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Don't Trust The Images

Blog Date 30 April 2023

You may recall my battle with a noisy CB500X. As part of this battle I replaced the steering head bearings.

I have previously purchased "All Balls" head bearings. They are a tad more expensive than other no-name bearings. Not being a scientific metallurgist I cannot categorically state that "All Balls are better than..." but they are a brand. As such it is my hope they are at least of a reasonable quality. I have no evidence for this, only hope.

When looking for replacement head bearings I noted that M&P on Ebay had a set of CB500X bearings - and the image clearly displayed a bearing marked "All Balls". But... the listing did not state "All Balls". Curious. Hmmmm. OK, this is M&P, one of the UK's best known and long established parts suppliers. It'd be a bit cheeky putting a picture up clearly showing "All Balls" bearings but not supplying them. I paid my money.

Sure enough the bearings arrive and they are not marked "All Balls". Damn. 

I am well within my rights to return the bearings. In the UK if you buy something "unseen" from an online shop you can return the product for no reason at all, as long as you return it in good condition and unopened. M&P even supply the necessary paperwork etc. I contact M&P to state this issue, they inform me the goods are good quality and it must have been a stock or picking issue. I can return them for a full refund, no problems.

But it is a problem. I have already waited 2 days for the bearings and I need them now. I mean they look OK but they are NOT "All Balls". If I were in no rush I'd return them as a matter of principle but I really want my 500 back on the blummin road. I fit them. 

M&P have not broken any laws and were more than happy to refund my money if I return the product. What I *FEEL* they have done is mislead me - be it intentionally or not. I am a disappointed M&P customer.

Then the CBF125 eats it's regulator/rectifier.

There appear to be 2 versions of aftermarket reggy reccies on the market. One is marked "SH786AA", the other is marked with a "H" logo. The "SH786AA" marked ones are a little more pricey - but - this is what has been on my CBF125 for the last 70,000 miles so I figure the extra tenner will be money well spent. No, shush, I know I know, the CBF125 can not possibly last another 70,000 miles.

Wemoto - who I've been using on and off for over 20 years - has a CBF125 regulator rectifier listed and the image clearly shows the "SH786AA" markings. I duly order it and 2 days later I receive a "H" logo item in a box. I could have saved myself a tenner.

The reggy reccy is clearly marked with a "H" on a shield shape
Nope, this is the same as the cheaper reggy reccies.

Once again Wemoto's packaging includes a return slip and I could return the item. Once again I do not believe Wemoto have done anything illegal. Once again I need my 125 back on the road so the item is fitted. Once again I *FEEL* mislead. Once again I am a disappointed Wemoto customer.

Neither company specifically stated in their listing the precise brand or mark. Both the supplied items are fitted and working as expected. Both companies would be happy for me to return the items (in good order and unused - not after being fitted to the bike). 

The lesson to be learned here needs to be learned by myself. Just because the picture shows exactly what I'm looking for it does not necessarily follow that this will be the exact product I shall receive. Bogger recently mentioned about buying his boots from a real physical shop. Here he can hold and touch and inspect the product before purchase. I reckon this could catch on you know - real shops - I could check to see if what I'm buying is what I hope it is.

Oh well. I'd like to think I've learned my lesson. Probably not.

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Reader's Comments

Upt'North ¹ said :-
Oh dear, Eds head's been hoodwinked.
You could start a go fund me page for the monetary loss? I've got a dead slug and a broken button I could send, if you pay the postage.
Other than going to a main dealer 50 plus miles away I have to rely on't t'internet.
It's just the way it is, progress apparently.
02/05/2023 16:06:49 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I can't imagine my minor frustrations are worthy of your kind and generous donations Upt', I'd rather the dead slug and broken button went to a worthy cause - like BoJo's barely survivable pension fund.

I'm trying to recall what we did before the interweb. Imagine not being able to regale you with my terrible tales, imagine not being able to watch endless cat videos? How did we ever survive?
02/05/2023 18:01:40 UTC
Bogger said :-
Ref the bearing Mr Ed.

Could you not have taken a trip down to simply bearings in Leigh, with old bearings for a pattern.

I've used them in the past and found both them and their bearings to be of good quality.

Let's face it you've got enough time on your hands. Ahem.

02/05/2023 20:26:36 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Ed, very true.
I think I got my first mobile around 1995. Nokia some'at or other on Orange PAYG. It was like witchcraft, I spose I was well into my thirties. Now kids have got the latest 6" mega jobbies by the time they're just young teenagers.
As for the t'internet our first home computer was on dial up and on Windows 98SE. So about 25 years ago.
I can't imagine life without a tablet, a smartphone, a laptop etc. Infact how would we honestly get by.
I've just got a Garmin Zumo XT for The B, the first thing you have to do is connect online and pair it with everything from your TV to your car it'll never go in.
I'm still a luddite at heart but without embracing IT you can be left behind very quickly.
I do like IT and when it works well it's a joy. I know I reported recently about buying a new HP printer with an ink package, it works seamlessly, a totally efficient and affordable joy.
When the Garmin was failing to download the new maps......not so much.
There's only one constant, change.

02/05/2023 21:19:33 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Now then Mr Bogger - I've been using 2 bearing shops in Bolton since before Moses were a lad. However - head bearings pose 2 problems.

Firstly the ones on the bikes I've worked on don't usually come with numbers (ie 6083). This would mean removing the bearings and taking the parts (and bottom yoke + stem) for measuring. I am not at all sure the bearings are standard sizes. Remember as well the top and bottom bearings are (usually) different.

Secondly the standard bearings in the Hondas I have owned have been ball bearings and I prefer taper roller. Particularly on the CBF125 the tapers are taller requiring some "fudging" to make them work.

As such it's just easier to buy off the web a "pre-fudged" kit.

Yes Upt' all this modern tech is like the little girl with the little curl. When it's good it's very good but when it's bad it's horrible. I remember dial-up all too well. When perusing images of saucy ladies the image would slowly reveal itself, much akin to the Big D Peanuts display cards in pubs back in the 80s. If you know... you know.
03/05/2023 08:04:59 UTC
Snod said :-
M&P and Wemoto sell the cheapest off brand stuff they can, I don't find this surprising at all. I bought a couple of front sprockets for the Z250SL from M&P because they were cheap during one of those 20% off ebay sales, the first lasted barely 2500 miles before it was hooked and noisy.

As for pre-fudged bearing kits, I needed a kit for the Z250SL and it was too new for All Balls to know about. But an ebay listing was selling a kit as fitting the bike anyway.. Of course it didn't. So I had to go to a bearing place and get them measured up, and replaced the old floating balls with taper rollers. It was easy enough and cheaper.
05/05/2023 14:16:58 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Might be worth a compleaint to the Advertising Standards Authority. Their code for non-broadcast advertising (which I assume includes website material although worth checking) incudes:

Section 3.3:
"Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.

Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means"

Unless there is a clear statement to the effect that the image is merely presented as an example and is not necessarily the actual item being advertised, I think what you describe breaks this rule.
05/05/2023 17:40:07 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
It does cross my mind to get all legal, then I realise it would involve a lot of effort and energy. I've got bigger fish to fry just trying to manage the chaos and disorder I create in my own life. My point here is to try not to repeat my mistakes and create more chaos.

I hope never to replace another set of head bearings... However it seems inevitable. I shall try to remember and see if the local suppliers can help next time.
08/05/2023 22:13:22 UTC
nab301 said :-
"I hope never to replace another set of head bearings..."
Ren , don't leave them to get this bad ( A Guzzi I purchased a few years back with ok ish handling/ steering except on wet roads!
Posted Image
10/05/2023 12:59:27 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
What a waste! Half an hour with the autosol would have fixed that nab301. Frivolous expenditure I tell you.
11/05/2023 07:36:22 UTC
Bogger said :-
On my then 2014, 2yr old, 19,000ml Beverly 350 I also had to replace the steering head bearings.

I knew the job would be an absolute nightmare (and it was).

I left it for a couple of weeks whilst I drummed up the courage to tackle it.

A truly horrible job of removing all the front end plastics and front suspension and then drifting out the old knackered races.

There was no trace of grease anywhere. Crap Italian build quality.

This job was the last straw in a loooooooooooooong never ending saga of replacements and fettling.

I sold it very soon afterwards.

11/05/2023 18:06:07 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I had to Google Beverly 350. Piaggio scoot apparently. You've got a thing for scoots ain't ya Bogger.
15/05/2023 20:46:29 UTC
Bogger said :-
Indeed I have.

Just got the Forza 350 scooter wise at the moment.

The free Majesty 250, which was totally refurbished/restored has now gone to pastures new. It was running and looking really good. I sold it on a whim (fool that I am).

I'm sure something else will come my way, hopefully free.

Feet forward is the way forward.

Ren you need to see the light and throw off that scooter stigma you have.

17/05/2023 12:45:44 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Long time readers may remember the Yamaha 250 Xmax I briefly daalied with. It was I'm afraid a mistake, functional though these maxi-scoots are. I just failed to prevent my left hand grasping a clutch and my feet looking for gear levers. As well as that, although I bought it to alleviate a hip problem I had, the way I had to splay my legs out to get a foot down made that even worse.
17/05/2023 17:14:22 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Since reading Royve Creasey and Paul Blezard in the 1970s I've always had a strange yen for proper FF bikes. Never had the opportunity to even try one however.
Posted Image
25/05/2023 13:16:52 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Now that's gopping.
Sort of Honda Pacific Coast meets Bond Bug.
Where's me duck.....I've lost me duck Ed.

25/05/2023 17:01:35 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Ahhhh feet forward. I shall add a link to F9's very informative video on the subject. I've seen FF motorcycles akin to bubbles where you're kept (relatively) warm and dry, even offering a hint of additional safety. They're better for comfort and aero too. And yet tradition seems to keep PTWs firmly in this mindset of "NO! It must look like all the other motorcycles ever made!"

Would I consider a feet forward machine? Yes, very much so. It'll take someone like Honda with influence and clout to actually make a worthy machine AND to influence us all to rethink how motorcycles can (should?) work. When we see the small production and home made monstrosities - while clever and innovative and functional and probably very good machines - it's not enough to get us out of our entrenched mindsets.
26/05/2023 09:11:37 UTC

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