7’500 mile service, preparing for winter

As far as timing goes, this worked out quite nicely, as it’s just at that point where winter is about to well and truly set in. Us southern softies have had it quite good with regards to snow so far, although we’ve seen a few sub-zero mornings and some strong winds over the last week or so.

As well as the usual service schedule gubbins, it’s prudent to consider a few extra bits and pieces because of the extra strains the bike will suffer during winter use. Well, that’s true for those of use who won’t be putting the bike away over the cold season (out of stupidity or necessity?!) anyway noteworthy things that were encountered…

  • Valve clearances were spot-on and didn’t require any adjustment. Thus supporting the theory that they do indeed begin to settle down as miles mount up.
  • The engine oil was quite dirty, maybe the engine runs hotter due to how lean the air-fuel mixture must be to get 120-130mpg. No metal fragments, which is excellent, but within the last 500 miles or so before this service, I found that the level had dropped to about 1/2 way on the dipstick, so it needed a top-up.
  • Oil filter strainer – the one you’ve all been waiting for! Check out this how-to for more information about what to do with the oil strainer in the sump. Mine was quite dirty, especially considering that I never looked at the YBR’s one until 38’000 miles, and it was clean!
  • Centrifugal oil filter – not checked – I’ll explain why in another post! And it’ll probably never get checked either – regular oil changes mean it should remain clean, and accounts from people checking them at high mileages on bikes like the CG125 (25’000 miles+), show that they found insignificant amounts of dirt in there, hardly worth opening everything up for. Only worth checking if oil changes have been infrequent, or there has been engine damage and you suspect metal fragments will have accumulated in there.
  • Air filter – replaced. The old one was fairly dirty – it’s a paper type that can’t really be cleaned with any solvents, and dirt gets so embedded in there that compressed air and tapping will not have that much effect.
  • Crankcase breather – had no liquid in it at all! Oh well…
  • Front brake pads – I expected that this would be the time to replace them but was pleasantly surprised to see a fair bit of meat left on them, so after giving them a roughening with some wet-and-dry paper and cleaning them up, back in they went.
  • Steering head bearings – needed no adjustment (no play in the steering head) and no ‘notches’ – points where the races wear unevenly due to corrosion or heavy-handedness (wheelies!).
  • Chain – did not require any adjustment, which was nice!

Okay – here’s some winter-specific things I’ve also done:

  • Lubricated clutch and throttle cables with a PTFE based spray lubricant and aerosol cable oiler.
  • Partially stripped and cleaned/greased the front brake calliper – essentially pump the pistons out halfway and clean them up, either with a brake cleaner that’s safe around rubber (Wurth Brake and Chain Cleaner is) or use brake fluid. A smear of red rubber grease around the pistons before pushing them back in also helps protect against corrosion as well as providing a little lubrication – insurance against sticking pistons that will require a full calliper strip down and new seals!  Also cleaned and lubricated the slider pins with red grease to ensure they don’t corrode and cause the calliper to seize and bind against the disc.
  • Lubricated the following points:
    • Clutch lever with LM grease.
    • Brake lever/master cylinder piston contact area with red grease.
    • Brake pedal pivot with lithium grease.
    • Gear-shift pedal pivot with LM grease.
    • Side-stand pivot with LM grease and its switch with silicone spray.
    • Rider and passenger foot-rests with lithium grease.
  • Treated the entire machine to a coating of ACF-50 – an excellent corrosion inhibitor used in the aerospace industry. It has an excellent, well-earned reputation amongst motorcyclists who ride all-year-round as well, including myself. Basically put it everywhere metal apart from the brake disc, the part of the brake pedal your foot touches, and the clutch/brake levers. Then leave the bike for a few months – it’ll look terrible but once you wash it off, you’ll reveal gleaming beauty! It’s also good for electrical connections. Smells great when it burns off the exhaust/hot engine parts too!

Author: n.martin

Managing 450-odd Macs at a university, innit.

10 thoughts on “7’500 mile service, preparing for winter”

  1. Question about chain adjustment.
    When you measure the slack in the chain, do you measure from its rest position and then pull up (at the mid point between drive and rear sprocket, obviously) and measure change to the raised up position, or do you pull down on the chain from its rest position, set your ruler at that low point and then pull up to the high point and measure?

    I read the manual carefully and think it is from rest to high point, but I am not certain.

    Also, how much force do you use to lift the chain, as I found if you lift the chain with more force you can get an extra 5-10mm.

    At the 600mile (self) service, I did the measurement from rest to high, applying maybe a couple of pounds of force with one or two fingers (enough to lift a bag of sugar) and got close to 20mm so left it unadjusted (15mm – 25mm is recommended so 20mm is in the middle of that range). However, when I pulled down and up with a bit more force (10 pounds, say) it would have been closer to 25mm – at the limit.

    I’ve read that its better to have the chain a little on the slack side than on the tight side because a tight chain will wear quicker and be more likely to break.

    What do you think?

    1. Here’s a good way of checking it – after you’ve cleaned and lubed the chain, get your key for the bike and put it under the lower run of the chain, where it crosses the rear tyre (middle of the run). Pull the key up and when you feel resistance that’s what you measure. Don’t use much force. And, your key has oil on it now so it’ll lubricate your lock! 2cm is an approximate goal – in fact, anything between 2 and 3cm is fine, and you could get away with 4cm without much worry. It’s not an exact science at all.

      A chain that is too slack would lose power/efficiency (not much), could foul other components, like the swingarm (you’d hear it), and in the worst case, and it would have to be REALLY bad, like over 5 or 6cm, you have the danger of the chain coming off the sprockets when riding. You’d also feel it as jerky throttle response when pulling away as the engine takes up the slack and ‘grabs’ the chain abruptly.

      A chain that is too tight will put undue stress on the output shaft and its bearings in the engine – which could cause some very nasty damage indeed – think about lots of metal fragments from a collapsed bearing circulating around the engine oil…

      It’s better to be too loose… With regards to the chain snapping, as long as you clean and oil it regularly, it’s unlikely, until you cover a high mileage (I’m talking 15’000-20’000, maybe more) and the sprockets (especially the front) start to look hooked. That said, I had a poor quality IRIS chain on my YBR that snapped after 7’000 miles with not much warning. Stick to decent manufacturers like DID and RK (the CBF comes with RK from the factory).

  2. Hi, congratulations on another fantastic post.

    A quick question, what do you use to lubricate your chain? The previous owner looked to have used some sort of wax (which was also on many other things including the rear tyre!).


    1. Hey Steve,

      I use SAE 90w gear oil (as recommended by Honda) and a paint brush, after first cleaning it with paraffin from a squirty spray bottle and ‘gunge brush’ (3 sided plastic brush for chains) and drying with a rag. After oiling, wipe the chain over gently with a rag so you leave a thin film of oil there, but not enough to fling all over the back end of the bike. Engine oil is also fine, I find gear oil doesn’t fling as much because of the higher viscosity. I do this every 300 miles, or after riding in the rain (sometimes I just re-oil the chain if it isn’t very dirty).

      It’s worth noting that the original chain on these bikes is a sealed O-ring type, so we are only applying oil to the rubber O-rings and outer surfaces of the plates/links to keep them in good condition, rather than actually lubricating the rollers and pins themselves (grease is sealed in at the factory for the life of the chain). If we didn’t oil these chains, the O-rings would perish and split, allowing the grease to come out, as well as the links/plates being more prone to rust and corrosion.

  3. Hello

    Can you recommend a good tool set/torque wrench, something that will cover everything 🙂

    Thanks, Scootaloo

    1. I have the Halfords Professional Advanced 3/8″ torque wrench, sockets (normal, deep and allen type), breaker bar and ratchet tool. I have to say they are excellent – I bought them bit by bit rather than get a complete set – that way you buy only the parts you need, for example, you’d never find a 13mm fastener on the CBF, so you wouldn’t need that socket. I also find 3/8″ drive metric sockets are adequate for all my needs so far – remember if you want 1/4″ and 1/2″ tools, or imperial/AF size sockets, it all adds up The Halfords torque wrench was tested in a review to have something like 99% accuracy.

      I also have a lot of other tools – has taken quite a while to amass the collection, maybe I’ll make a post about them all…

  4. Hey, i have a question for you, i think my head bearings are damaged, i have heavy steering and it feels quiet light and unstable at high speeds, also the left side is giving the worse side effects as it really hard to turn into a corner when going left! The bike feels unpleasent, i have done a lot of wheelies and the first sign was when i popped a wheelie and the next day the handling became poor! I know is my fault, what do you think i should do adjust them or completely change them? maybe is fork seals? How much do u think a garage could charge me for this… i don’t have appropriate tools to undergo the process and fix it myself, otherwise i would have! Would really appreciate your answer Simon!

    Cheers Roman

    1. You will likely damage your head bearings if you wheelie a lot… What will happen is you’ll be creating dents/notches in the races as the wheel slams down to the ground. If the notches are big, then the front wheel will want to stay pointing in the same direction when you try to corner/lean the bike. Put the bike on the centre stand and lift the front wheel off the ground. Slowly turn the steering from lock to lock. It should turn smoothly with little resistance. You’ll probably notice ‘bumps’ as you turn it, and I bet there will be a big one in the ‘middle’ of the turn. You could have knocked the races out of alignment as well, making the head jam, which will make it hard to turn. If you get either or both of these symptoms, you could try adjusting them, but it will be likely that you’ll have to fit new bearings. Quite a difficult job – the Haynes shows you how and will give you an idea of the confidence needed. If in doubt, I’d definitely have a mechanic do it as there is some reasonably fiddly work involved and a fair amount of disassembly of the front end of the bike. I’d guess it’d be 1, maybe 2 hours labour and around £30 for new bearings/races. I’d say £100 wouldn’t be unreasonable. That’s a vague guess though.

      Another test – lift the front wheel off the ground and aim it centrally. Grab the bottom of both forks with either hand and try to rock the forks/wheel back/forth. There should be no ‘play’ or ‘clickyness’, which would indicate the bearings are too loose. It’s only really in this scenario that you’d usually just need to adjust them.

      Fork seals – are your forks leaking oil? If not then it’s not the seals. If you sit on the bike, grab the front brake and bounce the suspension, does it bounce around 1 and a half times with no roughness? If so, it should be okay.

  5. Hi CBF125 Rider, thanks for your site, its given me so much info about maintenence and has really given me confidence tackling the various procedures myself. I’ve noticed you are doing a partial strip down and grease of the calliper as part of your routine maintenence. Im curious as it doesnt have this in the 2500 miles interval in the haynes, but sounds like a good idea!. Is this possibly over cautious or do you think its quite important and overlooked? A how to guide on this would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

  6. hi mate

    quick question for you.

    right when i release my clutch lever the biting points right at the top.ie were iv almost let go of the lever.is there anyway to adjust it?or is my clutch on its way out?

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