Who you gonna call?

Checking out mechanical drawings on the laptop.

Checking out mechanical drawings on the laptop.

I’m old enough to remember shade tree mechanics. We lived in a small rural town where there were no dealerships. But this was farming country where self-reliance and mechanical skills seem an innate part of the DNA. The three gas stations had garage bays and you could get work done there. If you didn’t want to use them for some reason, there was always some guy with grease in his veins looking to supplement his income. He’d just pull your car up under a shade tree and start wrenching.
As a young adult raising a family, I moved to a more urban setting. Lacking the mechanical DNA of my agrarian contemporaries, I would just haul my busted vehicle back to the dealership for any needed repairs. In those days I believed that I’d get the most qualified mechanics and best service from the dealer.
Now that I’m on older model motorcycles, I find that running to the dealership is not always an option. My favorite bike is a 1994 model. Not all dealers will support a bike that is 16 years old, and I’m reluctant to spend $1,500 on a repair to a bike worth $2,000. So I started looking for a shade tree mechanic and made an interesting discovery.
I found some local guys ready to help someone willing to learn. They’d invite a newbie over to their garage or workshop, hand you a wrench and start giving direction. They are also there to bail you out if you get in over your head. I was surprised at the depth of knowledge and experience they could draw from as well as their ability to find parts at reasonable prices. That’s when they introduced me to the secret behind their magic: the Internet.
One forum alone has almost 500 members with the same model of motorcycle I have. Many of these guys are good with their hands and tools. So far, every problem I’ve had with my bike, somebody else has already had. One the the good wrenchers on the board has documented the repair process with photos, tips, tricks and sometimes video. Often somebody knows where you can get a used part. At the very least, you’ve got people from all over the country doing cost comparisons for you. Another friend who works on cars instead of bikes always tells me, “The Internet is our friend.”
With the help and encouragement I’ve gotten, and the knowledge that help is just a mouse click away, I’ve started doing a lot of my own maintenance and repairs. It’s not likely I’ll ever work under a shade tree. But if I do, it will have an ethernet jack.

2 Responses

  1. ronnie stanley Says:

    i have a 2010 honda fury & it seems like its staving for fuel , where can i find info on fixing it without takin it to the dealer thnx for any help

  2. Guy Says:

    Two places I use as resources are the Magna Owners Of Texas board :
    http://www.magnaownersoftexas.com/forums/

    And the Texarkana BikeNight board:
    http://www.guywheatley.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl

    The Magna is a Honda and there are a lot of smart folks on that board who can give you some good advice. We’ve had several threads about that very issue on the Magnas. I wouldn’t be surprised if your Fury doesn’t suffer from some similar problems. Often the problem is something very simple and easy to fix.
    I don’t represent myself as a master mechanic, but I do work on my bikes. I’d be glad to take a look at yours if you’re close and see if it might be a quick easy fix.

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