I finally got around to working on my 1980 honda cx500 tonight. I took out the air filter and somehow it was filled with carpet. I charged the battery drained out the gasoline and it came out of the valve or petcock or whatever you call it very smoothly. I started it and it died I choked it gave it some gas up around 3000 rpm. It will idle for a while on choke but as soon as i turn the choke off and keep reving it up it makes a big crack out of the tailpipe then dies. But will start up again on choke. The way I see it the air was already choked when it was filled with carpet I took it out and ran it without the filter and still had to much air since I had to choke it which means it isn't getting much fuel so do I just need a carb cleaning?
Most likely your idle jet is stopped up. Had the same problem with the 125 Honda I had, cleaned the carb real good and used torch tip files to clean the jets and adjusted it a little when I put it back together and it ran fine.
As long as you don't bend the float you don't have to reset anything. It isn't hard to take it apart just make sure you put everything back the way it was. and don't use comprest air through the fuel line with the float and needle valve out because you will blow out the seat for the needle valve on some carbs.