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Working on your own bike.

I find working on my own bike very fulfilling and Zen-like. I do the valve shims, cam chain, wheel bearings, tire changing, carb cleaning and synching, and anything else that comes up. I do this on my wife's 4 cylinder 89' yamaha Radian 600YX and everything so far on my Harley and it's got about 32,000 of my miles on it. Make sure you always have a good shop manual on hand and realize that it may take a little bit reading and re-reading before you understand what the writer is saying. Sometimes you'll find that you'll need to go to the dealer and clarify things that you don't quite understand with their mechanic. Before you do that make sure that you have tried to understand it through the shop manual so that you can talk intelligently with the mechanic. Valve shim clearance is really easy once you go through it the first time. Carb synching takes specialized tools but since the Suzuki has fuel injection you won't have anything to synch. Tire changing can be done if you buy some good tire irons at a Tractor Supply Store. Break the beads with a large vice. I do it with some sweat but it gets the job done. I balance by supporting the changed wheel on the axil between two old chairs and hand spinning. You might want someone with a spin balancer to do this if you are running high speeds. Good luck and feel the ZEN.
 

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NoKneeDown

I bought a mercury carb stic (~30 bucks) that allows for tuning 4 carbs at once. Mercury is reportably very toxic so you might opt for vacuum gauge carb synch of which I'm not sure of the cost. Anyway, the carb synch tool comes with directions and the shop manuals tell how to do it also. You just connect the vacuum tubes from the sychronizing tool to the vacuum ports on the intake manifolds. Then follow the directions in the shop manual. Before you take the time to synch the carbs you should adjust the valve clearance, adjust the cam chain and reset the pilot screws to get a little richer idle mixture. After do these things then synch. The pilot screws are usually under some plugs that you'll need to remove by drilling little holes, inserting a sheet metal screw and pulling out the plugs. Once you get at the pilot screws then you lightly screw in all the way until you bottom out (very lightly bottom out!). Then screw out exactly 3 complete 360 degree turns and this will give your idle a richer mixture. The Yamaha idles great since I did this and the carb synching. Good luck.
 

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Tools

So long as you are buying tools you feel you will use more than once or the cost of letting a mechanic do it justifies the cost of the tool and doing it yourself. I find that being able to do maintenance that most pay to have done is very gratifying and also allows me to take long trips w/o fearing mechanical difficulties. The difficulties can happen but I'm more prepared than most.
 
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