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I'm probably going to get links to the onwer's manual on amazon for most of this, but my question is something like this.

I'm not very mechanically inclined. I know where the spark plugs are on a motorcycle, and i can usually figure out where to put oil. Really what I'm looking for are some maintenance pointers that even someone as dumb about all that voodoo as me can do without taking it to a mechanic.

things like keeping the chain in good condition, the tires, the engine, too, but I figure that's thoroughly in the realm of a mechanic.

I'm kind of grasping for words here and I hope i've gotten the request out well enough. simple preventative maintenance that I can do, things to look for that spell trouble and that sort of thing. classes? books (besides the owner's manual)? videos? just get a buddy who knows it all?
 

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regular maintinence on a bike is pretty easy to do, if you can turn a wrench and read the service manual, you're good to go.

if you are going to do it yourself, get your service manual, (call beartooth kawasaki, our sponsors, they'll give you a discount on it) and i reccomend buying a good torque wrench. always follow the torque specs. nothing like stripping out a spark plug hole to ruin your day. make sure you have all the right tools, parts and fluids.

i do all my own maintinence on the bike in my sig, my dad's valkyrie, and my sister's 250, and their service manuals tell me when to do what, and how to do it.

as far as tips go.... most of the maintinence is fairly straight forward... oil changes are similar to cars, do that in accordance to your manual.

chain, check it every few hundred miles, and adjust as necesary. you'll want to tighten it so there's a little play, but not to much. usually about 1" to 1.25", though that will vary from bike to bike. as far as cleaning/oiling the chain, use some cleaner that won't dry out the o-rings in the chain, and a rag, and clean off the old grease and dirt with that, and use a good chain wax or something similar to re-grease it, following the instructions.

tires, check them, replace them when the tread start's looking pretty shallow, i usually let mine go to 1/16 of an inch, but it depends on what makes you feel safe. also, if they get a leak, i tend to replace the tire, rather than patching it. a patched tire isn't as strong as one that isn't. do not let your tires go, your life is riding on them.

everyone else will have varying tips and such... these are just what works for me.
 

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Depending on what bike you have you can supplement the owners manual with a Haynes or Clymer manual.

Learning to wrench will give you fulfilment and trust me, you are your bikes best chief mechanic. You may need assistance from an assistant now and then to get started. You always have us to help you as well.

1. Learn to do your fluid changes. Oil, Brake fluid and coolant.

2. As you become more confident you can look into doing your valves or
letting a pro do it for you.

3. You can definately sync your carbs/throttle bodies.

4. Lubricating/cleaning and adjustment of your chain/wheel.

5. Lubricating of your cables.

If you don't already have some tools...I would wait for a sale at Sears or you can go the less expensive route and buy at Harbor Freight.

Metric
1/4 Socket set - You can get away with most light duty stuff with 1/4

3/8 socket set - If you could only get one set - make it 3/8

1/2 socket set - for the bigger things that need more leverage on your bike

A set of of wrenches.

A good set of T-handle allen wrenches.

All kinds of screwdrivers

Torque wrench - 5-75 ft lbs/10-80 ft lbs will do. You can add a larger one later. (makes a great Christmas wish item)

A nice thing to have to make work easier is a lift, but is not necessary. I have worked on my bike without a lift for years. It is nice not to have to work with your back on the ground though.

Keep in mind if your bike has it's tool kit still intact that most of everything you will need is in there. To me, its easier to use a ratchet vs a wrench. Although in some cases you will need a wrench - bleeding the brake lines/clutchlines/coolant.
 

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psiphre,

The guys gave you some good advice on tools....Also make sure that you have a wrench for the spark plugs and one that will fit the axles nuts..I can never remember which socket fits my plugs, so I painted it red.

HAve fun learning and maintaining your bike...it is VERY satisfying, plus it saves money$$$$.

Heather
 

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Important

Probably the Most important thing not already mentioned is keeping a LOG BOOK of your bike. It's nice if you put it on the computer and then print out a hard copy for a notebook. you can always refer to things in your notebook at the dealer or parts store. I have the bike year, serial numbers insurance all sorts of things and I keep every rereciept in a shoebox...but hte log in a book. When it gets hard to start or it take s longer, look at the mileage on the plugs...changing them may do the job and make notes. I have a "T" wrench from O'riellys that I use fo rmy sparkplugs...same idea as kyhick1, 'cept mine is in one place and it's green (ha>). Anyqy these guys are right about the tools and tires. If yo don't want anyone to messs with the bike lock it up good and don't even let your best friend ride your bike. It's not great to have a friend wreck and get hurt..and then also you have to get yor bike fixed. Oil changes cna become important once it is broken in an dyo can switch to a synthetic (100%) and then only change the oil filter and addd the difference in oil. Clutch particulates (wearings), dist, etc will be held in the filter, so it is one of the most important things to be kept changed. Whether you decide to change it every 5,000 miles is up to your riding conditions. Your air filter needs to be washed and cleaned by the book and don't forget the proper oil...I prefer the K&N, and having two of them..one in, and one in the ready(once you are on yor financial feet, spares are really nice to have on hand, like oil, oil filter...). Tires are the MOST important thing though...next to proper riding skills. They stop start, keep you and the bike from finding the surface...Keep then properly inflated and if they ar a "maybe" in needing replacement...ask yourself how important they are and if they are cheaper than a visit to an ER just to be checked out...
 

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Z - you are the man....

Log book is very important and will help with resale if you ever go that route. If not, you will at least be able to see what needs to be done and whats been completed and when.
 

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Way to Kind

Many things there are to take care of...a logbook helps in MANY ways...how's 1Adam12 since the Humpty Dumpty event?
 

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Doing better. See the Doc tommorow and have an MRI scheduled as well to make sure all the inside stuff in my knee is where its supposed to be and looks right!
 

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Great book ipscshooter!

But he should get it from Amazon.com! For only $19.97!!

Plus you can get "Proficient Motorcycling : The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well" and "The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance" for only $36.74 with free shipping!! That's only $2 more than Whitehorse when you add shipping and that's for two great books not one!

Anyway just thought you should know!

:D
 

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ZX6RRNewbie said:
Great book ipscshooter!

But he should get it from Amazon.com! For only $19.97!!
Oh Dopey me.... :(

I saw it in one of the Cycle mags at Whitehorse and bought it. Never thought of Amazon.

I've worked on cars most of my life and my 800A had a 3 year service policy that came with the bike, so I let them do the work.

When buying the new bike they wanted $1500 for the policy and I had seen some of the bonehead things they did on my old scoot, so decided I was going to do all my own work on the new one. Bought the book as a supplement to the service manual.

Worth the money, but more so if I had bought it at Amazon. :wink:
 

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1Adam12 said:
. . . or you can go the less expensive route and buy at Harbor Freight.
Ewww!

1Adam12 is a reliable source of good advice, and I think this is the first time I've ever disagreed with him on anything. Come to think of it, I don't exactly disagree with him now, but I'll add one caveat: be careful what you get from Harbor Freight.

Harbor Freight sells a lot of junk. They have some good stuff, too. I bought my DeWalt table saw from them.

I realize that you're trying to save money, but Chinese-made tools are junk. Look for "Made in the USA" on the tag. USA tools cost several times as much, but they work better and last longer.

Buy a service manual. Haynes and Clymer are almost as good as the Kawasaki manual. Read thoroughly, work carefully, and I'll bet you'll be fine.
Curt
 

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I don't disagree with you Curt on the made in china junk or taiwan etc...they use cheap molds and cheap labor and the parts and finish are no where near the USA quality stuff. I like to buy my tools once and if that means saving a little extra so be it. Learned that from my guns. Kept buying Smith and Wessons and later updgraded to Sig Sauers,Colts or HK's,but don't get me wrong the work horse is the Smith and Wesson.

If the budget permits buy at least Craftsman - you can usually find a good mechanics set for around $50.00 or so. Another USA option is Home Depots Husky line.
 

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1Adam12 said:
Kept buying Smith and Wessons and later updgraded to Sig Sauers,Colts or HK's,but don't get me wrong the work horse is the Smith and Wesson.
I'm not sure Colt is an upgrade from S&W. :shock: :lol: :lol:

Don't get me wrong. I have more Colts than S&W, so I'm a Colt junkie. The nice thing is they have mismanged the company so badly that many of the Colts I have aren't made anymore, or are Custom Shop only. :wink:
 
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