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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings motorcyclists!

I know this isn't a geographic based forum, but I've been helped on forums through the years and wanted to cue you guys in on what I'm doing in the Chicagoland area.

We are very pleased to announce the current development of a community motorcycle garage in Chicagoland! Our team is creating a non-corporate, open community space that will capture the entirety of motorcycling; wrenching, socializing, and riding. Unlike a traditional shop; we are designing an environment for you to hang out, be the mechanic and become a part of the shop. Your ideas, involvement and input will influence its direction. A motorcycle space designed and ran by the motorcyclists who use it.

Currently, we are on track to open in the summer of 2015. Why are we announcing this before we open the doors? Simply put, we want you involved with every design decision of the facility. Community involvement is the foundation of what we are creating and how it will operate. From the benefits of membership, to the cost of use and formation of the social scene; we feel your thoughts and ideas will be instrumental in helping us create a space that will fully integrate the community in a way never done before.

From motorcyclists to motorcyclists; we would like to invite you, to become an integral part of the design and creation of a place to call our own, our own MotoGarage. If you are or know of anyone near Chicago who may be interested we would love to hear their ideas!

Please check out our website at MotoGaragechi.com, join our forum and ask us any questions you have!

With deepest appreciation,

- Team MotoGarage -
 

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Hasn't that been tried with cars? Like back in the 70's. I don't see any around here so was that a bust? Maybe it will be more successful with motorcycles. Especially in the colder climates where you might be able to work on things in the winter. Hopefully I'm wrong for you but I don't see it being popular enough to franchise. I do think it will be a very location based item. Large metropolis types just might be successful. Good luck!

Hmm. Alcohol or not? I know I like a beer or two after working on something.
 

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A couple suggestions?

Have a "no colors" rule from the start, and enforce it strictly. Not just for the 1%ers, but even for the "riders' clubs" and all other groups. (I can see an exception for a CMA member or something like that.)

Have a way to move a bike that can't be pushed. If you have someone that has the wheels, or the front end, or something off a bike and needs to wait for a part, you'll need a way to get it to storage without having the owner re-assemble his scoot.

Don't allow anyone to go into the bike storage area un-escorted, even if they have a bike in there. It would be too easy for someone to claim damages or theft, even if there were not any.

Obviously shop tools would be signed out on an as-needed basis, but a quick, reliable way to inventory all basic hand tools before each user leaves would be a good idea too. You don't want to start bleeding tools from the fist day.

Are the bays going to be communal or sort of private? It's not a good idea to have other people poking around a scoot or toolbox while the owner is taking a pee break or something. (Personally, I don't want anyone talking to me or distracting me while I'm working on a scoot either, but that might just be me.)

Use fair, flat-rate billing for your own techs. If, for example, one of your guys starts on a tune up on a customer's bike then gets a question in bay #3, then gets nabbed walking back past bay #6, then gets back to work and gets a few questions on what he's doing from people just socializing, none of that is billable to the initial tune-up customer, right?

But, how will you pay your tech for the time he just spent answering questions?

And, how will he be sure he remembered exactly where he left off working when bay #3 first asked for his help?

Have a TON of absorbent materials handy.

The place might become popular, especially for newer people and those who have nowhere else to work on their scoots, but management is going to have to be seriously on the ball, all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you both for the replies!!

hogcowboy - There are examples of car ones around today! Check out diygarageindy.com. Excellent points on the climate, Chicago's harsh winter will promote storage and project bike work.

Eye_m_no_angel - I want to thank you for taking the time to write a deep and thought provoking post. The intent to release the idea during development now is to bring people like you in to help sort out all of the details. With that being said, I'll respond to your comments one by one;

"Have a "no colors" rule from the start, and enforce it strictly. Not just for the 1%ers, but even for the "riders' clubs" and all other groups. (I can see an exception for a CMA member or something like that.)" - excellent idea, we will make that part of the rules."

- Our goal is to create an atmosphere that welcomes all riders. Male, female, young, old, beginner and veteran bikers. Excuse my ignorance, but what is a CMA rider?

"Have a way to move a bike that can't be pushed. If you have someone that has the wheels, or the front end, or something off a bike and needs to wait for a part, you'll need a way to get it to storage without having the owner re-assemble his scoot."

- That's an excellent point!! Will put that on our list of developmental requirements, THANK YOU.

"Don't allow anyone to go into the bike storage area un-escorted, even if they have a bike in there. It would be too easy for someone to claim damages or theft, even if there were not any."
- We've included in our budget a set aside for security. We'll have an internal and external camera system that will output to an offsite server. With that being said, any way to mitigate damage to a stored bike is especially crucial as that will be a big breach in trust and feeling of security. An escort to the storage side is a great point, I'm putting that on our list.

"Obviously shop tools would be signed out on an as-needed basis, but a quick, reliable way to inventory all basic hand tools before each user leaves would be a good idea too. You don't want to start bleeding tools from the fist day."

- Ah! The fun begins. Each bay will have it's own set of tools. We've included a budgetary amount to equip the bays with a full set. The exact set size and tool capacity will be developed in the coming months but will be standard to allow easy replacement. We haven't developed a quick way to access the tool inventory of each bay, but perhaps in the check out process a staff member will go through the tools. Specialty tools, however, will absolutely be a check in / check out type arrangement.

"Are the bays going to be communal or sort of private? It's not a good idea to have other people poking around a scoot or toolbox while the owner is taking a pee break or something. (Personally, I don't want anyone talking to me or distracting me while I'm working on a scoot either, but that might just be me.)"
- As a mechanic myself, I understand completely. Sometimes I don't mind being watched (when things are going well) and other times I want to be by myself (when things aren't!). An idea will be to mark off each bay with lines and have a rule to not allow entry in a bay while someone is working unless given permission.

The bay themselves will all be public. Use will either be by the hour/day/month for non members and will be free use for members (with to be determined monthly/ hourly allotments based on an ascending three tier system).

"Use fair, flat-rate billing for your own techs. If, for example, one of your guys starts on a tune up on a customer's bike then gets a question in bay #3, then gets nabbed walking back past bay #6, then gets back to work and gets a few questions on what he's doing from people just socializing, none of that is billable to the initial tune-up customer, right? "
- I really am enjoying how deep you're getting and appreciate this response! We are currently in talks with a few mechanics who are interested in 'renting' a bay on a monthly basis to perform work in house on customer motorcycles. With that being said, an aspect this shop will provide is technical assistance to customers tackling a new project. This will be accomplished through the bay computer (utilizing forums such as this, online tutorials, parts diagrams etc.). Now, some will want a more one on one connection and help on a project. A through process now will be the ability to schedule a mechanic's help through a 'workshop' time allotment. The mechanic we will have will be compensated accordingly on agreed terms.

"But, how will you pay your tech for the time he just spent answering questions? "
- This will be part of the agreement with the mechanic we contract. Whether it be an hourly amount, part of the 'monthly rent' for a bay's use or something is to be determined.

"And, how will he be sure he remembered exactly where he left off working when bay #3 first asked for his help?"
- Great point, if we schedule his assistance in particular bays at a particular time we should be able to reduce this risk. Generalized help, however, is to be determined how and when it will be given.

"Have a TON of absorbent materials handy."
- As some who still has trouble pouring used oil in a container without spilling, we absolutely will!

"The place might become popular, especially for newer people and those who have nowhere else to work on their scoots, but management is going to have to be seriously on the ball, all the time."
- The idea of the shops popularity isn't one based strictly on the mechanical haven it will provide, we hope MotoGarage becomes a place for any motorcyclists who just wants to hang out, meet up and congregate.

Thank you again for your questions and time you took to write out these, it is MUCH appreciated and your thoughts are already being incorporated in what we are doing. Please, continue to ask us questions on either here, our website, or contact me directly through our email!!

On a side note, please peruse a couple examples of garages that are performing in a similar mindset (albeit with perhaps less community involvement on the development) that will give you examples of functioning, thriving community motorcycle garages;

motoshopsf.com- San Francisco
motomethod.com - Vancouver
 

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For the each bay's tools you could start with the basic tools that are required by MMI or Wyotech. That would give each bay just about everything the average user would want, less specialty tools, and should fit in a standard 3 or 4 drawer top box. You can probably find the list on line, or if not I might have a copy filed away somewhere.

For an inventory of the tools when someone checks out, how about specific tool holders that are the same in each box? Foam holders for ratchets, socket racks, even painted tool outlines or whatever works. That way, when someone checks out your employee can pull out each drawer and do a spot inventory in seconds. Any empty tool holder will stick out and be obvious.

At the Harley in-service training centers all the tools are kept in a specific order in each bay's box, and the techs know to put them back exactly as they're supposed to be. The instructors can glance at each box and know right away if something is amiss. You can't trust your customers to be that motivated, but if you have various holders and devices where all the tools must go you can achieve the same effect I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow, your responses, input and suggestions have been the best we have received so far Eye_m_no_angle. I want to thank you personally. If you check out our forum I've added the questions and suggestions you have given me (I tweaked our responses a little bit). I can't thank you enough.

As for the basic tool standardization, this is a GREAT idea and we would really appreciate the basic tool MMI/Wyotech set list if you have it (as long as it's not proprietary/protected by them)! Great idea on the painted tools, we anticipated putting socket organizers in the tool chests so we can eyeball them quickly. Please, keep your ideas coming and know that we are incorporating them!!

Thanks again!
 

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Spray paint my tools has come in extremely handy and if you have an area in each bay to hang odd tools spray paint them right there. Then make each bay a different color. The paint is only on one side but it leaves a nice print where it is supposed to hang and the different colors would pop out as to what bay they go to in case one grows legs. After many years my wrenches still have a hint of paint but their location is still clear. Wrenches from 5/32 to 2 1/2 take a lot of space but if I have a mechanic in to do more than I can handle our tools never get mixed. Some bulldozer work and now computer controlled motorcycle work is just a little out of my league.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That's a great idea hogcowboy!

Personally, the five bikes in my garage aren't fuel injected, I prefer carbs. Easier to work on, diagnose and tool around on. What are you guys riding?
 

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Spray paint my tools has come in extremely handy and if you have an area in each bay to hang odd tools spray paint them right there. Then make each bay a different color. The paint is only on one side but it leaves a nice print where it is supposed to hang and the different colors would pop out as to what bay they go to in case one grows legs. After many years my wrenches still have a hint of paint but their location is still clear. Wrenches from 5/32 to 2 1/2 take a lot of space but if I have a mechanic in to do more than I can handle our tools never get mixed. Some bulldozer work and now computer controlled motorcycle work is just a little out of my league.
That's a very good idea, Hog. He could maybe even adapt something like that to the tools in the drawers too. Making each bay a different color would also help a lot.

Maybe add a locking gate or cover over the hanging tools. Someone rents a bay and they get a key to that bay's tool box and tool wall. You don't want socializers leaning into an un-used bay and helping themselves.
 

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The Eye of knowledge! :)
Pfft.

And I looked for the tool list but apparently I tossed it at some point. I'll e-mail HDU tomorrow or the next day and see if I can get them to send me a copy of their box inventory.

How long have I been riding? Not long enough. :)
 

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Great ideas guys! We're going to start building the prototype complex bay soon and will incorporate some of these ideas!!!!

I really appreciate it Eye! Check out our latest update #3 concerning Community Reaction, Development Process, Complex Bay Prototype - motogarage.com/2014 which mentions some of your ideas! Please let me know if I can credit you :)

Once we start developing the bay, we want more of your guys' input if you'd like to continue giving them! THANKS!!
 

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This is the list of basic tools that's in each box in the HDU regional in-service training centers. You'll want to adapt it slightly since you'll get more metric bikes in, but this will allow you to do most common tasks to most bikes.

Sockets, 1/4 drive:
6-point, SAE, standard, 3/16"-11/16"
6-point, SAE, deep well, 3/16"-11/16"
6-point, metric, standard, 5mm-15mm
6-point, metric, deep well, 5mm-15mm

Sockets, 3/8 drive:
6-point, SAE, standard, 5/32"-7/8"
6-point, SAE, deep well, 5/32"-7/8"
12-point, SAE, standard, 5/32"-7/8"
6-point, metric, standard, 6mm-19mm
6-point, metric, deep well, 6mm-19mm
12-point, metric, standard, 6mm-19mm
Torx bits, T10 – T-45

Sockets, ½ drive:
6-point, SAE, standard, 3/8"-1 1/4"
12-point, SAE, standard, 1 3/16” and 1 ½”
12 point, metric, standard, 32mm and 36mm

1/4" and 3/8" drive ratchets
1/4" and 3/8" drive T-Handles
3" and 6", 1/4" drive extensions
1/4" and 3/8" drive U-joints
1/4" and 3/8" drive wobble extensions
1 1/2", 3", 6", 12" 3/8" drive extensions

SAE combination wrenches, 5/16"-7/8"
Metric combination wrenches, 6-19mm

3/8 drive torque wrench
¼ drive torque wrench

Small, medium and large flat blade screw drivers
#1, #2, #3 Phillips screwdrivers

Set of Allen wrenches in both inch and metric
Needle nose and slip-joint pliers
“Chanel Lock” pliers
Side cutting pliers
Wire strippers
Medium and large adjustable wrench
Medium ball pein hammer
Plastic dead blow mallet
½” brass drift, 10” long
Set of steel punches
2’ pry bar
Hammer impact driver and bits
Tire pressure gauge
Small inspection mirror
Multi-meter and leads
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you, thank you, thank you Eye!!!!!

Eye, I'd like to send you a care package of MotoGarage promotional swag. I understand you don't really know me, but if you're comfortable enough to give me your address I'd like to send you a token of my appreciation. My personal email is [email protected].

I'm going to update our current bay inventory idea to encompass this. I can't thank you enough.
 
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