Last November Royal Enfield finally pulled the covers off its long-awaited 650cc parallel twins – the first twins its made since the UK factory closed in 1970. But one Australian engineer – Paul Carberry – has been working on his own Enfield-based twins for 15 years. Now his machine, the Carberry Double Barrel V2, is set to go on sale at only around £8000/$11,000.
The Carberry Double Barrel V2 is powered by a 998cc 55º V-twin which comprises two Royal Enfield 500cc Bullet cylinders and heads. A specially designed crankcase incorporating a stock Enfield five-speed transmission provides the join. It’s wrapped in a dedicated twin-shock classic-styled frame package. After building 13 bikes in Australia, Carberry moved to India and created a new firm, Dream Engine Manufacturers (DEM), to make the bikes.
It represents an alternative way of building a twin-cylinder Royal Enfield. It’s no surprise that the astute Royal Enfield boss Siddhartha Lal bought one and has kept close tabs on the Carberry operation. He’s even agreed to furnish DEM with the necessary stock Royal Enfield components to construct the Double Barrel engine and frame. Just in case, you see….
It’s billed by the local press as ‘India’s first Superbike’ on the grounds that it’s the largest capacity motorcycle yet to be entirely built in the country. Carberry teamed up with Bhilai-based businessman Jaspreet Singh Bhatia two years ago to create DEM and manufacture the Double Barrel V-twin. It’s named in recognition of Royal Enfield’s roots as a shotgun manufacturer. “We’ve named it the Double Barrel because it requires two (B)ullets, and fires two barrels!” smiles Carberry.
DEM is selling complete bikes for INR 735,000 (about £8,000 or US$11,000) tax free. A standalone motor goes for INR 496,000 (£5,500 or US$7,700) complete with carbs and electronic ignition. A fuel-injected Euro 4 compliant version of the engine is under development and close to customer-ready, according to Carberry. ABS will also be available soon, both at no extra cost.
“We want to offer a version of the motor with carbs for Custom bike builders,” says Paul. As an illustration of that check out the unique award-winning Carberry-powered Chopper produced by Goa-based Rag & Bone Customs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWNNT7rvitY. It’s yours for INR 1.5 million (£16,200 or US$22,750). More such creations will surely follow, given the Double Barrel motor’s meaty looks.
It’s hard not to admire 59-year old Carberry for his persistence. His unstinting belief in the project has overcome many hurdles pursuing his dream of doubling up a pair of British ohv singles to produce a neo-classic pushrod V-twin.
“The basic premise was to create a classic British-style 1000cc V-Twin using as many stock Royal Enfield parts as possible,” says Paul. “The Bullet single’s a lovely little bike – but it is a little one, so it’s just a bit lean on power. That’s the only thing against it nowadays, when everyone’s going retro and neo-classics are selling so well. So adding an extra cylinder takes care of that, as well as making the kind of bike I personally like, and which I know other people do, too. My aim is to offer a well-mannered torquey cruiser with the look, the feel and the sound you’d expect from a bike with a traditional British character, that’s fun to ride, but has enough modern technology to make it reliable, all at an affordable price.”
And that last objective meant building it in India, for his design parameters for the Double Barrel engine also focused on keeping production and maintenance costs down to a minimum, via the worldwide availability of Enfield parts.
Paul Carberry first conceived the Double Barrel during a seven-year spell in Jakarta, Indonesia. He was profitably hoovering up WLA Harley V-twins left over from WW2 and restoring them to sell in the USA and Oz. Along the way he began importing Royal Enfields for sale in Indonesia. That’s when he had his ‘what-if’ moment, and started down the path of making his own multi-cylinder Enfield-based motorcycle.
To create the Carberry-Enfield V2 motor, Paul headed back Down Under to call on the services of Melbourne-based development engineer Ian Drysdale. The creator of the Drysdale V8 sportbikes has a formidable track record of thinking outside the box. It’s a big leap from manufacturing a street-legal four-camshaft 32-valve V8 sportbike to concocting a pushrod V-twin engine for a retro roadster. But when your name is Ian Drysdale, engineering variety is the spice of life. “It was an enticing challenge to produce something low-tech on two wheels, for a change,” says Ian.
Drysdale’s 2003 prototype air-cooled ohv 998cc 55º V-twin engine covered thousands of kilometres of road testing. It used twin-shock frame Carberry designed and made himself. This used a braced section of the Enfield Bullet chassis at the rear, mated to a specially-fabricated front section with twin downtubes and a double frame backbone. The dry-sump engine’s ideal 60% balance was achieved by heavy-metal weights plugged into the crank flywheels.
But the path to production was not an easy one. “The idea was to make money out of doing something I love, but it’s sometimes been a love-hate relationship!” says Paul. “I put everything into the V-twin project, to the point that I lost my house and was made personally bankrupt. But eventually I teamed up with a couple of partners to put the fully-homologated ADR-compliant bike into production at a factory up in the mountains outside Melbourne.
“By now it had grown to 1100cc and had Enfield’s new five-speed gearbox, and it was a pretty good bike – all our customers were certainly pleased with it. But we only managed a short production run of just 13 complete motorcycles and a couple of engines before the rising cost of raw materials and overheads meant it all had to be shut down. But then after a few years doing other things, I began getting calls from people from all over the world, including India and China, about getting the project going again.
“Jaspreet was one of them, but the difference was that he actually did something about it, rather than just talk! We worked out an agreement, and I moved over here early in 2016 together with my lovely wife Luka, who’s been incredibly supportive all the way through. Jaspreet set us up with somewhere to live, and a factory to build the bikes in, as well as a staff of up to 14 people at any one time, all of them locals who are eager to see the company succeed. I started hunting around for vendors and machinists and so on, which was a difficult task locally because there’s no automotive industry suppliers here in Chhattisgarh. But we eventually sourced the needed components from all over India, and now it’s all finally come together, so that we’re ready to start satisfying orders.”
Bike-loving entrepreneur Jaspreet Singh Bhatia, 33, is from a Sikh family with various business interests. In India his ownership of a Kawasaki ZRX1200 stamps him as an avid biker with a passion for two-wheeled engineering.
“I used to trade in bikes and cars as a hobby, especially Harley-Davidsons, which I used to restore myself, and then sell,” he says.
“Originally, I wanted a Carberry engine to build a Custom bike around it, which appealed to me because it used Royal Enfield parts. So in 2015 I contacted Paul, who told me that he’s not producing engines any more – he had all the moulds and drawings, but was lacking in funds. So I asked him if he wanted to leave it all on the shelf, or did he want to restart the project and make some money out of it? He came to India, we had a talk, and decided to set up this business together. He had the trust in me, I have the trust in his technology, and together we’ve built an excellent machine which I’m looking forward to putting into series production. I wanted to buy an engine, but instead I ended up buying a company!”
The original 2003 Drysdale-built Carberry-Enfield motor utilised the cast iron cylinders and four-speed gearbox of the then-current vintage-era Bullet single. But in 2007 Royal Enfield introduced the current much improved all-aluminium engine with a five-speed transmission. It’s this which forms the basis of today’s 998cc Double Barrel V2 dry-sump pushrod motor.
The all-new crankcases carry a pair of 500 Bullet cylinders and stock Royal Enfield cylinder heads, with original valves and springs. Stock Bullet conrods and cast pistons deliver the same 8.5:1 compression ratio, mounted on a special roller-bearing crankshaft. This has dual main bearings on each side. Carberry says they help achieve smoothness as well as crank rigidity.
Behind the left-side primary cover lies a duplex chain primary drive to the separate five-speed Royal Enfield gearbox. Gearing rises by a massive four teeth on the engine sprocket versus a 500 Bulle. That’s to take account of the V-twin’s extra performance over the ohv single.
“We use the same camshaft as the Bullet,” says Carberry, “but this behaves a little differently than in the stock Enfield, because it was designed to run with roller rockers there, and with our flat bottom plain-bearing rockers it has a steeper drive, and a longer duration.”
There’s potentially quite a bit of extra power available by playing with cam profiles and timing. Above that, the Carberry engine is apparently capable of going to 1300cc quite safely. That would produce extra zest from a sports version, if needed. But the present version gives 52.4 bhp at 4,800 rpm in carburetted form. The fuel-injected version should manage 56bhp. It’s quite sufficient to meet the expectations of Dream Engine’s target customers. The 82.6 Nm/61 ft-lb of peak torque delivered at just 4,000 rpm ensures a meaty but relaxed engine response. It’s entirely in keeping with the Carberry V2’s period-style twin-shock cycle parts and retro cruiser character.
Carberry has fitted a heavy-duty Mitsubishi starter motor as used on a Ford Courier van to the Double Barrel engine. It cranks immediately into life before settling to a smooth, rather muted but definitely sonorous offbeat idle. The 2-1 exhaust uses a silencer from the Bullet single, and that keeps noise levels down. The riding position is very rational, with the 800mm-tall rider’s section of the two-part seat plush and comfortable. However, the battery box digs in to your upper left thigh, which is not only painful but also means that even a tall rider must tiptoe at traffic lights. While complaining, the Bullet-sourced sidestand is much too short; you must be very careful where you park up the Carberry.
However, when you do stop to admire it, it’s hard not to applaud the real sense of presence that the bike undoubtedly has. The Royal Enfield ohv cylinders look quite meaty, in spite of being completely standard. In terms of looks this has all the hallmarks of a true modern classic.
But one with modern performance? Yes, adequately so. The Double Barrel is a straight-shooting, pleasurable ride down memory lane, but in a modern context. The thing that strikes you most is how smooth it is. There’s none of the tiring tingles of other narrow-angle pushrod V-twins. There’s only a little noticeable vibration through the footrests when the speedo needle reaches 110kmh.
There’s just the same flexible, forgivingly torquey punch as on any Ducati desmodue. The Carberry V2 is happy to pull away wide open in top gear from as low as 40 kmh on the Enfield speedo. There’s no hint of transmission snatch. Nor, it must be said, is there a great deal of haste. You’ll keep up with traffic quite easily, but 54 bhp from a 230kg bike isn’t a recipe for performance. It’s easy-going, with acceptable pickup out of turns from a closed throttle and good top-gear roll-on from 80kmh. Carberry has the carburation and valve timing to improve response and pickup from down low.
This is a sweet and surprisingly sophisticated power unit at odds with its frankly humble retro antecedents. It gallops along well in top gear at an indicated 120 kmh. It’s certainly more practical to ride in real-world Western conditions than a Royal Enfield single. That’s mainly because it doesn’t run out of breath at 100 kmh, like a 500 Bullet does.
You don’t need to use the light-action clutch to change up a gear on the smooth five-speed transmission. Even though it’s from a single, its ratios suit the V-twin. The bottom two gears are quite low, the top three ratios more even. I held fourth gear to 120 kmh on the speedo, then nicked fifth very smoothly, with more top end performance seemingly to come. But I think Paul Carberry’s estimated top speed of 115 mph/180 km/h might be a little over-optimistic. Anyway, it’s not that kind of bike; cruising along at 130 kmh was both relaxing and enjoyable.
The Double Barrel’s Indian-built frame is a new open-cradle design by Paul Carberry. It uses a 50mm-diameter tubular steel backbone and twin front downtubes with the engine as a fully stressed frame member. A Bullet rear loop supports the seat. The swingarm pivot is beefier than before. There’s acceptably good ride quality in spite of the twin-shock rear end, which delivers just 80mm of wheel travel. Though the Indian-made gas shocks are quite soft, damping is acceptable. The Carberry doesn’t wallow or weave even when you hit a bump in the road surface leaned over a little. Up front, the 35mm RE leading-axle telescopic fork has 130mm of wheel travel and soft damping. There isn’t enough bite from the single 280mm disc to make the front end dive excessively under hard braking.
The Carberry V2 handles pretty well, with its wire wheels’ steel rims shod with Pirelli Sport Demons. A rear 18-incher replaces the stock 19-inch Enfield rim. This lowers the bike at the rear and kicks out the stock Enfield fork even more. Coupled with the rangy 1520mm wheelbase, the result is a bike that’s very stable. Yet it was surprisingly easy to change direction on in a fast S-bend; not nimble, exactly, but definitely less ponderous in its steering that the previous Carberry-Enfield 1100.
There’s no need to tug unduly hard on the ‘bars to flick the Carberry from side to side. Stopping is another matter; that 280mm front disc whose twin-pot caliper was rather wooden in its response. Could be it needs different pads, since fortunately the smaller 240mm rear disc proved surprisingly effective. You must use them both quite hard to stop from any speed. Bosch ABS sourced from Royal Enfield will go on all customer bikes from now on, assures Carberry. “I’d like to thank Siddhartha Lal for all his support on many different levels, from supplying us with parts to manufacture the bike up to even a little bit of help on the homologation,” he says. “Royal Enfield has just been really good to us, and we’re so grateful for that.”
The Carberry Double Barrel V2 deserves to reach a wider public. But for global sales they need the fuel injected version. Without that there’s no hope of achieving the Euro 4 compliance. But the hardest part of Paul Carberry’s 15-year journey is over. The end result of that is an Indian-built bike quite unlike anything else available in today’s marketplace. On that basis, his target of selling around 200 bikes a year annual units by 2020 does look achievable.
Photos: Suresh Narayanan