the right-side shift…it is only a personal preference. This bike came with the stock left shift…not too precise as it relied on rather sloppy linkage to what was originally a right shifting box (this is what the factory did for USA exports). As B50 Jim mentioned, the ‘correct’ setup for classic Brits (and what I learned to ride on) was indeed right. Of course, anyone wanting left shift can merely leave the box untouched.
    The front oil pipe has a good 3/4″ to the pipe (sharp eye B50Jim!)…was simply a much more straightforward and smooth route compared to 2 sharp 90 deg. bends necessary to go under….this way it just flowed better…visually I mean :-)

        • says

          We have the 2 regular Fireball top ends for getting to the Vincent Black Lightning hp level. Not a problem
          We’re very ready for that.

          However, our newest race heads will have considerably more power than that, and they are almost ready. A pair of them on that V-Twin, and we should be pushing 3-digit hp levels.

          • Z_Money says

            With three versions of the the iron barrell head mods, two-three versions of the crank, various versions of the twin and the UCE top ends, you are going to be vey busy. You need a ‘proper’ website.

  16. James R says

    Wow. Nearly speechless here! What a beautiful bike. I am surprised at how well you have managed to make the exhaust look.

    Did you think about having a single carb in between the cylinders like HD? It might have made some things a bit easier, but then again I am not a fan of how much the HD carb and air filter sticks out in the way of your right leg. Just curious about your decision making process I guess, not a critical comment at all! I am no engineer.

    Fabulous bike. Enjoy riding it! I sure would.

    • says

      Hi there James,
      This question has come up before too, and the reason why a single central carb can’t be done here is because in a Harley, the front and rear heads are mirror images of each other whereas in this job, both heads are identical. So, in a Harley, the front head intake is at the rear and the rear head intake is at the front, allowing both intakes to point towards a central manifold. On the Musket, both intakes are at the rear, necessitating two separate carbs. This is exactly like the setup on the Vincent, my personal wet-dream machine :-)

      • B50 Jim says

        Aniket —

        When you start selling Musket engines and R-E conversion kits, you’ll be able to afford that Black Lighting you’ve been lusting after!

  17. Steve says

    Regarding the carbs, in Tuning For Speed, Irving says the rear cylinder does not breathe the same as the front on a co-joined carb setup. If I recall it was about 60%.
    Nice Job Aniket!

    • says

      And the Vincent 1000cc V-Twin has the same bore and stroke(84mm x 90mm) as this 1000cc Musket V-Twin has.
      The Bullet and the Vincent have the same bore/stroke.

  18. steve w says

    I am sure there are people that won’t like this because it is spelled “Time Warp”. That is the beauty of this machine. Motorcycles are all about seeing the components that make them work. New machines have things hidden and covered in plastic. This is what going to a showroom used to be. Looking at the parts that make a machine. There they are right in front of you. Beautiful! Watching components come together.

  19. Chris Walker says

    Personally I think it looks great, but would route the front exhaust closer to the rear one, then under the front engine mount & down the left side. I would also put the dront cylinder head oil feed pipework close to the right sife of the cylinder, behind the rear cylinder exhaust. Last but not least, my front exhaust route would allow the front frame tude to be offset/curved to the left, thus appearing straight when viewd from the side, allowing more wheel cleance & shortening the wheelbase possibly.

    Other than that it looks great. Sell the plans to the manufacturer !!!! :)

  20. bart says

    Tom Lyons mentions a possible 100 hp with his fireball heads etc. While I love this Musket and bet it would be much better with fireball heads I’d be pretty amazed if 100 hp is in reach. Please prove me wrong…love the bike with 100 hp.
    If RE had any smarts at all they’d be producing these for the NA market.

  21. says

    We “estimate” that power level as a potential, based on the latest developments in our 500cc kits which have potential for over 50hp if the engine is built to extract the most out of these heads..
    We have not “proven” that 100hp power level on the Musket V-Twin yet, but there can be two of these 500 heads on the Musket, so it’s in the realm of possibility.
    At this time, it’s best termed to be “an estimate of potential”. And we have a build getting ready to try to prove it.