® CB500/550 myths

Due to its classic and soon to be antique status, and a whole lot of ignorance online, there is more folklore about the Honda CB500/550 four than there is useful information. Here are a handful of the common myths concerning this model. And these really are nonsensical, ill-conceived myths. Go here for a more thorough list of issues the forums get completely wrong.

  • The charging system is under-powered
  • Premium gas is best
  • The cylinder head needs to be milled
  • It is necessary to add a relay to the ignition system
  • Exhaust bluing is always caused by carburetor problems
  • Valve lapping is a correct, legitimate procedure
  • The clutch discs need to be abrasive blasted
  • It's okay to use a CB450 clutch pushrod in your CB500
  • Aftermarket exhausts always cause the carbs to need rejetting
  • Carburetor rebuild kits are a good thing
  • An electronic ignition will improve performance
  • Low cylinder compression is normal
  • A defect in CB500s and early CB550 rockerboxes damages the engine
  • The wheel bearings are difficult to remove
  • The steering bearings are difficult to remove
  • Aftermarket tapered steering bearings are an upgrade
  • Metric tires don't fit properly
  • The handlebar switches are low quality
  • Head gasket leaks are solved by using non-original parts
  • The 77-78 carburetors are difficult to work on
  • The Murray's two-carb conversion is an upgrade
  • Dyna 2.2 Ohm ignition coils will tax the electrical system

Recommended reading:
CB500/550 quirks
Electrical deception
Cylinders done right
Engine assembly
Valves and the CB500/550

Last updated November 2022
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