A couple of list members have asked me about valve setting procedures, Here’s how I go about it:
The bike should be cool. Pirsig, In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence, writes how he gets up before dawn and sets his valves before the sun clears the horizon and hits the bike. This is a bit anal, in my opinion. The machine just needs to be cool to the touch. Allow an hour or more if this is your first time, with practice, you will get the time down to 20 minutes or so, but, for now, make it a leisurely, unhurried proceedure.
Remove the valve covers (you might want to have a pair of cover gaskets on hand as the gaskets can stick, tear or become rock-hard over time). If they are in good, clean shape, they can be left in place and reused. Have something underneath to catch the couple of tablespoons of oil that will fall out when the covers are removed.