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The Toad
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I couldn't possibly recall all the horror stories I've heard from people who relied on a dealer. You may have a good reliable dealer nearby or maybe not. However the only way to ensure a job is done properly is to do it yourself. If you are going to use a dealer, check out the back of his shop during luch hour to see if the mechanics are toking dope. (I have seen this). Obviously you don't want such people working on your bike.



The first thing you need is a good manual for the bike. I usually buy pick up a Clymer manual (these have handy parts blow-ups to aid proper reassembly) and any other manual I can find. Most manuals leave holes and having two or three will usually fill in any gaps.



Then simply acquire the proper tools and follow the instructions. VERY IMPORTANT before you actually start work is to look up all the words you don't understand while reading the manual. Don't try to guess what a word means, look it up. This will ensure you understand fully what you are trying to do.



If you have little or no mechanical experience start out with the easier regular maintenance tasks. These will be in the front part of the manual. As you gain familiarity with your bike you will find it easier to take on more and more difficult jobs until you are capable of taking as bike down completely to nuts and bolts and putting it back together again.



A really handy aid is a digital camera. Taking pictures of your work as you disassemble things can be invaluable when reassembling because almost no one remembers everything. Keeping parts together in plastic bags helps a lot too.



One can get one heck of a lot of satisfaction from doing one's own work, far above the $ you save by not paying the dealer $70/hour.



If you learn to do you own maintenance you will never again be at the mercy of some mechanic and it will be much harder for some unscrupulous dealer to sell you repairs you don't need.



And, though you may find it hard to believe, learning to do you own work will put you more in control of your bike(s) in general and will help you be a better rider than you otherwise would be.
 
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