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Old 10-21-2014, 07:00 PM   #1
motonewb OP
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New to motorcycling; want to maintain my own bike

I'm fairly new to motorcycle and just bought my first bike. The downside of this is that I need to learn how to maintain it. I don't have much experience with engines and the likes.

Can you guys recommend good sources for reading up or learning on the following topics?

- Oil changes
- Chain cleaning and lubrication
- Needed tools (I don't know a socket wrench from an allen key)
- Filter maintenance/replacement
- Tire maintenance
- Brake maintenance

My current bike has no centerstand. Should I invest in one or buy one of those "cart things" where you can mount the back wheel?
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Old 10-21-2014, 07:14 PM   #2
Sethro303
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Moto Maintenance

Congrats on the new purchase.

Some bikes are easier than others to maintain. I would suggest ordering a factory service manual for your machine. Factory service manuals can be difficult to follow and tend to be more in depth than most people need, but it will include everything you need to know. Other good sources of info include (in no particular order) Clymers Repair Manuals, Local Riders, This Forum and YouTube.

Whether or not a centerstand is needed depends on what machine you bought. Table Lifts like THIS are very nice when it comes time for maintenance and repairs, but they are not a necessity and can come later once you get all of the other tools needed.
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Old 10-21-2014, 07:16 PM   #3
aldend123
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What's the bike? Find the owner's manual, which usually you can get from Google, or an owner's forum. Read it cover to cover, it'll have some surprisingly good noob-friendly info. Including maintenance intervals, like oil change every 5k miles, and how to check it. If you can hunt down a "shop manual" for the bike, which is often what the mechanics reference, it's usually handy as a starting point for intimidating jobs. A swing arm stand isn't a bad idea. This one's $30. It's definitely on the cheaper end, but for occasional use it gets the job done for me just fine.
http://www.harborfreight.com/automot...and-65620.html

Browse a thread or two in The Garage from time to time and pick up odd info to store to memory: http://advrider.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=50 YouTube has a lot of decent walk-throughs. Take your time! Your first time at certain things will take multiples of time longer than they will in the future, so plan accordingly and don't rush.

Buying tools in bulk as a kit is usually cheaper than buying separates. A nice start might be a ratchet set in 3/8ths, and if you can afford it, in 1/4 and 1/2 all in one kit (usually called a mechanics kit). Unless it's an American bike, it's probably all Metric. Then pick up a set of 3/8ths metric Hex (allen) socket bits if you see a bunch of hex on the bike. A few rags, maybe a pair of gloves and you're good to go for a large percentage of the work.

Pretty solid DIY-starter kit: http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-2...20000P?prdNo=4
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Old 10-21-2014, 07:18 PM   #4
NJ-Brett
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What bike?

Some places have a class at the votech schools at night for free/cheap, you might check that out.
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Old 10-21-2014, 08:01 PM   #5
motonewb OP
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I just got a Tiger 800, so I'm assuming it will use European bolts, screws, etc.

Thanks for the tips! Keep em coming!
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Old 10-21-2014, 08:12 PM   #6
Sethro303
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European.......I think you mean Metric.

The craftsman tools above are good. Stay away from cheap tools sets like harbor freight. They are junk.



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Old 10-21-2014, 08:31 PM   #7
aldend123
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Fuel injected, no carbs to mess with. Thinking about what a newbie might do (oil changes, brake pads, chain adjustment, headlight adjustment, or spark plugs) a 3/8ths Metric socket set up to 18mm and some Allen wrenches or Allen Sockets will usually get you pretty far. A small crescent wrench set and screwdriver for brake bleeding and minor adjustments.

Chain wax, oil brand, and to a lesser degree, tires are heavily debated. For each person who swears by XYZ, someone isn't a fan. Have to have a little faith in your choices and review ranking.

Get your manual, review the pre-flight checklist and scheduled maintenance and ask questions from there. Probably based on what you'll need to do as a new rider, like waxing, checking the chain slack, checking the oil, checking the tires for wear and safety. After that, probably how to do an oil change and spark plugs. Read up on task 1, go out and eyeball it, and go from there.
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Old 10-21-2014, 08:34 PM   #8
Gripsteruser
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Metric fasteners. So metric box, end, and socket wrenches.

Aluminum. Aluminum means you do NOT put all your grunt into tightening nuts and bolts. Aluminum will strip out much easier than steel.

Torque wrench can help you learn the right feel.
Meantime use shorty ratchet handles.

If you already work on cars you're ahead.
If not, try to find a mentor to help you learn. It's usually not difficult but there is a lot of material to learn if you start at the beginning.
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Old 10-21-2014, 09:37 PM   #9
motonewb OP
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Thanks folks.

I will read up on the owners manual.

The immediate need I have is an oil change and chain maintenance. Everything else looks good for now.

I'm assuming that an oil change will require me to loosen a bolt, drain the oil, change the filter, add new oil. How hard can it be?

Are there any good/factually-correct videos on how to clean and lube chains on YouTube?
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Old 10-21-2014, 10:10 PM   #10
Antiquar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motonewb View Post
Thanks folks.

I will read up on the owners manual.

The immediate need I have is an oil change and chain maintenance. Everything else looks good for now.

I'm assuming that an oil change will require me to loosen a bolt, drain the oil, change the filter, add new oil. How hard can it be?

Are there any good/factually-correct videos on how to clean and lube chains on YouTube?
Check out MuddySump's excellent videos on Tiger800 maintenance. http://www.muddysump.com/servicing/tiger-800/
Aside from a good set of sockets and hex drivers, you'll want a set of torque wrenches. It is surprisingly easy to strip bolts and threads, and then you have a real problem. Don't ask me how I know.

I've also got a T800 (XC) and it's a wonderful machine. It's plenty powerful, especially for a beginner, so be careful!

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Old 10-22-2014, 12:01 AM   #11
catweasel67
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Youtube is an excellent resource but remember it's still, to a greater or less degree, opinion - not "gospel". Use it but watch more than one and remember to say thanks to the poster if he (or she) helped you out.

Over on this side of the pond we use the Haynes series of manuals (I'd guess they're like the Clymers?) - they're good, very good really, but you need to bear in mind that they take a brand new bike that's never been subjected to the elements and strip it down in the perfect environment. You're not doing that :p You're working on a bike that's dirty, some of those pesky nuts, bolts and fairing fasteners are prone to stripping, will be a real bitch to undo, will drop into really awkward places or will be beamed into space by aliens, never to be seen again. Bear this in mind when estimating the time you'll need and when choosing the location to work on the bike. Your best friends will rapidly become a good torch and a can of WD40 - especially if you spray a wee bit on the fasteners/bolts you'll be working a day or two in advance.

Toolwise - quality tools are important but they don't come cheap and it's not always easy to know which ones you need and which ones you don't - so I tend to buy a cheap and cheerful socket set, figure out which sockets I use most commonly and then upgrade those specific ones.

Oh, and it's also worth asking what can go wrong with a particular task and what else is worth doing at the same - forums are brilliant for that.
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Old 10-22-2014, 01:22 AM   #12
Pecha72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motonewb View Post
I'm fairly new to motorcycle and just bought my first bike. The downside of this is that I need to learn how to maintain it. I don't have much experience with engines and the likes.

Can you guys recommend good sources for reading up or learning on the following topics?

- Oil changes
- Chain cleaning and lubrication
- Needed tools (I don't know a socket wrench from an allen key)
- Filter maintenance/replacement
- Tire maintenance
- Brake maintenance

My current bike has no centerstand. Should I invest in one or buy one of those "cart things" where you can mount the back wheel?
Is the bike still under warranty?

Doing maintenance by yourself is a good way to get to know your motorcycle. But there could be some obstacles, too... first of all, saving money should not be your only motivation, you should be genuinely interested in mechanical stuff, and getting to know your motorcycle.

The problem in your case appears to be that if (by your own admission) you frankly have no clue about all this at the moment, and you have nobody to teach you, then this could lead to trouble. It΄s not rocket science, but all good mechanics do have a certain level of knowledge, how to work with stuff. This is because most of them have in fact worked with stuff since their childhood. Sure, you can only gain this knowledge by starting off from somewhere, but I΄m not 100% sure, that a new, expensive motorcycle would actually be the right place to start from, and especially, if it is still under warranty.

If you are decided, that you will DIY, then you will at least need proper tools, and garage space. A bike lift may not be an absolute must, but certainly would help. You would also need a service manual, where all maintenance procedures are gone through thoroughly, step-by-step. In the case of electronic engine management systems, you might also need some brand- (or model) specific software, to plug in a computer, and check diagnostic codes. Throttle body synchronization could also be handled via computer these days – I don΄t know, if this is so on your bike, but do find out.

I think the best way for you to get started, would be to first have a chance to practice with somebody, who knows their way around your motorcycle. I don΄t know, if that is possible to arrange. Most mechanics hate the idea of the customer watching over their shoulder, while they do the job (but there can always be exceptions to this as well).
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Old 10-22-2014, 01:39 AM   #13
Contevita
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Before you really start to work with hand tools and such I would highly suggest that you understand how they work. By this I mean the proper use of particular tools. Torque wrenches can be somewhat confusing to learn to use correctly. Another thing to think about is using the proper tool for the correct fastener, etc. Don't use a screw driver as a pry bar or hammer, etc.

There are resources at your disposal such as YouTube, the instruction booklet that might come with your newly purchase tools and I found that the better guides and manuals such as Haynes will have some guidance on tools near the back of the book.

When in doubt, ask us here.

Also, lefty loosey and righty tighty.
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Old 10-22-2014, 06:40 AM   #14
Kommando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motonewb View Post
I'm fairly new to motorcycle and just bought my first bike. The downside of this is that I need to learn how to maintain it. I don't have much experience with engines and the likes.

Can you guys recommend good sources for reading up or learning on the following topics?

- Oil changes
- Chain cleaning and lubrication
- Needed tools (I don't know a socket wrench from an allen key)
- Filter maintenance/replacement
- Tire maintenance
- Brake maintenance

My current bike has no centerstand. Should I invest in one or buy one of those "cart things" where you can mount the back wheel?
Use the forums, especially anything specific to your bike. Post questions. Use a shop manual. Clymers is usually ok.

Harbor Freight has a a moto/atv jack/lift that works great if it won't crush your exhaust. I got it on sale with coupon for $60.

I also watch instructional videos on youtube.
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Old 10-22-2014, 06:50 AM   #15
Gripsteruser
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Pecha72 cautions about working on a new mc (I would quote but the quote button didn't work).

Most mechanics have been working on stuff a long time. Along the way we have also sometimes BROKEN stuff. Not deliberately but from ignorance, misunderstanding or impatience. Unfortunately, it's part of learning.

Choose the tasks you work on carefully, get as much info as you can - and never, never, never say beforehand "how hard can it be?" It can get pretty damn hard in a hurry if you, say, strip the oil pan drain bolt because you grunted too hard tightening it up.
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