Workshop & Mechanical

Trust in me.

There are only two things that you must have for your workshop: a torque wrench and a workshop manual specific to your bike. Seriously. Everything else is secondary. If you’ve decided to tinker with your precious it won’t be long before you over tighten something and it gets expensive from there onwards, very, very quickly. If it’s not expensive it’s dangerous through under tightening key assemblies. How much fun would it be for your front wheel to come off while you’re riding? Or your brake calipers to dislodge wedging into your rotors? Exactly. Not fun at all. No fun to be had there. Nope. Nada. Niet.

You don’t need a fully equipped workshop with the latest in Snap-on tools to get started either: a decent set of open ended metric spanners,1/4 inch metric sockets and metric Allen keys/hex keys will get you a long way. Sure there are some special purpose items that you’ll likely end up with such as an oil filter puller and a front wheel removal tool. But you don’t need much to get started.

Sure, don’t attempt something if it’s past your skill level. Be honest here. Know your limits. Know what you can and can’t do, but also don’t be put off in that you can learn, sure mechanics with decades of experience can take minutes to perform operations that mere mortals can take hours to accomplish but they had to start learning somewhere too.

A keen eye and an enquiring mind are helpful too. Some find working on their precious to be soothing, almost surreal and incredibly rewarding from a personal accomplishment perspective. Let’s face it, doing an oil change plus air and oil filters isn’t hard. The hardest part is often carefully undressing your precious and removing all her fairings to give you ready access to her internals. The financial savings can be significant too. As too is the ability to service your steed when you want.

How about warranty? Yes, that can be interesting and some manufacturers make it almost impossible to do it yourself by locking key features through the bike’s on board computer. The general “rule” (but NB. I’m not a legal expert so your mileage may very well vary here) is that if you can show that you’ve undertaken servicing of replaceable components and that your efforts haven’t increased the likelihood of a failure and you’ve kept receipts as proof then you should be good. Should. Generally. I once heard a slightly misquoted saying that “if it floats, flies or fucks, it’s going to be expensive” (the original saying appears to be “If it flies, floats, or fucks you should rent it”). Sportbikes fall into two and possibly all three categories here. Yes, you can do it on a budget and yes you can go crazy covering your precious in exotic materials and with equally exotic aftermarket parts, but you don’t have to. Remember that.

You service your beast, like riding her, at your own risk. Enough said.

Workshop books

Get the service manual for your specific bike model and year!

Kawasaki Motorcycles
Honda Motorcycles

…more links to come, Google will be your friend here 🙂

How to Tune and Modify Motorcycle Engine Management Systems by Tracy Martin
The fundamentals of tuning motorcycle engines, highly recommended.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.

Amelia Earhart