Sounds like you narrowed it down to the cv joints. I heard popping noises in the front end of my bike a few months ago and I to narrowed it down to the cv joints. Well I ignored it for the time being, and next, I was buried up in the mud with no way of getting out cause the 4 wheel drive was not working because one of my shafts broke. So I went and bought some gorrilla shafts, trust me on these! They are only about $30 a piece more than the whole Honda shaft, so don't let the $350 price tag scare you. Honda was $323.