® Internet backwardness



Here is a brief list of things Internet motorcycle "authorities" get wrong, and not only wrong but actually completely, exactly and irreconcilably backward.

  • Most of powersports media encourages folks to make their bikes' valve clearances tight but their pistons loose. The reality is the exact opposite. Valve clearances need to be loose and pistons tight.

  • The powersports industry has done its damnest to convince riders that their biggest carburetion worry is what is in pump gas. The opposite is true. What is missing from today's gas is the real worry, not what's in it.

  • Aftermarket powersports retailers want everyone to think that changes to the exhaust make huge differences and changes to the intake virtually none. This is backward. Intake modifications upset carburetion ten times as much as do exhaust changes.

  • Many voices in powersports insist that glycol brake fluid is better than silicone brake fluid. This is shamefully false. Silicone brake fluid is superior to glycol fluid in virtually every measurable way.

  • Forums propagate the ethic that having cylinder compression consistent across cylinders trumps having compression nominally high. This is ridiculous and backward. Having all four cylinders hovering around 110 psi will do you very little good. The bike will run like a turd. Cylinders that range from 130 to 150 result in much better performance.

  • The wannabe mechanics in this industry seem to believe that moderately increased cylinder compression results in the need for more fuel, i.e. it leans out carburetion. The opposite is true. The moderate compression increases resulting from rebored cylinders improve combustion, thus making fueling more efficient, thus carburetion effectively richer.

  • Forum "experts" make much of Honda's presumably overly optimistic cylinder compression values, calling them unrealistic and impossible to achieve and encourage capitulation. This is not only backward, inasmuch as compression is the single most important aspect of performance, it is stupid. What they should be talking about instead is the correct tools and methodology for measuring compression, where the lost compression has gone, and how to get it back.

  • Internet sources like to disrespect everything OEM: specifications, dealer mechanics, procedures, parts quality, etc. What they should do is first, recognize they haven't even begun to approach the excellence of that which they mock--they are nowhere near OEM level--and second, become students of that which they are so woefully ignorant of. It would definitely improve their outlook.

  • Those on forums who have electrical engineering backgrounds apparently believe their education trumps the lifelong, specific-applications observations of career mechanics. Not so. Not a one of them understands the tension, the gap, between how a part is designed and how it actually works, something that is second nature to the professional mechanic. Again, they have it backward.

  • All of the Internet vintage Honda voices think nothing of slathering any and all gaskets with unnecessary sealers, but inexplicably neglect the one gasket that actually requires sealer.

  • Most forums promote valve lapping as if it were a normal part--seemingly the only part--of a valve job and completely ignore what a valve job is. Again, backward. No one who gives it ten minutes thought will ever lap a valve and it is never part of--let alone the predominant part of--a valve job.

  • Those outside the industry portray carburetor synchronization as some rare, very occasional, even isolated thing. The reverse is true. Professional mechanics know the reality that synchronization is a task requiring frequency and is very often the final step in all sorts of maintenance scenarios.

  • So much of the online powersports media talks about carburetion as being all about fuel and ignore the air aspect. This is backward. Carburetors are air instruments, not fuel instruments. What is compression? Air. What is combustion? Air. What is throttle response? Air. What is carburetor synchronization? Air. What does the throttle control? Air. What goes into the engine and then leaves it? Air. Air is the engine's medium. The fuel's job is to manipulate that air, the carburetor's is to manage that. Air does all the work.

  • The powersports media also likes to tout the forged engine piston as obviously superior to the cast piston. As with so much that they say, this too is backward. Most riders don't need the forged piston's increased detonation resistance and ability to be custom shaped and would instead rather have the cast piston's better sealing, quieter operation and longer life.

  • Forums are almost defined by their insistent rhetoric concerning ethanol, as if it is the most dire issue regarding the carburetor today. It is not. Far from it. Ethanol is the least of our worries. The real carburetor catastrophy is the fact that as of 2020, Honda has finally run out of original equipment carburetor internal metering parts for their 1970s inline fours, specifically the jet needle and needle jet sets. This is no small occurence.

  • It is so sad to see how many adherents of vintage Hondas gravitate to user forums, specifically sohc4.net. They think they are being smart, but in reality it's just the opposite: they are being very unwise.

  • So many restorers, careful and insightful observation will show, focus on the appearance. Powdercoat, polish, plating and presentation. That's their stock in trade. But motorcycles are so essential. That is, so minimalist and basic and direct, mechanically, that they demand just the reverse--the beauty and perfection and completeness that comes out of mechanical rightness. And that is much more work.

Suggested further reading on this site:
Lies from the ether
Real issues
Forums
Last updated October 2022
Email me
© 1996-2022 Mike Nixon