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-   -   Not sure where to post this....bike maintenance courses.... (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/tech/not-sure-where-post-bike-35180)

J1mbo 13 May 2008 12:19

Not sure where to post this....bike maintenance courses....

I'm in the process of planning a trip from Sydney to London leaving in Jan 09. The problem is, I know next to nothing about fixing a bike. I've got no aversion to doing so, but just wouldn't know where to start.....so i guess i need to learn!!

I'm not after learning how to pull apart a gearbox, or do anything too technical, but am sure knowing how to change a tyre/throttle cable/brake lever etc etc could come in very handy.

Anyone got any ideas where to start?? I've found a couple of things on-line on this site, but would like to be shown first hand and maybe then read up on it later.

Anyone know anywhere to do a bike maintenance course in Sydney?? Or anyone know where to start looking for something like this??

Alternatively, is it pretty basic and I could work it out myself with a book? As I said, not at all scared of pulling things apart, just don't know how to!! If it makes much difference, i ride an Aprilia Pegaso Strada...



Matt Cartney 13 May 2008 12:55

I have been on a bike maintenance course, and while it was OK, I soon forgot a lot of what I'd learnt. Personally, (this might sound a bit radical, but bear with me!) if you really want to get handy with your tools you could buy a very simple little bike like a little farmers dirt bike so close to the breakers that it'll cost peanuts. Then take it apart and fix it up with the help of a good manual. Despite it being a different bike from the one you are taking on your trip it will teach you loads about the general principles of mechanics, diagnosing a problem (the most important skill!), how a bike works etc. Equipping you to fix your own bike far more effectively than any course. And because it isn't your 'trip' bike you don't have to worry too much about knackering it taking it apart!

The bonus is that at the end of all this you'll have a fun wee bike for tooling around on!

While I bought an XT for my 'big trip' of a few years ago. I've learnt so much more about mechanics from my Enfield. Partly cos it breaks down more, but partly because it's so simple to maintain I do not feel daunted out of fixing it myself.

This approach isn't for everyone perhaps, but I'd give it serious consideration!

Matt :)

Walkabout 13 May 2008 18:09

Your thread title rings a few bells!

Did you see this when looking through here:-

backofbeyond 13 May 2008 23:06

I'd second Matt's suggestion. Buy a scrapper and take it to bits. The knowledge you'll gain will be worth the cost (and you might even come out ahead in not having to pay people to do simple stuff) and there's always someone who'll buy the remains on ebay when you're finished!!

In your position you need to actually change a cable / tyre etc rather than read about it or watch someone else do it. You need to get a feel for how hard to turn the spanner or push on the screwdriver. Buy your trip tool kit on the back of this experience.

There will be a lot of stuff you'll be able to do that'll be valuable day to day when you set off and even if you're not planning on rebuilding gearboxes / stripping forks seeing what's inside will give you some insight into what could go wrong.

Dan4 13 May 2008 23:41

Yeh i would love to know of a Motorcycle maintenance course at nights in the North East of England. Does anyone know of any?

I plan to ride alone Newcastle England to Austrailia or Thailand in 2009 but, like Jimbo, need to know more on maintenance ie needing to know why ive broke down. I mess around with my own bike but still no very little and the simplest knowledge can be vital.

The only courses seem down south

Motorcycle Repair Course looks very good as an alternative

(i ride Hondas - never broke down apart from the odd flat battery, one puncture in Texas, and running out of petrol now and then!)

Walkabout 14 May 2008 00:31


Originally Posted by J1mbo (Post 189275)

i ride an Aprilia Pegaso Strada...



I wouldn't disagree with pulling a scrap bike to bits, but in the meantime, up to 2009, get to know your own bike as well: do your own servicing by following the manual - you do have a manual for the Peg?
Get all of the routine checks and servicing sorted out on the Peg while mucking about with the "scrapper": you never know, you might get to love the scrap bike!

Frank Warner 14 May 2008 00:51

Read first - do later, once you understand (may need to reread and look at the bike)!

Buy a workshop manual for your bike - it will have more than what you want .. so just read those bits you want - the regular oil changes etc .. and it should have something on 'cable routing' so you will know where things should go ..

Oh .. before you pull something to bits - take photos .. and take more photos as you go along .. that why if your are ever in dout as to what goes where you have a personal record.

Most bike clubs have 'maintance days' if they don't ask for help ..

J1mbo 15 May 2008 11:38

Ok...so I've given up on the course...appreciate the advice!!

I've ordered a workshop manual and have the link above to the online manual. I'll keep an eye out for a heap of sh1te to try to fix up, but reckon I'll just give it a go with my own bike. I'm sure I can't screw it up too much if I'm careful......?!

I guess at least I can get it fixed easily over here if i do!!


Matt Cartney 15 May 2008 12:00


Even if you don't find a suitable junker, you've a wee while to get used to your Peg. One thing that might be worth doing is noting exactly what tools you use as you service the bike, just to make sure you have them on your trip. A good example of this is when I removed the carb from my XT, I found it almost impossible to get into one of the allen bolts that held it onto the cylinder with a standard allen key, and had to cut down an allen key to squeeze into the gap. Needless to say this 'special' allen key is included in my trip toolkit!

Another thing would be to practice getting your wheels and tyres on and off so punctures as stressless as possible when they happen in the back of beyond.

Matt :)

XT GIRL 16 Jun 2009 11:38


Originally Posted by Matt Cartney (Post 189281)
I have been on a bike maintenance course, and while it was OK, I soon forgot a lot of what I'd learnt. ....

Resurrecting an old post - Matt - I was thinking of putting a course together, working with a mechanic.

Figured it will help people who dont' have a year to learn everything (like I needed)... and maybe don't want to go to the trouble of buying an old engine to demolish?

See my post http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...549#post246433

Do you think the idea of learning 'hands-on' your own bike.. over a weekend, may have helped things stick better for you?

Threewheelbonnie 16 Jun 2009 12:09

An off the wall idea.
How would you both feel about going even shorter? There are enough people on here who can change oil, adjust valves, find a broken wire etc. If we had a set of notes, a sort of course standard come generic notes, we'd have the basis of a very short course (1/2 day) just about anyone could run through. My idea would be that the person new to maintenance downloads and reads the notes, buys the Haynes/clymer/OEM book for their bike and via the site gets in touch with a sort of mentor from amongst those who know one end of a ratchet from the other. When the bike is due a service, the mentor gives up a few hours to supervise, run through the notes, or is even just available to help with any problems. IMHO any experienced self maintainer can explain what the manual is on about and fill in the blanks that are obvious to people who've done it but maybe aren't to someone who hasn't.

Advantages as I see it are:

1. Cost; "trainee" provides the tea, covers cost of oil/parts etc. but otherwise it's free.
2. Timing; If we have people who work, a Sunday morning probably works better than Tuesday nights at the not so local tech college, starting next September.
3. Can be bike specific: You'd be working on your own bike and if you are lucky one the mentor knew/owned.
4. Can be travel specific: The mechanic at the college has travellers, classic bike enthusiasts and kids who want to work at the dealers to pitch to. We aren't really worried about what's inside the gearbox, they are. We worry about tyres, they take them to a tyre shop. We bodge together to get it moving, they want it 100%.
5. Assuming the two people got on, there'd be the possibility of ongoing support either in the field or just to brush up on bits that didn't sink in too well.

There are liability and elf-n-safety implications, but a carefully worded disclaimer should be easy enough to do at the download stage.

Is this something we ask Grant to look at a specific area for?


XT GIRL 16 Jun 2009 17:08

Hey Andy,

Great idea. It would definitely work for some - its more or less the way I learnt.

However - I really would have preferred not to have drag it all out over such a long period of time... and I always felt that I was imposing on the time of my 'mentor'...

A bit like learning to ride off-road (which I also 'taught myself') with a bit of help here and there....

For some people this works - but many I think would prefer to be able to do an 'off-road riding course' and learn the basics over a weekend or so - and then be able to practice confidently from there on.

I certainly would have.

ANYWAY -- this is a great place to ask the question -- if people are interested it would be a pleasure to put it together, either way.

PS: And where were you when my Bike Whisperer took off cos I ask too many dumb questions... are you available for mentoring then?? :-)

Threewheelbonnie 16 Jun 2009 17:40


Originally Posted by XT GIRL (Post 246489)
PS: And where were you when my Bike Whisperer took off cos I ask too many dumb questions... are you available for mentoring then?? :-)

Always happy to help.:helpsmilie:

Can't say I'm qualified to show anything too advanced (Typical electrical type, can't get my head round carbs to save my life), but running through an oil change type service I'd be up for.

I thought you got a nose bleed if you came north of Watford though? :rofl:


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