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How did you learn about and how to work on motorcycles?

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I am just curious as to how you gained the ability to work on your bikes. Was it schooling? Learned from a friend or family member? Did research yourself and figured things out as you went along? Or how did you learn? I am interested as to how different members got to know their stuff :bonk:.

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In a former life, I was an ASE certified master auto and diesel technician. I don't turn wrenches for a living any more, but much of what I learned back in the day translates pretty well to working on bikes. When I have questions, I consult my manual or search and ask questions here on this site.

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I just did the research myself and learned along the way, mostly from thumpertalk. I didnt even know how to change the oil on my first quad when I was 11. So I started to google how to fix things as I went along, and thumpertalk came up every time. I pretty much learned everything from thumpertalk. Ive come a long way and now I love working on bikes, and am restoring a 1976 Yamaha sx 360.

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I grew up in family that trail rode together. My father taught us to take care of the bikes that we rode. It was from him that I learned how motors worked and how to understand repair and owner manuals.

:bonk:

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Aircraft mech for 20+ yrs., Grew up helping Dad work on stuff, that covers the gen mechanical stuff, This web site, manuals, and advice from friends covers the specific stuff. Taking stuff apart and putting it back together is easy, trouble shooting can be a PITA.

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My old man can fix anything. Taught me everything from welding to engine assembly. Also used to hang out with an ex factory Honda mechanic after school (college) at a local shop. I paid for the beer, taco bell, and smokes, and he would help me work on the project I was building at the time, while teaching me. He mostly just liked having someone who respected him and actually listened to what he was trying to teach vs the bone head mechanics the shop owner hired (he worked at night after they all left and could do whatever he wanted so long as he fixed their screw ups). He taught me everything from porting to a little lathe and mill work.

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My dad taught me most of what I know when I was growing up. Started riding around 5-6 years old, started racing at 9. He was racing long before then... gave me lots of time to learn. We didnt have the money to take the bikes to the shop so he did all the work himself (he was also a master fabricator at a local factory for 20 year, and he's an ASE certified mechanic), but we always had running bikes, and they ran very good at that.

Started out just by watching him and asking all the annoying kid questions like what is that, whats that do, wheres that go. He taught me the basics and then some (basically everything he knew), from then on Ive read the shop manual for every bike Ive owned front to back... then over again. Im the type of guy thats not afraid to ask the stupid question, or point out the obvious.... IDC if someone thinks Im stupid because thats the only way Im going to learn. I hope to pass what I learn on to my kids when the time comes so Im trying to learn as much as possible before then.

Not to mention Ive learned TONS of info from my fellow TT members in the past few years.

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First of all. it helps to have some kind of mechanical aptitude. Beyond that, I was also a certified auto mechanic although I never really did it for a living. First step in the "basic training" for me was starting out with mini bikes and smaller bikes. I guess if you REALLY screw up and destroy it, you really arent out that much. Since I couldn't afford to have anyone work on my bike earning lawnmowing money, I did EVERYTHING on them...Splitting cases, transmission & clutch work, wheels, tires, welding frames, modifying areas for racing use. GREAT training! For the less experienced, TT would be a valuable resource to send you in the right direction.

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I just wanted to know what made things work from an early age so I started taking apart and putting back together anything I could find , by the time I was 11 and got a mini bike with a 3 hp engine, I knew how to use tools and took that engine apart and put it back together a few times , then I got a Yamaha 90 and did the same , then a RM 125 in 75 , by this time I was a pretty good wrech and since I had been spending all the time I could in jr high and high school metal shop I was a pretty good fabricator too and between building my own expansion chambers porting my cyclinder milling my cyl head and making different parts for my bike I was laying down the shocks for guy's on their 125 elsinores ,a few years after school I moved onto hot rodding VW's because I heard my dad and brother were racing VW's ( I lived with my mom ) my dad was acctualy a pretty well known Drag Race engine builder from the 50's and 60's so I learned a lot about fourstroke's from him ( read a few good books about tunning engines ) and we built some of the fastest VW's around at the time , this led to me building racecars for guys for a few years , then I started messing with jet skis and ended up manufacturing mechanical fuel injection kit's ( MRD INJECTION ) for them for about 10 year's , now I build exhaust systems for bikes , I have been lucky enough to make a living doing the kind of stuff I like to do :bonk:

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2 uncles r auto techs (35 years)

grandpa was heavy duty tech for over 50....

everyone can fix anything in my family comin from the farm

when i was young id tear wutever i owned down to the frame....when i forgot how to put it back together then i had to teach myself cause i hated buggin somebody to help me do it

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Luckily my dad could fix anything from electrical to mechinical and was willing to put up with my pestering while I was trying to figure out how everything works as I grew up. He had many hobbies and I was exposed to working on a lot of different fun things as I grew up.

Edited by npm

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Ohh interesting story!

My pa was into bikes when he was a kid and being a mechanically individual, we use to fix and re-sell lawnmowers and stuff when I was a kid, so my hands were always in the machines. Sadly, even though my dad had a bike when I was young, I never liked it. I was too creative and wanted to do creative stuff when I was a kid, mechanics and electronics didn't interest me at a very young age, even though I did help my dad fix lawnmowers. Sadly, when my dad didn't see I had any interest in motorcycles, he sold his bike. We both headed more in the world of electronics and thats where I kinda stayed for a decade as I figured out what I wanted to do in life.

Of course, what goes around comes around. My dads love for motorcycles did wind up rubbing off on me in a very strange way, 3000 miles from where he lives and with strangers. I bought a street bike and learned how to ride with some help from a friend of mine and at the beginning, the mechanics didn't interest me. But when I wanted to race, I had to force myself to learn the mechanical side of things and wouldn't you know it, I really enjoyed it. Eventually I built my own road race bikes from the ground up and my own motors as well. For the last two years I've been focused on building dirt bikes and its been a lot of fun, still have a lot to learn, but I've successfully built 2 motors from the ground up, so thats a good start.

I think you need a bit of mechanical understanding, but not much. A basic knowledge and some friends who can help guide you is all you need. Obviously an open mind and willingness to absorb everything you see, is critical as well.

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Thru trial and error. My parents were cool enough to buy me a bike when I was 8, but they didn't help with maintenance and repairs, except for buying me my own tool kit. If I wanted to ride, I worked on my bikes. I remember replacing the top end on my KX80 (yes 80, not 85...really dating myself) early in the morning on race day when I was 12 -- by myself.

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my dad taught me how to fix things. Not really mechanics but other things that translate to being mechanically inclined. My advice for you is to get your bikes service manual and take a look through it.

Really there isnt much to a bike, you just have to be careful to note everything that you take apart, where it was , and which bolts went where. Take pictures with your phone if you don't trust yourself. Take your time, dont be in a rush, that's the easiest way to leave a rag in your air filter or not tighten a bolt on your suspension.

I feel such a satisfaction when i do maintenance on my bike and feel a bit of pride when my machines never break down and everyone around me has this or that wrong with their bike.

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I grew up out in the country in a single parent home. My Mom actually taught me how to work on the lawnmowers, and I always had something to take apart. We were pretty poor, so I didn't have any video games to occupy my time, so I spent all my time in the garage tinkering around. This was of course long before computers, so I didn"t have access to websites. I always had some type of motorcycle around, Which was usually bought at a yard sale or auction, and didn't run at the time. We could not afford to take the bike to the shop so like most guys above, if I wanted to ride, i fixed it myself. I did read a few books at the library on bike motors. Nowadays, I have 5 kids and four of them ride. We have 8 bikes and two fourwheelers. So to say the least with the help of the internet and TT I have become very profficient at fixing them. Just like Seat time making you a better rider, Shop time makes you a better mechanic..

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when we were kids we couldnt afford anything but clapped out 70s bikes. this was in the late 80s by the way. so if we wanted to ride we had to get the bikes running and then the hard part keep them running and fix whatever broke.

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