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I recently had my bike go down with a flat tire, and it took 5 weeks for the Triumph dealer to get me in for a new tire. I tried going to other shops, but it turns out that they all seem to carry tires for the bikes they sell. I actually ended up buying a bike for Vanessa (which we wanted to do anyway) and rode it for a month until I got mine back. The tires on Vanessa's bike have good tread but are old and also needed replacing, and it could use an annual service. I finally took it in for this after I got my bike back. That was a week ago, and I will finally get it back tomorrow. All this got me to thinking...we have places to get an oil change or basic maintenance for our cars, and tire shops...why don't these shops exist for bikes? Or is it just that no one has tried it yet? What are your thoughts? If there was a shop where you could get oil changes, annual services, interval services, tires and brakes done...basically all your maintenance...and the place did a good job, would you go there instead of the dealer?

I know that a lot of guys do their own maintenance, so this probably doesn't pertain to you...but maybe it does. Are there some things that you might have done if they didn't cost an arm and a leg like what dealers charge?
 

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Secret Agent
2006 Honda CBR1000RR, 2008 Honda CRF230L, 2019 Honda CRF1000L
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It's probably a pretty good investment to get started in something like that. There might not be enough demand, IDK.

I work on my own bikes, all my closer friends do too. I've worked on a few others, mostly tires and the people brought their wheels already off the bike.

Might be worth it for someone who can do the work, and knows lots of people that'd bring them the work. But starting from scratch, might be kinda tough.

We do have an independent shop that I know a lot of the Harley guys use, mostly to buy their parts through, but do the work themselves. I know the guy, I wouldn't trust him to change my oil.
 

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In my area the business would starve, and fold up within 6 months. However 200 miles south of here in the Phoenix Metro there are several independent shops that service all makes. Some of them do more then than general stuff but they have no factory authorization. Many owners don't care about that and us them because they are good and fast. The bad ones don't last long. But up here on the mountain there just isn't enough business. There is a shop that specializes in trike conversions and he is still in business, and one lone guy who works mostly on old Harley's and he will always be in business. Actually the only certified dealer in the White Mountain area is a Yamaha, CanAm dealer.
 

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I recently had my bike go down with a flat tire, and it took 5 weeks for the Triumph dealer to get me in for a new tire. I tried going to other shops, but it turns out that they all seem to carry tires for the bikes they sell. I actually ended up buying a bike for Vanessa (which we wanted to do anyway) and rode it for a month until I got mine back. The tires on Vanessa's bike have good tread but are old and also needed replacing, and it could use an annual service. I finally took it in for this after I got my bike back. That was a week ago, and I will finally get it back tomorrow. All this got me to thinking...we have places to get an oil change or basic maintenance for our cars, and tire shops...why don't these shops exist for bikes? Or is it just that no one has tried it yet? What are your thoughts? If there was a shop where you could get oil changes, annual services, interval services, tires and brakes done...basically all your maintenance...and the place did a good job, would you go there instead of the dealer?

I know that a lot of guys do their own maintenance, so this probably doesn't pertain to you...but maybe it does. Are there some things that you might have done if they didn't cost an arm and a leg like what dealers charge?
this is exactly the type of shop I am trying to set up. Just a place to take your bike for service or repair. Yes I eventually want to get into sales, used at first then move to a name brand new dealership but for now, R&D Cycles is open most weekends for service and repair.
 

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Moderator - Motorcycle Repair, Building, Restore
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Discussion Starter #5
this is exactly the type of shop I am trying to set up. Just a place to take your bike for service or repair. Yes I eventually want to get into sales, used at first then move to a name brand new dealership but for now, R&D Cycles is open most weekends for service and repair.
Too bad you're way down in Tacoma :(
 

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Ace Tuner
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If there was a shop where you could get oil changes, annual services, interval services, tires and brakes done...basically all your maintenance...
The public is finnicky and picky. They'll want experts to do even the simple jobs or they won't trust that it will be done correctly.
When doing a valve lash adjustment service the camshafts have to be removed on many of today's machines. Most customers won't see that as a simple job, and rightfully so.
In other words, you gotta be an expert or the shop will fail...

S F
 

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Moderator - Motorcycle Repair, Building, Restore
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Discussion Starter #7
The public is finnicky and picky. They'll want experts to do even the simple jobs or they won't trust that it will be done correctly.
When doing a valve lash adjustment service the camshafts have to be removed on many of today's machines. Most customers won't see that as a simple job, and rightfully so.
In other words, you gotta be an expert or the shop will fail...

S F
What if the shop only did simpler maintenance?
 

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Ace Tuner
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What if the shop only did simpler maintenance?
I don't know...
I've seen guys that can't get an oil change right even after we went through the procedure step by step.
I'm sure potential customers have seen the same.

S F
 
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Word of mouth can make or break any shop. Unfortunately all it takes is just 1 wrongfully accused poor service and a shop might fold overnight. You have to be swamped with customers to survive things like that. With dealerships folks think they have someone they can complain to if they feel a shop wronged them. Independents have a hard tough road in front of them. You got to really like doing the work because most are more willing to complain than praise.
 

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Swamp Rat Rider
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Definitely have to establish that you're good as an Independent .. Have one here in Lake City that always has at least 10 Rides waiting ..
 

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My friends' Son owns and runs an Indy shop. Been in business 3 years now and just hired his third employee. Tires and oil changes are his 'bread and butter'. He makes enough off that to make his business 'nut'. Anything else goes to personal expenses and profit. However......we live high in the Mountains like Eagle. What carries him thru the winter is 4 wheelers. Both rec and farm.

He went to some MC school in AZ, learned what he could and started servicing bikes of the people he knew (me included). Then he started banging on Farmers doors for work, advertising, sponsoring MC runs, and anything else he could do to get his name out there. He barely made it thru the 1st year, but after that, things started to ease up. Except the work. It's nothing for him to put in 12/14 hr days. He always has 10 to 15 bikes and 4 wheelers waiting for repair. It can be done, but are you ready for the commitment?
 

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My friends' Son owns and runs an Indy shop. Been in business 3 years now and just hired his third employee. Tires and oil changes are his 'bread and butter'. He makes enough off that to make his business 'nut'. Anything else goes to personal expenses and profit. However......we live high in the Mountains like Eagle. What carries him thru the winter is 4 wheelers. Both rec and farm.

He went to some MC school in AZ, learned what he could and started servicing bikes of the people he knew (me included). Then he started banging on Farmers doors for work, advertising, sponsoring MC runs, and anything else he could do to get his name out there. He barely made it thru the 1st year, but after that, things started to ease up. Except the work. It's nothing for him to put in 12/14 hr days. He always has 10 to 15 bikes and 4 wheelers waiting for repair. It can be done, but are you ready for the commitment?

I have been busy so far more in the beginning of riding season getting bikes and skiis ready for the trails and water. Most of the work I do is related to the ol' "It ran fine last year but I cant get it started now" type of work. I have given my little ultrasonic cleaner quite a workout with all the carbs I have put though it, but hell that's what I bought it for.
 

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After my experience at Alamo Cycleplex for a new front tire, i started doing it myself and save a lot of money. I was over charged and given an old tire that had dry rot. I took it back the next day and they tried to charge me again. Bike dealers often have a bike repair shop in back. Very expensive and the money you spend on one tire you could buy two tires, do yourself and gain +10 Awesome points. 😎

They bike shops and repair are around if you look hard enough but usually have long wait times and costly. This is because they know most of their customers want to ride but dont want to perform maintenance. Which is sad because maintaining your bike yourself save for major engine repair, teaches you to take care of it and pay attention to things before they fail.
 

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I live closer to Cuba than Walmart. Nearest HD dealer/shop is 140 miles away. Had problems with local independent shop, quality work, damage the bike etc.
Factory shop manual or retail manual (Chiltons, Haynes) will get you through all scheduled maintenance and troubleshooting problems.
I find it very rewarding to work on my own bike. It’s a 1985FXRC, original owner. More than once I’ve called dealers while on a roadtrip for mechanical issues and heard “we don’t work on old bikes”. Recently, in Tennessee, I needed to buy a rear tire, called HD shop for tire and they wouldn’t sell me a tire because I have an old bike. Fortunately Cherokee County Cycles in Andrews North Carolina hooked me up. Also gives you something to do on rainy days.
 

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I live closer to Cuba than Walmart. Nearest HD dealer/shop is 140 miles away. Had problems with local independent shop, quality work, damage the bike etc.
Factory shop manual or retail manual (Chiltons, Haynes) will get you through all scheduled maintenance and troubleshooting problems.
I find it very rewarding to work on my own bike. It’s a 1985FXRC, original owner. More than once I’ve called dealers while on a roadtrip for mechanical issues and heard “we don’t work on old bikes”. Recently, in Tennessee, I needed to buy a rear tire, called HD shop for tire and they wouldn’t sell me a tire because I have an old bike. Fortunately Cherokee County Cycles in Andrews North Carolina hooked me up. Also gives you something to do on rainy days.
You know that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, and it's not the first time either.
They wont sell you a TIRE for an older bike?
Not they don't HAVE one and can get it, they just wont work on it. That's just plain stupid.

I'm so glad I do all my own work.
 

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I would just call and ask for the size and see what types they have and pickup. The onky difference with older bikes is they have a carb but everything else is just a variation of basic mechanical stuff. They just dont know how to find the parts probably. But you can order tires online. In a pinch, you can remove the tire and take just that and ask them to bead the tire on for you. That way they dont touch the bike and you just mount it back yourself. Dealerships will make mistakes and then charge you for it I have found. Claim some BS reason. I have qorked on enough cars and motorcycles that unless it requires something I cant do at home like a lift or major repair beyond a home garage, i do it and learn as I go.
 

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Secret Agent
2006 Honda CBR1000RR, 2008 Honda CRF230L, 2019 Honda CRF1000L
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You know that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, and it's not the first time either.
They wont sell you a TIRE for an older bike?
Not they don't HAVE one and can get it, they just wont work on it. That's just plain stupid.

I'm so glad I do all my own work.
That is Kirby's supersports in Chanute, ks. They will not work on older bikes.
 

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Normally I would order the tire and install it myself. (Note to 1st timers: remove the brake rotor after wheel is off bike. ANY lateral pressure on rotor will warp it.) But was on road trip without proper tools. Well worth an hr or so for swapout and balancing.
 
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