<SNIP> but I don't think anyone is likely to buy a new C14, ride it home, and then tear into it to check the valve clearances.
Actually, I believe one guy has done this. LOL
Yes, I completely agree not everyone is that excited to rip apart a new machine, but when Fred Harmon, our current C-14 Tech Editor, bought one of the "then" brand spankin' new C-14s in 08, he did just that to find out what made it tick. Even then, as you said, I don't think he did a compression check on it though as it is typically a diagnostic measure, but I wouldn't be even a little surprised if he measured the valve lash.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it keeps Fred, and some other guys around here, motivated. Totally weird... but invaluable for the rest of us.