Keep wrenching, get better, and you'll want to change everything you did back at the beginning--and that's OK.
No matter where you are in your wrenching journey, YouTube can be a great place to find helpful information that can both inspire and set you on the right path toward reaching your goals. That’s one of the reasons we really like channels like Brick House Builds—because it’s a little of both those things. Crucially, BHB also isn’t afraid to show you past mistakes—as well as not being afraid to go back and fix them, once future-you knows better than past-you did.
In this most recent two-part video entry on the BHB channel, we get a look at a Honda CX500 build that was completed about five years ago. Five years is a long time—and if you’ve paid any attention to the BHB channel, you know he’s done (and learned) quite a bit since then. Stuff like this is very much something you learn better by doing, which is why if you keep going, pretty soon you’ll be looking back at your early efforts and probably finding things to cringe at.
While these videos go into specifics about valve adjustments and carburetor syncing (and a very helpful audiovisual comparison between bench- and vacuum-syncing those carbs), there are two even more important lessons to learn here. The first is that everyone needs to start somewhere—and just getting started is a big step forward, so you should feel good about that.
The second is that as you progress, you’ll begin to figure out better ways to do things. You’ll learn what works, and what doesn’t, and you’ll also start to develop personal preferences. As your level of understanding grows, you will likely look back at choices you made early on and realize that you wouldn’t make them now—and that’s OK. In fact, that’s completely to be expected.
Unless it was a catastrophic mistake (which most things aren’t), it’s important to realize that you could only make your choices based on the information you had available at that time. So, don’t beat yourself up about it. Also, though, don’t be afraid to go back and make things better—because now, you have better knowledge and power to do so.
Also, please, please, please invest in JIS screwdrivers if your bike has JIS hardware—including and especially carburetors. Future-you (as well as any future owners of the bike you’re working on) will thank you. I’m really glad that BHB specifically called that out, because there’s nothing like the heartbreak of stripped-out JIS screws that someone stubbornly destroyed because they insisted on using a Phillips screwdriver where it didn’t belong.
Keyword: Learn About Valve Clearances And Carb Syncing With Brick House Builds