CMS-Japanese Motorcycle Supply Parts

Honda CX500, CX650, GL500, GL650 New Bike Checklist

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New Bike Checklist

So, you bought the bike. Congratulations! Here are some things to consider once you get it home, running or otherwise.

Gather resources

Grab a Factory Service Manual for your model, search this site for info, and if you can find one grab a Haynes etc. service manual. Can't ever have too much information, and different manuals have different techniques. The Haynes and other non-factory manuals do have some errors, though, so it's worth double checking things with the factory manual if you are using those.

General overview

The last CX500 we picked up had almost all of the engine hanger nuts and bolts loose - those that were left. It pays to give the bike a once-over and check that everything is present and tight. Take off the seat and tank and inspect the hoses and cables, and clean up any dirt and debris so you can see any fresh leaks. Check that both the throttle cables work smoothly and that the choke cable is functional.

Don't forget the brake pedal, gearshift lever and handlebar clamp bolts. Oh, and the steering stem nut... you don't want to find out that that's loose by the steering being all over the place.


How old are the tyres on the bike? If they're more than 5 years old you should replace them. Not sure how to tell how old they are? Check out our article on finding the tyre age here. If there are cracks in the sidewalls definitely replace them, and make sure there's the legal minimum tread depth left - in Australia it's 1.5mm minimum last we checked. Double check that the tyres are mounted correctly, if they are directional, and check the tyre pressures. Check them again before you take it out for a ride to see if there are any leaks.


Flushing the brake system only takes a short while and costs about $10 in brake fluid, so unless the previous owner changed it out very recently it's well worth doing. Brake fluid collects water over time which reduces the performance and once it's saturated you can end up with water corroding brake components. Properly flushing the fluid should also remove any air in the lines, which also reduces the braking performance. Carefully check the master cylinder and reservoir for leaks, and make sure that both front and rear brakes apply and release properly.

Check the brake pads for wear. If it looks like oil (engine oil, fork oil or otherwise) has spilled onto them replace the pads. Check the disc rotor thickness for roadworthiness - click here for how to. For TI bikes the test is here.

Carbs and fuel system

Check in the tank for signs of rust. If there is, make a plan to deal with it lest you block up the carbs more than they already are. If there is rust present also plan on cleaning the carbs - in-line filters (like this one) help - and there's also one in the tank around the petcock straw that's probably never been cleaned in it's life - but they don't catch everything.

It can be educational to open the drain screws on the carb float bowls and see what comes out - whether it's clear, rusty, murky etc. - just make sure that the drain hoses are present on the carb bowl nipples so you don't just pour petrol over the back of your motor. Again, if it's anything but the same appearance as the petrol that went in plan on having to clean the carbs.

Engine and Fluids

If it's a runner which has had a recent service and replacement of fluids, check the levels. Otherwise, it's time for a change of the oil, oil filter and coolant. Check the oil and filter carefully for metal particles and pay close attention to the colour - any creaminess is cause for further investigation. The same goes for the coolant. If the bike has sat for a while expect to change out the oil and filter again after a short period - this is to try and ensure that as much of the old liquid/deposits are flushed out as possible.

For the coolant you will need to check the level in the radiator, not just the overflow tank behind the motor. This will involve taking the seat and tank off (or if you are particularly averse to taking it off, you may be able to lift the tank up).

It's suggested that you remove and check the oil filter if nothing else - that way you can check the pleats for aluminium or copper flecks which would indicate a loose cam chain, busted bearings or both.


Check that the charging system is charging the battery - you don't really want to slap in a new battery only to find yourself stranded once it goes flat an hour or two later, do you? If it's a CDI system, you might as well do the stator check while you're at it. You can use the online stator check page to check both the charging and ignition-related components of the stator - click here for link - and it also has a link to the instructions for checking the charging output of the stator.

Check that the brake lights, head lights and indicators work properly. Check that the idiot lights function as expected. Check that you can start it both in neutral and in gear with the clutch pulled; almost all of the CXs we have seen for the past couple of years have had faulty starter disconnect switches and as such can only be started in neutral. It's handy to know what to expect.

It's worth checking the condition of the connectors - those under the seat or the side covers in particular - as some of them are known to corrode or melt with unhappy consequences and you might as well find out about it now!

Here are some example photos of corroded wiring looms on the Honda CX500, GL500, CX650 and GL650 motorcycles.

The opposite side wasn't quite so bad - replaced more recently perhaps?

Here are some example photos of corroded wiring looms on the Honda CX500, GL500, CX650 and GL650 motorcycles.


There should be one main fuse near the battery and auxiliary fuses at the handlebars. What rating these fuses should be varies year on year, so check your bike's spec sheet. If you aren't intending on changing out the glass fuses for more modern blade fuses, grab some spares of the appropriate rating. Make sure that the right number of fuses are present and check that they are not blown. Sometimes old fuses can fracture and appear to be intact when examined but vibration and heat can cause the halves to separate, creating intermittent electrical problems. If there's any doubt about a fuse, simply replace it.

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