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Discussion in 'Vendors' started by ktmmitch, Sep 22, 2014.
Do the wheels that come with the level 3 kit come with rim strips? If not, any recommendations?
Welcome to the fold. As you noted the kool aid has a different taste. Since the bike has a higher CG, slightly more slack steering geometry, and semi knobby tires now it will feel different. If your riding goes off the tarmac or even on rougher stretches of highway you will soon learn the feel of the new setup and the first time you plow through something rough you will learn to love the new suspension and extended travel.
Since I completely removed and replaced the rear wheel during install I just readjusted the chain tension after reassembly so yes, the chain tension should be checked. If you hear something coming from the back of the bike find it. Put the bike on the work stand again and spin the rear wheel by hand listening for the same sound. Inspect everything carefully. There should be no new sounds (other some tire whine) that were not there before and if you missed something or something is loose or incorrectly installed it could hurt you badly. Take the time to find it and solve it before riding it anymore.
Hi LG' -
Yes - since you are what I'd call around the cross-over point, I'd suggest you decide whether you are primarily looking for a more plush ride (ie. for rough road and trail use) or slightly firmer for more ['sporty'] road-biased riding, and go with that corresponding rate initially.
Of course neither are mutually exclusive - that is the whole point of this upgraded suspension - and to give you an example, when I rode across the US and back last summer (over every kind of surface), I had the medium spring (110Nm) fitted*, and never felt the need to adjust the preload, either with or without luggage, nor on the odd occasion I've taken a pillion - and I say I'd probably weigh a similar amount in my riding gear.
On the whole, I'd say the stiffer spring might be more appropriate if you regularly carry luggage and a passenger, rather than just occasionally.
Therefore my inclination would be to go with the medium weight spring initially (as it is approximately the same as the OEM rate). Don't forget you can always purchase the higher or lower rate shock spring as a spare part if ultimately you find that you'd prefer that...
*This was the longer travel LEVEL 3 kit of course, but the spring rate and action is essentially the same.
Hope that helps...
Hi Wind - of course we appreciate all feedback (well, as long as it is reasonably constructive of course ;o), but in regard to the skid-plate fitting issue, I'm really not sure what else we/I can offer?
I am not privy to the reason why the dimensions were set as they are - but can only imagine it would a damn sight harder to try and stretch the skid plate to fit (ie. pull it towards the rear wheel), than to push it up with a jack etc. from underneath. This sort of component needs to have a degree of 'jiggle' room built-in when fitting (and subsequently refitting after use/damage and servicing etc.) - which is why we suggest you leave the front bolts loose during initial installation and changed the original instructions from fitting the pin first, then trying to line up the engine bolts (particularly when the frame spars have sprung forward as GotMojo illustrates above).
As I say, I have fitted a number of these now, and while agree in some instances it can be a squeeze to line up the rear pin initially, it is not insurmountable. I really don't know what else to suggest?
But we do appreciate all this kind of feedback, as it certainly helps with future developments and any revisions.
Hi Streaks - if you mean rim tapes over the spoke heads inside the wheels, then yes, the Rally-Raid wheels come with those as standard from our wheel builder.
If you mean a graphic/stripe around the edge of the rim, then no - but any universal kit for 17" and 19" wheels would fit if you have a colour scheme in mind.
Hope that helps!
I was referring to the first, thanks!
Hi GotMojo - as Wind Rider suggests, if you're fitting the LEVEL 3 suspension, then while the sprockets are still the same distance apart, because the suspension is now taller, you may find there is more slack in the chain at static sag (since the swing-arm is now further down in it's arc than before) - so you ought to adjust that to within spec again.
Wind' is also correct in that you are likely to hear some different tyre noise with the TKC80s vs. the stock tyres, and similarly fitting a metal engine guard that essentially surrounds the engine can reflect some more mechanical [engine] noise that you may not have been aware of before - certainly if you notice a difference when the clutch is pulled in it is likely to be the difference of the engine components being under load or not.
I notice [from your photo] you've also fitted the shorty billet levers (the Cool-aid is flowing well in this one ;o), and while I found they are almost exactly a direct replacement, you might want to adjust the free-play on the clutch lever too, just incase it is not engaging/disengaging in the way it did before.
Have fun - you are going to be amazed how much more capable that bike feels (and is) now... ;o)
Which reminds me, I have a message for you:
Jenny, you suck.
The detailed product development and support not only sucked me back into getting a bike after 20+ years but also gave me confidence to rip into a brand new bike.
Chain needed about 1/2 turn of adjustment.
(back to spec)
I figured out the source of the noise... Dumbass forgot a spacer.
I had left the axle loose the night before because I knew something wasn't quite right and promptly forgot about it. Next evening I tightened everything up and went for a ride. Seriously, who lets idiots like me work on bikes?
No major damage other than to my ego. The caliper is 1/3 of a mil thinner and the bearing boot is a little ruffled but that's about it.
Once I finish sorting out the '16 windshield spacing, I'll be good to go. I have to learn to ride this thing in time for the Death Valley n00b ride next month!
MOJO, you're only an idiot if you don't find your mistake. Jenny, that was what I was thinking. I will go with the middle spring. I can always cut down on the sweets if I get much heavier. Let us know when the Heritage stickers will be available.
Frik - yes, that would do it!
Glad you found that out quickly enough and after only a short ride...
Have fun in Death Valley - and who knows, maybe we'll see you for the Giant-Loop Overland Expo trip in May too?
I figured out the source of the noise... Dumbass forgot a spacer.
Glad that you found and solved the problem.
Motorcycles can really punish you for mechanical mistakes so I always triple check everything and then if anything seems strange (like your odd noise) I go right back to the shop and find the problem.
It takes a long time to heal up after a high speed get off so a little more time in the shop is always worth it.
Please post up your Death Valley experience. Would love to hear about that.
The rear axle can be inserted from Right to Left (i.e. Nut on the left side of the swingarm), which allows the axle to "hold up" the Brake Caliper Bracket in place while one shimmies the wheel in place.......just makes things alittle easier.
Differences between 2013-15 model and 2016 model fork internals.
So, we had both a set of 2015 and 2016 forks apart this weekend, and can now reveal the actual physical differences (other than just different part numbers) between the previous and latest model CB500X.
First of all, a quick seat of the pants ride of both bikes revealed little difference at slow speed - with me bouncing up and down on the pegs (not very scientific I know ;o), but Adam did observe that the 2015 model seemed to bounce back slightly quicker than the new model - ie. there would appear to be more damping and/or softer springs* on the 2016 bike.
*See below for more information.
So, we pulled everything apart, and this is what we found...
First of all, both versions use exactly the same plastic spacer in each fork leg (these even have the same part number still):
The damper rods are also exactly the same length, however they have modified the holes in the 2016 rod, and made them slightly smaller:
Each damper still uses 4 holes, but where the 2013-15 version has 6.5mm diameter holes, the 2016 bike has 5.5mm diameter holes (a quick calculation would say this results in a 29% reduction in flow).
This would suggest there is more damping (albeit still linear of course) and which would imply that the springs must also be softer to require that additional control... sure enough, this is what we found:
As you can see, the 2016 springs (the lower of the two) have a significantly different winding to the original 2013-15 springs (above).
They are still progressive - and the initial winding of the soft portion (the right-hand/lower side where the coils are tighter together) are broadly similar, although the transition/progression between the lower rate and the stiffer portion (where the coils are more widely spaced) is far more progressive than before - indeed, they appear to be much softer for the remainder of their length (towards the fork caps in the photo above).
It was also noted that the 2013-15 spring wire is 4.8mm diameter, while the 2016 springs are slightly fatter 5.0mm diameter wire - offering approximately 4% more stiffness, although this is balanced by the softer winding of course.
It was also noted the the 2016 springs are 13mm shorter than the 2013-15 version, but this is primarily due to the fact that the 2016 adjustable preload cap is deeper than the non-adjustable 13-15 version, meaning that overall the length of cap [and spacer] and spring remains the same on both versions, and together with the same length damper rods, means that overall travel remains the same for all years.
photo. 2013-15 non-adjustable cap above, 2016 adjustable version below. 2016 spring is correspondingly shorter, so the overall length remains the same.
So the overall conclusion is this: Without a doubt, Honda have taken steps to improve the feel of the front end with the 2016 model onwards.
Despite the thicker wire, the revised windings mean the new fork springs feel a little softer initially, but more importantly certainly the transition between the lower and upper rates are neither as harsh, nor as dramatic as before (4.8-8.7Nm if you recall).We have not been able to test the rates at either extreme, but I'd be surprised if the upper rate is much above 6 or 7 now.
I wouldn't say that the damping action itself has improved appreciably since the open-bath design means it is still linear throughout the stroke (you would need to incorporate some sort of shim valving for that to have any real effect), rather the reduction in hole size in the 2016 damper rods is primarily to match the damping rate to the new [softer] springs.
I'd say it is certainly an improvement over the original [2013-15] specification.
Hope that helps...
Another hint-and-tip that some people might find useful:
Having fitted a set of hand-guards this past weekend, a couple of photos for anyone else having trouble removing the OEM bar-end weights:
Below is the grip slid back, revealing the hole in the bar that the little tang clips into (note there are two on each bar end, one above, and one directly below):
However, you will also notice the end of the tangs are also visible at the very end of the bar (where the screwdriver tip is)... and if you're lucky, you can actually push these down and out (using a flat blade screwdriver) and they will release.
Otherwise, you will indeed have to roll/slide back the grip and press the clip of the tang through each of the holes to release them...
This what the insert looks like once they are released:
Hope that helps!
Following on from our detailed illustration of the changes made to the 2016 model fork internals (see post #2555 above), I thought you'd also be interested in a more general over-view of the key changes between the previous generation (2013-15) model CB500X, and the latest 2016-onwards version.
First of all, having a two similar bikes in our workshops this weekend (right down to the colour scheme) just a year apart - 2015 vs a 2016 - made this much easier to do, so we could compare and contrast back and forth as required.
First of all, a general cosmetic overview:
2015 model CB500XA (ABS)
2016 model CB500XA (ABS)
Clearly they are visually still very similar, although the main [most obvious] difference is the revised shape [and LED] headlight and taller windscreen on the new bike:
Headlight and Screen
2015 model CB500XA (ABS) screen
2016 model CB500XA (ABS) screen
Headlight/screen/beak - key changes summary:
The 2016 bike has an LED headlight (the previous generation uses a conventional halogen bulb) and is slightly more narrow and pointier. We will be photographing a side-by-side comparison in the dark soon, but it appears that the 2016 model LED headlight offers a more 'white' light than the previous generation, although the spread looks broadly similar.
The 2016 beak is longer and features a double point in comparison to the '13-'15 model. There is also a metallic grey painted plastic trim panel above the 2016 headlight.
Most significant perhaps is the much taller screen (approximately 4"), with vents cut into it - presumably to reduce buffeting/noise. We have not tested the new screen to see if there is a notable improvement, although based on other 2016 rider reports, much as before, it would appear that it still depends on what size you are and which helmet you wear.
2015 model rider view:
2016 model rider view:
Other than the taller screen, the cockpit/dash view remains the same. The only other thing we noticed is the cap/plug over the steering-stem nut is more elaborate in design - it is still a plastic bung though.
The [only] other major visual difference is the shape of the side panels:
2015 model CB500XA (ABS) side panel
2016 model CB500XA (ABS) side panel
The 2016 model bike has a much slimmer black [textured] section, together with a second infill panel that is painted - different colours (silver, white or red) depending on the colour scheme you choose.
We also noted that the new side panels also have a more pronounced lip on the leading edge of the 2016 bike:
2015 model CB500XA (ABS)
2016 model CB500XA (ABS)
We presume this is some soft of wind deflector, although we were never aware of any issue with the previous generation in that regard.
Finally, purely out of interest, we tried a 2015 side panel onto the 2016 bike during our build:
And can confirm that the 2013-15 and 2016 side panels are interchangeable should you desire. (note. they are also broadly similar in cost too, around $56 USD a side, so a consideration if you ever need to replace a damaged panel on a 2013-15 bike).
The only difference we could find was the inclusion of the flip up fuel filler on the 2016 model - the other dimensions remain exactly the same, so the advertised increase in capacity (0.3L, or about the size of a can of Coke) must come from the revised filler neck.
2015 model CB500XA (ABS) fuel filler cap
2016 model CB500XA (ABS) fuel filler cap
I have to say, the new filler is very nice. Not worth changing your bike for perhaps, but it does work very nicely in use.
Similarly, while the 'Wave' key might sound like a superficial [if not desperate] addition to the list of upgrades for 2016, again, it does add an air of quality to the 2016 model in use.
2013-15 model key:
2016-onwards model key
The 2016 model features some additional adjustment...
2015 model front brake lever - fixed
2016 model front brake lever - adjustable span
2015 model fork cap
2016 model adjustable preload fork cap
While the inclusion of adjustable fork preload is commended on the 2016 bike, we are a little concerned that the screwdriver style adjuster could show signs of wear/damage more quickly than the bolt-head type - especially as this adjuster works directly on the spring itself rather than through any sort of gearing.
Moving to the rear of the bike, the only differences to the body panels and passenger grab-handles are a change of colour, and the deletion of the model name sticker - now located on the coloured side-panel by the rider's knee on the 2016 model.
2015 model CB500XA (ABS)
2016 model CB500XA (ABS)
The tail-light itself is exactly the same shape (so will fit in the R&G tail-tidy for example), however we did notice it uses a slightly different shape connector under the seat - so if you wanted to upgrade to the 2016 LED version, you'd need to consider changing the connectors to suit.
2015 model CB500XA (ABS) conventional tail-light (regular bulb, red lens)
2016 model CB500XA (ABS) LED tail-light (clear lens - red LEDs)
There was also one further change that was not really apparent until we started to build the 2016 bike up with the Rally-Raid spoked wheels:
2015 model CB500XA (ABS) front wheel
2016 model CB500XA (ABS) front wheel
You may notice the front calliper is a slightly different shape. It is still a twin-piston sliding type, and picks up on the same mountings and has the same size [320mm] disc, it just has a slightly larger calliper body in comparison to the earlier model.
The ABS sensor is also a slightly different shape, but since the ring itself has the same diameter and number of cut-outs, we can presume they would be interchangeable if needs be.
However, and this really only pertains to the Rally-Raid wheel conversion - not only is the ABS ring a different colour (it now matches the rear), but it also has a slightly different profile, with different strengthening ribs, which have moved from the outside of the ABS ring to the inside.
This means that the 2016 ABS ring does not fit directly onto the Rally-Raid disc spider in the usual way...
There are currently three options:
1. use the previous generation ABS ring (simple, but surprisingly expensive we found!).
2. cut a series of slots in the 2016 ABS ring so that the spider fits in the original manner (our current recommended solution, and at no cost to yourself).
3. John is currently looking to offer our own stainless-steel ABS ring as part of the LEVEL 1 & 3 wheel kits for future deliveries - NOTE. this only applies to ABS versions of the 2016 bike, fitting the Rally-Raid wheels on the non-ABS 2016 bikes work in exactly the same way as before.
So hopefully all of the above will help anyone looking to purchase a new 2016 model verses the previous 2013-15 generation bike.
As I say, the actual differences other than cosmetically really are very minor, albeit all useful upgrades - adjustable fork preload, front brake lever, taller windshield (should you find that works for you) and brighter lighting.
If you have any further questions, feel free to ask...
Building the Rally-Raid Products 2016 'Heritage' demo bike
This is essentially a short thread within a thread...
So what would you do if you were let loose in the Rally-Raid Products workshop for a weekend, with a room full of tools, racks full of parts and one of these - a 2016 model Honda CB500X:
Well, first you might fit a Scorpion Serket Exhaust silencer (shown above) - the can itself will also form part of the CB500F Scrambler high-level exhaust soon to be introduced...
You might also try on the shark-gill style 'Belly-pan eliminator shield' which again will be part of the Scrambler range of parts, although equally appropriate for any X owners who want to get rid of the frankly pretty useless plastic belly-pan, and tidy up the bottom of their engine:
photo. Personally I think this will look the business with the headers wrapped in neutral heat-wrap.
You might also consider fitting a 17" spoked front wheel - now available in gold anodised finish as well as the regular Rally-Raid black powder coat:
Hmmmm... it's starting to look sharp isn't it?
How about we peel those rather garish stickers off the bodywork, and fit a matching gold rear wheel too:
photo. starting to look very tidy now!
Of course what this white bike really needs is some traditional Honda HRC red/white/blue graphics - something to coordinate with the red side panel, so not too bright - a cross between the new Africa Twin and the final edition TransAlp perhaps?
photo. Now that looks a lot more purposeful, and we haven't even started on the suspension yet!
In fact if you're really on a budget, you can always retain the OEM silencer - it doesn't look half bad after all!
...still, that brushed stainless-steel Scorpion silencer really sets off the rear end I feel:
The LEVEL 1 Heritage bike
So the above build is effectively our most basic LEVEL 1 combination - just the 17/17" gold wheels, the Adventure engine-guard (complete with the new retro style vents in the heat shields), and the Heritage graphics set.
The LEVEL 1 bike was built to help showcase the mix-and-match nature of the LEVEL 1 range of components, allowing you to address what you feel are the shortcomings with the basic bike, while at the same time retaining the standard seat-height and suspension travel length, and offers the option of upgrading the front and rear suspension individually or as a pair.
Whether you primarily want a cosmetic upgrade, or are looking to improve the general dynamics of the bike - together with general robustness for more serious off-road use, the LEVEL 1 range of individual products allows you to phase the build as your budget and/or circumstances allow.
In addition, for 2016 we wil be expanding our general range of parts and accessories - suitable for a stock CB500X (and in most cases the F and even the R model too), or any of the LEVEL 1,2 & 3 upgraded machines...
New products for 2016
Available from 2nd quarter of 2016, these will include:
• Billet ABS bypass switch
• Folding-tip gear shift lever
• High-level Scrambler Exhaust system
• Belly-pan Eliminator shield
• OEM billet bar-clamp and auxiliary power bracket.
• Our own design one-piece billet side stand 'camel toe' foot.
Suspension products expansion
We will also be introducing a fully-adjustable closed cartridge fork option, for both LEVEL 1 (standard travel/ride-height) and our unique longer-travel LEVEL 3 Adventure suspension.
Together with the affordable LEVEL 1 front and rear suspension components, there will now be a revised LEVEL 1b specification that includes the same short-hose reservoir and fully adjustable rear shock that is specified on our LEVEL 3 Adventure suspension, together with fully-adjustable (compression, rebound and preload) closed-cartridge fork internals to offer an even greater performance and fine-tuning option. note. These fork cartridges will also be available separately to existing LEVEL 1/1b customers who wish to further upgrade their machines.
Later this summer we also intend to introduce a remote preload adjuster option that will also be retrofittable to our existing LEVEL 1, 2 & 3 TracTive shocks.
Finally, it is our intention to finally address the OEM footrest position/hanger... watch this space as they say.
Now of course we weren't really just going to stop there were we?
The LEVEL 3 Heritage bike
(our UK demonstrator for 2016)
With a gold 19" front wheel already shod with a TKC80 tyre, it was only a matter of time before we had the bike stripped down again for further improvements!
photo. We can confirm that the 2013-15 one-piece side panels also fit on the 2016 bike should you wish...
It's worth noting that while the main tyre-track graphics (and Honda wing) are easy enough to take off in the usual way, there is a small section by the rider's knee on the tank (grey and dark grey in our colourway) that is actually lacquered over... fortunately it is not too conspicuous on the white version of the bike, but might be a bit garish on the black/yellow colour option, and similarly unless you keep the complete red and orange stripe on the Sand colourway (which personally I think is going to look fantastic with the black spoked LEVEL 3 wheels anyway!)
The 2016 demo bike was built up with the following (all parts available through the Rally-Raid Products webshop):
• Full LEVEL 3 wheel and suspension kit, complete with gold rim option and Fat-bar risers.
• Continental TKC80 tyres and tubes.
• Adventure engine-guard
• Gold Renthal RC High bend bars, and Barkbuster VPS hand-guards.
• Billet adjustable levers
• Scorpion Serket (low) exhaust
• R&G tail-tidy, frame bungs and radiator protector
RRP Parts still to be fitted:
• ABS bypass switch
• Heavy-duty platform foot-pegs
• Folding tip gear lever
• Billet camel-toe
A few detail shots:
photo. revised shark-gill heat-shield, R&G frame bungs and the new 2016 mount for the shock reservoir.
photo. "Do you still hear the KLRs screaming Clarice?"
photo. Scotts steering damper fits to our existing Adventure billet top-triple clamp with a simple mounting kit. note. Locking preload adjuster caps with bleed screws (optional one-touch valves are also available) and the optional Fat-bar riser, with gold Renthal RC High bend bars fitted.
So that is enough teasing I guess... this is what the Heritage bike looks like in LEVEL 3 specification:
photo. before and after (pretty much)
OK, let's take this outside shall we?
And perhaps my favourite photo of all:
Makes you want to jump on and ride doesn't it?!