The GS850G Broke - David Tracy Intensifies

You know how my clutch cable was breaking back in July? Well I mended it with a new cable and thought my problems were long behind me. Apparently not...

Last night I was enjoying a cool ride running some errands. There was a small chance of rain in the forecast with temps in the mid 40s. But I suppose we drew the short stick because when it started falling I noticed the rain was most definitely frozen. Temps quickly dropped to 30 degrees on top of that. Ugh.

I decided to cut the ride short, grab my prescriptions, and head home before it got bad. I’m glad I made that decision.


Pulling into the line at the pharmacy I felt a familiar snap in my clutch lever. Thinking I’m crazy (because the cable is new, after all) I put it into Neutral and pulled the lever again. One more snap and the lever went limp. WELL...crap.

I rolled the bike up under cover and got to work.

This cable basically sheared itself clean off the round doohickey that secures the cable in the lever. I imagine it was defective in some way, but I didn’t have time to ponder the build quality of the cable, I needed to get home, stat!

First order of business was breaking out the JBWeld Steelstik out of my bag. It advertised a 1 hour cure time and I fully expected to be able to hang around that long. I “repaired” the cable with the SteelStik and let it sit.


Meanwhile, I milled around the pharmacy and got my prescriptions. The cure time of SteelStik is supposed to be 1 hour, but that assumes weather and temperature conditions warmer and more dry than last night. After milling about for 30 minutes the light frozen rain started transitioning to snow flurries. Eh, not my kind of riding weather. Temps also definitely got below freezing because the little droplets on the Suzie already froze solid. I figured I should get my butt home now before the roads got bad.

Looking in my “Shit MacGyver” bag of random odds and ends, I found a screwdriver that accepts various bits and a hex wrench. Combining the two together I was able to make a sort of arm to actuate the arm the cable normally pulls. A quick test and it worked smashingly well.


I decided to hook the JBWelded cable back up and get on the road. It seemed cured enough for the 15 minute or so ride I’d need it for. Nope! It failed the instant I pulled the lever. Makes sense, I only let it cure for 45 minutes of however long it would have taken for the weather.


But surprisingly, I didn’t even need the tool I invented. As it turns out, this old bike has a starter so ridiculously strong that you don’t need to clutch to start in first gear. And second through fifth gears shift nice and smooth when you shift at or below 3.5k RPM.

My ride home was actually pretty fun. I stopped at lights by putting it in Neutral then hitting the cut switch. I would then put it in first and when the light turned green engaged the starter. The starter got the bike moving and the engine started at the same time. Rinse and repeat for every red light and it was easily the most enjoyable time I’ve had getting a broken vehicle home. The roads also stayed really solid. While there may have been ice on my bike, the roads were still warm enough that it was just wet.


I have another new cable on order, this time from another vendor. Think I’ll also wrap this one with some heat shrink stuff in the parts that are exposed to the elements.

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