MC Garage Video: 3 Tips For Becoming A Better Motorcycle Mechanic

Be Better Informed, More Organized, and Better Prepared to Put Things Back Together!

Most motorcyclists like the idea of working on their bikes, but taking a wrench to your pride and joy can be intimidating. To take the fear out of fixing your bike, we’ve assembled these three simple tips which will help you be better informed before you dive into a project, better organized while you’re working, and better prepared to put everything back together when you’re done!

So here they are:

1. WORKSHOP MANUAL
You wouldn't cook a new dish without reading the recipe first, and you shouldn't tear into your bike without first consulting the manual to learn what tools, supplies, and steps are required to complete the project. Workshop manuals like those offered by Haynes (haynes.com) include step-by-step instructions for everything you can think of, from checking the taillight to truing the crank. They also contain wiring diagrams, troubleshooting guides, and other handy info. Pick one up for your bike. And read it!

2. PLASTIC BAGS
A $3 box of Ziploc bags makes organization a cinch, and being more organized means you won't lose parts or forget where they go. Bagged parts also stay clean, and keep your work area clean too. Bag and label components as they come of the bike (especially engine parts and unique fasteners) so you won't forget what they are or where they go. I know you think you'll remember where that dowel, shouldered bolt, or special clip goes, but believe me—you won't!

3. DIGITAL CAMERA
A picture is worth 1,000 words, and in the case of mechanics it's worth 1,000 words of instruction. Use the camera to document things as you disassemble them so you can reference the photos if you need to—this is especially helpful for wiring, hose, and cable routing. Your smartphone works for this purpose as well, and since photos these days are all digital, you can snap away with abandon. You never know when a photo will reveal that little detail you need to finish your project!