2’389 miles: 2’500 mile service.

Well Saturday came and went, and by the end of last week the bike had reached its second service interval (if you go by the book!). Unfortunately no pictures or detailed how-to’s this time as the work involved was quite basic, and more importantly, my Wife had ‘borrowed’ the camera!

Here’s a summary of what occurred with any interesting findings below each job:

  • Oil change
    • Easy enough, have been using a 5w40 fully synthetic ester/PAO based oil since 1’500 miles and the engine has less vibration (my sat-nav mount lock would vibrate a lot and now it doesn’t since switching from 10w30) and is quieter! Also, I noticed more of it on the rockers/top end when I checked the valve clearances, so it clings to components a lot better than the previous oil did. Honda do specify 10w30 but there are a few theories as to why; one is related to emissions produced when oil is burnt – this is less with 10w30, according to a reliable source (Honda certified mechanic). The other reason is more dubious – Castrol were the only company producing 10w30 for a while, and Honda have, let’s say, business agreements with them which may influence the oils they recommend… The service manual states that you can use other viscosity ranges as well. Whilst not getting into a brand war or debate here, I have found the oil I am using now has improved things and I will stick with it. I replaced the alloy sealing washer on the drain bolt with a self-sealing dowty washer – very much recommended. No more drippy drippy… Also did this the night before just after getting in from work as the engine was hot and more oil drains out as a result.
  • Spark plug gap measurement and clean up with a wire brush
    • Since new, I have switched to using the higher heat range plug (NGK CPR8EA-9) because most of my commute is at 50mph+ for a long time (40 minutes or so). The colour was good (light brown) and there were no excessive combustion deposits on the plug or any signs of electrode wear. Interestingly, the plug that came with the bike was a Bosch unit (Indian, like the bike). I would always trust NGK for quality. A smear of copper grease on the plug threads is a good idea for better earthing and easing future removal.
  • Crankcase breather ‘nipple’ cleanout
    • Wasn’t dirty/full of water but I have only ridden in the rain a handful of times
  • Chain adjustment
    • Was getting about 4cm of slack, so adjusted it to 2cm, as per the specification. I expect this from a new chain as it beds in, so no cause for alarm.
  • Valve clearances
    • Ok this was interesting – the clearances were spot on and did not require adjustment, but there is either an error in the service manual or my engine was put together incorrectly. Basically, the manual states that the cam shaft sprocket has a marking that must be on the left hand side when the piston is at TDC on the compression stroke. On my bike the marking is on the right hand side when this is the case. With it on the left, the piston is lower (felt carefully down the spark plug hole with a small screwdriver) and there is no play in the rocker arms!
  • Engine idle speed
    • Should be 1’500rpm when idle and warm. And it was… Marked as to be checked by a garage but that is for bikes with no tachometer (pre 2011), so you need to hook one up on an older CBF.
  • Wheels
    • Again, another job supposed to be done by a dealer but it’s easy. You grab each wheel by either side and try and ‘bend’ it on the axle, feeling for any roughness or ‘play’ on the axle, which would indicate possible wheel bearing failure. This is something that is very unlikely to happen until you reach a very high mileage (20’000+), so no problems there. Also check your tyres for cracks/bulges and damage as well as the wheel rims. You can check the rims for runout (buckling/bending) by positioning a pencil on a pile of books/wood blocks very close to the rim and rotating the wheel to see if any part of the rim touches it or gets closer/farther away. Again, no issues there and I have never come across a bent alloy wheel personally. The only case I can think of is if the bike has been in a crash or been ridden on very uneven ground.
  • Suspension
    • Gave the front suspension a bit of a workout – brake on, pushing down on the handlebars repetedly. Should rebound 1 and a half times or so. The forks should not be leaking oil either and the stanchions should not show rust spots or pitting, especially where they slide into the fork legs. As for the rear, bike on centre stand, push down on the back seat. Should move freely and rebound with no clicks/play. Grab the rear wheel axle nut and bolt and try to make the swingarm move by wiggling side to side and up and down. You should not feel any roughness or movement. Again this was all fine, as it should be!
  • Fuel Line check
    • Basically look at all the hoses going from/to the fuel tank and fuel pump and see if there is any damage/cracking/perishing. Give them a wiggle to expose any cracks that may be there. Again no issues.
  • Lubrication
    • Any pivot points (levers, foot controls, side stand) and control cables (throttle/clutch/speedometer) need to be cleaned and re-lubricated with the appropriate grease: Generally speaking – metal on metal; use lithium grease, metal on plastic/rubber or plastic/rubber on plastic/rubber; use silicone grease, anything around hydraulic brakes, use red rubber grease, anything you don’t want to lubricate but want to protect against seizing/corrosion (like fastener threads), use copper grease.
  • Brake system
    • Does it work? Check the pads/shoes for wear – for pads you can see a groove in the friction material if you look up inside the calliper, square on with the disc. For rear shoes, there is a pointer that must not point at the mark on the left side of its travel when the pedal is pressed. Check for brake lights coming on when you use both brakes, just before braking occurs – adjust the rear brake light if necessary – it wasn’t for me. I also went beyond the manual here and did a partial strip down of the front calliper, pumped the pistons out halfway, cleaned it up (use brake fluid or a cleaner that is safe on rubber), cleaned and greased the slider pins and put it all back together. The pistons move more freely – as in you can push them in by hand more easily now. This is good preventative maintenance and should be done during each service in my opinion, in order to avoid brake binding caused by corrosion in the piston/calliper sliders. In winter it’s even more important as in Britain, salt is used on the roads to deal with ice and it eats metal!

Author: n.martin

Managing 450-odd Macs at a university, innit.

9 thoughts on “2’389 miles: 2’500 mile service.”

  1. Greetings!
    Congratulations with your second service! So far so good!
    I have a question… What’s the “Crankcase breather ‘nipple’”… Is there anyway that you could post a picture of it… Since I bought my bike, I’ve been riding it in the rain about twice a week, minimun… I’m not aware of any part that could suffer damages because of the excesive rain rides… At least for now…

    1. Hey, cheers.

      The nipple I speak of is a little light red/clear reservoir that is clipped onto the underside of the air filter housing, just to the right of the fuel pump. Basically unclip it and empty it out and/or clean it out as it collects excess water/dirt from the air filter.

  2. Great!
    3º dealer service done! 4000km… From now on, it`s up to me! Got to do everything on my own, I have been wainting for this for a couple of months!

  3. Hi, finding your site fantastic reading, very useful!

    I’ve got a 2012 CBF125, had it from new since October and I’ve already clocked up about 1500 miles. Interested in the spark plug you mention here (the NGK CRP8EA-9) as I also have a commute which is all A roads of 50+… Has this been much of an improvement for you compared to the stock Bosch plug???
    Also, the NGK website and the Honda owners manual only seem to specify the NGK CRP7EA-9, just want to make sure I order the correct one and I’m not going to cause any damage with the wrong plug.

    Hopefully going to venture into the world of avoiding extortionate prices for servicing with Honda, problem is I am a complete novice so will ease in with an oil change and the plug this weekend. Will also go with your recommendation of the 5w40 as I get quite a bit of vibration and sounds like that will sove it.

      1. There is no effect on speed by using a hotter or cooler plug – use the CPR8EA-9 if you ride long distances at high speeds as there will be less chance of the plug overheating and pre-ignighting the mixture when the engine gets hot.

  4. What kind of fully synthetic oil do you use? Are there any difference between different brands of fully synthetic oil?

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