Why Every Motorcyclist Should Learn to Work on His Own Bike
You really don’t need much to get started riding a motorcycle. You need the bike, of course. In some states you need a helmet. You need a little gas. You need motorcycle insurance if you’re planning to ride legally. And you need a really good tool box.
A tool box? Why do we need that, you ask. Simple. Unless you’re one of the extremely fortunate few who counts a motorcycle as your primary mode of transportation and plan on trading in for a new Harley every two to three years, chances are that your motorcycle is going to break down at one point or another. And when it does, you have few choices. You can:
- Take it to the mechanic. This is fine if you’re made of money, but most of us aren’t. And since most of us don’t use our motorcycles as our main source of family transportation, fixing the bike often gets shuffled all the way to the bottom as far as importance of upcoming expenditures is concerned. Ask any married biker and they’ll tell you. Spouses don’t always get it.
- Sell your motorcycle. It should be obvious why this choice sucks, but allow us to point out that, aside from not having a motorcycle, which is bad enough in itself, you won’t get much money for a bike if it doesn’t run. On a positive note, you’ll save on motorcycle insurance.
- Put your motorcycle in the garage. Really, dude. Don’t do it. It’s a motorcycle’s graveyard in there. You say it’ll only be for a month or two until you can afford to get it fixed, then the next thing you know your grandkids will find your motorcycle’s dusty remains after they bury you. Hopefully one of them knows how to work on it.
- Fix it yourself. You can’t do this without a good tool box full of tools. Hence, the need for a good tool box. A lot of people are afraid to try working on their own bike, but what do you have to lose? If it doesn’t run, the worst thing that can happen is it still won’t run. The mechanics of a motorcycle aren’t as daunting as you might think. Pick up a repair manual, some tools, and give it a try. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding other bikers who can help you out if you get in a bind and can’t figure something out.
So, about that tool box: it doesn’t need to be extensive. A few basic tools will do, and you can add tools as you need them. Believe us, if you ride older, used bikes like we do, it won’t take long before you build an impressive collection of tools.