Dharma B

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Learning the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

02 Oct 2016

A common question I see on /r/motorcycles is “I’m buying my first bike. What tools do I need, and what maintenance should I do myself?” This article answers those questions.

Before you begin, check if your motorcycle requires metric tools, standard tools or both. This refers to the unit system that your tools are measured in. Consult your manual: If bolt sizes are given in millimeters (mm), get metric. If bolt sizes are given in fractions of an inch (in or “), get standard.

Generally, Japanese and European bikes are metric and American bikes are standard, but this isn’t guaranteed and some bikes will use both.

The list of products here is based on ChrisFix’s excellent guide, various threads on /r/motorcycles and my own experience.

Knowledge

Basic Tools

Chemicals

Supplies

What maintenance should I do myself?

You should do all of the following yourself:

You should consider getting the following work done professionally:

Luckily, working on bikes is easy even if you have no prior mechanic experience. When I started, I didn’t know how to do anything more complicated than mount a spare tire, check oil or add windshield wiper fluid. By just reading the manual and watching YouTube videos I was able to learn how to do all of the regular maintenance on my bike and even do a few modifications. I bet with a little patience, you can as well!