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Honda CB500S
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wanting to learn to work on bikes (and cars) myself. I have a 2001 Honda CB500S, and want to learn how to do basic and intermediate maintenance and repairs.

I can do the very basics; oil changes, filters changes and other fluid changes.

The most complicated vehicle repair I have done was probably replacing my exhaust on my car.

I want to learn how to do some more 'advanced' stuff, such as changing brake pads, discs, cleaning carbs etc. My bike currently needs a new set of fork stanchions, as the current ones are pitted, but I wouldn't dare attempt it. (That does seem like a hard job though.)

I know this is very general and perhaps vague, but I wanted to ask for any good resources or advice to learn. I do own a Haynes manual for my bike too. I am just a bit scared I might do more harm than good. But I do enjoy being practical, and want to save some money!

I am considering purchasing a bike in need of some care over summer, as I will have a lot more free time, I'm hoping this will be a good way to learn the ropes, as if I break something the consequences are minimal. Any ideas for bikes that could be suitable for this sort of thing? (I.e. easy to work on bikes.)

Any advice or tips will be appreciated greatly. (y)
 

Secret Agent
2006 Honda CBR1000RR, 2008 Honda CRF230L, 2019 Honda CRF1000L
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OEM service manuals are far superior to haynes. Helm inc. is who produces honda service manuals.

Between a good service manual and watching YouTube videos, you'd probably get a better understanding of a given project than if someone tried to explain it.

But if you do want to do a thread over a project, pictures are worth a thousand words馃檪

As for easy to work on bikes, maybe a dirt bike or an enduro?
 

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Honda CB500S
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
OEM service manuals are far superior to haynes. Helm inc. is who produces honda service manuals.

Between a good service manual and watching YouTube videos, you'd probably get a better understanding of a given project than if someone tried to explain it.

But if you do want to do a thread over a project, pictures are worth a thousand words馃檪

As for easy to work on bikes, maybe a dirt bike or an enduro?
Thanks! 'll definitely look into getting an OEM manual. As for a project thread, I can't wait to get one going! Don't think it'll be too soon though.
 

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Right side up forks are easy to service. Once you seen it done or struggled through the process a couple of times.
... easier then learning about carburetors in reality.


Clean and service forks just as you would clean a rifle or a hydraulic cylinder. :sneaky: because it is pretty much a hydraulic cylinder.

The lower fork legs ride on bushings, the bushings are coated with a very thin layer of nylon to make them slide on the stanchion true and easy, once the bushings wear the fork seals will start to leak. The seals and the bushings are consumable parts and will need replacing occasionally (wheel bearings about the same time)

Changing out the oil in the front forks is the #1 overlooked service item on any motorcycle. Always drain the old oil into a clear glass container so you can inspect it for metal particles, water or bits of nylon that would be what is left of your fork slide bushings.
 

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It's easier to learn to service a motorcycle that is complete and working like a new one, then to dive into something that has been previously rode hard, put away wet and then butchered by a stranger.
 

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I learned on my own like you are but really no one learns "alone", I happened to befriend a shop owner that I would buy used bikes from and he gave me pointers on more complex repairs such as carb cleaning etc. If you do Facebook (I don't) see if you can join a group with knowledgeable people in your area as nothing beats having actual human interaction. Best of luck, I like your spirit.
 

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79 Cb750f
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Good on you guy for getting with it.
Here in The States they have sort of trade schools for bikes. MMI I think is one. Kind of a community college.
A year or 2 there would help.
Like Carneysaid, an experienced mechanic is good to know. Most, when they see you are serious,
are more than glad to help a newer guy out with pointers.
I also don't do the FB thing, but, I've found hitting YouTube and pulling up a repair up, before I dig in, is a very good thing.

But really, hands on, learning from your mistakes, many a man has learned that way.
 

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First purchase after I bought my 80$ motorcycle at age 10 was the factory shop manual. I think it was 7$ and I was seriously concerned about the cost. Many tears were shed on those pages learning how to fix stuff.

The Motorcycle was the best thing I ever bought in my entire life and the shop manual was #2 because I ended up making a darn good living out of reading shop manuals and fixing things :LOL:
 

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Good on you guy for getting with it.
Here in The States they have sort of trade schools for bikes. MMI I think is one. Kind of a community college.
A year or 2 there would help.
Like Carneysaid, an experienced mechanic is good to know. Most, when they see you are serious,
are more than glad to help a newer guy out with pointers.
I also don't do the FB thing, but, I've found hitting YouTube and pulling up a repair up, before I dig in, is a very good thing.

But really, hands on, learning from your mistakes, many a man has learned that way.
Aviation mechanic training is also a good place as nearly everything transfers over to motorcycles and the pay is much higher.
 

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Honda CB500S
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Right side up forks are easy to service. Once you seen it done or struggled through the process a couple of times.
... easier then learning about carburetors in reality.


Clean and service forks just as you would clean a rifle or a hydraulic cylinder. :sneaky: because it is pretty much a hydraulic cylinder.

The lower fork legs ride on bushings, the bushings are coated with a very thin layer of nylon to make them slide on the stanchion true and easy, once the bushings wear the fork seals will start to leak. The seals and the bushings are consumable parts and will need replacing occasionally (wheel bearings about the same time)

Changing out the oil in the front forks is the #1 overlooked service item on any motorcycle. Always drain the old oil into a clear glass container so you can inspect it for metal particles, water or bits of nylon that would be what is left of your fork slide bushings.
Thanks!

Due to the fact I live in the UK I've never even held a rifle! And I can't say I've serviced a hydraulic cylinder either... but I'll bear it in mind.

Let's hope the old oil isn't too bad.
 

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Honda CB500S
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I learned on my own like you are but really no one learns "alone", I happened to befriend a shop owner that I would buy used bikes from and he gave me pointers on more complex repairs such as carb cleaning etc. If you do Facebook (I don't) see if you can join a group with knowledgeable people in your area as nothing beats having actual human interaction. Best of luck, I like your spirit.
Luckily for me one of my neighbours does a lot of this stuff, I think he's done a few engine swaps in cars too.

He helped me wire a 7 pin socket for a lighting board once. He's very friendly, I just don't want to bother him too much in all honesty aha. I'm sure he'll be happy to help me out though, he does enjoy this stuff a lot.
 

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Honda CB500S
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Good on you guy for getting with it.
Here in The States they have sort of trade schools for bikes. MMI I think is one. Kind of a community college.
A year or 2 there would help.
Like Carneysaid, an experienced mechanic is good to know. Most, when they see you are serious,
are more than glad to help a newer guy out with pointers.
I also don't do the FB thing, but, I've found hitting YouTube and pulling up a repair up, before I dig in, is a very good thing.

But really, hands on, learning from your mistakes, many a man has learned that way.
Thanks a lot! Let's hope those mistakes don't end up costing me too much.
 

American Legion Rider & sub-Administrator
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he does enjoy this stuff a lot.
Most mechanics just want to help any way they can. So don鈥檛 forget the beer or dinner to say thanks. (y)
 

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It's painful waiting for people to introduce themselves after they ask a question.


No hydraulic no guns what do you have over there that is close, trying to think of something that needs to be spotless clean inside. All I can come up with is Beer straws or milking machines. Everything needs to be that clean :geek:

The oil is going to be gross and probably even smell bad, don't get any on you and dispose of it properly (where recycle facilities exist )

and don't go using thick oil thinking that will make the bike handle better it won't. Use thin oil, it results in a more lively suspension. Lively is good.
 

Ban Hammer, Try Me.
2009 Ninja 500r
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It's easier to learn to service a motorcycle that is complete and working like a new one, then to dive into something that has been previously rode hard, put away wet and then butchered by a stranger.
This is probably the best advice for someone that has to learn how to work on things that can be given.


There are times that you can pull your hair out when you get skilled and want to give up even when you know that model bike. Keep the maintenance up and choose the winter months to work on the big stuff. Having a garage you can work in and store your bike will be a big deal (once upon a time I stored mine in my living room and worked on it there, just not recommended it you want a relationship). Anytime you start a thread when you need help be thorough on what you have done and what has been done along with the information that lets us know what you are working on such as miles, year, brand and make. Do it every time, don't assume we know the details on a repair thread because even when the long timers might remember, I forget where I out my 10mm wrench sometimes. No One will remember all the details all the time. Pictures in this format are worth a thousand words. Even video can be helpful, and as stated you reading through a shop manual is a big key in success. The torques on bolts and having good tools, not even the best just good ones will be a big help. Most shop manuals will tell what tools are needed but sometimes you might need more or different ones that just makes it "easier". Every project is different, every person does it just a little different.

Welcome to the site and good luck!
 

American Legion Rider & sub-Administrator
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It's painful waiting for people to introduce themselves after they ask a question.
I'm trying to get things changed from the programming side that will force new members to the New Members forum to make an introduction but that has it's own problems with questions being asked instead of an introduction. So yet another rule would have to come in, to immediately ban. Still not a good solution for all. My thoughts are if you don't want to make a very simple introduction, go somewhere else. There are numerous other sources to infect. JMHO
 
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It's painful waiting for people to introduce themselves after they ask a question.


No hydraulic no guns what do you have over there that is close, trying to think of something that needs to be spotless clean inside. All I can come up with is Beer straws or milking machines. Everything needs to be that clean :geek:

The oil is going to be gross and probably even smell bad, don't get any on you and dispose of it properly (where recycle facilities exist )

and don't go using thick oil thinking that will make the bike handle better it won't. Use thin oil, it results in a more lively suspension. Lively is good.
Depends on weigh of bike and riding conditions. Not everyone is going through the woods. Pogo on a street bike messes with the contact patch.
 

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Honda CB500S
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
No not you, it happens about 3 times a day :LOL:
Phew! I was a bit worried I'd made a mistake!

In terms of the guns though, I actually find it odd that people do own so many guns in the states. For me it's just a totally different situation, not that I'm really against them.

I have a friend in Alaska who owns a few guns. I'm hoping to visit her one day, I'd like to try shooting out!
 
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