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.

My Motorcycle Is New Again

I picked my ’78 Honda 550k motorcycle today after it spent a week at the shop. It needed a new rear tire (you could see the threads), plus the shifter gasket was replaced, and standard stuff was adjusted: valves, carbs… [insert engine lingo].

It runs BEAUTIFULLY now: quieter and smoother. Having a good mechanic work on a motorcycle is like getting a new bike in the end.

Irishtown Cycle did the work. Highly recommended. He’s an independent guy out in the boonies, but he knows what he’s doing and he does it for a reasonable price. I phoned Toys For Big Boys, a Honda motorcycle dealer, before taking the bike to Irishtown, since they’re a lot closer and they’re an “official” Honda dealer, but they were hesitant about working on my 1978 bike, saying it would probably cost a LOT.

Honda CB550

Honda CB550Now that I have my motorcycle license and have been driving a 250 for two weeks, I’ve been actively looking for a motorcycle to buy. Yesterday someone told me about a 1978 Honda CB550Four K that’s for sale, so I visited the seller and fell in love with the bike: it’s in perfect condition. The seller’s asking $2000 (Canadian) for it, which is steep for a bike that old, but it IS in top condition, and the seller is willing to help me maintain it (although it needs no maintenance now; it’s ready for the road).

I think I’m going to get it.