Your Bike's Health - From The Editor

What Makes Your Bike Tick?

No matter how well we take care of our motorcycles-learn their nuances and spend countless hours cleaning filters, changing fluids, checking tires, and making sure each component on the bike is operating properly-sooner or later there is a good chance your bike will break down. You can only hope that it will happen close to home and not out in the middle of nowhere. It makes no difference whether you are the kind of person who knows every minute detail of your bike or the type of person who puts his faith in a mechanic-one way or another, your bike will have to be routinely serviced or repaired.

You can choose to do the work on your bike yourself, take it to an independent shop, get help from a buddy, bring it to the dealer, or any combination of these.

Now, there are no right or wrong choices here. For some, a dealer is the only way to go; many riders would never think of letting anyone other than an authorized Harley dealer lay as much as a finger on their bike. Yet many other bike owners feel more comfortable bringing their pride and joy to a local shop. This may be due to the somewhat more relaxed feeling a lot of folks get when they deal with a shop that's smaller and possibly closer to home. At the same time, lots of guys would rather die before allowing a pair of hands other than their own to touch their motorcycle.

No matter which group you find yourself in, there are steps you can take to ensure the repairs are completed in a timely and economical manner. Start off by understanding your bike. You need not be a mechanic yourself. More importantly, you need to know the sound and feel of your bike, understand its quirks, and know how it feels when you jump on the brakes prior to diving into a corner. You should be able to detect when something is not right. Quite often, the bike may need only a small adjustment-warding off a major repair in the future.

In addition to heading off something before it ruins your day and puts a dent in your wallet, being able to articulate a noise or feeling from the bike to a mechanic will generally help him isolate the problem more quickly. Be prepared to answer questions such as: "When did you first notice the problem?" "How long has this been happening?" "What was the last work performed on the motorcycle?" The more concise, pertinent information you communicate to the mechanic, the better your chances of a quick, easy fix.

One major thing to keep in mind when having your bike serviced is this: The people who service it are in business to make money. No matter how much they may love what they do for a living, they are doing it to put food in their families' mouths and a roof over their heads. I have heard about guys wanting to supply oil and filters for an oil change just to save a few pennies. That is just a plain insult to the guys who own shops and have a huge overhead to cover every month.

Shops become extremely busy prior to a major motorcycle event happening in the area. If you want to ride your bike to an event, have it serviced three or four weeks before the event happens-don't wait 'til the last minute.

Make sure your bike is clean when you bring it in to be worked on. I can't think of a single mechanic who likes to work on a bike that is coated in dirt and grease and looks as if it hasn't been washed in months. If your bike has detachable bags or windshield, you might want to remove them prior to having the bike worked on. That way, you won't have to be concerned about scratches, and the mechanic won't have to worry about locked bags for which he has no key. Speaking of the key, make sure you leave yours with the mechanic.

Learning what it is that makes your bike tick can more times than not help you head something off before it becomes a major issue.Be well,Steve

VP, Group Publisher Terry Shiver
Editor Steve Bohn
Senior Editor Eric Ellis
Feature Editor Ernie Lopez
Associate Editor Toph Bocchiaro
Managing Editor Noel Wamboldt
Copy Editor Joy Sillesen
Editorial Assistant Carrie Tsai
Art Director Michael Belcher
(800) 759-5540
International Phone (386) 447-6385
[email protected]
P.O. Box 420235
Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235
West Coast Regional Sales Manager Craig Murrow 714/939-2486
Midwest Regional Sales Manager Ron Nelson 605/275-6579
East Coast Regional Sales Manager David Roe 724/742-3205
Ad Operations Coordinator Richard Senteno 714/939-3792
Advertising Sales Assistant Elke Gamboa 714/939-2489
National Sales Offices
New York Office 201/712-9300
Los Angeles Office {{{323}}}/782-2000
Detroit Office 313/964-6680
Chicago Office 312/396-0600
Texas Office 214/904-9811
Florida Office 813/675-3500
Online Advertising
Regional Advertising Director Brian Gingrich 714/769-7497
President Steve Parr
VP, Sales & Marketing Ira Gabriel
CFO Judy Anzalone
Group Operations Director Amy Diamond
Senior Operations Director Pauline Clark
Chairman, CEO & President Dean Nelson
Vice Chairman Beverly C. Chell
Chief Creative Officer Craig Reiss
President of Consumer Marketing Steve Aster
Sr. VP, Chief Financial Officer Kevin Neary
Sr. VP, Mfg., Production and Distribution Kevin Mullan
Sr. VP, Chief Information Officer Debra C. Robinson
VP, Single Copy Marketing Rich Baron
VP & CFO Consumer Marketing Jennifer Prather
VP, Retail Analysis and Development Doug Jensen
VP, Wholesale/Retail Stefan Kaiser
VP, Consumer Marketing Operations Elizabeth Moss
VP, Consumer Marketing Bobbi Gutman