® Real issues: Items either characterized wrongly or completely ignored on many motorcycle user forums
 

The images above depict the number one issue facing vintage Japanese motorcycle owners today: receded valves. Yet, do you read about this on forums? No. Not a whisper. Instead, they insist that compression tests are unreliable, inaccurate, inconclusive, and excuse poor compression as non-existent -- a non-issue, thus ignoring why their engines have low compression in the first place and run less well than they should. This issue should be at the very top of their threads, it should be thoroughly discussed and warned against, and remedies enumerated and qualified. Most Internet powersports user forums are insidiously vacuous, self-focused, self-promoting, iconoclastic, unresponsive to the industry and exceedingly unhelpful to those seeking help. They are places no rational, intelligent individual should have anything to do with. Here's a short list of topics misrepresented or ignored on forums.


  • Camshaft wear facts
  • Soft Japanese valves and valve recession
  • Why electrical connectors melt and how best to repair and prevent melting
  • Properly lubing and adjusting drive chains
  • How and when to use a leakdown tester
  • Fuel issues far more important than ethanol
  • The more air/less air test, the basis of all engine performance troubleshooting
  • The real benefit of big bores
  • The idiocy of lapping valves
  • Brake fluid considered objectively
  • Fuel and oil additives
  • The pitfalls of non-original carburetors
  • The proper and improper use of sealers
  • The critical importance of cylinder compression
  • The ins and outs of fuel economy
  • The incontrovertible impracticality of relying on resistance tests in troubleshooting
  • The misuse of lobe center
  • Carburetor float level facts
  • The real issues re engine oil
  • Vintage Honda electrical loading
  • The effectivess of using heat in disassembly
  • Inch-pound torque wrenches
  • The problem with aftermarket carb parts, gaskets, and electrical parts
  • The truth about early Honda V4 cams
  • The important structural difference between early and late Honda carburetors
  • The lost ethic of proper clutch adjustment
  • Good versus bad park plug wire
  • First-gen Honda four-valve valve seat issues
  • Aftermarket ignition issues
  • Cam chain adjustment best practices

  • The ins and outs of tire repair
  • Keeping wearing parts together on disassembly
  • So-called "matched" parts
  • The truth about aftermarket exhausts
  • Slavish and ill-advised threadlocker use
  • Proper engine assembly
  • Properly handling o-rings
  • Properly installing Dyna ignitions
  • The truth about ethanol
  • The treachery of the aftermarket
  • The truth about spark plug reading
  • Oil consumption facts
  • The anti-seize cult
  • Cylinder head torque and aftermarket studs
  • Valve clearance tech: the plain facts
  • The importance of fuel stabilizer
  • Contact point ignition anomalies and adjusting steps
  • Air filter tech and maintenance
  • Leanness and engine condition
  • MLS gaskets: superior or not?
  • Aftermarket service manuals
  • Honda finally caving in to the aftermarket
  • The evils of "zip" cable ties
  • Proper cam bearing install
  • Honda precision bearing ethic
  • The premium/regular gas tradeoff
  • Proper steering bearing adjustment
  • The powerful and important volt drop test
  • Why and why not to mill heads or cylinders
  • JB Weld, really?
  • Honda primary chain rattle realities
  • The truth about CV slide indexing
  • The real benefit of point dwell

  • Individual "pod" type type air filters and jetting
  • Engine break-in: what, where, when, why and how; it's far different from what people think
  • The high performance ignition coil cult
  • Gauze air filter realities
  • The float valve scandal
  • The ignorance and nonsense of honing in-service cylinders
  • Proper SOHC Honda riding ethic
  • Brake squeal: well-known causes and cures
  • Best practices: defining good, better and best
  • Piston-to-cylinder clearance: its importance, the Japanese ethic, how to measure
  • The OEMs and their electrical connectors
  • Honda's idle drop procedure explained
  • The differences between various OEM ignitions (i.e., not everythung is "CDI")
  • The problem with aftermarket fork braces
  • Bench syncing carbs with wire or drills
  • Problems with venda-washing
  • Cast versus forged pistons: the realities
  • Proper liquid leak detection techniques
  • Real-world, conclusive, no-guess charging system troubleshooting
  • Chinese tools
  • Honda oil filter bolt history
  • Spin-on oil filter conversions
  • Removing valve springs with a hammer
  • Using aerosols to find vacuum leaks
  • Steering bearings: ball or tapered?
  • Pilot screw settings and cylinder compression
  • Modern Keihin CV fast idle systems
  • The truth about ring end gap
  • Honda drum brake cautions

In short, any given subject being discussed on the average user forum is way off base, steeped in lore and myth and unqualified opinion. Why doesn't the truth about the things in the list above characterize forums? Why did it take online forums more than twenty years to agree with career techs on the subject of carb rebuild kits, and far longer about OEM ignition points? Why are forums, instead of disseminating real things, inexplicably enamored with Chinese replacement parts; "velocity stacks"; repair practices originating in, at best, 1940s car manuals, and at worst the imaginations of unqualified hacks; the weight of mass opinion; "M boxes" and a myriad of other empty, meaningless things? Why indeed! I don't really know, but the fact that they are should indicate something, should be a warning.

This is the reason I say motorcycle user forums are on a different planet than is the powersports industry. Forums are not the clearinghouses of powersports knowledge. They are not even a part of the industry. They are rebel outposts and absolutely clueless. And they want to stay that way. They have made up their own truth, a different, false set of facts, and they will not listen to reason.

User forums have a responsibility to their members, one they are not only ignoring but perverting. Because people depend on them. I welcome civilized dialogue on these issues.

Email me
© 1996-2020 Mike Nixon