How to pick a motorcycle service shop
Nick from Dallas wants to know "What's the best way to pick a motorcycle service shop?"
Find the Best Cycle Shop for Your Bike
The modern motorcycle is a complex machine. No matter how well you take care of it, your bike will eventually have a problem that requires the services of a good mechanic. There are certain things that I like to keep in mind when looking for a new service shop.
A good motorcycle shop will have experienced workers. It won't be staffed with people who only know how to change oil and spark plugs. You don't want some amateur working on your custom chopper. You want someone in the shop who has been working hands-on with bikes for years.
You also want someone who has real training. By this, I don't mean that your shop has to employ only people who have had formal training and a wall of diplomas. Not that there is anything wrong with that! Your shop could also have skilled mechanics who have learned on the job or who have worked for race teams. Don't be afraid to ask about qualifications.
The Right Kind of Professional
Your new shop should be professional. Think about the guys at Orange County Choppers. These are not guys who wear suits and ties. They aren't that kind of professional. They are the kind of professional who keeps good records and does the job right the first time. You want a shop that values your bike the same way that you do. Make sure that your shop will give you an estimate and can stick to it.
Certifications in Order
Most shops will do everything from inspections to a major overhaul. But not every shop will work on every kind of bike. You will want to find a shop that can work on your make and vintage of motorcycle. Sometimes it's easy to find out. Harley Davidson has ongoing training and certification programs for bike shops, dealerships and independent mechanics. Other companies don't do this. Never be afraid to ask any shop you are interested in if they work with a bike like yours.
You can also check the shop's certifications. Most states require mechanics and shops to have valid licenses to operate. You can normally spot a shop's paperwork on a wall by the door. It might just be basic maintenance but you still want to use qualified mechanics.
Treat Your Baby like Family
Check out how the mechanics treat other bikes in their care. Are they neatly parked in a protected place? Is the area tidy? Good mechanics don't leave tools and parts laying out while not in use. A professional place will be careful of the bikes left in their care.
Find Out Where Others Go
The best way I've found to get solid recommendations is to speak to other bike owners. Every bike person has their favorite shop and most of them will be happy to talk about it. Check these shops out. If you like what you see, ask them to do something simple for you. When you need more serious service you'll have an idea of where to go.