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Italian CB Build Quality

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liverpool_f_
the 900
the 900

Posts : 399

Italian CB Build Quality

Post by liverpool_f_ on Tue 09 Jan 2018, 12:25 pm

Looking for some opinions on this one.

Everybody on the forum seems to say the Italian built CB's aren't built to a very high standard. I was wondering what peoples specific complaints were. I have an Italian CB and the quality on mine seems great. Were they inconsistent or were the early ones a bit ropey? Mine is on an 02 plate so maybe they had the problems sorted by then.

Mine has been badly repainted by hand at some point so maybe the original paint wasn't great. The only other thing I am not sure about on mine is the lower suspension mount on the brake disk side on the rear swing arm is not on centered on the swing arm. I have seen others like that. Don't know if that's the design or if a few of them were made and shipped like that.

Apart from that, my bike has had a very hard life and there is very little rust. Quality welds and long life to parts etc.

My wifes transalp is Italian built and I think the quality on the CB is much better. The Alp would have been a much more expensive bike at the time as well. Both on 02 plates.
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cj haughey
Hyper Viper
Hyper Viper

Posts : 42

Re: Italian CB Build Quality

Post by cj haughey on Tue 09 Jan 2018, 6:47 pm

I have had many an Italian car and still have a good few and italian build quality is not that bad in fairness. Being handy with a multimeter can help though.
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eternally_troubled
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Posts : 3910
Location : 'ere be fens. (near Cambridge)

Re: Italian CB Build Quality

Post by eternally_troubled on Tue 09 Jan 2018, 10:20 pm

I have a CB500-V ('96/'97 model year) - made in Italy -  and it seems to be doing quite well.  It isn't in good condition, but it had a hard life before I got it and I haven't made its life any easier!

For purposes of comparison mine has done around 60k miles and here is a quick list of what has been wrong with it since I've had it, some of these things are consumables so you can ignore them if you want:

Fork seals, bushes and oil replaced
Front brake disc replaced
Front brake master cylinder overhauled
Front brake caliper seals replaced

Handlebars replaced by previous owner (probably dropped)
Mirrors replaced more than once

Throttle pull cable

Regulator rectifier replaced (may need doing again... arse!)
A number of batteries (I'm not kind to them)

Rear shocks

Swingarm (big rusty hole appeared last year in the bottom of the orignal one - bushes and bearings were fine!)

Front and rear wheel bearings
Sprocket carrier bearing
Chain and sprockets

Valve clearances checked and shims replaced once

Things that have not been replaced AFAIK:

Original (i.e. not replaced!) head race bearings
Original brake hoses (no signs of cracking but should probably be replaced)
Coils
Wiring Loom, fuses, ignition box etc
Carb internals

Wheels

Engine

Everything else :)


Other notable things:

The engine paint is awful.

I have noticed a bit of rust on the frame under the seat - probably where bit of grot/moisture gets in from the holes for the shocks - it isn't bad but I should probably deal with it to stop it getting worse.

The front engine bolt is pretty seized and the spacers are pretty much toast (you can see the cracks).
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liverpool_f_
the 900
the 900

Posts : 399

Re: Italian CB Build Quality

Post by liverpool_f_ on Mon 22 Jan 2018, 9:55 pm

I am surprised there is not more input on this one. Everyone always seems to say the Italian bikes aren't as well made. Has no one got any examples of how the quality differs from the early Japanease bikes?
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tt fan
Godly
Godly

Posts : 67
Location : Cambridge

Re: Italian CB Build Quality

Post by tt fan on Tue 23 Jan 2018, 12:24 am

Mine's a 2001 Y Italian one and holding up fairly well. Bit of corrosion taking place on the front of the engine but i am riding it through the salty wax this winter, and don't get too precious about it like i have other bikes in the past. I've only seen claims that the earlier Japanese ones were better on evil bay adverts and i do think you can take most of that with a pinch of salt. Finish may have been slightly better but you get drum brakes and relatively dull paint schemes. Swings and roundabouts. Just my opinion.
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ceejay
the 900
the 900

Posts : 308
Location : Bournemouth

Re: Italian CB Build Quality

Post by ceejay on Tue 23 Jan 2018, 8:14 am

It's an easy one to jump on the bandwagon when someone hears Japan vs Italy in terms of build quality (or Japan vs pretty much anyone else for that matter), there may be some small differences but I doubt most people would notice in the real world. The 'Made in Japan' tag has a strong meaning to many and with a lot of things being built in countries where labor is cheaper these days it is understandably something you'd want to shout about if it's stamped on your bike!

Mine's Italian made 99, seems solid to me but I have nothing to compare it too! The bike are that old now that the how well they are holding up probably has a lot more to do with how well loved they have been rather than which country they were assembled in.  Smile
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teamster1975
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Posts : 2555
Location : Woking, Surrey

Re: Italian CB Build Quality

Post by teamster1975 on Tue 23 Jan 2018, 11:56 am

Mine is a '97 CB500V, finish is much the same as ET's, however it is still on original wheel bearings.
I've replaced the head bearings, fork seals a couple of times, stanchions due to bad pitting, engine swap due to head gasket and I had a spare, radiator, thermostat. Other than that just the usual wear and tear items.

muttley1
the 900
the 900

Posts : 790

Re: Italian CB Build Quality

Post by muttley1 on Tue 23 Jan 2018, 12:57 pm

I've a 1995 Japanese made one, 44k, had it 4 years and done a measly 1200m a year on it, and a 1999 Italian made one, 39k that I've had since 2001. Have had several others along the way too.

The Japanese made ones do seem a bit longer lasting until corrosion etc sets in. Swingarm paint seems better and engine corrosion less.

There's plenty to do to gently improve the bike so here's some of what I've done...

I've changed downpipes to stainless, added aftermarket end cans, steel hoses, renthals.

Suspension is ok but can be better, I run Hagons front and rear on the Japanese bike, tec rear and hagon fronts on the Italian one. Wheel and carrier bearings changed on Japanese bike, sprocket carrier one was worn out.

I did fit a 2002 tank and plastics to the 1995 japanese one an it looks a whole heap better for it. I also changed the caliper and master cylinder to brembo as the nissin setup was worn out. Both bikes have had master cylinder repair kits (piston, spring) replaced.
Saddles are the failing long term so worth getting sorted, calipers too. Speedo/tacho backlights are long gone on both.

I like the addition of a headlight mounted nose fairing in winter, helps with the windchill. Taller screens and full fairings look fine but I've found them rattly and the mirrors not great. Both my bikes have topboxes, one a Honda one, big, heavy but takes a lot of stuff. The Honda rack is very solid so I put nuts on the end of the mounting bolts for peace of mind. The other box is mounted on a renntec rack, much lighter set up but a little flimsy looking.

However, the 1999 one is on the split link chain it came with, no tight spots etc- I lube it every 100 miles or so with sae90, still well within wear limit.

Also, is the cb5 the only bike that still  runs the same best-choice tyre (bt45) for such a long time after it was out of production?

muttley1

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