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 Motorcycle Workshop Practice Techbook - wBW Book Review

Haynes Motorcycle Workshop Practice Techbook

Haynes Motorcycle Workshop Practice Techbook
by John Fidell and Pete Shoemark
Second Edition
ISBN: 1859604706
Dimensions (in cm): 28x21 (8-3/8"x11.0")
Publisher: Haynes Publishing UK, 2000
144 pages, 750+ Photos and Illustrations

webBikeWorld.com Book Review by Rick K.

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I discovered this book on the Duke Video UK website, whilst placing an order for the interesting 3-DVD set "The Castrol History of Motorcycle Racing" we reviewed recently

I didn't realize at the time that the book is readily available in the U.S.A.; apparently, even Auto Barn has it in stock!

I probably overlooked it because I've never been a big fan of this type of generic guidebook.  But we've been impressed by the quality of the other Haynes Techbooks and their repair manuals before, so I figured I'd give it a try.

To tell the truth, I didn't think I'd learn anything from the book, but I thought that maybe some webBikeWorld visitors would be interested. 

After all, I consider myself a decent shade tree mechanic, having done everything from tire replacement to engine rebuilds on motorcycles and cars.  My background includes graduation from a state certified 4-year Machinist Apprentice program, working as a Journeyman Machinist and even as an E-5 Machinery Repairman in the Navy Reserve, so what could a simple book like this teach me?

Well, egos are designed to be wounded, for sure.  All I can say is that I wish I had read this book a long time ago.  I wasn't raised in a mechanically-minded family by any means, so obtaining Gearhead status didn't come easy.  I had no one to guide me and I busted way too many knuckles while stripping way too many nuts to gain The Knowledge.  I'm still pretty weak in many areas, especially when it comes to electrical problems (but I'm working on a book that may help solve that one; stay tuned!).

I don't know how they did it, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised, because Haynes is the master of this genre, and this one's a gem.  The Workshop Practice Techbook they've created covers everything you should know before lifting a screwdriver, "spanner" or, heaven forbid, a hammer.

The book is worthwhile for rookies and experienced owners alike.  I realize that there are many motorcycle owners who don't, can't or won't tackle basic maintenance tasks like an oil change or chain adjustment.  I'm sure one of the reasons is because people without much time would rather ride than wrench, and that's ok.  But from our email correspondence with visitors, it's also apparent that many motorcyclists would like to do their own simple maintenance but they just don't have the skills.

I'm not saying that the Workshop Practice Techbook will turn anyone into an ace motorcycle mechanic overnight, but I can tell you that it's filled with a lot of wisdom -- the stuff that I learned the hard way is all right here, laid out for everyone to see in 144-odd pages.

One of the first things I did when I opened the book was to learn what the authors had to say about using a "spanner", or wrench.  One of the most common mistakes of a beginner mechanic is over-tightening a nut or bolt, which can be a real problem when working on the soft aluminum of a motorcycle engine, and if this topic wasn't covered, my opinion would start off with a strong bias.

Well, it's in there, although my feeling is that it ought to be printed on its own page in big, bold size 32 type right on Page 1.  But Chapter 2, Section 18 says "If you fail to move the fastener with normal hand pressure, it is essential that you reappraise the problem before the fastener, spanner or you get damaged".  Amen to that, brother!  If you take away one thing from the book, meditate on that sentence until it becomes your guiding principle in the shop and you'll be OK.

The book also covers everything from basic shop layout and logistics to the use of tools, measuring, differences in materials, working with plastics, electrical and troubleshooting and much more.  There are 18 chapters, not including a few reference supplements and zillions of passable black and white photos. 

The format is classic Haynes style, just like the other Techbooks and their motorcycle shop manuals.  The chapters and sections are numbered and the photos are numbered to correspond to each section, making it easy to refer back and forth.

The tips and tricks of experienced motorcycle mechanics are here for all to see.  Believe me when I say that this information is as valuable as gold.  It's the stuff I learned the hard way, and I can't believe after all these years that it's right here, available for anyone to absorb for around 30 bucks. 

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