The Bike

2015 Honda CB500X

I purchased the bike new as a carry over in July of 2016 with the intent of taking it on the trip.  I bought the bike from The Outpost in Fairbanks, AK. Without me asking, Justin offered to get on board with the trip and talk to the owner John on my behalf.  They ended up taking really good care of me and helped me get everything together.  The whole crew at the Outpost was amazing and really cared about the project.  Justin, John, and Lonnie, the parts manager, were incredible and really put in extra work and time on my behalf.

Humble beginnings 

I chose the bike based on what I had seen of the bike as modified by Rally-Raid out of England and the realities of the trip I was setting out to do.  A smaller bike would have been fine for everything starting in Belize and moving forward, possibly even Mexico if I had stuck to my original plan, but since I intended to rush through the US and Canada to make more time I wanted something that could comfortably eat up the road miles and still be lite enough to pick up on my own when I dropped it miles from help in a Central American rain forest.  The CB was one of a few on a very short list and the only one that was a reasonable starting point for cost when new bike was factored in for the warranty.  The nearest competitor on the list was the KTM 690 Enduro R, but at over $11,000 new before I added any of the fairings, luggage racks, increased fuel capacity, or bike protection it was no real comparison to building the bike exactly how I wanted it for less than $11K all in with the best of the best components for what I thought I wanted.

All in all the bike has run really well.  The total some of failures has been a rear wheel spoke that went when I dented the rim running from some unofficial road-tax collectors in the mountains of Guatemala.  Everything else has been maintenance. 8 of 10 stars as equipped, this bike is a perfect all roader that screams to be ridden around the world without a second thought. If you are willing to keep the limits of the suspension travel and the weight of the bike in mind it will take you pretty much anywhere.  It however lulled me into faster routes on highways due to it's smoothness and kept me from planning some really rough routes due to it's weight and my travelling alone.

Maintinance Totals:
  • 4 oil changes since new
  • 3 air-filters changed. While the manual only calls for every 12k miles I have done them at each 8k mile oil change as it is cheap insurance that the motor will last.
  • 2 spark plugs changed at the 16K-mile service
  • 2 Rear Michelin Anakee Wild tires (First replaced with 6.5K miles and some life left for street use, the second 13.5K miles later and totally flogged to an almost slick with questionable handling)
  • 1 Front Michelin Anakee Wild tires (20K miles till totally flogged)
  • 2 Chains. Stock chain replaced with a high quality DID unit at the 8k-mile service. DID replaced with an RK unit at the 24k mile service.  The DID showed little signs of wear or stretch till about the 20K mile mark then really called it quits at about the 23k overall mile mark.
  • 2 sets of sprockets. Stock replaced with the chain at the 8k-mile service where I went to Honda front and JT rear (JT Front, tried two, would not fit on the counter shaft so had to go to the Honda). At the 24K mile service I went with another stock Honda unit up front and a Sunstar rear.  Gearing for all sprockets has been the factor 15T front and 41T rear.
  • 1 set of brake pads (Front and Rear) done at the 16K-mile service.  Could have gotten a little more out of the others, but not enough to risk not being able to get pads when I needed them further down the road.
  • 1 valve service at the 16K-mile service.  Two intakes were out of spec, all exhaust were fine.
Larger Stuff:

  • So that wheel spoke..... Ya, once I got back to Long Beach I took the time to tear down the rear wheel to install the new replacement spoke.  Since I had converted the Rallyraid wheels to Tubeless some 20,000 miles ago this meant chipping out the installed superglue and ensuring the spokes would all turn.  It took me a few hours to get the process completed and then it was time to run it around.  After many calls and a wasted trip I ended up at Doc John's in Anaheim, CA.  It is a small specialty shop the focuses on straitening of rims and frames as well as custom fabrication work.  To the tune of $180 they were able to take all five big dents out of the rim lip and true the wheel.  All told the blown spoke and damaged rim ran me about $240 to repair and reseal as tubeless as well as 6 or so hours of labor on my part.  When resealing the rim I went with a change of methods that will be comings soon in it's own post.
So ya, not a lot of issues with the bike so far at the 24.5K mile mark.


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