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Warranty Work CB500X

Blog Date 26 Aug 2016

On Saturday I turned the preload up on the CB500X, both front and rear. I was just experimenting, playing, tinkering as ya do. I'm completely clueless when it comes to suspension settings, maybe I could learn something? I've made a careful note of the original positions as my inexperience is likely to make things worse not better. Things do feel better, but then that could be kidology. Anything different and new feels fresh and fresh usually seems better. I'll let things settle for a while to decide if it is truly any better. 

One thing seems worse though. I'm getting a "clunk" from the front end. I ride a little more. Under heavy braking or firm acceleration there's a distinctive set of clunks and grawks from the forks. It feels like "stiction", like something is grinding or rubbing roughly within the fork tubes. When I step off the bike and the forks fully extend "Ker-lunk!" 

The front forks and wheel of Ren's CB500XThere's something amiss here I'm sure.

Oh crap. Oh poop. Oh pants. Gosh-darn-it! I've broken my new bike. As I ride I ponder fork springs rubbing together, loose bits of slider gnashing into aluminium and torn rubber seals bleeding important fluids into the wrong places. What have I done? 

Hang on. What I have done is made a couple of minor adjustments to my suspension. These bits are supposed to be adjustable by the owner. These bits don't require special training to adjust. I haven't done anything wrong. And this bike is only...erm...what...er...4 months old. Ooooh! Maybe I don't have to take it apart and fix it. Maybe I don't have to buy lots and lots of expensive parts. Maybe I should take it back to Honda and say "Ere, what's going on? Fix it for me will ya." I feel better now.

I duly take the bike to Honda on Monday Morning. "I'm sorry all the technicians are booked up at the moment, can you bring it back on..." I arrange to return with the bike on Friday as that's my next free day. So this Friday morning I return. 

The technician is a big chap who is obviously in pain. He's limping as his back has given out on him last night, I feel quite sorry for the poor man. However he bounces the front end, asks a few questions then whips the bike around into the workshop. I spend the next half hour drinking the free hot chocolate, looking at other motorcycles, smoking my e-cig and bothering anyone who'll listen. The technician returns from a short test ride.

He's had the front wheel off, the bearings are good. He's had the forks off, no problem there. There's no play in the head bearings but as a precaution he's removed the top yoke and found the bearings a tad loose. He's nipped them up and put it all back together and the test ride seems fine. I had considered the head bearings but having found no play myself I'd dismissed this. I'm...I'm not convinced but I respect his experience, I respect the fact he's taken the time to inspect things thoroughly and I shall ride the bike myself before I agree or disagree.

So far it appears he was quite correct and I must retract my doubts. I myself am an engineer and I understand that diagnosis is incredibly difficult. Even if he had been wrong I would not have "kicked off" or thought he was a useless idiot. I would simply return the bike at some point and ask him to rethink his diagnosis. Speaking as an engineer to anyone reading -  we are not masters of all knowledge, we do not know EVERYTHING about our subject, we are learning daily, we are human and are often wrong. Your best hope is to find an engineer willing to listen and work through problems logically until a solution is found.

Wigan Honda did their job - I mean this in a most positive way. No-one made me feel like a moaning old fart instead they were friendly and relaxed. I felt like a customer bringing a bike in for a service or repair rather than they were doing me a favour by fixing some warranty nonsense. There was no embarrassing bowing apology just an everyday "OK, here's another job to do" approach. When the mechanic returned the bike he also carried out a 5 minute check list across the bike with me watching. Nothing serious just tyres, brakes, cables, chain and controls, those sort of things. I would describe Wigan Honda's approach to this warranty work as pleasingly professional, courteous and thorough.


The creaking and grinding forks are not right. I guess I'll be returning to Wigan Honda. These things happen so lets see what else could be the issue. I'll keep you posted.


Reader's Comments

Pocketpete said :-
Hope my cb500x is OK. My weary bones creak so much as winter Ice starts I doubt I could tell.

I think with certain faults you just have to sit back and let the fault develop until it gets bad enough to happen all the time and it is the simpler to identify.

Looking on the forums. The cb500x suffers from poor head bearings. A few reports of that also I read a few reports of strange noises from the front abs. Including clicking and cracking noises.

Keep us posted.
8/9//2016 7:48:28 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Been back to the shop. This time a different mechanic believes it could be the fork bushes (aka sliders). This seems possible to me. They're getting the parts and will arrange a date for it to be done. No grief, no sulking, "let's see if we can sort it" attitude from Wigan Honda which is fine with me.

This Tuesday I got to open the taps and give it some on the 500 and it felt fabulous. I carved some corners and bent some bends on lovely dry sticky tarmac. Alas winter will be here all to soon and the notion of grip will seem like a long distant memory. There is a masochistic side of me that looks forward to riding the majestic and malevolent storms that pass this way from time to time.
8/9//2016 9:36:23 AM UTC

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