So… you want to power a sat-nav or something from the battery?

Here’s what I did…

Forget tapping off the headlight, auxiliary or tail light – they’re all powered directly from the alternator itself. You need a stable 12 volt feed from the battery, preferably switched by the ignition. Ideally you also don’t want to be butchering the wiring loom and you want to find somewhere that’s relatively well shielded from the elements, AND which leaves you with the option of easily removing your connections and restoring the electrical system back to an unmodified original state with next-to no effort as all.Ladies and gentlemen, I believe I have found this holy grail! Continue reading

How-to: Fit fork gaiters on the CBF125

Fork gaiters are fantastic. I absolutely love them. Why? Because in 40’000 miles and 3 winters I never had to touch the fork seals or stanchions on the YBR as I had fitted a pair of these! They provide protection against the elements and more importantly, stone chippings flicked up from other vehicles, which will chip the chrome away, letting rust set in, forming pits which will tear fork seals apart. This will result in leaking fork oil, which, if left unchecked, could lead to damaging the fork’s internal components, poor suspension performance (a safety issue as the bike’s handling will suffer!) and an MOT failure. Replacing the seals alone is not enough because the pitted stanchions will just damage the new ones quickly again. You can get the stanchions re-chromed or buy new ones (or even clean out the pits and fill with an epoxy like Araldite, but that’s time consuming and requires skill). But, why spend your time, and possibly a lot of money depending on what you choose to do, on that when you can easily prevent these issues in the first place? Continue reading

How-to: Check and adjust valve clearances on the CBF125

On an engine, valves are situated in the cylinder head (‘top end’) and their job is to let fuel-air mixture in to the cylinder for combustion and to let burnt exhaust gasses out. The CBF125 uses the traditional ‘tappet and lock nut’ method for setting valve clearances, which is very common, if not universal, on simple, small displacement engines. The term ‘valve clearance’ refers to the gap between the tappet and top of a valve stem. The tappet is a small part that is part of an assembly called a rocker arm and it is the part that pushes on the stem of the poppet valve to open it. That gap is there for a very good reason – as the engine heats up, these components will expand and the gap will be filled. If there is no valve clearance (gap too small), you could bend the valve or it will be forced open a little, causing poor idling, excessive fuel consumption and/or poor running (depending on which valve is the culprit). If the valve clearance is too great, with a large gap between the tappet and valve stem, then the valve stem and tappet will wear more quickly as they’d be colliding against each-other with more force. The valves may also not open fully, which will cause poorer engine performance/idling. Continue reading

1’500 miles – might as well do an oil change!

…and that’s it really. My first oil change on this bike, somewhat of a milestone perhaps, or not. I thought that I may as well keep an eye on things that little bit more, leading up to the first major service interval at 2’500 miles, as things are still bedding in and there will still be a little of the original oil from the run-in period left in the engine (you can never get it all out). I opted to stick with Honda’s specified Castrol Power 1 10w30 (previously called GPS). It’s reddish in colour and quite runny compared to the 10w40 stuff I’m used to. You’ll never go wrong by changing the oil more frequently than the service schedule recommends, but it gets more expensive (although we’re only talking 900ml or so of oil each time). Continue reading

Fuel economy stats at Fuelly.com

For the eagle-eyed amongst you, you’ll notice that to the right of this page there is a new banner that displays my average fuel economy figures (in miles per Imperial gallon). I have also added a more detailed one to My Bike page. This will change over time because I record every fill up, and if you click on the banner itself you’ll be able to see more detailed statistics.

Pretty cool, eh?