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My Panhead has spent the winter at Skull Chopa near Lincoln while Richard refurbished the original '52 gearbox.

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My Panhead has spent the winter at the always-interesting Skull Chopa near Lincoln while Richard refurbished the original '52 gearbox.

It was great to get it back and take it on a (cold and mud-spattered) run along some of the fast A roads around here, stopping by the local post office to offload some UK-bound mags. I had noticed that the clutch was feeling heavier than previously but put it down to everything being slightly out of adjustment after the rebuild. But then I was puzzled when it span freely – not turning the engine over – when I returned to kick the bike over. After rocking it in gear, I was able to start it and return home, but something was obviously amiss.

Derby cover off – and after some half-hearted fiddling with the mousetrap – I discovered the pressure plate nuts were tightened right down on the studs, leaving over an inch of thread exposed on each of the three. Sure enough, after consulting the '48-'65 bible and loosening off the nuts to ensure no less than 31/32" was showing between the pressure plate and the outer disc of the clutch (then adjusting the centre screw), the ol' clutch just sat there, refusing to even attempt to function.

Balls. Another step back after a briefly-magnificent one forward. I love riding old bikes. But I hate trying to fix them.

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