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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the market for a new bike & just learned about the CTX700. I have been riding since 1954 but now I need an automatic transmission as the clutch hurts my hand too much.
I now have a Yamaha Majesty that I have had since 2005 & it only has 81,000 miles but I think it is time for a new bike. (There would have been more miles but I kept my 1995 Yamaha Virago until a little over a year ago.)
My concern is in regard to the ease of routine maintenance due to the issues I had with both of those bikes.
For instance on the Virago I had to lay on the ground & use a flashlight just to see the oil sight glass. To change the air filter I had to remove the seat & then the gas tank to get to the air filter. The oil filter was even worse.
The Majesty has a terrible air filter design & location & the oil input tube is too short. Checking the rear tire pressure is nearly impossible.
Those are the type of issues I would like to learn about BEFORE I buy a new bike.
 

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Routine maintenance on the CTX is extremely easy plus it requires 87 octane fuel instead of premium. The CTX is a water cooled engine so oil changes are less frequent. The manual states to change it every 8000 miles. I recommend every 4000-6000. The oil filter is located in the lower front and easily accessed. There is a dip stick to check the oil. It is located on the right side at the drivers leg position. Couldn't be easier. The CTX is chain driven so you will have to lube the chain every 500 miles or so. This is easily done but a little time consuming without the center stand. The air cleaner needs to be changed every 12,000 miles. It is located under the faux gas tank as in most motorcycles. Depending on what model you select will determine the amount of time you will spend getting to the cleaner. The side panels and center shelter have to be removed to gain access. They are easily removed but this can be time consuming. Spark plugs need to be changed every 16,000 miles. They are located in the front and easily accessed. Many of these issues are addressed within the forum. You might want to take a look.
 

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I'm a very inexperienced rider/owner having ridden only one-and-a-half years and have experience with only one scooter (Piaggio BV350) and one MC (CTX700). But maybe a novice's take on the maintenance / service issues that I've encountered and researched, but never really had to deal with, will have some value versus those who have owned so many bikes that some of the things I think of as issues, they may not even think about as being a hassle, since they've done it so long.

In general, from my reading on different threads on different forums, modern Honda bikes like the CTX designed for world-wide sales are very trouble free and cheap to work on and not much to do compared to some premium brands like BMW or more specialized bikes. I read a thread on the adv. rider forum where someone posted all the advantages to the NC700X compared to his previously-owned, much-more-expensive BMW F800. Some of the items this person mentioned were: With the NC700X, which is basically the same bike as the CTX just different layout, he could do much more of the wrenching himself, even though after a few thousand miles hadn't had to do anything except an oil change, but when he did have to take it for service, he had many more options from shade tree mechanics, to mom and pops shops. Due to the simplicity of design, labor is generally cheaper even at dealerships and it uses more common, off-the-shelf parts. With respect to the F800, however, even some simple tasks on the BMW, it had to go to a BMW dealership, and he was at the mercy of German-priced service. As a bonus, this guy stated that the CTX was a much smoother, more refined ride than the F800. As just one example of the simplicity of service, if you look at the 8,000 mile service interval on the CTX, which is very long for oil changes on a MC, you will see "valve clearance check/adjustment". This is something I studied before buying, because that is very frequent for a valve clearance check compared to many MC models and even my scooter, which was only every 24.9K miles. But looking in to it closer, I learned that the CTX uses screw-type adjustments, instead of shims, so it is much easier for a nonmechanical person like myself to tackle, and if I do decide to take it somewhere for the check and/or adjustment, even though I have no Honda dealership in town, I've got two or three options for this service, and I can bid them out and take it where I'm most comfortable.

A few other examples of Honda simplicity and global presence that makes it a good choice: (1) It takes regular gas, regular MC engine oil, and can use a regular auto filter from Autozone, Honda dealership, or even Walmart if you prefer. With respect to the engine oil filter, in researching about changing the engine oil I found out that this bike uses a slightly shorter version oil filter as the oil filter used in every single Honda car sold in America, save the S2000. Other than the length on the MC version of this filter, it's an identical filter. Someone on the NCX forum actually tested to make sure all the parameters except for the amount of filter media was the same, and according to his measurements and research, the MC filter on the CTX/NCS/NCX and Integra is the same as the filter on all Honda cars. Additionally, the engine oil is a pretty common 10W30 or 10W40 and the only extra requirement is that you choose an oil that is MA approval such that the engine oil doubles as gear oil (so yeah, you need to use MC oil, at least according to Honda). I thought this was pretty neat. The oil change was very simple. Much easier than changing it in my car, and I got a two pack at my local Honda dealership for $15. By comparison, my scooter, which was an Italian brand, so not as common as your Majesty, it required premium fuel, a hard-to-find 10W-50 engine oil. I had to buy the filter from one of the online sites that sells Piaggio/Aprilia/Vespa parts. The scooter has more dedicated parts used only by the Italian manufacturer that alot of shops don't want to deal with and special tools if I tried to tackle myself, especially as it relates to the CVT components.

Speaking of the CVT, this is was one of the things that got me thinking about making a switch from a scooter to an MC, and that leads me to the biggest drawback I've found so far about this bike or any chain-driven bike for that matter. I didn't own the scooter long enough to deal with changing the CVT belt or any of the other CVT components, but after watching a Youtube DIY video, I sort of got scared of owning a scooter for the long haul, and that was because, this retired Piaggio mechanic who did the video started talking about how heat was the biggest wear problem with respect to CVT belts, variators, variator fans, clutches, sliders/rollers, etc. and that the biggest promoter of heat was highway riding and long trips, which is basically all I do on powered two wheels. Also, as the video progressed, this retired mechanic started showing all the specialized and expensive tools needed to replace these wearable parts on belt-driven CVTs, and he was pointing out cheap alternatives as he went along, but still, with respect to alot of the tasks, there were few cheap alternatives. It seem like that, other than the belt, every other component was around $300 just for the part, and that if one didn't DIY, the going rate to work on a Piaggio was anywhere from $100-$200 per hour. Now don't get me wrong; it wasn't like these components wear very quickly, especially on the newly-designed BV350 which used a revolutionary wet clutch. I could expect, based on his testimony, that every 30K or so, except for the belt, to replace some of these components. But even so, the number of miles I would be riding, I would be needing transmission work every year and a half to replace the belt, and every 2 to 3 years for other CVT work based on this experts' opinion. Not being a long-time owner of a scooter, I don't know if my fear was really founded, but anyway, that and the fact that I preferred to pick my own gear, I started thinking of making a change.

So I started looking at bikes. Most of the bikes I liked were chain driven. I liked the fact that chain-driven and belt-driven bikes were much more efficient per cc and for any given level of output than scooters if well engineered, even though most people think of scooters as more fuel frugal. I think this perception is mainly because most scooters are 50-125 cc, and therefore, of course they get better mpg than a 250 and up MC, but not by much and some people aren't in a situation where he or she can live with a lmitied-speed PTW, and I fall into that camp. My ride must be highway capable or I can't even get out of my subdivision. I attribute efficiency difference mostly to the drive efficiency of chain or belt drive versus CVTs. For instance, the CTX700 (which is a 670 cc engine) and weighs 494 lbs at somewhere around 48 horsepower, gets at least as good gas mileage as the BV350 with a 330 cc engine @ 390 lbs and 33 horsepower.

Caustion; rant follows...
Regrets...So far, the biggest drawback for me of this MC versus my scooter is that I could get on the scooter, rain or shine, and just ride with no worries afterwards. I would clean up the wheels and all around the underside very easily at my convenience. It didn't get that dirty and what dirt didn't splash around the underside was easy to get to, because it was mostly covered in plastic. This is not the case on a chain-driven bike. I don't want to hesitate to ride. I want to use it for my daily commute with no worries, but the chain and the underside creates a worry for me so far. If I decide to ride, and the roads are wet, then I'm going to have a grimy, dry and dirty, chain a half an hour after I ride that will require lots of time and effort to clean and then reluube immediately, each time, no matter how much time I'd spent just the day before getting everything in good shape. And the underside up around the rear shock is very hard to reach without taking of plastic pieces and that's a hassle as well.

In researching about regular chain maintenance, I was led to believe that I would just have to lube about every 500 miles; clean, lube, and check tension every 1,000 miles or so. No big deal. Sort of a hassle--yes--but something I could get used to once per week or so. The steps looked pretty simple. I would have to get a center stand or a rear stand, but after studying the procedure, I thought it would be fairly quick, easy, and simple after I got a routine down. This is pretty much how it went in the summer. About what I expected with the chain.

Starting this winter, however, the chain has been a pain in my side; not to mention something has caused me to drop 11 mpg, versus the 3 mpg I lost in the winter on the BV350. I'm not getting the chain good and clean evidently, because I've not been attending to it immediately after riding and I've not been spending enough time, product and effort to get it really good and clean. I think I've also been overlubing, which is part of the reason I've been getting such a mess lately. For cleaning, I've got to work on one section at a time. Douse it in what ever cleaner as many times as it takes; scrub it; wipe it dry it; douse it again; rinse it if necessary; and finally, after its clean, I've got to...SAY WHAT!...Take it for a ride to warm up the chain, so that the lube will seep in to the o-rings. I don't have anywhere to go at this point, but the experts suggest that I've got to go for a ride. This is unacceptable. I don't ride just to ride.

I'm not giving up or getting rid of it. I've got to keep working at it to get a good routine. I refuse to be a fair-weather rider, but yet I refuse to spend hours per week on regular chain maintenance, so I've got to keep working with different cleaning and lubing products and strike a balance on the amount of lube to use and where, but so far, this winter has taken all the fun out of riding, because I'm constantly worrying about the condition of the chain when I arrive at work with it wet with no stand; arrive home and it's dark with a wet and grimy chain; and just in general, worrying all the time that I've got a dirty, dry chain even though I may have just lubed it the day before.

I know there is an easier way; a more efficient way than the way I'm dealing with it. I've got some ideas already. Keep an rag and a small lube drip container of lube with me on the bike. When I stop with a wet chain way from home, put it on the side stand; dry the bottom section of the chain; roll it forward; dry another section; roll it forward; dry the last section; drip a small amount of lube using the same method. Now I've at least kept the grime from drying on the chain. When I come home in the dark, put it up on the stand and immediately wipe all the water and grime off of it; spray or drip just a little bit of waxy lube. For regular maintenance, use some kind of cleaner or kerosene or WD-40 and get it really good and clean. Put just a small drop of gear oil on each o-ring. Let it soak in over night. Then lightly spray some dry lube over the o-rings and the sides. That's my plan going forward. Maybe carefully use a hair dryer or heat gun to warm the chain. I ain't going for a ride to lube the chain.

Rant over...
Anyway, my advice is to be ready to spend some time getting good at dealing with regular chain maintenance if you've never owned a chain-driven bike or like to ride in all weather conditions save severe whether, or find someone who has owned one and has already figured it out and got it down to a science. He or she can show you exactly what to do, how often, and how much. I don't have someone to go to personally for me to get it all down to something that works. I'll just have to keep working on it and for the underside, I'll have to figure out which pieces of plastic to take and leave off the bike, because the way it is now, it's too hard to get and keep clean for a daily rider.
 

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Eh, you're probably overdoing it then. If you're putting 500 miles a week on it, just give it a quick spray, make sure it's working smoothly. Then once every few weeks clean it up a hair. It's a chain, it's not going to be sparkly clean all the time. You just don't want it encrusted in crap and rust!

I'm not encouraging neglect, but it is an overengineered Honda. It will be fine.
 

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Greg, your way too fixated on chain maintenance. Been riding chain driven bikes all my life from dirt to street. Replaced 2 and both was due to stretching. The object is to keep it lubed and wipe or brush the major road grime off to keep it from building up. A stiff bristle paint brush or something similar works great. This should be done about every 500-600 miles or when ever it gets wet. You don't want the chain to rust so a light lubing should be performed within a day or so. Completely cleaning the chain should be performed on occasion but not every time. They just don't get that dirty and its not necessary. Chains stretch over time. Tension should be checked on a regular basis but adjusting should only be needed rarely. This is easily performed with a simple finger test. Place the finger in the middle of the chain and check for free play. If there is more than 1 1/4" free play, its time to adjust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So no big gripes. I have a lot more about the Majesty & it irritates me that in all these years they haven't addressed any of them.
I haven't had a chain driven bike for over thirty years but I don't recall them being a huge problem except that you have to replace both the chain & sprocket from time to time. I should think that a belt would be better.
My last three bikes have been a Honda CX500, a Yamaha 750 Virago & the Yamaha Majesty. The only thing I didn't like about the Honda was the 2 1/2 gallon (100 miles to walking) gas tank.
 

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Service length of modern O-ring chains is quite good nowadays if you clean them periodically and keep them lubed. Like anything mechanical that is used to the extremes like a chain or sprocket, replacement can become necessary over time. My experience has been that they last considerably longer than belts. Their draw back is only in the maintenance required to keep them in shape. At first glance, a belt drive seems like the more logical choice. Then again, this bike was designed to appeal to a broad spectrum or riders utilizing an established platform such as the NC700 and Integra. A belt would not meet those requirements for the NC700. So chain it is.
 

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gee, in 3000 miles I have yet to adjust my chain. I use the 3 paper towel method I invented. Of course we all invented our chain method I am sure.

Put bike on rear stand. Wipe chain off with folded paper towel on all four sides. place new paper towel "L" shapped folded where upper fold keeps spray off the tire and lower fold keeps it off the floor. Spray slightly downward so towel catches over spay (bike, floor and tire stay clean) and links are lubed on the inside of chain. Rotate rear wheel a towel length at a time and do it until entire chain has been sprayed. Take third paper towel and wipe off the side plates which don't need oil. clean wheel if it needs it.
5 minutes every 300 miles. Reset trip B.

I have never lost any sleep laying awake because I may have missed some dirt on my chain or some link may have not gotten properly oiled due to my carelessness. I think the chain is one of the more robust parts of the bike considering it's power. IMHO
 

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Add-oon to Bill

If you are obsessive about it, afterward (while on the centerstand you installed) you can put it in gear at idle to spread the oil a bit more.
 

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I keep two cheap 2" paintbrushes that I've trimmed about 3/4" off the bristle to stiffen then up and cut the handles off for better access hanging in the garage just for this purpose. One is for cleaning and the other is for lubing. A small amount of cleaner can be used to clean the chain and a small amount of oil is all that is necessary to lube the chain. Use an old rag or paper towel to clean the brushes before re-hanging. Works great with little fuss.
 
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