Lift Work

Being up in the air is not a bad thing.


During this “idle” period we are experiencing, I thought it an ideal time to address a few maintenance items and finish some custom work I started last year.

Usually when one sees a bike in a lift, the immediate thought is that there is some major work that is about to take place. While that may be the case sometimes, in this case it is “May as well” work.

One part of our motorcycles that often gets overlooked and subsequently taken for granted are the cables. We often think of our grips as the active link between us and the heart of our engine, when in actuality it is the cables. For without them, they are just something to hang on to and not likely to fail.

Should your cables fail, you got problems. 

Let’s start with the easy one. The throttle cable. There are two parts to the this, the actual throttle cable and the “neutral” cable. While its purpose has been labeled a “safety feature”, its failure, and I can’t imagine how or why it would, though this cable gets just as much work as the throttle cable itself, is unlikely. Although my 17 year old throttle neutral cable, by outward appearances, appears brand new, I’m replacing it anyway. This is one of those “While you’re in there” moments. I’ll save the “old” one.

It’s afraid…. just a little.

The primary throttle cable, is another thing. Can it fail? Yes. What happens if it fails and you’re on the road somewhere? Removed the neutral cable and swap it to the throttle side and you’re back in binit. But you don’t want to “wait” for that unwelcome surprise, so deal with it and inspect that cable often. The slightest bit of fraying could be signs that it is about to resign from its employed position.

I replaced my throttle cable just a month prior to my trip to the Florida Keys and it made a huge difference. The throttle response was nothing short of amazing, though I still felt a little slop on the return side. Oddly enough, this cable was on back-order from my local dealer and I finally got it after 3 months. 3 months! Obviously on a slow boat from Milwaukee. But changing that cable was swift and simple. The hardest part of that was fishing the cable under the tank and over the cylinder and that took all of 5 minutes.

Cable removed from lever

Now the clutch cable. Egads!!! What a quirky job this is turning out to be. The hardest part so far? Taking off the front slip-on pipe. What the hell? Why call it “Slip-on” anyway? Doesn’t that lead one to believe it should “Slip-Off” as well? The answer to that boys and girls is no. Noting that I did not put the pipe back on after the last major repair last September, I assumed the gorilla that put it back on was angry that day and well, put it ON. It took me 30 minutes to get it off.

Once that was complete, it was just fishing the cable through a series of cable holds, and removing the transmission cover. I let all the fluid drain out into a pan, because, well, I didn’t want it to drain on the floor or the lift. Smarts right?

Why were you so hard to get off?? Notice the pipe etching?

So cable off, transmission goo in the pan, cover and old cable on the bench. Now I have to remove the cable from the cover, disconnect it from the little plate inside while making sure the little balls don’t go wandering off, hook up the new cable to the plate, reconnect the cover to the bike, run the cable up to the lever, fill the transmission case with fluid, reconnect the lever to the cable, adjust the cable, reattach the pipe (so that it can be removed again if needed) and in theory I should be ready to roll.

In theory.

While the cover is on the bench and before I put it all back together, I plan on doing a little chrome etching on the cover to continue the theme on the rest of the bike. And since we’re kinda sorta locked down, I think I have all the time in the world at the moment. I hope to finish it up this weekend. I’ll keep you posted. 

In the meantime, head on over to the Motorcycle Men YouTube channeland watch a couple of Ted Shed videos and you’ll get to see what’s been going on. New videos are on the way so be patient.

Stay tuned.



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