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  #1  
Old 15 Jul 2010
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Learning mechanic basics on a pocket bike ?

Hey guys,
This is my first post after reading quite a bit through the massive information contained on HU! So here goes:

In about 9 months I'm heading off on a working holiday in Australia and I seriously plan on buying a bike once there to tour around Oz (thinking a dualsport 250 like an XT250 or similar).

In the 9 months left, I would really like to learn as much of the mechanical side as possible, starting with the very basics, so how the motor runs and everything. So I thought, how can I get some kind of hand-on practice without buying a real bike (so cheaply) and without caring of messing it up by disassembling everything and putting it back together…a pocket bike maybe? Since there are a few 2 stroke 49cc pocketbikes at about 100-150$, I wouldn't mind messing it up if it can be a useful and practical experience.

I don’t know if it’s a stupid idea or a good one, what are your opinions on this?

Thanks guys!!!

PS: In Quebec, Canada, the legislation is a bit weird as from I read, it seems very hard to find just a basic motorcycle mechanic class, hence the reason I'm asking.
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  #2  
Old 15 Jul 2010
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The best thing to do is find a bike of your interest then read up via the internet to find how things work, a 49cc two stroke bears very little in common with multi cylinder four stroke, just learn a few basics, like if the bike stops/wont start, check for fuel/battery leads connected, because apart from that, nowadays there is very little you can do on most modern bikes.
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  #3  
Old 15 Jul 2010
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Most bits of bikes are fairly common, but there is a huge difference between a two and a four stroke engine.

As above, it would be best to find something similar to the kind of bike you intend to hire, that way it'll be less of a surprise!
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  #4  
Old 16 Jul 2010
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Another option & possible cheaper, is to buy a wrecked single cylinder four stroke engine, prerefably SOHC or DOHC.

Remove a few engine covers & rotate the crank to see what happens, especially the valve gear. Check out the valve adjustment, clutch & primary driver operation etc. Hands on experience is the only real way to learn.

By using a wrecked engine, it should be cheap & you won't need to worry about requiring special tools to remove rotors etc or making a mistake & damaging a component.
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  #5  
Old 18 Jul 2010
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Motorcycle maintenance courses?

Hi guys,

I'm in a similar situation to Th3G33k, in that I'm about to take possession of my first bike but don't have a CLUE about how motorcycles work. Given my intention to ride across Africa at some point (!), I really need to get to grips with all things bike so I can troubleshoot problems on the road.

Rather than buying a guinea-pig bike or engine and experimenting on it, though, I was wondering if there's such a thing as motorcycle maintenance courses that you can go on? Or else some other means whereby someone can show you hands-on where everything is and what to do with it! I've bought Alan Seeley's The Motorcycle Book (Haynes, second edition) to get me started, but I feel like I still need expert/real-person guidance to make sense of it all...

Jeanie
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  #6  
Old 18 Jul 2010
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If you've got a local motorcycle group, in my area we've got a sportbkes club, sometimes they will have whats known as a "tech day" which basically is a day to service bikes and learn how to do stuff.

tech days are an excellent place to learn stuff about the bike, and its mysterious inner workings.

once you understand how it works, and how to fix it, it all seems VERY unintimidating, and quite easy.
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  #7  
Old 18 Jul 2010
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Buy a cheap and simple machine and then get a comprehensive repair manual for it. (Haynes, Clymer etc).

Start off with doing the routine maintenace from the manual.


The money you can save by having the knowledge and skills to work on your own bike is infinite !
Although, tools don't come cheap and are addictive to collect


Another method is do a part-time course in Motorcycle Mechanics. There are a few around the country.
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  #8  
Old 18 Jul 2010
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Thanks guys for the info & advice it is very appreciated!! Its good to know 2stroke and 4stroke are very different, gotta start the learning process with the very basics uh hehehe

Jeanie, I've looked around a bit and found some interesting and very basic classes like this one:
St George & Sutherland Community College - Motor Cycle Maintenance

Feel free to comment on it guys! It looks custom made for noobs like us, plus you get to learn the basics on your own bike which is pretty cool!!

Anyways, if you have any recommendation about books, websites, etc don't be shy!
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  #9  
Old 25 Jul 2010
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Try this one:

Haynes Motorcycle Book

Also try googling for a download of the Honda Common Service Manual. Maybe not as easy to digest as the Haynes books which are specifically written for the DIY market, but it's free.

Ted is right though. No book can substitute experience so try to get hold of a Honda Cub, CG125, etc and just play with it

Obviously, XT Girl is trying to put together a weekend basics course in the UK. I really do hope it happens and I've already offered my support. However, it's something we've been considering running from our own workshop (northeast England) for a while now, particularly over winter. No fixed dates or minimum numbers, just stick your name in the diary and turn up. Bring your own parts or we'll supply at a discount.
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  #10  
Old 25 Jul 2010
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This is a great read for ANYONE....

Motorcycle Repair Course
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  #11  
Old 26 Jul 2010
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Shame the first paragraph turned my stomach. Didn't bother reading past "In the end you are working for God, not man."
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  #12  
Old 26 Jul 2010
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Yeah, you have to ignore all that American "praise the lord" and "im gonna shoot me an A-rab in Iraq" stuff....

It really is a good site though. I used it quite a few times when I was training.
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  #13  
Old 8 Aug 2010
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Doing your own repairs - the fastest way to learn!

Hey guys,

Well there I was wondering how I was going to learn about motorcycle maintenance/mechanics, and then a challenge presented itself - as posted elsewhere (under the Suzuki tech thread), I broke my clutch lever mount. The Suzuki parts people ordered the replacement mount and said it would take 3 weeks (!!) - and a very nice man I know said he'd come and fix it for me when the time came.

Well, call me impatient, but 3 weeks without being able to ride was just AWFUL, so it was time for Plan B! I sourced the part through a wreckers (thanks whoever it was on the Hubb that suggested that avenue!), then set about trying to fix it myself this weekend...

Dismantling the clutch lever/mount was a tricky business, not least cos I had to get the handle bar grips off and everything. Several times I got to a point where I thought I couldn't continue - couldn't fathom the service manual instructions, couldn't get a bolt off etc etc. But I kept going....and miraculously I emerged from a garage full of grease and spanners last night with the job done.

Today I took my Marauder out for a 86km spin and it's singing!! Result!! Clutch lever mount fixed and I'm back on the road!

So the moral of the story is - get stuck in and fix your own bike, it's the quickest way to get to know your machine!!

Jeanie
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  #14  
Old 9 Aug 2010
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I don't know how much you know about engines already, so I'll assume it's very little for the sake of this post.

You want to start with a four stroke. That said, you want a very basic four stroke, as the mechanical bits are all surprisingly similar. The camshaft may be in a different place, the quantity of valves and cylinders may vary, the ignition system may be different, but they all come down to the same four strokes and nearly the same method of handling the fuel/air mixture. So-

Get your hands on a busted old lawnmower. Get a service manual for whichever engine it has, tear into it with abandon reducing it to as many little pieces as possible, reassemble according to the manual, and make it run. You now have a solid foundation of engine innards, and a working lawnmower.

Repeat with a busted old four stroke motorcycle, this time expanding out into the transmission and suspension and all that. Get the factory manual. Go to tech days, read up on things, take things apart, ask questions here, find a forum for whichever particular bike you have. When you're done, you'll know quite a lot about general motorcycle repair, quite a lot about that particular bike, and hopefully have a working motorcycle.

Don't worry about breaking things, you will and that's the point. Nine months is pretty short time, but you'll still gather quite a bit of useful information by then.
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