I really like my local motorcycle dealer. They treat me right and sell a good product in their BMW motorcycles. The problem I have (and seems that a lot of people have) is with the maintenance that they do.

I’m positive that they have folks on staff that really know their stuff.

The problem is that this is piece work. You get paid a fixed amount of cash for each job you do based on how long it should take. All this does is lead to taking shortcuts or fixing something by using more force. I don’t get paid to work on our bikes. Economically it doesn’t make sense. I bill at a higher rate than the dealer’s techs so realistically I should take it to the dealer and make more money myself.

Why do I do it?

It boils down to the simple fact that no one cares more about my bike that I do.

In the past when I’ve taken my bike to the dealer it came back worse than before. Here’s an example list of things I’ve found:

  • Parts not lined up correctly and seemingly forced
  • Extra scratches
  • Rough running (not enough time doing the valves on the R1200 engine)
  • Non-removed crush washers on drain plugs

Of course I am saving money and I can do the work on my own schedule. This is a big plus. Knowing that the job’s been done exactly by the book gives me a warm feeling inside.

But there’s other advantages too. The simplest reason is that you know do work on your vehicle when you can’t get to the dealer. Even routine jobs like an oil change can be hard if you’ve never done it before.

A bigger, more ephemeral upside is dealing with machinery. I’m sure this comes as no surprise to anyone who has built and worked on machines but most of these things are pretty simple devices. All of these things were built by people and all of us can learn to understand it. Working on these things really starts to take away the mystery and magic away from it. Like with anything the less magic there is, the less forbidding it is to tinker.

The nice thing about the times we live is is that there’s an almost endless supply of information on the internet. A great resource for all of the do-it-yourselfers is the Adventure Rider site. There’s even a DVD that someone made to walk you through all of the normal maintenance items. On the F650 front for En’s bike there’s a free set of DVDs that the Chain Gang put out that walks you though very extensive work on that bike.

I’m quite sure that any bike out there as similar resources out there on the net. Just search for it and I’m sure you’ll find it!

Happy wrenching!