Motorcycles: modes of transportation, personal statements, or ways of life? Most likely, they are a little bit of each. The motorcyclist is long entrenched in American mythology, but just what are motorcycles—and motorcyclists—all about? There are resources on the Web to shed light on all of this and help out any rider or aspiring rider looking for motorcycle advice, places to buy, or other riders to commune with.
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Bikes need a lot of TLC: they break down, need new parts, new fluids, and lots of general, ongoing care. But you don’t necessarily need to go running to a mechanic. By and large, motorcycles have remained basic in their design. With a little commitment, a little education, and a lot of elbow grease, you can build up the experience and knowledge you need to maintain your own bike. The peace of mind you get from servicing your own motorcycle—your lifeline on the road—is worth all of the effort.
- Nothing beats experience when it comes to motorcycle repair. But you don’t want to destroy your brand-new, $20,000 sports bike while learning the basics. Think about starting with an older, used bike for learning repairs. Or help out a friend who’s doing some repairs. A mentor can be invaluable for such hands-on work.
- Quality repair requires the right tools and materials. Using the wrong tool can destroy bolts, strip threading, and wreak havoc on your bike’s parts. Invest some money in decent tools to do the job right.
- There are countless repair manuals out there for the do-it-yourself motorcyclist. Check them out at your local shop or at most online motorcycle stores. As an introductory manual to fixing motorcycles, The Motorcycle Basics Manual received great reviews.
For repair …
is always a quality name in do-it-yourself repair manuals, both for cars and motorcycles, offering straightforward instructions and high-quality pictures. The site is easy to navigate; simply choose the type of motorcycle that needs fixing.
Dan’s Online Motorcycle Repair
is a popular site created by a motorcycle mechanic. It may not be the nicest-looking site, and it does occasionally impart Dan’s political and religious ideology. But if you don’t mind that, the site has a lot of free information about bike repair in an easy-to-follow format.
has this listing of motorcycle repair manuals, divided first by make, then by model. This site merely leads you to links to buy the books from Amazon.com, but it’s a worthwhile site if you need help figuring out which manual to buy.
For maintenance …
offers good introductory explanations for a number of different maintenance tasks. This site won’t help you do everything, but it will get you started. Be advised, however, that navigating the site can be a bit complicated.
featured in the previous section of this guide, has reprinted this article from Canadian Biker Magazine on the art of bike restoration. Read some of the other articles in the how-to section of this site for more information on motorcycle care.
Motor Cycle Cruiser’s Tech and Customs
articles are lengthy treatments for some of the more common maintenance tasks, such as winter storage or Battery Maintenance, as well as some more esoteric ones such as “Installing Race Tech Cartridge Emulators in Your Fork.” All articles are well written and illustrated when appropriate.
For parts …
is the place to go online if you need a part for your motorcycle. You can easily search by brand, and then view a schematic of the desired part. Just click to add the part you need to your shopping cart, and you’re set.
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