Technical Q and A for classic motorcycle maintenance and repair.
Editor’s note: If you’re having trouble with that old Suzuki, BSA or BMW, Keith Fellenstein is your guy. From motorcycle tuning tips to detailed motorcycle engine repair, he can draw from a wealth of experience to help guide you to success. Send questions to: Keith’s Garage, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or send an e-mail with “Keith’s Garage” as your subject.
1972 Honda CB500 Wheel Bearing Grease Age
Q: Six years ago I bought a 1972 Honda CB500 with 5,000 miles on it. It had been in storage for 18 years, so I had to do quite a bit of servicing and replacing before I rode it. It now has 9,000 miles on it. My concern is the wheel bearing grease age. Should those bearings be serviced? The bike is a superb performer and the wheels spin freely. - Ken Froelich/via email
A: Forty years is a long time to go on the original grease. The bearings might be just fine, but it’s well past time to inspect them to be sure. I’m naturally cautious about anything wheel related on a motorcycle. With only two to hold you up, you don’t have the margin of error a four wheel vehicle has. You can remove the old bearings and clean them with solvent to dissolve the wheel bearing grease. Once you have them clean, slowly rotating them by hand (never spinning them dry) can allow you to feel for catches or snags. If you don’t want to reuse the old bearings, it’s easy enough to replace them. The wheel bearings are standard metric sizes and you should be able to find them locally at an industrial bearing supply company. Or you can do a Google search for 6302U bearing, and find pages of options. Bike Bandit has them for $11.07 each. The rear bearings are 6304U on the right side and 6305U on the left side. Again, lots of options. Bike Bandit has them for $15.72 and $16.78, respectively. MC