It’s quite incredible how one man’s passion for a certain kind of motorcycle can culminate into a piece of art. For Royal Enfield motorcycle enthusiasts across the globe, Aniket Vardhan’s Musket 998 project is a piece of art indeed, for it represents a direction that many would want the makers of the Royal Enfield to take. While that’s something that won’t happen any time too soon given that Royal Enfield has well and truly moved on to the unit construction engine, it leaves dyed-in-the-wool motorcyclists like Aniket Vardhan to conjure up such delectable pieces of two wheeled engineering. Many readers would be pleased to hear that the Royal Enfield based Musket 998 V-Twin engine is almost ready to enter small scale production.
That’s right, the Musket 998 now gets a modified frame to house the 998cc V-Twin engine and the motorcycle is now road worthy. An Industrial Design teacher based out of the United States, Aniket Vardhan actually learnt machining from ground up over the past few years to move the Musket project from paper to production. The first Musket project began with Aniket taking the help of machinists and his own design inputs to assemble two 350cc cylinders sourced from two 350cc Royal Enfield engines, arranged into a V-Twin engine design. That project gave rise to the Musket 700.
Wanting to up the ante, Aniket bumped up displacement with two 500cc cylinders from Royal Enfield. This has now resulted in the Musket 998, a motorcycle that uses plenty of stock Royal Enfield parts to keep things as simple as possible, harking back to the 1950s, when the original Royal Enfield 500s rolled out of Redditch, England. Like the older Royal Enfields, the Musket 998 uses a pre-unit construction layout for the engine construction. In other words, this means that the engine, gearbox and clutch are three separate components bolted together even as they retain their respective housings.
The 998cc V-Twin Musket engine is said to deliver bagfuls of torque right off idle while the twin exhausts deliver a steady thrum characteristic of low revving V-Twins. Expect a peak power rating between 40-50 Bhp while peak torque could hit about 70 Nm. The Musket 998 also uses a four speed gearbox that comes with a gear shifter positioned at the right hand side, a far cry from current motorcycles, which use left side gear shifters as a de-facto standard. The four speed gearbox even retains the neutral finder, another blast-from-the-past feature that old times would lovingly reminisce about.
Aniket plans to put the Musket 998 engine kits into production for existing Royal Enfield owners to convert their rides into Muskets. Frame kits for conversion are also in the offing. Watch this space.