FAQ fan mail
The FAQ here at N250RC is put together entirely by volunteers. Our only motivation is to make motorcycling easier and more enjoyable. We do, however, enjoy seeing the occasional post from someone who has benefited from our little corner of cyberspace. Here are a few examples. (And if you're in a hurry, the really good one is last.)
FAQs Are Great
Guys, I've been riding about 40 years and have always maintained and modified my own bikes. It's half the fun of the whole motorcycling experience for me. I'm a big believer in documentation like manufacturers manuals and other tech information. You'll never really be comfortable with your machine until you really understand it.
That being said, the FAQ on this forum is a treasure chest of information. Not only that, but it is so well written that I sat down and read the whole thing, start to finish. Great stuff! I want to thank all of the authors for taking the time and making the effort to pass all this on to the rest of us. And - for all the Newbies out there - do yourself a favor. Don't put off reading through all of the material in the FAQ. It's a fabulous reference.
It is possible - I have done it.
I have been a member here for some time. A few years back I rode for a couple years on a Honda MB5 and an EX250. Poor lifestyle decisions precluded me from motorcycling, and my skills and bikes fell into disrepair. I reveled in my lifestyle for several years, until the police took issue with my behavior. With direction from The Man, I am now mature enough to once again enjoy the freedom of the road, and this time I went all out: MSF, license, boots, suit, and gloves, instead of just a helmet and jacket.
My main point in this post is not my personal battle, or even self-preservation. It's my effective use of the incredible body of knowledge assembled here. I recently bought a 2000 EX250 that hadn't been started in a year+ for $650. Two hours at the house and some fingerprints on the netbook and it was running poorly. Over the next week I spent 4-5 hours and had it on the road. Another week later I was ridin' happy. The point is, Everything you need to know is in the FAQ. Seriously: Read it, print it out, do what it says. These guys know what they're talking about.
I keep my crappy car running, but I'm no master shade tree mechanic. So, for me to perform a carb clean/adjust/sync, valve adjustment, brake flush, tire selection and economic installation, all without posting a single question, is substantial. Especially since my last EX is a skeleton in a shed, my precious MB5 is mummified, and I'm a total slacker.
I am a motorcycle mechanic thanks to the FAQ section
Just wanted to stop in and give a shout out to this website and the great community of folks who host, maintain and moderate it, as well as the members that post its content and contribute to its discussions.
Owning a motorcycle was always my childhood dream. I pored through magazines trying to learn everything I could about them and scrutinized every one I saw parked on the street. Finally, about five years ago, I bought a green EX250 and learned to ride. I became completely obsessed. I rode before work. I rode after work. I rode when I probably should have been at work. I averaged over 100 miles per day for my first 100 days of ownership, hitting 10,000 miles by mid-summer. I think I put 15,000 miles on the bike in the first year, and another 10,000 the second before moving on to a V-Strom.
Along the way, thanks to this website and its excellent FAQ section, I learned my way though my bike's systems and service. I did valves. I bled brakes. I changed tires and modified my forks for Gold Valve Emulators. I loved not only riding, but getting to know the machine and its layers of sound as I rode. I resubscribed to those magazines I pored over as a child, and digested them cover to cover once again. As I moved on to another bike, I took the knowledge I had gained and expanded on it, learning to adjust shim under bucket valves and otherwise get to know and care for all its systems. Meanwhile, being confident to tackle these jobs, I found myself more able to take care of my car and my friends' cars. Pretty soon, I couldn't remember the last time my bike or car had been in a shop. They chuckled at me when I walked into my local independent motorcycle shop for a tire change, rear wheel in hand, having just pulled it off in the parking lot. "What, other people don't do this?"
Fast forward a couple years, and I was laid off of my job as a lawyer. While looking for work, I went back down to that shop and asked if they needed any part time help. I explained my experience as a home mechanic. They said they didn't need help at the time, and I left. Then I realized, I love this stuff. You don't have to pay me to do this. I went back and offered to work for free. I wanted to learn more, and was happy to help out even if I only received further knowledge in return. This offer sounded good to them, and I started coming in regularly. Eventually, they put me on the payroll. Now I've been there over a year. I'm no longer the new guy; I'm the guy training the new guy. Just as the one year mark rolled around a month ago, I did a complete engine rebuild on a 1500cc cruiser. It was an intimidating job to start, but once underway, it felt easy. It felt like completing a graduate thesis. I had rebuilt less sophisticated and smaller engines, but never something that big, that fancy, and more important - never as a paid professional, on a bike owned by someone else. Until that point I had said "I work in a motorcycle repair shop." Now, I feel confident to say, "I AM a mechanic." It feels great.
I don't have any interest in going back to practicing law any time soon. The degree will always be there. Right now, I feel like I'm doing what I was meant to do - my dorky encyclopedic knowledge of all things motorcycle is an incredible professional asset as we select bikes to buy, and I'd like to think that my love of the machines makes me an observant, patient, careful and effective mechanic. I'm still learning more about mechanical work with every job and I love it. My clients now say thank you, almost every time. That rarely if ever happened in law.
Just wanted to pass this on. I still love the Ninja 250 and tell the shop owner to pick them up whenever he can because they're such great bikes. I recommend them to buyers and compliment owners who ride them in to the shop for service. I explain to buyers that this site is like the ultimate user's manual and service manual for the bike, and actually, I say that about this site to people who want to learn more about their bike, even if it's not a Ninja 250.
So, thanks. This site is great and yes, as the regulars say, READ THE FAQ! There's really good stuff in there. Who knows, it might take you down the same path as me.