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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey.
Silly question.
Got my first bike and in the beginning I will be depending on the dealer for maintenance, since... well, I'm already busy becoming a good motorcyclist.

Now, little by little I'd like to learn about the Dark Arts of motorcycle DIY.

I am a road cyclist (not one of the annoying ones, I swear!)
We learn to check tire pressure first, then to re-tape the handlebars, then the saddle.
You learn to clean and grease the transmission.
Then you learn to change tires.
Then you're at the point where you can work on the cog and replace your own chain.
Then there's the bottom bracket and probably the last thing you learn is mess around with the frame itself, if you have a steel one.

You go from easy, inexpensive and not dangerous if you **** up, to potentially risky for the bike and yourself.
Notably, to get to the bottom bracket you have to learn how to work on, and remove, the chain, so each bit is a stepping stone for the next.

How would a similar path look like for a motorbike and specifically our beloved CBR250R?

What's the easy bits?
What do they teach you about the harder bits?

Thanks! 馃檹
 

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Honda: INNOVA125i(2010); CBR250R(2013)
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Now, little by little I'd like to learn about the Dark Arts of motorcycle DIY.
I am a road cyclist...
Your previous background with "bicycle?" will probably help you, a little, it took me over thirty years to gain confidence, and I still have a lot to learn.

The CBR is not one of the most difficult to learn mechanics on, only one cylinder, on the other hand it is not one of the easy either, it has a lot of technology, and there is a lot to get to know ther. An air-cooled 125 engine of a scooter that "easy". Happily for me, my cbr250r as no ABS, and no canister (which is in the models in the USA).

And here you have already received your first task, to learn how to check the oil level when the motorcycle is on its side stand...
Get organized on technical literature, There's the complete Honda maintenance book, and there's the excellent Haynes book...
For a DIY hobby you pay money, and you don't save money, so get used to that too...
That's the second thing I think you should do, buy these two books.
The third will be to start reading those books...
What do they teach you about the harder bits?
When a repair fails, or when a screw is broken, or when the cap of the oil container is not closed and it falls and spilled on the floor...then you are taught to breathe deeply, not to be angry on the machine / on the oil / on the screws...you are taught to overcome your angry, and continue to yours next task...but everything you are taught doesn't really help when that happens, and that's where the real learning begins...

The most important thing is to maintain safety at your garage, but to be effective in this matter you need to know the dangers....learn, learn and then learn more.

And if DIY is not suitable for someone, and there is no patience, no budget for tools, and no free time...then he go to a qualified mechanic.
 

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Easy bits are things like checking chain lube and chain slack adjustment. Next moderate stuff would be brake pad check/replace, oil change, filter(engine/air) change, and chain replacement. The harder stuff would be valve check/adjustment. For a motorcycle, there is no need to check frame straightness. If you can handle these, you can pretty much do everything DIY.

FYI, although the CBR250R is a single cylinder engine, it is a rather highly engineered machine with a lot of stuff stuffed in a small package. So, things like lack of easy access make otherwise easy tasks difficult.
 

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Easy bits are things like checking chain lube and chain slack adjustment. Next moderate stuff would be brake pad check/replace, oil change, filter(engine/air) change, and chain replacement. The harder stuff would be valve check/adjustment. For a motorcycle, there is no need to check frame straightness. If you can handle these, you can pretty much do everything DIY.
You made a nice to do list, I'll try to arrange it according to difficulty level:
"Easy"
  1. brake pad check
  2. chain lube
  3. air filter change
Challenging
  1. oil change
  2. oil filter change
  3. chain slack adjustment
  4. chain replacement
  5. brake pad replace
Harder stuff
  1. valve check
  2. valve adjustment
  3. To Tamir鈥檚 list I would definitely add
    [*]changing brake fluid,
    [*]spark plug
    [*]and coolant,


WOW, What are the timetables you recommend for studying these subjects and to do them?

"If you can handle these, you can pretty much do everything DIY", YES, of course you are right... BUT...

I just claimed that the whole study takes years, and the study is very expensive. Until you reach a point where the cost of DIY repair is cheaper than the cost of repair at an authorized garage, it takes many, many years. And I'm not against DIY, I'm just saying that a hobby cost money, and that continues to be true even for veteran hobbyists like me. All the base I've built, all the knowledge I've achieved, I don't use it into a profitable business, I didn't open a garage. Because for me it's a hobby, I only take care of one motorcycle(or two). Tools that I buy most of the year rest in the closet without anyone using them, tools that I bought for specific tasks can be forgotten in my tool box for years. A hobby is not a profitable business, it costs money. We do it for the soul. At the skill level I'm at today I maybe manage to save a lot of money, but saving money is not the main thing here, it's the hobby of being a mechanic, a kind of Lego-Game only for adults. Something to relax with.
I don't know if I was able to explain my point.
 
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Get a Manual.
Use correct lubricants and fluids.
Expect to use Blue Loctite on (almost) all screws and torque to specs.

Youtube for the most part is a bad source of advice. It's generally inexperienced people trying to make a video for a few bucks revenue. No matter how confident they sound, don't use Vegetable oil to fill your fork tubes or candle wax to seal your chain. Again, use the correct lubricants.

Brakes and Tires should always be 100% brand name or OEM. Headlights and chains should be high quality. For everything else use your discretion.

Don't expect to follow a schedule to learn how to do repairs. You will learn them as the opportunity arises.
 

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Youtube for the most part is a bad source of advice. It's generally inexperienced people trying to make a video for a few bucks revenue. No matter how confident they sound, don't use Vegetable oil to fill your fork tubes or candle wax to seal your chain. Again, use the correct lubricants.
About the few dollars thing (my personal understanding):
  • 99.8% of YouTubers get nothing 0USD.
  • 0.1999% maybe receive symbolic amounts of money (say: $50 a month).
  • 0.0001% who manage to make a profitable business from a YouTube channel, but even in this case the profits will usually not come from YouTube, but from sponsors.
Regarding the matter of misleading and incorrect information, yes. Lots and lots of DIY videos with tips that are worth nothing.
 
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For me, getting a torque wrench (two actually) was huge for my confidence! Definitely worth it unless you feel super confident you know how much to tighten specific screws, nuts and bolts by feel.

Also a Haynes manual is great. I got the official service manual too, a bit costly, but to me it was worth it.

Apparently a JIS screwdriver might come in handy, I have yet to acquire one, but I have rounded out several screws so I probably should have鈥 so now I have to learn how to drill them out.

To Tamir鈥檚 list I would definitely add changing brake fluid, spark plug and coolant, although I don鈥檛 know where to put them.
 
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