Replace Honda CB450 Swingarm Bushings

| 8/8/2017 12:00:00 AM

Honda CB450 swingarm bushings have a reputation for wearing out prematurely. Early CB450s like our subject 1970 CB450K4 used metallic bushings, while later ones apparently switched to plastic, a material more than a few manufacturers embraced for ease of installation.

Whether early or late, CB450 swingarm bushings don’t appear to last more than 10,000 miles or so. Our subject bike doesn’t appear to have led a particularly difficult life, yet with a mere 13,000 miles showing on the clock the swingarm bushings were shot, exhibiting an easy 1/8 inch or more of slop on the swingarm pivot pin. Although a small amount of play won’t show adverse effects, too much results in a wandering rear end, the back wheel moving left and right, generating an uncontrollable steering input. Typically, once the wear becomes great enough to notice, it accelerates rapidly.

As originally fitted, the swingarm on the CB450 (and many other Hondas, including the CB500T, CB500 and CB550 Four and all pre-1979 CB750s) had a single bushing on either side of the swingarm followed by a felt sealing washer, a thrust bushing and an outer metal dust cap. Original replacement bushings are still available, but experience shows that if you’re actually riding your bike you’re wise to consider fitting aftermarket bronze bushings like the ones we sourced from Honda specialists Charlie’s Place.

The bronze bushings from Charlie’s Place do away with the felt sealing washers and the thrust bushings, and at $70 a set they are only marginally more expensive than stock (typically around $55-$65 for bushings, thrust bushings and felts), and thanks to their superior material it’s unlikely you’ll ever replace them again. BikeMaster

John Botts
10/30/2019 2:20:07 PM

Great instructions. As you say, it's pretty straight forward. I just replaced the nylon bushings on my '79 CBX with bronze bushings. The hardest part of the process? Removing the old nylon bushings. There is not a shoulder on the inside of the bushing for a bushing driver to seat upon. I used a single hacksaw blade and carefully sawed the nylon bushing in half. The bushing, once split, can be easily removed. Warning! Don't cut too deep! Use a small brake cylinder hone to clean up the area where the bushing is inserted. Also, don't damage the axle by driving it repeatedly. If you bend it, you may be S. O.L.. Finding a replacement is very difficult, as they (the CBX shafts) have not only been discontinued but are extremely hard to locate. A little caution can save a lot of time and $$$ in the end. John Botts Ponca City, OK

Scott L
12/29/2017 11:00:47 AM

Your pop up add does not allow the reader to hit the 'continue reading' button. Looks like a great article though.

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