My 30 Year Old Motorcycle

Honda 550k motorcycleMy 30 year old Honda CB550 motorcycle is making me nervous. Last year its electrical system wasn’t acting normal: fuses would blow every week or so. I eventually put a higher voltage (I think) in it, which seems to have solved the problem, but it made me nervous: I fear the 30 year old part will break on me while I’m traveling fast on a highway.

I put the battery in last weekend and started it up with no problem since having it in storage for the winter, and I took it for a short ride today; however, I’m getting a major tune-up done on it next week at Irishtown Cycle:

  • Oil and filter change. I usually do this, but I’m not this time since he’ll probably have to drain the oil for other maintenance.
  • Check: spark plugs, all blots, throttle valve operation, spokes, brake caliper and pad linings, brake fluid, rear brake stopper arm, chain and sprockets, axles, wheel bearings, rear brake shoe line, front fork oil, steering head bearings, cables
  • Compression test
  • Clean oil screen filter
  • Lubricate throttle cables
  • Change oil filter element
  • Adjust carburetors
  • Adjust ignition timing
  • Adjust valve tappet clearances
  • Adjust cam chain
  • Adjust clutch
  • Clean fuel valve filter

I don’t know what most of that stuff means: I copied it from my Clymer Honda CB350-550 SOHC Fours 1971-1978 Service manual.

Motorcycles Have Fuses

My motorcycle died the other day. I was in the passing lane of the causeway (near the same place I almost crashed into a dump truck), when the bike suddenly lost power – it just died. I coasted to the side of the road, then checked the obvious stuff: gas, kill switch, oil… all okay.

I called a local repair, who picked the bike up and brought it to their shop. They said the original 30 year old fuses finally gave out, so he replaced all of them. 30 bucks.

I wonder what other 30 year old parts on it are about to give away?