HondaMT50.co.uk articles

Back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s I wrote some technical articles for a website about

Honda MB and MTs. It was called HondaMT50.co.uk and the fact it died was a shame as it had a good following with a forum that was well attended. It also included some great technical info, well I would say that since I wrote it! 

All content copyright Jon Wallis & DeskDivers 2009-Present.

No text from this article can be reproduced without prior permission from Jon Wallis & DeskDivers - As such all text on this page is protected by enforceable copyright.

Regarding the pictures on this page - DeskDivers either owns the rights to these pictures, has permission to use these pictures or has taken every step possible to contact the owner of any borrowed pictures – As such all pictures on this page are protected by enforceable copyright.

Fitting a front disk brake and MB/MBX Wheels


Introduction

The MT5 was delivered with spoked wheels and drum brakes front and rear, while braking was adequate and the wheels fine for everyday use some people prefer the look of 'alloy' wheels and also the added stopping power of a disk front brake.


The MB50 was originally delivered with steel 'Comstar' style wheels but later versions were supplied with wheels originally used on the MBX50, which used an aluminium inner 'spokes' and a steel rim. The original MB wheels are heavy and unless you prefer the look of them I would suggest you try and find some of the later MB or MBX wheels.










With Supermotard style bikes being a big hit (especially in Europe) these days this conversion has became a big hit in Holland, it will give the MT a more supermotard look and also slightly improve front braking efficiency. The downside is that quite a few MB/MBX parts are required, but these can often be sourced cheaply through a scrapyard which is where many MB's have sadly ended their days. Be sure when buying second hand parts that they are serviceable, this is especially true of Comstar wheels where the rivets can get worn and are not DIY repairable, and of braking systems which for safety's sake may need complete overhaul of the master cylinder and caliper.

Swapping the wheels is a simple task for the rear wheel, however it is not so simple for front due to the complexities of adding the disk brake mechanism and the parts involved, this may be why few people have done the front end properly and also why some people only change the rear wheel.

These instructions are deigned to be used by a competent person who has worked on bikes before and as such it is intended to be used in conjunction with other manuals. Some tasks are not explained in depth as these are standard tasks covered by the freely available manuals such as the Haynes manual.

Notes:
This is a good time to 'jack up' / raise the bike if its not already done and you are considering doing this in the future. 


It is also a good idea to fully recondition any second hand parts being used for the conversion, e.g. the brake caliper, the fork seals. Be sure to use new brake pads and ensure you are 110% happy with the work before taking to the road. 


If you are not entirely sure about certain aspects of this job, take the work to your local dealer. It is often much cheaper to remove the item from the bike and take to the dealer and have them work on it than taking the whole bike.  For example if you have problems bleeding the brake system, remove the brake system complete and take it to your dealer and ask them to do it - be sure to keep the master cylinder upright and above the caliper at all times on the way home, this should take only a few minutes to half an hour's labour and hence be very cheap.

WARNING: Do not fit the MB/MBX front wheel to the MT5 and not complete the brake conversion, this will greatly impair your braking efficiency as most braking is done with the front even in normal riding. I have seen this done... crazy!

Parts required:
Set of Front and rear wheels from either an MB50/80 or an MBX50. The MBX80 wheels may fit but the author has no experience of using these wheels.
Complete Front brake set up from MB/MBX; ie. Caliper (incl. pins, anti-rattle shims etc), Caliper mounting plate/hanger, master cylinder, lever, bar clamp, all bolts etc.
Made to measure brake hose (especially if fitting to a 'jacked up' / raised MT5)
MB/MBX brake hose clamps - one on fork leg, one on lower yoke fork clamp.
MB fork bottom sections
Set of new MB/MBX front brake pads

Tools Required:
Something to stand bike on - crate or proper bike stand
Sockets / spanners 12,13,14,17mm
Torque wrench
Brake fluid - make sure you let it rest overnight and do not shake it up at all and keep the lid on at all times when not in use.
Phillips screwdriver
Ball of string

Front:



























Warning: brake fluid is dangerous.  It will strip paint and is also highly flammable.

1, Loosen the front axle nut half a turn
2, Loosen triple clamp bolts (A and B) half a turn
3, Loosen the suspension top bolts (C) half to one turn
4, Put bike on bike stand / crate and ensure all weight is rearward onto the rear wheel and the front wheel is off the ground by approx. 5cm.
5, Remove the front wheel
6, Remove the throttle mechanism from the handlebar and place out of the way
7, Remove the front brake mechanism from the handlebar, dismantle.
8, Feed front brake cable thru the cable clamps and remove the complete brake unit from the bike
9, Undo all the bolts on the triple clamps (A and B) and drop the fork leg until top of the leg is just above the lower clamp and bottom is still off the ground and tighten the lower clamp bolts (B).
10, Fit the MB/MBX hose clamp to the bottom triple clamp.
28, Remove the MT5 brake cable clamps (H & I)
10, Ensure the suspension is at its full extent and not compressed (ie. bottom of leg is off the ground), remove one suspension leg top bolt (C); 

BEWARE, at the end of its thread the spring will push the bolt out, ensure you push down whilst undoing this or you may injure yourself when the bolts pops out and the thread may be damaged.
11, Undo the lower triple clamp bolt (B) and remove the fork leg.
12, Turn the fork leg upside down and remove all the oil.
13, Use 8mm hex key (Allen key) to remove the bolt (G) in the fork leg bottom case section
14, Remove the fork bottom case section
15, Slide the MB/MBX fork bottom case section over the MT5 fork pipe and refit the bolt (G)
16, Refit the whole fork leg to the bottom clamp and tighten bolt (B) to hold the leg in place
17, Fill with correct quantity (see MT specs) and grade of oil (this may differ for your region / country) Tip: adding more / less oil or a lighter / heavier grade of oil will affect the damping rate of the fork, you can use this to your advantage but if you are unsure just refill with standard grade and quantity
18, Refit top bolt (C) and tighten 'finger' tight, slacken bottom clamp bolt and slide fork to top of of yoke, tighten top and bottom clamp bolts (A & B) to correct torque and then tighten top bolt (C) to correct torque.
19, Repeat 9 thru 18 for other side - make sure you have the brake mounting on the correct fork!
20, Fit the MB/MBX hose clamp to the fork leg
21, Fit the Caliper mounting bracket and the caliper to the fork leg.
22, Fit the brake master cylinder to the handlebar
23, Refit the throttle mechanism
24, Use some string to measure the hose run from the brake master cylinder to the caliper, via the clamps, add a few cm to give some play and then order a hose of this length with MB/MBX fittings.  Go for a stainless steel braided hose if possible.
25, Fit the new hose, through all the clamps
26, Refit the front wheel and do up / recheck all bolts to correct torque
27, Bleed brake system fully using new fluid.  TIP: ensure the fluid has been standing in its sealed container for 24 hours before use. 
28, Take the bike off the stand and bounce the suspension and check for leaks
29, Ensure the front brake is working correctly and not leaking.
30, Road test:  take it easy to bed the new brake pads in for the first 100miles (160km).

Note: you may need to modify the MT5 headlight cap to cope with the run of the brake hose.


Rear:
1, Remove the rear wheel as usual for tyre changing etc.
2, Swap rear sprocket from old wheel to new wheel.
3, Fit new wheel to bike in place of old wheel, this is a straight swap.
4, Do all bolts up to the correct torque, if you have a torque wrench, or very tight if you do not.

Problems in use
:
The Speedo may over-read on UK bikes which originally had a larger front wheel.  You will either need a European speedo unit (they are in Kph though) or the speedo unit off an MB / MBX.

Fitting a rev counter drive to an MT50


Introduction

The MT5 was delivered with single speedo on the dashboard, whereas the MB, MBX and MTX were delivered with speedo and rev counter (tachometer) as standard.


Notes

It is also a good idea to fully recondition any second hand parts being used for the conversion. 

If you are not entirely sure about certain aspects of this job, take the work to your local dealer. It is often much cheaper to remove the item from the bike and take to the dealer and have them work on it than taking the whole bike.


WARNING: Ensure that all marks align...


Legal disclaimer:  This worked for me, but I provide this information as 'best endeavours' i.e.for advice only. Using different components / tools and your interpretation of what is written here may cause injury to yourself and / or damage to your machine, I will NOT be held responsible for any such eventuality.


Parts required:

1 x MB50 right hand side (clutch) engine case

1 x MB50 rev counter cable

1 x MT/MB50 right hand side (clutch) engine case gasket

1 x MB50 balancer shaft (has wormdrive on end)

1 Litre engine oil


Tools Required:

Sockets / spanners 8, 10, 12, 13 mm


Start:

1, Drain the oil.

2, Remove kick starter lever.

3, Remove clutch cable from clutch actuating lever.

4, Remove the bolts on R/H side engine case.

5, Pull off engine side case, be careful that end of kickstart arm does not damage kickstarter seal.

6, Remove clutch springs.

7, Remove clutch plates.

8, Remove clutch basket.

9, Pull out balancer idler shaft.

10, Fit MB50 balancer idler shaft.

11, Refit clutch basket ensuring the timing marks all line up, you may need to 'wiggle' gears to get them to mesh properly.

12, Reassemble clutch.

13, put engine side case back on with new gasket.

14, Refit clutch cable.

15, Refil with oil.

16, ... this gives you a revcounter drive, all you need to do now is fit the MB5 cable and run it to your dashboard...

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Fitting a suspension lift kit (jacks) to the MT


Introduction

This is a simple job for front of the bike, but not so simple for rear due to the type of spring used on the rear units.  It will give the MT the look of a much larger bike. The process below can equally apply to the MB50, but quite why you may want to jack up the MB, well...  Of course the MBX and MTX are different at the rear due to the monoshock, and not covered here.


WARNING: Don't use more than one set of jacks for safety's sake.


Jacks are available in Holland (I don’t think you can get any in UK or other countries, but they could be made by any engineering shop)

- Front: 10cm - 15cm

- Rear: 3.5cm

- Normally use 10cm and 3.5cm


Parts Required:

Set of Front spacers ('Jacks')

Set of rear spacers ('Jacks')


You will need a few extra bits on top of the 'jacks' themselves:

A longer kick stand (or weld a bit to the old original MTs stand), or the bike will lean too far over!

A stabiliser hoop or fork brace for front wheel - for extra strength for front (Some EU versions may not be able to fit to the UK model as front wheel is larger than rear on UK models, in europe they are the same size...)

A longer speedo cable - if you use the standard one it will break very soon due to being stretched tight, for some reason the brake cable is normally fine, but longer versions are available...


Tools Required:

something to stand bike on - crate or proper bike stand

sockets / spanners 12,13,14,17mm

molegrips

spring clamp / compressor

Torque wrench


Front:























1, Loosen triple clamp bolts (A and B) half a turn

2, Loosen the suspension top bolts (C) half to one turn

3, Put bike on crate and ensure all weight is rearward onto the rear wheel and the front wheel is off the ground by approx. 5cm.

4, remove the light cap and undo the speedometer cable at the head

5, remove speedometer cable from drive unit next to front wheel

6, Remove the front wheel

7, undo all the bolts on the triple clamps (A and B) and drop the fork leg until top of the leg is just above the lower clamp and bottom is still off the ground and tighten the bottom clamp bolts (B).

8, ensure the suspension is at its full extent and not compressed (ie. bottom of leg is off the ground), remove one suspension leg top bolt (C);  BEWARE, at the end of its, thread the spring will push the bolt out, ensure you push down whilst undoing this or you may injure yourself and the thread may be damaged.

9, if the new spacer piece has no seal (rubber ring part way down the thread), reuse the old seal if you’ve been too tight to buy a new one!

10, screw in the jack, You need to push on the spring and turn it slowly, and it should eventually catch the thread and screw in

11, Screw it as tight as you can by hand and then use a wrench or spanner of the top of the spacer has cut outs to tighten very, very tight - you will not be albeit o use a torque wrench on this

12, Repeat 7 thru 11 for other side.

13, undo bottom bolts (B)

14, slide suspension legs back up to top clamps, ensure they are level.

15, retighten all clamp bolts (A and B) to correct torque

16, fit stabiliser hoop between forks using brake cable steady bolts (D), you may need to buy other bolts that are the correct length for the other side.

17, refit front wheel

18, fit longer speedometer cable to drive unit next to front wheel

19, reconnect speedometer cable to speedometer

20, refit the light cap / fairing


Rear:
































1, Set both rear shock absorber adjusters to weakest setting

2, Loosen the rear suspension bolts (E and F) half to 1 turn with the bike on the ground

3, Loosen swing arm main bolt but do not remove

4, Put bike on a bike stand, or an old beer crate, and ensure all weight is forward onto the front wheel and the rear wheel is off the ground by at least 10cm.

5, undo the bottom bolt (E) on one suspension unit only and remove the bolt from the swinging arm.

6, push the shock unit rearwards to 'pop' it out of the swing-arm

7, undo the shock top nut (F) and pull the shock off the bike.

8, put the bottom half of the shock in a vice or have a friend hold it very firmly.

9, clamp the spring with a spring clamp / cushion compressor or use mole grips each side on a few coils, use cloth to avoid scratching the paint

10, clamp mole grips on the rear damper actuating rod near the top, use cloth or paper to avoid scratches

11, undo the upper joint, slowly.  BEWARE the shock spring is under pressure and may ping, causing injury, if you just use grips - you have been warned!

12, once top is off, screw in the 3.5cm block to the actuating rod and when tight remove all grips/clamps

13, fit small threaded rod supplied and screw on the original upper joint.

14, refit to top mount on bike, leaving bottom of  the shock absorber unit loose

15, loosen bottom bolt (E) on other side and lower the swingarm to the floor

16, go back to other side, pick up swingarm and fit new lengthened shock unit bottom bolt (E)

17, repeat 5 thru 13 with other shock and refit top and bottom bolts (E and F)

18, do the rear shock mounting bolts (E and F) up to the correct torque, if you have a torque wrench, or very tight if you do not.

19, take bike off of the stand / crate and bounce the suspension to check everything is functioning correctly

20, do up main swingarm bolt up to the correct torque, if you have a torque wrench, or very tight if you do not.


Problems in use:

With the wheel lower than designed, the chain rides over swingarm and is under more tension, this can wear away chain, chain buffer and swingarm itself...

Front end can be more floppy, especially if bolts not done up correctly or the wheel bearings / axle are worn!

Bike may be too tall for short people!

People may think you have a bigger bike, ie. 125cc and police may stop you on cycletracks if in Holland!

Sadly nowadays that old defunct site has even become hard to plunder even using the wayback machine, but I did manage to grab some of the texts of my work and luckily I also had some of the pics and docs saved on some old harddrives.



Whilst I wrote a bunch of stuff for the site I could only find 3 articles that survive and as they may still be useful to someone I felt they might be worth reproducing here. They are a bit matter of fact compared to what I write these days, but they do the job, hopefully someone will find them helpful...



Note: At the bottom of this page, I have also reproduced a couple of old/rare/useful cool pages. One is a poster from the early Haynes manual that didn’t make it past the early print runs, and also one tuning page from MCN. These documents make you realise how far we have come since the early 80s!

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