How To Find a Qualified Shop To Work On An Older Motorcycle

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yamaha fjr1300, independent shops, mechanics
An FJR owners group like fjrowners.com or fjrforum.com can be an excellent source for recommendations on local shops and mechanics.©Motorcyclist

Q. I have a 2004 Yamaha FJR1300 with nearly 90,000 miles. It's been well maintained (grease, oil, coolant, plugs, pads, and tires) and ridden sanely as a daily commuter and summer sport-tourer. In my neck of southwest Georgia there were only two Yamaha motorcycle dealers, both many miles away from my home. When the FJR was ready for its 30,000-mile valve check, one of them discouraged me from having the factory-mandated service, saying it probably didn't need it. By 60,000 miles the other Yamaha shop had changed hands and brands, so I tried a local independent "motocross" shop and was told it would take a week and cost more than $600. I passed.

I’m now nearing 90,000 miles, and the old girl is not nearly as turbine smooth as she once was. My question is how and where do I find a dealer with the expertise and desire to provide major work?

Steve Pearce
via email

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A. In this case, it's clear you should look beyond franchised dealerships, which sometimes don't have the time, interest, or technicians with the skill or familiarity to tackle big projects on non-current platforms. However, it has to be said the FJR should be a familiar bike because it hasn't changed fundamentally since it was introduced. Work on finding a good, solid independent shop that's willing and able to take care of you. Look for a shop that does a brisk trade in used streetbikes—those guys have pretty much seen it all and know how to take it apart and put it back together again.

It’s a good idea to check in with an FJR owners group like fjrowners.com or fjrforum.com to get recommendations on local shops. As for ignoring specified service intervals, that’s just risky business. Your bike might be fine, or it might not be, and the only way to know is to inspect. Some FJRs won’t need clearance adjustments by 90K, but we’re betting most will. And the cost for letting this go is much higher than the inspection itself. Finally, be sure you have your FJR’s throttle bodies synced; that’ll help get it back to its smooth, old self.