® CB500/550 myths

Due to its classic and now even antique status, and a whole lot of online misinformation, there is much myth and folklore about the Honda CB500/550 four, things the Internet, from a lack of knowledge on this model, gets completely wrong; nonsensical, ill-conceived myths. Go here for a more thorough list of issues.

  • The charging system is defectively 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 legitimate procedure equal to a valve job
  • The clutch discs need to be abrasive blasted
  • It's okay to use an early CB450 steel 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
  • Loose steering bearings resulting in a floppy fork is normal
  • Metric tires don't fit properly
  • The handlebar switches are low quality
  • Head gasket leaks are solved by using non-original parts
  • The head needs to be torqued a second time after installing
  • 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 unduly tax the electrical system
  • Aftermarket electrical parts are your only option
  • Measuring battery charge in volts makes sense
  • Brake squeal has to be lived with
  • The rear brake rubber washer cushions the torque arm
  • The recall gas cap latch looks cool
  • Starting your bike in the garage periodically is good for it
  • You can ignore the standard point ignition, it will be fine the way it is, it has little effect
  • Carb synchronization is needed only a few times in the bike's lifetime
  • Aftermarket control cables are a reasonable, comparable substitute
  • Sanding brake pads and shoes makes sense
  • The factory put automatic transmission fluid in the front fork
  • The factory put fish oil in the front fork
  • The CB500's clutch is properly adjusted with a screwdriver
  • Honda put an odd, virtually unusable grease fitting on this model

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

Last updated May 2023
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