Ignition barrel failed, what to do?

I am visiting my dad in hospital in Lincolnshire, and stopped for some shopping on the way back to his house. When I returned to the bike the key just would not turn.

So I called the breakdown service, and after much lubricating and banging to shock it, nothing had changed. According to the engineer the steering lock mechanism is fine, but some of the pins in the barrel are stuck ‘in’, which is why the key will not turn. He even said which pins, having prodded them with a screwdriver to try and get them moving.

In the end they had to send a truck to recover it to my parent’s house (in hindsight I should have had it returned to London), which was fun to move with the steering locked. Somehow we managed. I have sprayed into it a lot of WD40 to soak in overnight, I know it is the wrong lube, but if it is buggered then it cannot make it any worse.

Assuming there is no miracle in the morning, is it recoverable or does he barrel needs replacing. Could someone take it apart and clean the internals?

Is that all that would need replacing, as the bike has the Honda H.I.S.S. immobilizer. And does that mean only Honda can fix it, or can I use any local mechanic in the area? I guess Honda would make me change all the locks.

My sister can give me a life to Essex tomorrow, form where I can get a train. So I want to be able to arrange someone to fix it, them come up and meet them.

I have been awake for 20 hours and have only eaten a sandwich this morning. Also lost one of my Senner ear plus in my dad’s house, had to use my spare foam ones for the trip to the hospital. Useless, the wind sounded like a jet aeroplane.

WD40 will do it no harm in fact it can only do it good at this stage. The pins need raking, this is best done with a lock picking rake but I’m guessing you won’t have one. so…

Lubricate the key way with a light machine oil such as 3-in-one and then lightly rake the ignition key in and out across the pins without completely removing the key. The idea here is apply pressure to pins, so you need to insert and withdraw the key using a light up and down sawing type action. If light doesn’t work try a slightly more aggressive action.

The bottom line is you can do no harm because the ignition lock set will most probably need replacing anyway. To that end check out Delboy’s Garage “New Lock Set” video on Youtube it will be right up your street. OK its not a Honda but hey ho it is a lock set and one lock set is pretty much the same as another. Give Wemoto a ring (01273 597 072) they do a lock set kit for around £50.00 or less if you just want the ignition switch part.

The criminal element have found a way to bypass HISS apparently, a mechanic may know how to do that also, if the bike isn’t worth much and you don’t want to invest in a new set of locks you could just by pass the ignition and fit a manual switch. Put that under the seat or wherever and just make sure you lock it with a disk lock. Sneaky’s “Riot” had no ignition key just a switch. To be fair that would bamboozle the criminal element if they were trying to start it in a hurry.

Definitely would prefer a proper lock, and not least because not having a steering lock would invalidate the insurance.

Thanks for the advice NT, if it was as cheap and simple as that video I would happily do that. Sadly nothing came up searching for a lock set for my bike on Wemoto. (After replacing my easy-to-bend Honda bars with Renthal’s too-narrow-for-bar-ends ones, I was able to repurpose my original ends to fit thanks to one of Delboy’s videos.)

Checking the OEM parts catalogue on Fowlers, a new lock for my bike would cost £252.07 (or £311.62 for the set with the petrol cap and pillion seat). Putting the part numbers in Wemoto only saves about £10, so I am guessing the price is because of the immobilizer.


I did try your suggestion this morning, which is essentially what the mechanic did last night, but it still would not budge.

Given the fault is with the very old fashion technology of pins and springs, do you think a locksmith could fix it? Someone wondered that on another forum. I am not sure how easy it would be to get at the innards though, so if it all they can try is more spraying and raking then I doubt they will get further than we already have.

But with my dad in hospital for at least a week I ideally need the bike back this week, and it is too far (and awkward to get to without the bike) for multiple trips to try different ideas. £250 for what is probably just a rusty spring, though. Crikey.

Phone Wemoto on 01273 597 072 and speak to them, they do much more than what shows on their website. I’d expect them to just do the ignition switch. For the HISS system transponder you already have that nugget in your original key. eBay is also worth a punt search on “Honda motorcycle lock sets”.

There’s no repair here, your options are replacement or bypass.

Note HISS key programming tools can be had off eBay here


Called Wemoto and it is not something they do, they said it would need the full set.

Called one local garage (of which there are very few) and he reckons about £500, which includes recovery to them. So pretty much what I was expecting. And as the part is on back-order so could take over a week.

Then called another garage who reckon they might be able to fix the lock, and says they have done it for other bikes, but if not they can do the full replacement.

Cannot remember which of them I asked, but it was agreed a non-OEM lock set would not work because of the immobilizer, a shame the two parts are not separate, not least because you can get a Chinese one for under £30 on eBay.

That fix attempt seems the best option, as I am no worse off is they fail. And given the how long it will take just to get the part, I do not have the time to spend playing with doing it myself.

They can pick the bike up Wednesday morning, so will get a National Express up tomorrow afternoon, slow but cheap and direct as it stops in their village.

Think I need car driving lessons, if I had a licence I could have borrowed my dad’s car.

Can’t you just leave the existing barrel wired up and then fit a new cheaper one. Leave the HISS key on your fob to match the original immobiliser.

Although the receiver is a separate part from the lock, the impression I got from everywhere is that the lock is somehow still part of the whole system. So a basic one will not work even with a key fob. Certainly the U.S. part is cheaper, where they do not offer immobilizers.

Installing a separate ignition switch elsewhere (as in the Hayabusa in the Delboy video) would obviously mean losing the steering lock, which then invalidates the insurance.

The only time I am aware of anyone trying to steal my bike, the steering lock (and a small £10 disc lock) held them off. So even though the barest minimum from manufacturers, it probably is still a good bit of security against opportunist kids. Which for a basic street bike is likely all I need to protect against.

have you looked on eBay for breakers selling a complete set

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I did look, there was one that cost more than new as it included the fork top. But even if they would sell them separately (though I am guessing they do not have the tool to undo the security bolts given they did not) the saving would not be much.

But it seems I may be mistaken anyway. On the bike specific forum someone has said they had to replace their barrel, and they just used either a third-party one or the north American lock assembly. Then, as nivag suggests, they use the original key to work the immobilizer. They still need it for the fuel cap and pillion seat lock anyway.

As a north American lock barrel is only $92.73 from Partzilla (it lists the full lock set as unavailable), even with tax and shipping it should be quite a saving. If they had a full lock set I assume you could buy a blank chipped key, cut that to match the new key, and program it to match the old one. Just a pity the Chinese lock kits on eBay use a different tooth style so you could not do that with theirs.

Cannot say I am optimistic, but maybe the mechanic will be able to fix the lock. But if not then I will see what he has to say about it all, even just getting a cheap Chinese one for now and using the old key as a fob would get the bike back on the road quickly and somewhat cheaply.

Although they do not offer H.I.S.S. in north America, I have no idea why the lock has a different part number there if it is still compatible. But even the bars do, and I cannot imagine any real difference there. Though the price difference seems to apply to everything, so I doubt it is because of any extra technology.

Just picking a part at random which is the same code in both countries, the “HOLDER ASSY., HANDLE (UPPER) NH303M (MAT AXIS GRAY METALLIC)” (53130-MGS-D30ZB) is $21.40 in the U.S. yet £89.20 (before VAT) here. And that is just a lump of metal and four bolts.


Actually, it seems the north American lock kit is unavailable as it has been superseded, which Partzilla sells for $159.11. So there would not be much saving in the end.

The shipping estimate is $30.99, and customs duty for “other motorcycle parts” is 3.7%. $190.10 x 3.7% = 197.1337 x 20% = 236.56044 x Brexit = £196.09322

Once you include a UPS processing fee, the cost of a blank chipped key (£55.73 + P&P), a reprogramming cable, and getting the key cut it will not be much less than just buying a U.K. kit. And that would also include a spare key.

Wow, I am stupid. Of course the north American lock kits have a different part number, they do not need chipped keys!

What motorcycle is it?

and what year

Honda CB500F, 2016. The bike has been collected now, so will see what a locksmith can do.

I assumed the locksmith used by the mechanic in a Lincolnshire village would be based in or around that village. But that is because I did not ask, which is why I did not know they were in Orpington, Kent. But the lock should be being send back now, and hopefully the bike will be fixed tomorrow.

Apparently the pins in the lock have flat ends, but the ones which were sticking had been rounded off, which is why they were sticking and not being released.

When I cam back up for the bike to be collected I brought the spare key, just to see if it made a difference. But it made it very noticeable that on the normal key there were “bite marks” in the same place as the sticking pins. Clearly the key and pin had been grinding against each other.

Can anyone explain that? I am not sure how I could have done that, or prevented it from happening. It seems like a design flaw, but no one else seems to have had a similar problem. It seems a weird problem, and even stranger that it was only in that one location of the lock.

Although the manufacturer warranty has expired, if it is not normal wear and tear or misuse then I should be entitled to a repair under the six-year statutory warranty period. For Honda that would mean a replacement, and a new lock would be better than a repaired one, at least if done for free. But the legal warranty is with the seller, and I bought it from a dealer in Chesterfield so if I have to go through them it will be too much hassle.

Sounds like good news is on the horizon. Have you ever, apart from during this failure, oiled the keyway? As before a drop or two of light machine oil such as 3-in-one twice a year or at every service interval should keep it in top form.

I have oiled it on the odd occasion it has felt a bit stiff, but not as a regular task. I will now, obviously, though I read that GT85 is good for locks because it contains PTFE.

Not the most useful recommendation for this site, but I will praise Wildmans Motorcycles of Spilsby. Not many local options in that area, but they were the only one who reckoned it could be fixed. After getting the call on Friday that bike was ready to collect, because of the local buses I would not have been able to get there until Saturday morning. But as he was out that evening with the van he delivered it to my dad’s house for free.

That meant I got to come home a more interesting way (first time over the Humber Bridge, which was a bit scary because with the road being higher than the pavement when I do not like heights). Then today I treated the bike with a trip to West Bay so it could look at all the other bikes. It felt a bit like the last day of summer, so good to have had it back to be able to take advantage.

I’m old school and for the likes of keyway lubrication my weapon of choice is 3-in-one light machine oil, it also contains PTFE. The little oil drip can I have in the workshop has been doing what it does for over 20 years and its still half full, a drip or two goes a long way. As for the PTFE most if not all modern lubricants contain the all singing all dancing ingredient we know as PTFE. Maybe I’m sad but I like to look into the differences and similarities in products and this is what I’ve read on GT85…

GT85 is manufactured by WD-40 Company Limited
GT85 Original - a mineral oil based lubricant
GT85 Wet Lube - a paraffin based water dispersant lubricant
GT85 Dry Lube - a synthetic oil based lubricant

I was always told that you want a graphite based lubricant for locks as it doesn’t become sticky and attract detritus.

No idea how real the detritus issue is though.

No mention of PTFE on my 3-in-1, looking on their website it looks like they sell it with and without.

The detritus reason is why I would not normally use WD40, as it attracts it, and so only used it as a last resort. Everything I have read recommends silicone, graphite, or PTFE based lubricants. The only silicone lube I have is a paste so I was thinking of the GT85 as I already have some.

But with the lock facing upwards I am sure smalls bits floating in the air can end up in there while parked. It seems crazy the petrol cap has a proper cover to protect the lock, but the ignition just has two soft pieces of plastic (I assume) in the top of the barrel for protection.