The clutch is dead, long live the clutch!

I picked up the Barnett clutch yesterday. While soaking the friction plates in motor oil before installation, I thumbed through the SVS’s service manual and actually managed to find the wear limits for the old plates. I’d been looking for these last weekend, but the manual helpfully puts “clutch disassembly”, “clutch inspection”, and “clutch installation” in three separate areas. Someday, when I’m old and bitter and I hate the world, I’m going to write service manuals.

Anyway, it turns out that my stock friction plates were well past the wear limit, as were the springs. Hooray.

I installed the new clutch plastes, springs, and gasket and bolted everything back up all happy-like. Like a complete tard, I forgot to replace the oil filler cap thing after pouring in the new oil, which resulted in a nice coating of fresh oil splatter all over my half of the garage.

Once I cleaned that up and replaced the oil (and cap!), things ran well. Until I tried to actually adjust the clutch.

The problem now is that the new clutch springs require approximately fifteen thousand pounds of force to compress. My left arm has tendonitis. And so we reach an impasse.

I spent a long time last night trying to adjust the clutch to a point where (a) the clutch would disengage with the lever pulled in and (b) I could pull the lever back to the friction zone. Unfortunately, I could get one or the other, but never both. If I could pull the lever, the bike would immediately stall when I downshifted into first. If the tension was correct to disengage the clutch, I needed both hands (literally) to pull back the lever.

So Peter and I came back inside and he drew me lots of pretty pictures of levers and pivot points and fulcrums. We decided that, short of finding me a three-foot-long clutch lever, I wasn’t going to be able to get enough leverage to use my new clutch.

Fortunately, the internet solves all ills, and I found a Moose Easy-Pull Clutch System. The gist of it is that there’s additional linkage inside, which attaches to both the stock clutch cable and to its own cable (if I understand correctly, the cable that’s attached to the system then connects to the bike lever). I ordered one from a local shop that swears up and down that it’ll be in tomorrow morning. So, watch this space, and I’ll let y’all know how that works out.


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