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This was something I was curious about: how did all of you learn to maintain and modify your bikes. Since the destruction of my bike's engine, this has become a more pressing concern to me: I'm pretty handy with cars as I can change all the fluids on most vehicles as well as tires and the like, but my bike is my baby and I really don't want to screw something up.
 

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I am pretty sure it usually involves having a friend who knows more about it than you!
I never would have attempted even an oil change without my buddy who was there to guide me through it.
And I won't forget to mention the help available online! The guys at Ninja250 helped me with all the info and photos:
http://faq.ninja250.org/wiki/Main_Page

Also, you can check Meetup.com to find local riders with tools and the skills. You bring the beer and pizza and I bet you will learn a lot.
 

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I've always worked on my own vehicles and always will. So when i picked up the 650 it was a no brainer that i was going to do most of the work myself. The only time i don't work on my vehicles is when I know that i dont have the right tools for the job, but that is about it. And even then I'll probably go out and get the tools needed for the job.

But then again I've been tinkering with mechanical things since i was in diapers... :alcy:
 

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It all started with plastic model cars. Learning to follow step by step directions to completion. Then came maintaining bicycles. Turning them into choppers and BMX bikes. Then bought my first car from the junk yard and switched parts between it and the one my Dad had parked until I got a running vehicle.
Service manuals are a big help. Owning the right tool for the job is also very helpful. Of course today with the internet the possibilities are endless.
Having a mechanically inclined friend is helpful too, or just a buddy or girlfriend who can give input and read instructions.
 

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Get a good shop manual and follow it. Get quality tools. You'll figure out which ones you need as you dig deeper and deeper into your bike, and accumulate a collection.

Nothing is undoable as long as you have time, patience, space, and the right instructions.
 

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when a nip of a lad with no fecking money so I had to learn the hard way.
 

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I learned on a Ninja 500 which had old technology and an AWESOME online technical community. What I learned on that bike has given me confidence to tackle a lot of maintenance.
 

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By doing. The key is to not learn on your primary mode of transportation. Becuase if you rush, you WILL make mistakes, especially in the beginning. A mistake while working on the cage? Not good, but not deadly. Try forgetting to tighten your front axle nut and no cotter pin cause you rushed. That'll leave a mark for sure...
 

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I agree that having a service manual is a big help. Just having the blow up pictues that show how things fit together will help a lot. Also, keep a maintenance log and a mechanics notebook which contains important data and lessons learned so that repeat mistakes don't happen the next time you do a proceedure.

Buy the right tools, even if it makes the first time for that job more expensive than having a shop do it. The savings will come over time. Eventually you will get to the point where you do better work than a shop because you know your bike and you care about doing it right more than how long it takes.
 

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I agree that having a service manual is a big help. Just having the blow up pictues that show how things fit together will help a lot. Also, keep a maintenance log and a mechanics notebook which contains important data and lessons learned so that repeat mistakes don't happen the next time you do a proceedure.

Buy the right tools, even if it makes the first time for that job more expensive than having a shop do it. The savings will come over time. Eventually you will get to the point where you do better work than a shop because you know your bike and you care about doing it right more than how long it takes.

Start simple with oil changes, chain adjustment, control adjustments, air filter cleaning. Move on to brake fluid changes, then tire mounting, and fork oil changes and fork upgrades. then valve adjustment checks. Once you can do valve adjustments on the 650R, you are on the way to being able to do about anything.
 

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I stayed at a holiday inn. Hah. Nah I learned from the dad, started with dirtbikes... moved to cars when I started drinving and now I do all my own work on my vehicals. Trail and error and or youtube/internet. All the answers are a click away for everything!
 

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Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance....

I learned because I bought my first bike at the ripe age of 10... It was a Hodaka. I spent more time working on it than riding, it was old and I was young and inexperienced. Get a manual, and make use of friends with experience. Online is a good resource too. If you are in doubt about something, the key to most maintenance and modification is understanding. Can't stress this enough. If you don't understant why the part is there, how it works, when it works and where, etc, you can make a mistake. Learn the basics of combustion engines and go from there. Be patient and learn to understand the machine.

Didn't you have a valve go on your bike? Might want to start there, learn how and why it did that. YouTube has some great videos that let you see what's going on in there.
 

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When I was twelve my Dad bought me a two stroke enduro that barely ran. I had to fix it if I wanted to ride. He offered to buy the parts required. Trial and error, reading repair manuals from cover to cover, and I pushed that bike for many miles when it let me down.

I bought my third bike, I stripped it down to a bare frame. Cleaned, lubed and assembled with new parts as I felt it required. It took me about four months. And I rode it for many miles without ever needing to push it. That was also my first year of ice racing.
 

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I started on Triumphs, BSA's, Nortons, etc, you damn' soon learned how to wield wrenches or you spent a lot of time walking or on buses. The most difficult part of any job on a bike is deciding to do it !.
 

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I ordered my service manual and followed the directions. It doesn't have everything but the rest is straight forward. If you don't have a manual just start taking things apart, but make sure when you put it back together that you bring it up to spec.
 

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I started with model cars when I was about 10. Worked my way up to working in a garage for GM and learned pretty much everything there.

With the help of people online in forums like this, anything can be done by yourself on your bike. The only thing I don't trust to myself is messing around with the tires. I think too much can go wrong there. I'd rather bring it to the stealership to get that done.
 

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i was always naturally mechanically inclined. I just know how to fix things for some reason. always been a fascination of mine... basically taught myself on out 650. If im not sure i do a quick research online.
 
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