recommendations for motorcycle maintenance book
December 13, 2008 at 11:06 pm #2406nau_lax21Participant
So I’m looking for a book that goes over the basics of motorcycle maintenance. It doesn’t have to be specific to any particular type but riding a GS500f I’m not looking for something that only covers cruisers. Any suggestions/opinions?December 14, 2008 at 2:16 am #15261SpoolParticipant
Getting a factory or Clymers service manual for your particular bike would probably be your best bet. If you truly want a general guide to maintenance then check out The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance by Mark Zimmerman. It gets great reviews on Amazon.comDecember 14, 2008 at 5:11 pm #15265mike_sParticipant
I got the Haynes manual for the GS. It covers everything you need to know. The Clymer is also highly recommended…March 24, 2010 at 12:53 am #25119Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
Like everything, watching an expert do their work is best, asking them questions, then doing it yourself. I would bring your bike to Ohio or near Niagara Falls, Canada and have one of these guys work on your bike and show you some of the little tricks they have learned over the years, or ask around for the pros in your area:
smaller shop in Canada:
Steve Leigh at Hardlydangerous Motorsports, phone 905-228-3167 in Canada near Niagara Falls.
bigger shop in Ohio:March 24, 2010 at 10:33 am #25131twowheelsParticipant
Most bike models have an available DIY service manual from the traditional vendors of Haynes and Clymers and now Cyclepedia [ http://www.cyclepedia.com/ ], which is offering online manuals for most bikes. I would recommend the Cyclepedia over the others as the on-line format offers advantages like updates, cross linking subprocesses and larger illustrations and pictures which provide more detail than the small, grainy black and white photos in the paper manuals. What ever manual you chose it will pay for itself the first time you save a trip to the dealer or avoid getting scammed on a service estimate. They are all written in a way to guide the newbie through a process like adjusting the valves, removing a wheel, or other task. Also most bike models have an Internet forum dedicated to just that one model, e.i. SV650, which allows owners to share service information and other advice. Do a Goggle search on your bike model with the word forum added.March 24, 2010 at 3:20 pm #25137eonParticipant
I just took a basic motorcycle maintenance class at the weekend and the book they gave us is called “Motorcycle Owners’s Manual” by Hugo Wilson (ISBN 978-0-7894-1615-5). It covers all kinds of bikes, has a TON of pictures and only costs $10. Good value for that price.
If like me you are at the very beginning in trying to learn this stuff then it’s a good place to start though taking a class would certainly help as well.March 24, 2010 at 4:36 pm #25138IBA270Participant
Good for you!! Basic maintenance is not that hard, and I think it’s very rewarding. I haven’t any of bikes to a shop in years. There’s no question that it’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I can competently do everything including valve adjusts, but if you’re able to change the oil/filters, chain/sprockets, you’re going to be in great shape. Depending on your bike, you can probably do fork oil as well, but USD forks are a bit more challenging.
At any rate, dive on in! The water is great! When you start riding more miles, maybe you’ll even start mounting/balancing your own tires. Nothing will be more frustrating until you figure that out!March 24, 2010 at 6:48 pm #25139TrialsRiderParticipant
I also strongly recommend motorcycle mechanics evening courses such as offered in community colleges. I attended in one years ago and even though I was experienced with my own motorcycle maintenance by that time, the class offered a great opportunity to take my bike in and have the instructor available for assistance while I worked on it.
I heavily rely on exploded parts diagrams and the factory service manuals for my bikes. If you don’t have them yet, go on-line and find them for your own bikes, many are available totally free. Competition bikes are great for including a full service manual from new. If I was buying a new regular bike and the dealer insists there is no room to bargain on the price, I would ask them to throw in a service manual for free. (at least a photocopy)
Speaking of forks, I’ve said this elsewhere on BBM, fork service is possibly the most ignored maintenance item on average. On my competition bike I remove, completely disassemble, clean and refill my forks with fresh fluid annually. Have also done fork rebuilds for a few friends because they are intimidated by the task. I will say it’s messy and if the forks have been inadequately serviced smelly, but it’s certainly not rocket science. Shiny specs suspended in the old fork oil is a sure sign that material is being worn away from the inside of your fork legs, ignored long enough your forks will become garbage. There is a lot more to replace than just the top seals and if the seals are leaking, it’s the result of worn guides deeper inside, or pits and scratches on the stanchion tubes. I’ll reserve comment on those UpSide Down forks other than to say, Trials bikes tried them for a few years and went back to the older design for good reason.March 24, 2010 at 11:11 pm #25149Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
To change the fork oil the best way, you take the forks off and hold them upside down to drain the oil, and some rinse them out with kerosene. My quicker method not quite as good is to buy a long piece of clear plastic tubing, wrap some wire around the first foot to make it stiffer and go into the forks easier, and put it down into the forks after removing the springs, then use mouth suction to get the old fork oil out. You can get most of the old oil out this way, and you can add more new oil to dilute what oil is left to get more of the old oil out. The clear hose keeps you from sucking the oil into your mouth. My repair manual has both a distance from the top and a volume measurement for the fork oil- with this method you have to go by distance. I found adding a little more fork oil than stock makes the forks stiffer, and after a few thousand miles the extra oil has not blown out the fork seals.March 25, 2010 at 8:14 pm #25179RabParticipant
This book explains all the “systems” on motorcycles and how to maintain/troubleshoot/fix the generic motorcycle.
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