Motorcycling can turn into an expensive hobby, especially if you start purchasing multiple bikes or spending a lot of time on two wheels. Due to the nature of a motorcycle, keeping up on regular maintenance can make the difference between an enjoyable ride and disaster. As the costs continue to rise, however, many people begin to consider doing their own maintenance.
If you have a mechanical background, then this is an easy decision to make, especially for most routine work that doesn’t require much in the way of special tools. For those riders who lack a mechanical background, however, this can prove to be a bit more challenging. Before you make the decision to work on your bike yourself or keep taking it to someone else, consider a few things:
1) Do you have resources and people to turn to if you run into a problem?
2) Are you organized? Will you perform the maintenance on the schedule it should be done on?
3) How much about your bike do you know? Can you spot a potential problem?
4) Do you check your bike regularly (daily in most cases) for fluid levels and other potential issues?
5) Do you have access to a service manual?
6) Are you willing to get dirty?
If you answered “yes” to the above, then you may want to consider doing some routine tasks yourself! Some of the routine work that is common for people to complete themselves include: oil changes; coolant flush/change; chain tension adjustments; chain and sprocket replacement; wheel removal; tire changing; brake pad replacement; brake fluid change; replacement/upgrade of various parts.
There are many resources available to you, although it’s often best to have a knowledgeable friend there to look over your shoulder the first couple times to be sure you are doing it correctly! I find YouTube to be a useful resource, here are some links to videos that do a good job of explaining the basics of several routine tasks (most of these are done on sportbikes, but the principles are the same for most bikes):
· Oil Change:
You get the idea – there are many resources available. Bike specific forums can also be an extremely useful source of information since chances are someone on there has dealt with the exact issue you are dealing with. They also can provide first hand feedback on modifications, upgrades, how-to’s that are specific to your bike plus a host of other information. General forums can also be useful for questions that aren’t specific to your bike.
It’s easy to save yourself a lot of money by doing some of these routine tasks yourself. It is imperative, however, that you have honestly assessed your abilities, knowledge, skills, organization and follow through before you trust your life to your own hands.
In my opinion, working on your own bike is the only way to go. Not only do you know exactly what has and has not been touched, but you also become more intimately knowledgeable about your machine. That makes for easier road-side fixes, trouble shooting and general fix-it issues.