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In the Clutches of Ignorance

Mar 5, 2014

The previous chapter ended with ‘Let’s ride!’ and ride I did. The bike was re-wired, all the bolts tested for tightness and the Oregon rain stopped for a day and a half. What I day and a half I had! Short errands, errands taking the long way around, waiting until dark so I could test the aim of the headlight.

The bike runs fantastic. At low RPM it’s quiet enough that my neighbors might not even know I’ve putted by, but once on the street, a bit of gas and man! What a sound! Sounds great going up through the gears (or might I say down – remember, I flipped the shifter for the rear sets) and sounds great when it’s time to slow down and you blip the throttle for a down shift. Starts pretty easy. Roars off and stops pretty well too. Maybe not as technologically advanced as a new crotch-rocket, but the bike is really nice for me – I couldn’t be happier.

Once, in the Safeway parking lot, as I was heading back to the bike with my errand trophies, a passerby mentioned that he liked the look of my Kawasaki asking the year and telling me the seat was ‘Sick!’ Made my head swell just a bit.

As I left the Safeway and rounded the 90 degree corner on to the highway to home, I gave it a good bit of gas and the revs came up higher than my speed. At first I thought the rear end was going to come around due to excessive power and wettish pavement, but no… It wasn’t the rear tire that was slipping, it was the clutch.

Having put a whole 60 miles on the bike in that day and a half, it turned out that was as far as the clutch was going to tolerate the automotive motor oil I used for the first-day, new-to-me oil change I had performed back in November.

Here’s something I learned –



The ‘motorcycle oil’ on the left isn’t just a marketing ploy which I assumed was true. Turns out, the cheaper stuff on the right has some additives that make it more ‘slippery’ – great for your car (or the insides of a motorcycle motor that has a dry clutch like a Harley or whatever) but not great for my bike. Turns out that stuff on the right will destroy your wet-bath motorcycle clutch plates if so equipped. My bike, the Half-Cal RedHot Latte has a wet-bath motorcycle clutch and in just 60 miles I destroyed my wet-bath motorcycle clutch plates…


The good news, parts for Japanese motorcycles are pretty cheap.



These new plates will be here tomorrow, and I have already purchased the proper oil, drained and flushed out the old bad oil and taken apart the clutch assembly –

Ready for the new parts, and hope I learned something.



It’s raining cats and dogs, so no lost riding time and can’t wait to see what my next lesson will be : -)

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