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Hey guys, new CB500F owner here (~2 weeks). Traded in my Harley Sportster 1200 because I was tired of how slow it was, how expensive repairs were, etc... It was super low and easy to learn on but on to newer and better things. Few questions if you guys have any insights:

1) There's a VERY audible "clunk" when going from 2nd to 1st gear. Is that to let me know I've hit the bottom or should I have the dealer check it out? Still got about 9 months of warranty left. I've also noticed that sometimes the bike will stick in neutral and I'll have to jerk the clutch around or roll a bit before it'll kick down into 1st - is there something I should oil or check?

2) On a group ride today, I had trouble keeping up with guys on ninja 300s / Yamaha R3s in the corners. Is the difference between naked bikes vs sport bikes that pronounced or am I riding "wrong"?

3) Rev range - coming from a Harley I'm used to shifting up at like 4K RPMs. I know the engine doesn't redline until like 9K, but wheres the safe range to cruise at? If run at about 6K RPMs in 3rd gear @ 45MPH, is that bad for the bike to run that hard for long periods of time?

Thanks! Appreciate everyone's input!
 

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The 500 motor is happy all throughout the rev range. When you and your buddies are getting down in the corners, there's nothing wrong with running up the revs. Those little 300's are nimble and those guys are probably ringing those bikes out. When I'm getting down like that, I'll run it up close to redline before shifting. That's where your power is. I change oil every 2-3k miles and check oil level frequently. I've put 30k miles on it like that and it's running like new.

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2) On a group ride today, I had trouble keeping up with guys on ninja 300s / Yamaha R3s in the corners. Is the difference between naked bikes vs sport bikes that pronounced or am I riding "wrong"?
Cornering is an art. It's a dance with braking, turn-in point, picking an apex, and lean angle. As you get used to the bike you will have the confidence to go faster in the corner.

A first step would be to check if you are trying to keep your body upright while cornering - lean with the bike. CanyonChasers has some good cornering videos on YouTube.

Naked and Sport 300-500 cc bikes are designed to be able to lean way over. More than most riders are comfortable with. more lean = faster speed in corner

Some riders ride every corner as if there will never be any gravel or surprises. You may not want to keep up with those guys...


I cruise in 4th gear at 45mph, 5th gear at 50mph.
 

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Don't believe the hype you read on this.



This is a great little bike, but it is NOT a racing machine. It is designed to run at higher RPM's than you may be used to.
It is not a race bike, however, and is designed to cruise at approx. 4-1/2 K up to around 5-1/2 - 6K RPM's no matter what anyone on here will say. The rule of thumb has been for years to run at approximantely 2/3 red line and red line is about 8-3/4 K.

You won't find any knowledgeable person to say that it can run consistently at super-high rpm's, and this includes dealer recommendations, the Honda factory engineers (whom I conversed with about this very issue, and the manual's recommendations for "normal" wear and tear.

Any statements to the contrary are simply blowing smoke up your a$$!!
 
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Not to be nasty, but if you ride your 500 like a Harley (shifting up at less than 4K RPM) then you are going to have trouble keeping up with other friends, Harleys have a big engine with lots of low down torque, your little 500 is a fantastic bike, but does NOT have a lot of torque, so if you want to stay with your friends you are going to need to rev it more, changing up around 8K as suggested is definitely the way to go, but it will take a while before you feel comfortable revving the engine this high, but they do work very well at the higher revs and are designed to be held there so you shouldn't worry about the engine, just get used to keeping it in a gear where the revs are between 6k and 8K RPM. This is probably also the reason you are losing your friends in the bends, they are probably revving their engines more and as they exit the bend they accelerate, you probably do to, but with your revs at 4K or less, not much will happen except your friends will disappear into the distance. Smaller bikes need revving more to make good progress, but the CBR500 is a very good bike and will not suffer from being ridden in a spirited fashion.


Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the input everyone. Appreciate it. I'll keep working at it.
 

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One thing I'll mention is that there are some people that will tell you about old "rules of thumb" and give advice that isn't really based on anything other than gut sensations or folklore. They might say that Honda engineers have spoken to them or that they heard something from the motorcycle fairies, but take it with a slice of lime. You can happily shift high in the rev range. The current model 500 has a shift indicator light that blinks at over 8k RPM by default. Honda wouldn't set it there if it would harm anything or diminish the life expectancy of their product. Honda's reliability is legendary. They know that and they aren't going to start taking chances with their reputation now.

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One thing I'll mention is that there are some people that will tell you about old "rules of thumb" and give advice that isn't really based on anything other than gut sensations or folklore. They might say that Honda engineers have spoken to them or that they heard something from the motorcycle fairies, but take it with a slice of lime. You can happily shift high in the rev range. The current model 500 has a shift indicator light that blinks at over 8k RPM by default. Honda wouldn't set it there if it would harm anything or diminish the life expectancy of their product. Honda's reliability is legendary. They know that and they aren't going to start taking chances with their reputation now.

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This is entirely false. I would ask this poster if he ever worked in a Honda dealer, or did he EVER have ANY factory training.

You won't find ANYONE of Honda of official connection who would agree with this. There is NO "folklore" about it, just contact Honda's customer help and get connected to the engineering staff for technical questions. I have repeatedly demonstrated this poster wrong on many issues especially this one. You ride like he suggests, and your bike will be junk much faster than it needs to be. On THIS issue, I proved him wrong on at least 3 ways: 1) check your owner's manual for shifting suggestions, and then also on the chart where it suggests regular maintenance - a footnote there states that their maintenance suggestions are for normal riding, and if you choose to ride it harder, the "normal" maintenance will have to be done more often. 2) I discussed this very issue with several local Honda dealers and everyone said that to do what the above poster suggested is not how to ride this bike. 3) I have ridden Hondas and a variety of other brands for over 55 years. I have worked in a Honda dealer for some years, and have had factory training. NO ONE over those years would dare to suggest to ride this bike like that. It wasn't made for that! PERIOD!

It is your bike, and you can ride it as you wish - that certainly is your choice, but if you want to ride it correctly and get the most enjoyment you will ignore the above poster's suggestions. I challenge you to take your bike and and cruise at the speed where the bike runs most comfortably and where it runs the smoothest. Mine is around 4,500 to 5,500 K rpms. THAT'S where Honda intended you to cruise with this bike! If the Honda engineers wanted normal cruising at higher RPM's they would have designed it to run smoothest in that range.

Use your common sense and you will see that you should avoid running it hard (as though that is normal and OK) is how this bike will give you the best performance and enjoyability for years to come! It is a great bike when used properly.
 

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1) check your owner's manual for shifting suggestions
This has been discussed before, but not all manuals contain shifting suggestions. So are you saying that Honda use lower quality engines in American models of the bike, as the British manual does not have any such suggestions?

on the chart where it suggests regular maintenance - a footnote there states that their maintenance suggestions are for normal riding, and if you choose to ride it harder, the "normal" maintenance will have to be done more often.
This must be another international difference, because I cannot see any such note in mine. All I can see is "3. Service more frequently when riding in rain or at full throttle." And that is applied to the cleaning frequency for the crankcase breather.

If Honda's position on riding full throttle is simply to remove a plug and let a pipe drain out more often than every 8,000 miles, then I can only assume they do not see it as being all that problematic.

They could say never ride that way. They could advise against riding that way. They could say riding that way will damage the bike or shorten its life. But no, they just say remove a plug to let it drain a tad more often.

You are the only person who I have seen say it is bad for the bike riding high in the rev range, and you admit that is based on different forms of anecdotal evidence rather than physical experience of an actual bike that had been ridden that way.

But I have seen plenty of people say they do ride the bike that way, and none of them have reported any problems from having done so. And nor is there anything in the my manual to say that riding within the rev range of a British model, at least, is "incorrect" or riding it "properly".

Maybe I am just naïve, but my common sense says that if Honda did not want a rider to do so in a particular way they would explicitly say so in the manual.

They would not require you to have 55 years of experience, so you can piece together clues from diagrams and footnotes, (that you may have to go online to find even exist), to make you feel you need to seek out a factory engineer, in order to ask them how you are supposed to ride the bike.

To me that just does not seen a sensible way for a manufacturer to communicate important advice to their customers.
 

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Welcome to the 500 forum scrum Mousek. With one post you have managed to light up an ongoing debate between two respected members with different opinions. I am an old geezer, survived my youth, & now ride simply because I love it. I have nothing to prove to anyone. I simply enjoy the sport & working on my skills. My goal is always to make it home in one piece. While I have found that, as Pied said, the bike seems to like being ridden between 4000-6000+ rpm for most everyday typical situations, it certainly does come alive at 7000 plus. I have great respect for almost anything CZ-mate posts although I do not choose to ride my bike like I just stole it. My only piece to add is don’t worry about keeping up with others until you can keep up with yourself. Be Safe, have fun.
 

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Welcome to the 500 forum scrum Mousek. With one post you have managed to light up an ongoing debate between two respected members with different opinions. I am an old geezer, survived my youth, & now ride simply because I love it. I have nothing to prove to anyone. I simply enjoy the sport & working on my skills. My goal is always to make it home in one piece. While I have found that, as Pied said, the bike seems to like being ridden between 4000-6000+ rpm for most everyday typical situations, it certainly does come alive at 7000 plus. I have great respect for almost anything CZ-mate posts although I do not choose to ride my bike like I just stole it. My only piece to add is don’t worry about keeping up with others until you can keep up with yourself. Be Safe, have fun.
Top post. Wish I could keep my cool like you sometimes.
 

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"You are the only person who I have seen say it is bad for the bike riding high in the rev range, and you admit that is based on different forms of anecdotal evidence rather than physical experience of an actual bike that had been ridden that way."

Keep telling yourself that. I guess you and others have a way to undo the laws of physics.

You can bet that riding it hard (as a Honda engineer (current) told me he wouldn't rid his that way) - as the footnote implies WILL end up in more service (obviously implying more wear and tear) and WILL in shorter engine life along with other problems.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that THIS bike was NOT intended for that kind of riding.

None of that is anecdotal.

Just because no one reports problems NOW (less than 30,000 miles) doesn't mean that it will be that in the future.

I will challenge you: Go to any Honda dealer and ask them how this bike was intended to be ridden. Call the Honda customer hotline and see what they say. Just do it!

I admit you or any other can ride your bike any way you want to, it's yours.

But if you ride like CZeck suggests, it WILL take its toll on the bike. Probably you won't keep your bike that long, so you will pass along those problems to someone else.
 

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1) There's a VERY audible "clunk" when going from 2nd to 1st gear. Is that to let me know I've hit the bottom or should I have the dealer check it out? Still got about 9 months of warranty left. I've also noticed that sometimes the bike will stick in neutral and I'll have to jerk the clutch around or roll a bit before it'll kick down into 1st - is there something I should oil or check?
Make sure the engine oil level is correct: view it in the side window when the engine is warm. Oil should be visible about half way up the glass, though my dealer had it much higher to the point you couldn't see the top. As long as you have the right oil and enough of it you shouldn't need to worry about this. 1st to 2nd is a bit further than other gears, and there's definitely an audible clunk sometimes. It may change over the life of the bike, but it shouldn't be any cause for concern. Nevertheless, if you're within the warranty period it won't hurt to ask the dealership what they think.

2) On a group ride today, I had trouble keeping up with guys on ninja 300s / Yamaha R3s in the corners. Is the difference between naked bikes vs sport bikes that pronounced or am I riding "wrong"?
You should never try to keep up with other people. Riding bikes is not like riding cars. Anybody can drive a car around a corner fast, but it takes skill to do it on a motorcycle. There are "schools" / "track days" you can go to learn how to properly handle corners fast in a safe, controlled environment. That's where you should learn to corner fast, not on the street where a mistake could cost you your motorcycle or your life. Personally I have no desire to "knee down". I'm too old for that ****. I also can't afford a speeding ticket. I ride around at about 10 km/h over the legal limit, which you seem to get away with most of the time. I haven't found there are any corners on any roads I've been on that really required me to lean at all. Your mileage may vary depending on your roads.

Anyway, naked vs sport has already been discussed. The 500F and 500R are basically identical except for some cosmetics. They should handle nearly identically. Any of the '13+ CB 500's should be able to keep up with a Ninja 300 or Yamaha R3 if the pilots are sufficiently matched. The 300's are lighter and may have thinner tires so they will more than likely handle better than the 500. It may be easier for them to lean it over relative to your bike. The advantage that you have is that your engine doesn't have to race quite so fast to produce about the same peak power/torque, and your engine is probably a lot smoother power/torque curve (meaning that you don't have to target a specific engine speed to produce usable power; pretty much everything above 4500 RPM should be producing enough power to get the job done). There are pros and cons to every bike because bikes have inherent limitations, and every pro tends to correspond with a con.

As somebody else already said, part of why you were getting left in their dust is probably because you had the engine speed too low and your bike wasn't making any power. That said, going back to my first point, don't try to keep up with people. Ride at your own pace. Those other people might be taking unnecessary risks, or they just might be more experienced/skilled than you. Trying to keep up with friends is a VERY common cause of motorcycle crashes.

3) Rev range - coming from a Harley I'm used to shifting up at like 4K RPMs. I know the engine doesn't redline until like 9K, but wheres the safe range to cruise at? If run at about 6K RPMs in 3rd gear @ 45MPH, is that bad for the bike to run that hard for long periods of time?
I would expect that anything below redline should be safe, but unless you're on a race track there really isn't any point having the bike at 8000 RPM continuously... You'll most likely cruise around at about 4500 or 5000 RPM. It's safe to go higher, particularly while you're changing speeds, but you'll probably find you have no need to keep the engine speed so high. It gets very loud and it vibrates like crazy, though coming from a Harley maybe it's not loud enough or doesn't vibrate enough? :spin Anyway, it should be able to handle it. The real question is, can you? It takes professional skill to handle the 500 at its limits. Most of us don't come close. All I can say is ride safe.

As for shifting at 4000 RPM, that is likely way too soon for the 500. You may find that it's a bit jerky at those speeds because the engine isn't producing much power yet. It starts to produce power around 4500 I think and steadily climbs from there until just before redline. I typically shift closer to 5500 or 6000 probably. If I'm being "spirited" I might not shift until 7000 or 8000 though. The downside is the bike is a lot louder, and vibrates a lot more, so it's more exhausting on the rider and might use a bit more fuel. The upside is that you have the power/torque when you need it.
 
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Hey guys, new CB500F owner here (~2 weeks). Traded in my Harley Sportster 1200 because I was tired of how slow it was, how expensive repairs were, etc... It was super low and easy to learn on but on to newer and better things. Few questions if you guys have any insights:
Congratulations on your new CB500F I have the 2019 ABS model and I use it for commuting to work only. It's a great bike, I love it. I come from a Grom 125cc 2018, I'm a new rider.
1) There's a VERY audible "clunk" when going from 2nd to 1st gear. Is that to let me know I've hit the bottom or should I have the dealer check it out? Still got about 9 months of warranty left. I've also noticed that sometimes the bike will stick in neutral and I'll have to jerk the clutch around or roll a bit before it'll kick down into 1st - is there something I should oil or check?
Mine does that noise too when engaging on 1st gear. Perfectly normal.
2) On a group ride today, I had trouble keeping up with guys on ninja 300s / Yamaha R3s in the corners. Is the difference between naked bikes vs sport bikes that pronounced or am I riding "wrong"?
I leave the Ninjas 300s and R3s behind on the dust.

3) Rev range - coming from a Harley I'm used to shifting up at like 4K RPMs. I know the engine doesn't redline until like 9K, but wheres the safe range to cruise at? If run at about 6K RPMs in 3rd gear @ 45MPH, is that bad for the bike to run that hard for long periods of time?
I have never rev mine to 8K. Usually 6K is enough for me. I'm a small guy 5'5" 160 lbs. I fly on this bike.

1st gear 0-10 Mph
2nd gear 10-20 Mph
3rd gear 20-30 Mph
4th gear 30-40 Mph
5th gear 40-55 Mph
6th gear 55-80 Mph

This bike is like an automatic gun!
I cruise about 4K, this way I save lots of gas and ride very comfortably.

Thanks! Appreciate everyone's input!
You are very welcome!.
 

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I've also noticed that sometimes the bike will stick in neutral and I'll have to jerk the clutch around or roll a bit before it'll kick down into 1st - is there something I should oil or check?
I just realized I forgot to address this point in my previous post.

All manual sequential bikes do this. In order to change gears the gears need to "mesh". However, sometimes we move the bike slightly after we've stopped, or you might have changed into neutral before stopping and so the part of the gearbox connected to the rear wheel kept turning while the part connected to the engine would slow down no longer under power. When you go to kick it back down into first sometimes your gears will NOT mesh. Basically the teeth are bumping into one another, and it prevents you from moving the gearbox. The fix is simple, as you already described. You can either rotate the engine-side a little bit by easing the clutch out just a hair with a tiny bit of throttle (easy), or with the clutch disengaged (lever pulled in) you can move the wheel-side by walking the bike a short distance (a couple of inches is probably enough). Do that and try again and you'll likely succeed.

This can happen at inopportune times, like at a busy intersection or something. It's important to understand what's happening, and know how to fix it quickly and without panicking. It happens to everyone. It's just the way manual gearboxes work.
 

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As you can tell, I am not going to be bullied by anyone, no matter how they try! I've been around too long for that!

Here is an interesting situation:

Suppose you are in the market to buy a Honda CB500F, and there are two available, 1) one that has been ridden regularly in the upper K's of range, suppose 7,000 to 8,500 RPM's, and ridden hard and braked hard...or

2) one that has been ridden in the 4,500 to 5,500 range (with only a few times in the upper ranges to pass cars, etc.) and been carefully maintained and cared for.

Both with the same price and both with similar miles.

Which one would YOU buy?

BTW, the note about riding in the high ranges (i.e. higher than the service recommendation chart suggests) is a footnote below that chart. Paraphrasing, it states that if you ride your bike harder than normal, then you should expect to have to do ALL the services more often than that suggested in the chart. It is pretty hard for me to see how this can be interpreted any other way than what it says!

Also, the defense that one suggested that nowhere does it say NOT to do your riding up in the high RPM range - implying that it is suggesting that it is OK to do so. This has got to be one of the most sophomoric statements I have ever read.

The manual does not say "Do not ride this motorcycle into a brick wall" either, but certainly NO ONE in their right mind would then conclude that it is OK to do so!

New riders should use just plain old common sense and forget some of these outlandish claims by whackos on here!
 

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If we put the ego aside for a moment, what we have is a scientific question. Which used motorcycle a person would prefer isn't scientific. The fact that we have numerous highly respected people here with very high mileage who ride high in the rev range isn't scientific. Old rules of thumb aren't scientific. The question is, did Honda design this motor to be ridden throughout the rev range or not? When selecting the mechanical components that make up our little motor, did they have an operational range in mind and did they select components that had the material integrity to handle these loads? Does the RPM range on the gauge represent the range at which the motor is within its optimum performance range or does the gauge represent the increasing amount of damage being done as you go from zero to redline? Is redline where you're no longer within peak operational range or does it indicate the point of catastrophic failure? These are legitimate questions. I don't care if you've been riding forty years or only forty minutes. These questions can be answered equally well by either person if they have the information required to answer them and that information is valid. The good news is that if you like the idea of riding at half, or two thirds of the optimum RPM range established by Honda then you'll still get where you're going and you'll probably get good mileage doing it. The bad news is you'll miss out on the most enjoyable part of the rev range where Honda put its peak performance. Don't take my word for it. Here's a relevant and well written article.
https://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/is-it-safe-to-redline-my-engine

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As you can tell, I am not going to be bullied by anyone, no matter how they try!



New riders should use just plain old common sense and forget some of these outlandish claims by whackos on here!
Some people argue their case, some people resort to abuse. The latter is always the bully.

BTW, the note about riding in the high ranges (i.e. higher than the service recommendation chart suggests) is a footnote below that chart.
Can you help out a "whacko" and show me where on the service chart it makes any suggestions on riding the bike, and where this footnote exists.

Here is the chart:




Also, for reference, here is the shifting guide in my manual:



The manual does not say "Do not ride this motorcycle into a brick wall" either
Putting aside every other reservation about that comment, it would not say such a thing because it is an operating guide for a particular model of bike and not a guide on how to ride.

Your claim is that some bikes can (and should?) be ridden high in the rev range and some should not be. Few would disagree with you on that. But such information is not common sense, maybe you can just look at a bike and instantly know which sort it is. I cannot, certainly nor can anyone new to riding.

Common sense says you can ride anywhere below the red line. That is why the red line is where it is.

Common says if you cannot ride high in the rev range then the bike would be restricted and the red line would be lower.

Even if what you are claiming is correct, it is not common sense to know it. You prove that by saying your claim is based on 55 years of experience and needing to talk to factory engineers.

Common sense is the knowledge someone with no little experience of bikes would have. And that is who the owner's manual has to address, not just people with 55 years of experience but those with less than 55 hours of experience.

Not riding into a wall — and I avoid all walls, not just brick ones — is a general riding point and not specific to this model of bike. It is something you should cover when learning to ride, so Honda can justifiably feel it not uniquely relevant to operating a CB500F as it applies to every bikes.

But where in the rev range this specific bike should not be ridden, a CB500F in contrast with any and all other bikes, is something that needs to be covered in the manual. Maybe not for you, but for me and those like me. For those who have never ridden their own bike before. For those coming from bikes which are ridden high in the rev range.

Nowhere in my manual does it say explicitly or implicitly that you cannot ride a Honda CB500F high in the rev range. At least not in the owner's manual part code 00X32-MJW-K000 that came with my U.K. model.

People can ride their bikes as they wish, it is nothing to do with me. I only commented because it is not helpful for new riders if someone gives personal advice as though an authority when it contradicts the experience of others.

But I will be silenced by a bully because I have made my case and tried to be as clear as I can be. Anyone reading can weigh up both positions and make up their own minds, or better still ignore this stupid and tedious argument. I have nothing more to say, except…

I have never seen a second-hand bike advertisement mention the rev range it has been ridden in.
 

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What about the footnote #3? What about the LOW recommended shift points? What about the direct input from ANY dealer? What about the statements made my HONDA Engineers to me in several phone calls? What about the literally years of Honda knowledge.

Scientific? Is that a joke? NOTHING either of you two have said is scientific! At least mine comes from Honda itself.

It is true, you can ride yours as you wish, but you WILL have extra wear and tear (common sense AND scientific) as you increase RPM's. The wear and tear doesn't just increase (for example from 30 to 60 means double) but it goes up exponentially as you increase speed. You can't get around that. Even both of you intrinsically know that and that is why you admit you service your bike(s) more often. Scientifically for you should mean that you did a very close and detailed examination of such things as bearing journals, etc. before you did your riding, and then did the same close examination of those same parts after examination. Physics says there will be MORE wear and high pressure usage than at lower pressure usage. That's a fact!

As far as you never "heard of someone advertising such things as their riding style" (paraphrase) but it is a valid test. IF you could know and choose between those two scenarios, which would YOU choose? Hmmmm?

I agree on one thing, that people should listen to the various opinions (and legitimate sources) and decide for them selves.

Finally, just because the last person to respond back to DEFEND their position doesn't make them the bully. It's the person who starts the personal attacks. As you can tell, I am not intimidated by anyone. I will listen to anyone and I will defend the right to express their opinions. But when I hear nonsense like Czeck states, that is patently WRONG then I will state WHY it is wrong. Many times I have agreed with him, and said so. many times subjects come up that I don't feel I have enough knowledge to contribute, so I don't. But on this subject I DO know and have a LOT of experience. I challenge you to contact your Honda dealer, or better yet, call and get in contact with a Honda engineer. I did - that's more than you have done! I think it is important for the younger people and riders to at least see his opinion for what it is.

Just to let you know, even though it doesn't have much to do with this particular conversation, but my son owns a business that has a contract with American Honda and he has access to Honda's R & D department and engineers. I currently do keep up with some of the currents trends. I am not just some "old guy" with an out-dated opinion.
 
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