Choosing A Bike Shop

burlyjack

The bearded dude with a cool YouTube
Oct 10, 2015
346
228
43
25
Oklahoma, USA
I ride a
2004 Honda VTX 1300
#1
What are some things you guys find important when looking for a motorcycle mechanic?

Do you stick with the big name dealers and shops or would you try and find a smaller shop or maybe someone working out of their garage?
 
Likes: R-Rated
Jan 2, 2017
2,836
1,619
113
West Sussex, UK
I ride a
2012 Moto Guzzi V7 Stone
#2
I've had some pretty shocking experiences with some main dealerships so only really use them while under warranty. I think word of mouth is a good way of finding the good from bad, reasonably local to me is a very highly recommended Guzzi mechanic who has no main dealer backing.
 
Likes: burlyjack

R-Rated

Have Fun!
Aug 4, 2016
1,619
1,246
113
Clarksville to Nashville, TN
www.R-RatedCustoms.com
I ride a
2014 Harley Davidson (FLHTK) Ultra Limited
#3
I agree with Hippo on sticking with dealerships while under warranty. Just be familiar with Magnum Moss act if you are in the US.

Short answer - trust but verify.

Long version...

HOWEVER, even dealerships can vary. It is best to get to know some of the local riders and listen to them. For example, I know on Trike that rolled out of a dealership service department with a nasty gouge that was not there when it went in, another rider had a critical fastener that was about an inch backed out of the hole and the tech missed, another had an engine failure x2 and the second time was on the other side of the US to be told the first shop voided the warranty with a mod. Then another dealer has an attitude that the rider does not know anything. A third went out of their way while the techs were on lunch to help a guy I was riding with, and the fourth not only fixes what you have an issue with but will let you know of anything they find that you missed.

Once the warranty is out, you can find indy shops that vary in the same ways.

Personally, I prefer to wrench my own but my bike still has a few years left on the extended warranty.
 
Likes: burlyjack

Undead MV

If there is light, there shall be dark
Oct 9, 2017
298
200
43
31
Mexico City
I ride a
Bajaj Avenger Street 220
#4
I decided to loose my warranty, first and last time i took my bike to the service i suspect that they even didnt change the oil, seemlesly they just washed and clean out the bike, when i got home i found a loose bolt. So i'll change by myself oil, spark plugs etc,
When needed (brake´s liquid, brake's pads, or a mayor job in the engine) i'll take it to a reliable mechanic but still i have no clue of a good one, I need to do some reserch with local bikers.
 

SighBored

@thesighbored
Jan 18, 2015
2,298
847
113
Malaysia
www.thesighbored.com
I ride a
2012 Kawasaki ZX-6R
#6
My main criteria for picking a workshop is:

- I must be allowed to be with my bike during the work being done, not sitting in some stupid waiting room;
- I must be comfortable with the mechanic working on my bike, in terms of his technical know-how and ability;
- Pricing is fair and reasonable.

At the moment the 2 main workshops I frequent are both my friends, but being friends is not the reason I let them work on my bike. I only let them work on my bike because I have seen that they are capable and knowledgeable to handle my bike, so I am comfortable letting them work on it.

Being friends most people will think of asking for discount or "friend price", but I ever once asked for that. I support them and their business because I see they are capable mechanics and I will pay the regular price that everyone pays as my show of support.
 

burlyjack

The bearded dude with a cool YouTube
Oct 10, 2015
346
228
43
25
Oklahoma, USA
I ride a
2004 Honda VTX 1300
#7
Thanks for the input guys. I was asking because my wife and I were considering having a small bike shop out of our garage as a side gig. Just a part time thing, nothing too serious, but I was curious about the mindset people have when looking for a mechanic and what they expect.

There's a big market gap for mid-80's to early 2000's Japanese model cruisers so I'd try and go after that. Most shops around here won't hardly want to work on them. Plus that's what I'm most familiar with.

I have a few friends and church folk that I work with quite regularly, I never charge them but they usually always give me a little something extra, wether it be food, house repairs, or cash.

The cost of living keeps going up but my wages don't :D. I'm an aircraft mechanic so I'm pretty familiar with how a shop functions and what all goes on with paperwork, rates, parts finding etc. Since I'm also familiar with the metric bikes I have a good idea of where to look and how much the parts will be.

I'm not expecting to make a killing at it but hopefully something will come of it. Thanks again guys, very good info here.
 
Likes: HippoDrone

scooterwuf

L Plate Member
Jan 6, 2017
561
359
63
Philadelphia/South Jersey
I ride a
Kymco Downtown 300i
#9
It's a good idea, and I wish you good luck with the new venture.

It's a little harder with scooter riders as dealerships and mechanics aren't always familiar with our brands and bikes. It may be the difference between a CVT and a chain driven bike. To be honest I've never considered going to a MC dealership or repair shop. I always go to the dealership where I bought my bike because it's an independent place where I personally know the owners/head mechanic. Plus it helps that he rides the same bike as me.

There's another scooter shop/dealership in Philly where I work (I work in the city, not at the dealership) that I go to as well. They're reliable, personal and have their own FB page, and organize group rides too. Because nearly all scooter riders in the city rely on them they've been super cool and good with their customers.

A lot of new riders go for the cheap Chinese scooters (not all are bad but a LOT are), and fall into a bad trap when they do. Many dealers and mechanics won't even look at them, forcing the riders/owners to try and do the repairs themselves, or find someone who can. Some owners are okay with that while others just have a bike that sits in their garage or yard for years.

- Wuf
 
Likes: burlyjack

burlyjack

The bearded dude with a cool YouTube
Oct 10, 2015
346
228
43
25
Oklahoma, USA
I ride a
2004 Honda VTX 1300
#10
It's a good idea, and I wish you good luck with the new venture.

It's a little harder with scooter riders as dealerships and mechanics aren't always familiar with our brands and bikes. It may be the difference between a CVT and a chain driven bike. To be honest I've never considered going to a MC dealership or repair shop. I always go to the dealership where I bought my bike because it's an independent place where I personally know the owners/head mechanic. Plus it helps that he rides the same bike as me.

There's another scooter shop/dealership in Philly where I work (I work in the city, not at the dealership) that I go to as well. They're reliable, personal and have their own FB page, and organize group rides too. Because nearly all scooter riders in the city rely on them they've been super cool and good with their customers.

A lot of new riders go for the cheap Chinese scooters (not all are bad but a LOT are), and fall into a bad trap when they do. Many dealers and mechanics won't even look at them, forcing the riders/owners to try and do the repairs themselves, or find someone who can. Some owners are okay with that while others just have a bike that sits in their garage or yard for years.

- Wuf
I got my first big job over the weekend, three bikes and two of them I've never heard of, a Qlink Adventure 250cc v-twin and a Kikker hardnock 250cc. I understand now why shops are picky about what brands they take. These bikes are like a whole other language! I'm getting it figured out though.

Out of curiosity, do you find the shop with a Facebook page more appealing? I was considering setting one up but I kind of want to keep this small and on the down-low for the time being.
 

burlyjack

The bearded dude with a cool YouTube
Oct 10, 2015
346
228
43
25
Oklahoma, USA
I ride a
2004 Honda VTX 1300
#11
Messed around with a couple logos. This whole idea is really starting to blow up, may be seriously looking into a stand-alone shop in the next year or so if it continues like this. What are y'alls thoughts? These are very much a rough draft, the photos aren't mine but the text is.

1.)
Logopit_1510720985053.jpg
2.)
Logopit_1510722217062.jpg
 

scooterwuf

L Plate Member
Jan 6, 2017
561
359
63
Philadelphia/South Jersey
I ride a
Kymco Downtown 300i
#12
I got my first big job over the weekend, three bikes and two of them I've never heard of, a Qlink Adventure 250cc v-twin and a Kikker hardnock 250cc. I understand now why shops are picky about what brands they take. These bikes are like a whole other language! I'm getting it figured out though.

Out of curiosity, do you find the shop with a Facebook page more appealing? I was considering setting one up but I kind of want to keep this small and on the down-low for the time being.
If a bike shop had their own website and a Facebook page I'd find that more appealing because it would say they're engaged in their community, with nothing to hide, or at least open to feedback.

- Wuf
 
Likes: burlyjack
Jan 26, 2016
553
358
63
SouthEast UK
I ride a
KTM RC8 Putytat
#13
Word of mouth rating is the best. Talk to people at meets in your area.
The best places I've come across are usually little workshops away from town centres and basic websites.
If they're good mechanics then likely they'll be bad at computer stuff and not want to spend money on 3rd party making a bling site.

If they're good then they won't need to advertise as they'll have regulars and get more work by word of mouth.
 

Jafnhaar

Riding Triumph Sprint GT SE 1050
Jul 13, 2017
117
103
43
East Anglia, UK
I ride a
Triumph Sprint GT SE 1050
#14
Word of mouth definitely but I have found its a 2 way thing.

The local repair place is where I purchased my bike so I keep going back and they always look after me becuase of that :p
 
Likes: burlyjack

burlyjack

The bearded dude with a cool YouTube
Oct 10, 2015
346
228
43
25
Oklahoma, USA
I ride a
2004 Honda VTX 1300
#15
Word of mouth rating is the best. Talk to people at meets in your area.
The best places I've come across are usually little workshops away from town centres and basic websites.
If they're good mechanics then likely they'll be bad at computer stuff and not want to spend money on 3rd party making a bling site.

If they're good then they won't need to advertise as they'll have regulars and get more work by word of mouth.
So far that's kinda how things are going for me. I've already learned my first lesson though, LEARN TO SAY NO! I have a bike with a mess of a wiring harness but the guy is wanting me to get the electric start going on it. It's a small 150cc kick start bike. I've been going through it for about two weeks now and I think I'm kinda making him upset, even though I told him electrical isn't my area of expertise. He's already given me two other bikes to work on so I guess he still trusts me a little lol.
 
Likes: HippoDrone

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