Do you wrench on your bike?

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Peobody
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Do you wrench on your bike?

Post by Peobody »

I am 67 years old and for the last 4+ decades of those years I have paid someone to service my bikes, not that I wasn't able, I just wasn't willing nor did I feel competent. I grew up #2 of 7 kids (6 boys, 1 girl). Dad worked 2 or 3 jobs throughout my childhood. Mom worked part-time whenever there wasn't an infant in the house. We never did without but there weren't any extras either. Dad was a DIYer, out of financial necessity. He expected us to work side by side with him, not because he necessarily needed help but because he wanted us to be involved and to learn. It seemed never ending...auto brake jobs, alternators, starters, shocks, home remodeling, water heater replacement, washing machine repairs, you name it. That experience was great, and for a number of years I continued to do my own auto work and still do most of my own home repair and remodeling work. I was financially stable when I bought my first bike (1985). I had stopped working on my cars and never worked on bike. Fast forward 38 years, I still own my second bike, a 1995 Kawasaki Concours, as well as a 2008 Honda Goldwing. A number of years ago my local service places refused work on the Kawasaki due to its age. I started doing just minimal maintenance (annual oil change & air filter replacement). Front brake concerns forced me into a decision; either get rid of her or commit to doing repairs and maintenance myself. Yesterday, I took an enjoyable 120 mile ride after replacing brake & clutch fluid, brake pads, front brake lines, all coolant hoses, fuel hose, spark plugs, rear gear oil, and rear shock. Each task was taken on with trepidation (thank heavens for my Dad, forums, and YouTube videos). This started me wondering how may of you do your own maintenance and service, to what extent, whether you are trained/experienced, and whether you do it because you enjoy it or because you have to.
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Re: Do you wrench on your bike?

Post by rbentnail »

Out of necessity. I had 2 different "qualified dealerships" screw up plus break things. Don't know if you can see this post, it describes a visit in 2009.

https://www.fjrowners.com/threads/need- ... ost-265377
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Re: Do you wrench on your bike?

Post by Stu »

Similar to you @Peobody I watched my dad do every job you can think of around the house and on cars/bikes as a result this rubbed off on myself and all my brothers

We all do our own work regardless of what it is

I have loved tinkering with bikes and also fixing my own cars the way I think is that you are paying someone to do a job but you could easily be missing an opportunity to rectify potential problems which in there doing that work a mechanic wouldn't do that. Plus if you know how to do the job then you know if its been done right whereas I have seen and heard too many horror stories of "mechanics"

I once took wheels in for tyres to be changed they was lose wheels and tyres supplied by me the cost should have been £20 it ended up costing me £370! The bent the brake discs but then denied all knowledge

From then on I fitted my own tyres too

I have stripped the odd bike or two :lol:
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Re: Do you wrench on your bike?

Post by electro_handyman »

For the most part I wrench on my own, and have for quite a while.
I did have a BMW dealer replace the FD and transmission seals on my R1100 only because I didn't have the tool setup for the final drive. It was a carry in job for them so they were ok with doing the work, otherwise if I took them the whole bike they wouldn't have done it because of it's age.
I just got my Harley late last summer and so far I'm doing my own work.
I've been doing my own tire installs as well(more out of necessity than anything else), my local m-cycle shop would do my Harley wheels if I wanted them to, but they wouldn't/won't touch my BMW wheels.
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Re: Do you wrench on your bike?

Post by jfheath »

Like you, I used to 'help' my dad as a kid. I always did my own push bike repairs and modifications, re-spoked and trued my own wheels. My first 'real' motorcycle was a gift - that didn't work, a simple two stroke BSA Bantam and I had no worries about removing the engine, splitting the crankcase and rebuilding it. I had enough know how, but zero experience. Haynes workshop manual helped. But doubtless there were things that I did that would horrify me now.

I did similar things with my old Cossack 650 BMW style Ural (with sidecar) and my Brand New Yamaha XS650 - my first with hydraulic brakes.

I've had 4 Honda Pan Europeans in recent years taking the first 3 to 70,000 miles, doing most of my own work. There are certain things I choose not to do - put on new tyres. I used to with my others, but really its not worth the time and effort. Also steering head bearings - I don't have the tools and the issue has only cropped up once. The pans are robust and run 'forever', so gearbox and engine separation have never cropped up, but I balance the stater valves (did that again last week) bleed the brakes and clutch, I have 3 new brake discs waiting to be put on, and I do all of the servicing and brake servicing / strip downs / bleeding, wheel bearing replacements ....

I'm still learning, but when I encounter a problem I research, learn and understand about it before doing it. I find most things I seem to find problems that no one else has encountered - or that they don't fully understand. The few times in the past that I have used professional service centres to work on the bike, there is usually something that has not been done correctly eg tyres installed the wrong way round, oils gaskets not sealing properly, requested work not tackled at all, bits of fairing fasteners broken, incorrect procedure for installing bearings, bolts missing, wheels installed incorrectly ....

Part of this learning usually involves documenting it, so I end up with a series of well explained and illustrated documents - which I refer to the next time I do the job. Memory is not a strong point, so I do this and it becomes permanently fixed in my head. But I still check ..

These usually end up on www.st-owners.com to help other people. In a similar way to the zumo 590 and XT documents that I have placed on this site.
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Re: Do you wrench on your bike?

Post by danham »

I recently did the 15,000 mile service on my Kawasaki H2 SX SE and saved myself a bunch of money, plus I now have good benchmark numbers for valve clearance, and confidence they were actually measured. I was not confident the dealer, who has only sold one other supercharged H2, would do what I wanted done, which at 15k included flushing brake and clutch hydraulic fluids, checking/adjusting valves, checking cam chain guides for wear, measuring supercharger impeller end play, and replacing the in-tank fuel filter, plus the usual oil and filters.

This was not my first rodeo, as they say. I passed my NIASE automotive technician exams back in the 1970s and worked as a tech in various foreign car dealerships, most notably Porsche/Audi, attending many of their factory schools (911 engine repair being my favorite). I had my own independent repair shop for a few years.

About the only job I pay others to do is tires. I’m in my early 70s and with modern radial tires and lack of a professional tire machine, I’m content to let a pro wrestle with those very stiff beads. But I do balance them myself, using the excellent Marc Parnes balancer.

Here I am elbow-deep in the Kawi, with only the throttle bodies and a bunch of hoses and wires to get out of the way so I could get at the valve cover. What a rat's nest, which is why I took a LOT of pictures to guide re-assembly. The blue rag is preventing crud from dropping into the expensive bits in the supercharger housing.
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