Here are some tips:
1. Get a manual for the bike. It has photo's and can really help decipher the lingo.
2. Aluminum threads with steel bolts can strip fairly easily because the cast aluminum is typically 1/3 the strength of steel. The number of stories of people using a torque wrench (incorrectly?) and stripping out a bolt is all too common. If you can use a torque wrench correctly, know how to calibrate it, and have some experience then you may be successful. Otherwise, I found hand tightening the bolt/nut/screw using the smallest wrench that will work has provided the best results. Loctite works well on aluminum threads with steel fasteners and may be the best choice if there is a concern over stripping threads. There is a large thread on ADV Rider on using Loctite with materials including aluminum: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...hlight=loctite
Thread inserts can repair stripped threads - at a cost.
3. Take digital photos a). before the work is done. b). during the work c). after the work; then compare the before and after photo's. Many (many, many) questions and concerns can be resolved with 'photographic evidence'.
4. If the are two of something - only work on one at a time. So, when then inevitable - wtf, where does this go? - comes up there a known good copy to answer the question.
5. Get some tools. Often the manual will tell what tools are needed, otherwise look to your local hardware store and auto parts stores. Often tool sets are considerably less expensive than buying separate tools.
6. Read the manual. Yes, it is not enough just to have the manual somewhere. Specifically, look in the sections talking about oils and greases and maintenance schedules to figure out what you need.
7. Get some gloves to work on a hot engine and remember that generally none of the gaps and tolerances are checked with the engine hot. I try not work on a hot engine because it is a good way to get burned.
8. Don't be afraid to take things apart. If it seems stubborn or you can't figure it out without breaking it, stop, ask questions, Google what you are doing, etc.
9. After working on the bike, go for a brief ride down the street and back, then re-check that everything is back together and hand tight. The before photo's help.
10. Often, after parts are worn, they have a specific orientation due to wear. Always mark, photograph, and record how the worn parts are assembled so they are put back in that same orientation.
Enjoy the bike and your new skills!