Why I do my own work:

Other then the obvious . . . that I like to work on stuff . . .

Me # 1—I take my bike in to be inspected. Despite required specific purpose plate on the bike to stick inspection sticker on, inspection guy sticks the sticker on the fender on my brand new polyurethane paint job. Owner of the shop is unapologetic and calls the police to have me removed from the premises. Motorcycle cop (in a cage) shows up and the owner relents when the officer informs me that [yes he can force me to leave without fixing the problem] but [misdemeanor assault is only a $140 fine]

Since I am 300 pounds and a substantial bit of that is muscle I just looked at the owner and grinned. Then I checked my wallet to see how much cash I had. About this time the cop turned his back to us and crossed his arms. Miraculously the problem was rapidly corrected. Cool cop.

Me # 2—Another annual inspection rolls around. Obviously a different shop this time. 90-pound 12-year old looking guy makes like he is going to ride my bike (XS-1100 Midnight Special) around the block. Looks very flustered when I tell him he can only do it if he shows me his MC license and can keep the bike up from a 10-15 degree tilt. He can’t do either one. Flusters me a bit that this guy is licensed by the state to do the required inspection on MY motorcycle.

Me # 3—Buy brand new Valkyrie. Yippeeeeee! Have dealer install really nice highway pegs and Memphis Shades windshield. One-week later highway peg # 1 falls off. Makes interesting noise as it bounces down the highway and smacks into the grill of the “primo” ’69 Firebird that was behind me. No damage luckily, and the Firebird driver was pretty cool about it. Go over the (brand-new) bike with a fine-tooth comb and find the other peg loose, several missing nuts and/or washers on the windshield, and the headlight is loose from the fork (1 bolt and both nuts missing).

Coworker # 1—Buys brand new bike, dealer forgets to put any lube in the final drive. Co-worker # 1 figures this out when the case cracks open and he can see glowing things inside (as he is stranded on the highway in the middle of the night). Finally got it fixed under warrantee . . . but had to argue and argue and argue . . . many moons went by . . .

Co-worker # 2—Takes bike in to have oil changed. Dealer calls him and tells him that it will be at least three weeks, as they are waiting on parts. Parts? What parts? Turns out the service guy got bikes mixed up and removed the rear tire, after using the impact wrench (in the wrong direction) in order to strip off the axle nut.

Co-worker # 3—Has new tires installed. Two weeks later almost wrecks out due to sudden severe wobble. Finds several loose bolts on the final-drive to shaft cover/swing arm (‘wing).

Co-worker # 3—Again. Takes ‘wing in for tires again (at least he rides) and is astonished to receive a call at work from the dealer the next day telling him [good news–his bike has been sold already]! Needless to say, new owner and current owner are now at a bit of a conflict. Takes days to sort out. 2200 miles put on the bike in the mean time.

Co-worker # 4—Takes his bike in for annual service and tune-up. Shop finishes the work, then takes the bike on a test ride. Wrecks out same bike (totaled). This happened today.

Folks, if you cannot or will not do your own wrenching—learn. If you still cannot, only use a shop that will allow you to be in the service area. Otherwise, you will need to follow all the procedures yourself afterward anyway to make sure they did it right. Nearly every bolt/item on a motorcycle is critical.

Daniel Meyer

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