First ride of 2011 or first repair of 2011

Knowing we would be out of town for a while, and that the weather would almost certainly not hold, I made sure I got my bike out last weekend. It only took a little coaxing to get it started, and then everything was great. Great, that is, until I tried to pull in the clutch handle. The thing would barely move. I disconnected the cable from the clutch, and tried moving the cable by hand. This worked a bit and things started to loosen enough that I felt okay hooking it back up. I’ll need to lube that cable, though.

Then I was ready to ride, sorta. It turns out the cable was only 1/2 of the problem. Once it was all hooked back up, the lever was still tough to pull, and extremely slow to return. It turns out there is a little spring on the outside of the transmission housing that assists in engaging the clutch. That spring broke at some point, and is just hanging loose. Ok, the clutch is a little too slow for me to ride it safely, so I decide to take a quick look for any other obvious problems. Step one: Check the oil level. Looking through the peep glass on the reservoir, I couldn’t see the line indicating the level of oil in it. This tells me that either the thing is way over full, or completely dry. Any guesses?

After putting the two quarts of motorcycle oil I had into the engine, and running it for a bit, things were a lot better. The clutch was returning reasonably, and I figured I was okay to run to Kopp’s to pick up dinner. On the road, the clutch was still slipping under moderate to heavy load, so I took it easy. Got to the spot, ordered the food, snapped a quick picture, and headed home.

Notice the little puddle? I didn't.

I pulled into the garage, feeling great about my first quick ride of the season, and dismounted. That’s when I noticed the oil running out of the bottom of my bike. Shite. I laid some rags down underneath to catch it, and went upstairs to eat. Now I just have to figure out how bad the problem is.

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