So… still waiting for clutch parts, but I took another ride to work today, about 40 miles each direction.
The bike has a “shimmy” now, at low speed; feels like when you’re riding on grooved pavement. Strangely, it doesn’t get worse at 55, but actually a bit better, and almost disappears in the corners. Did I do something wrong mounting the tire, or is it the tire itself? The previous tire was a Dunlop D401, put on by the previous owner; the new tire is a Michelin Commander II that I won as a “door prize” about a year ago. It went on easy and balanced with just one weight I recycled (there were two weights on the wheel with the Shinko mounted, and I needed only one of them to balance the Michelin). And I did as described in the shop manual, tightening the axle nut first on the right side before doing the front and then the back of the clamp on the left.
Not sure what’s going on. I don’t think it’s dangerous (I rode on wet pavement today without trouble) but it is annoying.
After some discussion on the XS650 forum, I put it up on the centerstand, propped the front of the engine up to lift the wheel, and did the wiggle test on the head and spun the tire. There is no play in the head and no bumpiness or other visible irregularity in the tire. And I checked for the nth time that the tire is installed the right way (there’s an arrow in the sidewall on one side, and a smaller arrow on the other right at the tread edge). I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s just how this tire rides.
The rear tire is a Shinko, and it’s still installed. I never noticed any shimmy with the Dunlop.
Tonight I installed the new Michelin front tire I won in a giveaway almost exactly a year ago; I forget what exact model of tire it is, but I’ll post it when I get a chance to look. It went on wonderfully, which was a relief because it’s my first tubeless tire replacement. I also got that darn cam chain tensioner adjusted, and then I took it for a ride.
There was rain coming in from the north, but just the tip of a larger system that was heading southeast, so I went south and then west and picked up the end of the Bee Ridge Road and ran that to Edina, Missouri. Got some gas at the Casey’s and rolled back out for home. I had threaded the needle between two rainstorms on the ridge road, and I saw that I would have to do thread another to get home dry; the clouds were glorious ahead of me, but threatening on either side as I took Highway 6 back to my home in La Belle, Missouri. The streets were wet but the air was dry, and I got in with no unpleasant dampness.
HOWEVER… on the highway heading home I considered passing a slower vehicle, and I rolled the throttle on. Around 5,500 to 6,000 RPM the clutch started slipping. I’m using Valvoline conventional 20W-50, MA1, so I’m assuming it’s not the oil, but an actual worn-out clutch pack. Doesn’t look too hard to replace. I don’t ride on the Interstate much at all, so I may leave it for a couple thousand miles so I don’t waste all that oil I just put in. I also noticed the front brake pads are ready to be replaced, so I suppose I’ll order all the parts for both jobs and get them done, eh, maybe next year, no faster than I’m going. I have two other daily riders so if I find I have to park it again I suppose I can. Annoying to get the unfinished work done, only to discover more, but with a vintage vehicle what do I expect?