® The CB500/550 page

Here is where I celebrate the Honda CB 500/550, a machine I greatly admire. My favorite of all the 70s sohc fours, with the fours themselves my favorites of all Hondas. This bike and I have a lot of history. I owned one at almost the beginning of my career as a mechanic (selling it with over 92,000 miles on) and now near the end of it I am again enjoying one. In between I have seen, serviced, restored, rebuilt and yes--loved countless others (including two CB550 engine rebuilds in recent years). I will try to put some to-me important facts together for those who appreciate this model as much as I do. Here are some of the things I want to talk about:

  • Should you really put on Dunlop Gold Seal tires?
  • Why was the bike changed to a 550?
  • Is the 500 really inferior to the 550?
  • Is the charging system inadequate?
  • What about silicone brake fluid?
  • Do four-into-one exhausts actually do anything?
  • Does the cylinder head really need to be milled?
  • Did you know there is a carburetor crisis?
  • What about cylinder compression?
  • What about ethanol?
  • How easy is it to install hazard flashers?
  • How critical is the rocker shafts issue?
  • What about replacement 500 clutch pushrods?
  • Where does the rubber washer go?
  • What's significant about the plated rocker arms?

Beware sohc4.net
High performance ignition
Leaky oil pressure switches
The CB500 petcock
Adjusting the voltage regulator
Tires for the CB500
Avoiding bent valves
The primary chain
The truth about compression
The best battery ever
The electrical connectors scandal
Valve recession
Living with the stock exhaust
Carburetor rebuild how-to
Carburetor rebuild kits
CB500/550 myths
Motor oil
The grease fitting
Oil path
Hondaman's book
Engine rebuild tips
Vintage Honda wire color codes
Planned obsolescence?
A love story
Head gaskets that don't leak
Recommended front brake pads
Servicing the clutch lifter
Drum brake danger
The 500 versus the 550
Leaky rockerbox washers
Engine oil secrets
Silicone brake fluid
CB500 likes and dislikes
Proper drive chain maintenance
The aftermarket 4-1 exhaust
Electrical troubleshooting
Video: Easy carb removal
The 60/40 rule
CB500/550 quirks
Defending sohc chging systems
Where did the compression go?
Chrome-plated rocker arms
K&N air filters
The grunge ethos
Dynatek, relays, and misc.
The small four super-tune
Engine rebuild insights
How I start my bike each season
Nuancing the cam chain
The clutch pushrod fiasco
The CB500 charging system
Gasoline and your CB500
The cam cover non-issue
The carburetor crisis
Ethanol: As bad as all that?
The onboard ammeter
Cylinders and valves
The 95/50 rule
Easy four-way flashers
Proper clutch adjustment
Electrical deception
Using Sta-Bil
Muffler bulges
Comparing carburetor sync gauges
The rubber washer
Cam chain tips
They hate Honda
Easy hazard flashers
Milling the head
Form over function
One day it will be exotic

If you like what you see here, and want to look at subjects beyond relevance to the CB500/550, then I encourage you to visit my website front page at www.motorcycleproject.com, where you will find a wider scope of topics. I also rebuild and tune my favorite old Hondas, the CB350F/400F, and the CB500/550 Four. Contact me at the email link below.

Suggested further reading:
GL1000 page
CBX1000 page
Internet backwardness
Lies from the ether
Real issues
Don't touch
Powersports orphans
Forums and me
Where did the compression go?
Reasons for low compression
Valve recession

Last updated June 2024
Email me
© 1996-2024 Mike Nixon