I’ve got just under 3,000 miles on the Presidio High School Knucklehead Special at this point and consider the engine to be fully broken in. The 80” mill is running smooth and strong. Now that the weather here in the Chihuahuan Desert has cooled with the coming of winter I find that the engine can be hard to start when the temperature is below 40F. It may be that I just haven’t found the right starting drill for the cooler temps. When the weather is warmer I set the enrichener knob on the CV Keihin, pump the throttle a couple of times, kick through twice with the switch off, switch on, open the throttle, and she starts in one or two kicks. Engine warm or hot and one or two kicks with a twist of the throttle will do it. Cold and I may have to kick it through fifteen or twenty times before she catches and runs. Part of it may be cold oil keeping the mill from spinning freely; I’m running Mobile 1 V-Twin 20w/50w synthetic but the motor feels stiff when I kick it through the first five or six kicks.
The bike cruises effortlessly at 65 to 75 mph and accelerates to 95 for passing with no problem. I am constantly telling my students to use Loc-Tite on all threaded fasteners, I can identify the few they missed by what falls off!
The only oil leaks I’m experiencing are a little seepage around the rocker tins, pretty much par for the course with Knuckles, based on my experience. I occasionally accumulate enough to get a drip on one or the other of the head pipes. I pulled up next to one of my fellow high school teachers in town the other day; he rides one of those swoopy Jetsons-style big scooters that are so popular for their fuel economy. A tendril of oil smoke wafted up from under my fatbobs. “Oh my God, Mr. Cater!” he cried, “Your bike is smoking!” I assured him that, given 60-year old design and technology, it was perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. He looked at me incredulously and whirred away, shaking his head.
The Primo primary belt and the Diamond O-ring rear chain have required no attention. I’ve had no problems with the CV Keihin since installing OEM parts. I’ve had no broken bulbs on the three rear tail lamps since installing LED bulb replacements. The 7” H-4 quartz halogen lamp in the King Bee headlight nacelle is an absolute torch and the Cycle Electric generator with built-in low output regulator has no trouble keeping it shining. The little dual-piston Performance Machine front brake we installed on the springer is doing a good job of stopping the bike. The stock drum rear will keep the bike from rolling at a stop sign but not much more. We arced the new brake shoes to fit the drum after we got them re-lined in Mexico, and I keep thinking they will finally bed-in and start actually offering some stopping power, but at this point I’m beginning to peruse the catalogs for a disc brake rear hub and sketch caliper carriers for a 4-piston Brembo I’ve got laying around.
I’m riding the bike mostly on weekends as it is dark when we go in to school and, frequently, dark when we return, but the weather during the days has been glorious, cool, with the sun shining in clear blue skies. I’m looking forward to Christmas vacation in a couple of weeks and some days spent riding around the Big Bend. I hope the weather is fine in your neck of the woods and wish you all a very merry Christmas!