View Full Version : Best ways to learn/ doing it right.

05-27-2014, 8:45 PM
Don't judge me on this one guys. In all seriousness I cant find myself thinking about anything but motorcycles.. Vintage Harley Davidsons to be more specific. So what are the best ways to learn and be around these bikes everyday? And possibly make a good living out of it. I know the obvious answer would be to learn by getting my hands on these bikes, but I am pretty young and its pretty much impossible to get my hands on anything that most people want thousands of dollars for at this time in my life. I currently am building a 1990 sportster and lovin every minute of it. And sometime in the next few weeks a guy is looking to sell an 80s shovel for around 3 grand and ever since he told me that my mind has been going nuts with trying to get the money together to buy it. There has to be an easier way... Isnt there???. Any of you guys seriously recommend any schools??? Anything helps guys, ideas are always helpful. Sorry for the all the typing. Thanks

05-27-2014, 9:38 PM
Before you become a specialist, become a competent generalist mechanic. Learn multiple brands to broaden your skillset. Wrenching is wrenching, be it on F-16s or a fucking moped. (I highly recommend the aircraft maintenance route. Mopeds, not so much.)

Describe your current background because it helps others help you.

Three grand in TOOLS beats the fuck out of three grand in motorcycle. Tools will get you toys later, likely more than you have time to use. A bike is a cost center, tools make money. Start thinking like a mechanic and a salesman NOW or it will be your ass. Finish dat Sporty and ride it.

Get the basics first, and start a separate tool thread because it would be a good reference for others. Used mechanics boxes and tools are often bargains on Craigslist. Do your homework on what things are worth.

Learn to yawn at good bike deals and keep yer eyes on improving your tool situation. I fucked up in my youth and though I was in very good shape for tools and toys, I should have bought even more tools. The toys follow like fucking mushrooms after a spring rain.

Consider a community college automotive course. Theory is theory and if you can be a good auto mech you will always have work. Mechanical and electrical troubleshooting are transferrable skills and knowing how to wrench cars and trucks will save absurd money over your lifetime. Learning to weld is also insanely useful.

"Vintage" is a moving target. Become a mechanic and "vintage" will catch up with you. What you see as "vintage" now will gradually dissipate into collections etc.

A generalist mechanic background gives you choices and job opportunities. You do want shit like food, clothing, and shelter? Make bank and you can play with your MC years of choice as a hobby and have much more fun than doing it for a job.

05-28-2014, 1:48 AM
I completely agree with farmall. I don't post much on the forums but your post caught my eye dude.
I can totally attest to needing tools.
They have been worth more than I have spent. from just helping good dudes to doing small side jobs.

I started with a basic 101 pc. craftsman set from sears and that got me through my first bike "build."
I'm still young and feel like im in the mid-ground between knowing my way around anything mechanical.
Grey beards can talk circles around me and it's amazing to have knowledge on the subjects that they touch, however someone that knows next to nothing about bikes will call me up to help them out.

Just start out with your own bike. Help others out if they ask for your help. Listen to those that have more experience than yourself.
Most of the time I asked shops if they needed any help.
Sure you just clean parts for them or sweep, but I learned something new every day.
The learning and bikes will come if you stick with it and really want it.

I also highly recommend the aircraft maintenance route. Haha.

05-28-2014, 9:39 AM
I purchased my first motorcycle in 2010 (a 1990 Sportster). Before that, I had no idea what all was involved in a motorcycle. I gained knowledge by reading threads on here and working on my own motorcycle. After a while you'll see how other motorcycles are similar and then when you're in a little deeper you'll see just how different they all are. Go out to group rides and bike nights. Talk to people. You'll come across some assholes but you'll also make friends. Keep working on your ride and help friends with theirs (even if you don't know a goddamn thing).

Start a build thread on your Sporty. Believe it or not, people are inclined to help when you have a question.

And don't use that "im pretty young" bullshit. There are guys running some incredible businesses at 24 years old because they started when they were "pretty young." Good luck! Sta

05-28-2014, 10:04 AM
Also to add to the collection of knowledge here is you dont have to buy every tool. You can rent if need be, or improvise, or fabricate a specialty tool. Lots of web based poor man mechanic sites that show you this. I used a piece of PVC to set my fork seals, 1 dollar cost. these things will get you a long way as well. good luck with your "disease". remember, anyone can ride but not everyone can wrench, you'll be a valued asset with yer bro's.