Honda CB500’s valve clearance shock

Published: 05 July 2013

Every Honda from the new CB500 range will need to have an expensive valve clearance check at just 600 miles to maintain the manufacturer warranty owners have been finding out as the first of the new bikes go in for service.

The new CB500 range comprises three models with an all-new parallel-twin motor aimed at the budget-conscious A2 licence holders along with those wanting a more affordable but still good-looking motorcycle.

"The valve clearance check has come as an unwelcome shock for many owners, despite the valve check being listed in the service schedule of the owner manual, with many getting a bill for £300 just weeks after taking delivery of a new bike.

A spokesman at Honda dealer and MCN award-winner, Doble Motorcycles said: “A lot of smaller-capacity bikes have their valves checked early these days. We are capping the first service price at £250 but the valves do need checking and it’s quite a fiddly and time-consuming job.

"But then the next service is not until 8000 miles or a year after purchase and that one will be cheaper as the valves aren’t checked at this point. That’s not done again until the 16,000-mile service so it does even itself out.”

In comparison the 115bhp Honda CBR600RR doesn’t need a valve clearance check until the 16,000 mile mark and then only every 16,000 miles after that.

The CB500 range is one of a number of bikes built at the Honda Thailand factory along with the CBF125 and CBR125 and 250 ranges.

The CB500 has a new parallel-twin motor with a 471cc, liquid-cooled engine with much of the basic architecture, like bore size and other internal engine sizing based on the CBR600RR.

Honda’s reasons for the early valve clearance check are explained by spokesman Tom Hobbs. He said: “The all-new parallel twin engine designed specifically for the CB(R)500 series has a valve train system, which uses a rocker arm and shims design. This requires a valve clearance check at the first service, as per the owners' manual.

“Valve clearance checks and service intervals vary across our range. On the CB(R)500 series, they do not need a further check until the 16,000 mile service.

"Although a cost will apply at first service for the valve clearance check, across the entire life of this bike, servicing costs are comparable with other similar capacity models.

"We are confident overall ownership and running costs offer very good value over the life of the bike.”

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