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What Work Do You Do For Yourself?

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How much of your motorcycle maintenance do you do yourself? Do you do your own oil changes? Tire changes? Suspension adjustments and modifications? (If so, what sort of equipment/tools do you have?)


Or do you outsource it all, and if so, to whom... dealership? Local bike shop? Knowledgeable friend? Race mechanic?

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On the trackbike (R6 '08), the things I haven't done myself is renovation the rear shock (pressurized nitrogen canister, special tools), taking the engine apart for valve adjustments (because I haven't had to yet), and dynoing it.


I've changed tyres, wheels, renovated the front fork suspension (new oil), replaced wiring loom & ECU with YEC, added quickshift, changed clutch (to slipper), fairings, footpegs & handlebars when broken, brake pads/lines, and the exhaust (from an unbelievably loud Yoshi TRC to the standard). Oh, I even changed the gasket under the top lid with the help of a pro mechanic who happened at trackside (a "gift" from the previous owner. Thanks, buddy!).

Plus a few other things, I've forgotten since then.


Edit: oh yeah, engine oil & cooling liquid (water) replacement/draining.

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I pretty much do all of my own work.

Exceptions being stuff that requires very expensive, or expensive specialized equipment.

Engine machine work. (I don't have access to the equipment anymore)

Proper fuel injection tuning. Having a dyno would be neat but it's a little expensive and there are more people with much more experience that can get everything set right.


And for now I let others change the tires. I'm not blazing through tires at a rate that justifies buying the equipment and haven't been messed over by an installer, yet.

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I started with zero mechanical experience but now I do wiring changes/repairs, suspension adjustments (not rebuilding), carb cleaning, and minor upgrades (bars, rearsets, etc.). But, for racing, I'm realizing that I need to either have a trackside mechanic or I need to be able to do my own oil changes, sprocket changes, wheel removal, and brake cleaning/pad changes. I liked the trackside mechanic option - especially on really hot days when it gets too exhausting to do the wrenching AND the racing myself - but lately I have had some mechanic errors that resulted in damage/extra costs, delays, and in some personal danger to me (oil on my rear tire, for example) so I realized I need to get away from that and at least know HOW to do my own work. Plus I have unusual bikes so I can't count on anyone else know what parts they need!

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Hi guys


I currently have a zx7r track bike and a ducati 848. I do every thing to these bikes my self. But I have not brought the gear to change tires yet. But I do all mechanical work, valve Clarence, engine tuning, rebuilding, suspension turnings and severing including the shock (I brought the gear to pressurise it myself )

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  • 1 month later...

I have become more daring over time in what I will work on and what I will save for others. Buying an older bike that's not well supported made this something I had to do. I do my own work where I can but in the process learned a lot about the "finesse" that many mechanics have that make work that's hard for me seem easy. Out of luck I discovered a local racer that owns a shop that specializes in preparing track bikes. I still plan to do some of the easy stuff myself and farm out to him the more critical complex tasks.


This year I got super brave and did a front and rear suspension upgrade on my FZR400. I upgraded to FZR600 shocks and bought a Fox Twin Clicker for the rear. I even did the adjustment afterwards for sag and setting the dampening on the shock. This was well outside of my "simple stuff" comfort zone and I learned a TON in the process. Once I got started I realized most of my fears were unfounded.





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  • 2 years later...

The more you do for yourself, the more confident you can be that everything is as it should be.


Mounting tyres on rims is pretty much the only thing I outsource. I my time I've reassembled/repaired bikes declared dead by mechanics. But my proudest achievement is manufacturing suspension linkage components that work better and last way way longer than stock Suzuki suspension bearings. Learnt a lot about materials selection and using a lathe.

One of my bikes did 600,000km before someone stole it ( shortly after I installed new pads, chain, sprockets, tyres, and replaced fluids. Still ran as new, and indeed handled better than new - in part due to an accident that bent the head stock thereby shortening the wheelbase by 60mm down to 1280mm. I liked the change so rode on it for ten years.

Dave Moss gives great advice on wheel alignment and suspension adjustment.

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  • 2 months later...

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