Is it really worth trying to do major mechanical work yourself?

I’m sure I or a nearby shop have something to convert one to the other. I don’t. The shops don’t. So I go online.

A few days pass. Then everything connects. Within three seconds the nut is undone. Per hour of operation, the air gun is currently costing £180,000.

The clutch pack itself comes apart and goes back together relatively easily, although I don’t remember thinking so at the time.

And so to reassemble everything. I have apparently neglected to realise that something so difficult to undo will also want re-tightening, to a hefty 94lb ft.

I read that I should have left the bike in top gear (I didn’t and it now won’t leave first), so no matter how hard I wedge the rear brake, the back wheel turns instead of the nut torquing. If I use the air gun, I won’t know if I’ve torqued the nut correctly. If I block the back wheel, I risk bending a spoke. And a wedged-on back brake isn’t holding it. The day passes.

The next morning, I’m scratching my head when a friend arrives. I ask them to sit on the bike. I wedge the brake on and have lodged a piece of wood in the wheel. I apply the wrench and… click. As with the undoing, after several days of annoyance, within three seconds the job is done.

Now just to fit a new gasket, then sort the exhaust, then adjust the clutch.

I inspect the edges of the engine case and clutch cover. There is a lot of original gasket applied to both, a baffling substance with the relative hardness of granite and yet the clingy qualities of brie, gecko’s foot and wet shower curtain. It will have to be scraped off, a millimetre at a time.

A day passes. My bike still doesn’t work. The exhaust still looms. Soon, though, I’ll know how to replace a clutch, a skill I’ll have clean forgotten when it next needs changing, in 12 years’ time.


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