It’s been a tad over 7,000km since my last oil change. And of late, I’ve noticed that gear changing on the 400X seem to have gotten a little clunkier. Definitely not as smooth as I once remembered it to be. And so there I was contemplating the decision as to whether I should pamper my machine with some fresh engine oil.
But then, this clunky gearshift appears to be rather random too – sometimes shifting from one gear to the next feels like the gearbox of an agricultural tractor; but on other occasions, it could feel as smooth as a well-oiled precision machinery. And so I figured that it shouldn’t be the case of the engine oil approaching end of life.
Most affected owners *should* know by now that Honda had a massive recall on multiple motorcycle models due to a potential failure in the starter relay switch. A failure could lead to a fire or even the bike suddenly stalling – which is a potential accident risk. The potentially faulty starter relay switch seem to affect multiple Honda motorcycle models manufactured in 2014 and 2015. My CB400X is a 2014 model. *GASP!*
Being the 3rd owner of the vehicle and only recently acquiring it, I have no idea if my bike’s starter relay is affected, or if it had been swapped out. And since this is a SAFETY issue and a possible FIRE HAZARD, I decided to be prudent about it and do some investigation myself.
After traveling some 2,000km and taking my 400X on my first road trip to Thailand, I’ve come to realise that the speedometer and odometer (or tripmeter) readings are waaaaaay off.
While I understand that most vehicle manufacturers build the speedometer to overestimate the actual speed, my Honda was actually UNDERESTIMATING instead! As I have my handlebar-mounted GPS turned on throughout the journey, I noticed that while the speedometer was reading approximately 100kmh, my (GPS) actual speed was 106kmh instead!
And to add to the problem, my odometer / tripmeter readings are way off too. While comparing notes with several fellow riders, the distance between 2 refuel stops should have been about 220km apart – my trip meter was reading 197km only. To confirm this irregular phenomenon, I took a mental note on the distance to the next destination on my GPS – approximately 135km. But when I arrived, my bike showed that I have traveled for only 120km!
Just before the handover, he had agreed to replace the bike battery (it died while viewing) and perform a once-off engine oil change. I specifically asked if he used a fully-synthetic oil – and he said YES; though he couldn’t recall the oil name (red flag!). So he arranged for tow and got the agreed stuff replaced.
With the recent acquisition of the Honda CB400X, it’s now time to get it tour-ready. The previous owner threw in a a puny 35L top box and that was hardly enough for my needs. I’m a storage hog and I love ample storage space on my motorcycles. I just love the idea of the ability of my mechanical steed to carry me and my luggage to far flung places – adventure on a whim!
So what better way to equip the Honda mid-sized adventure bike with some adventure luggage? A set of adventure aluminum boxes, of course!
I had initially wanted a set of Givi plastic luggage that will give the bike an urban tourer look. But I know of someone who got a set of Givi V35 side boxes and accompanying rack that would have cost as much as a *COMPLETE* Kappa aluminum luggage set – INCLUDING a 48L top box! GASP!
So after much research, I thought that a set of Kappa K-Venture’s from the ever popular Lim Ah Boy gave the most bang-for-the-buck. And I went for the KVE48A top box and a set of KVE37A side cases. Kappa, being Givi’s sister brand, carries a set of aluminum luggage that’s strikingly similar to Givi’s more well known set of Outback Trekkers – only cheaper! Continue reading “Kappa K-Venture Luggage Upgrade on my CB400X”
At 55,000km on the odometer, my 4-year old Pulsar was due for an oil change. So after returning from a short Sunday morning ride to JB, I went to LAB and got myself some Motul 7100 15W50. Changing engine oil is a relatively simple maintenance procedure, and I’ve almost always been doing it myself. But today’s oil change was anything but typical.
As I drained the used engine oil and removed the magnetic oil strainer, my heart skipped a beat when I witnessed this:
For those who have been following my blog, you’d probably know that I experienced an engine breakdown due to a catastrophic camshaft bearing failure less than 1 year ago. In fact, I was almost stranded in Chiang Mai, Thailand, some 2,500km away from home where there wasn’t any Bajaj dealership in the country at all. I had to FedEx the engine parts up from Singapore to get the bike fixed. Similarly back then, the magnetic oil strainer caught a massive amount of metal shavings from the grounded down camshaft bearing.
My Pulsar has just reached it’s 4-year mark, and it’s certainly showing signs of its age. I was just at Universal Motors yesterday for a gear lever replacement. And when I got home that evening, I noticed that the left side of my radiator assembly was shaking loose.
The 200NS radiator is held in place by four mounting points. And to damp it from the motorcycle’s vibrations, each of these four mounts are coupled with a rubber “silent block”. Turns out that TWO of the FOUR mounts were broken! One at the rubber damper, and the other was a metal fracture on the radiator itself! GASP!
During my recent Sunday Morning Ride to Layang-layang, I experienced a gear shift issue on the Pulsar. Well, for some time now, I thought the gearshift on the 200NS felt strange. After the recent 2,000km run to Betong, Thailand and back, I thought that the gearshift felt kind of harsh. Initially, I attributed it to possibly spent oil. Although it was a mere 2,000km, I was running at high RPM’s for extended periods of time. And so when I returned to Singapore, I performed an engine oil change. Unfortunately, even the fresh oil – Motul’s fully synthetic 7100 – didn’t bring me the once-familiar super-smooth gear shift experience.
During the Layang-layang ride, it got worse.
At a juncture, I couldn’t downshift my bike! And I was forced to pull off from stationary on gear 2. Oh gosh! I hope it isn’t a gearbox issue. Now, THAT will be expensive repair.
The Pulsar 200NS comes with an adjustable nitrox-charged monoshock rear suspension. Although the damping is not adjustable, the spring preload is.
At my recent tour to Betong, and because I was riding with a group, I realised that when it came to corners, I seem to hesitate quite a bit more than the other bikes. It could be a case of chicken, or that my Pulsar was the most underpowered bike. But when I was discussing this issue with a fellow biker, he suggested that it could be due to the suspension setup of my motorcycle.
The Pulsar 200NS rear gas-charged mono suspension comes with NINE (9) levels of adjustment settings, with 1 being the softest and 9 being the hardest spring preload. The factory default setting is a very soft level 2. While this may be suitable for most “average sized” solo riders, heavier riders (like me) or riders with pillion and / or luggage should increase the preload for better damping.
Some of you would know that I have been using Motul’s very popular C2 (Road) chain lube for a very long time. It was also my primary chain lubricant when I did my 11,000km over 49 days SE Asia Tour in 2016. While the topic of chain lube – like engine oil – is very much a controversial subject when it comes to “which one is the best”, everyone has their own favourite lube. Personally, when it comes to chain lube, my opinion is that as long as you clean and lube frequently, I suspect most brand-name chain lubes would work well to protect the chain and keep it running.
But of course, there are differences.
While I’m pretty certain that the Motul C2 Chain Lube kept my chain well lubed, it also tend to attract A LOT of gunk. A HELL LOT!! I’ve previously blogged about the gooey mess that have accumulated on my chain and front sprocket after I returned from my long tour. Yes, admittedly, I had traveled on some challenging terrains – including the dusty roads of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. But I suspect the accumulated gunk might have somewhat contributed to accelerated wear on my chain – leading to an eventual uneven distribution of wear along the chain length.