One of the most important tools for working on a motorcycle is a good service manual or three. Of course, do not overlook the owners manual that came with your ride, but the first book you would want to buy is a service manual specifically written for your make and model of motorcycle.
Clymer, an American publisher, and Haynes, a publisher in the U.K., do a good job of providing suitable service, maintenance and repair manuals for a large number of popular motorcycles. They each have their pros and cons, however. A good second or third choice would be the factory service manual provided by the manufacturer of your motorcycle. Here are some reasons why it is my second or third choice.
As a rule, the factory manuals are written for professional motorcycle technicians, not shade-tree mechanics like you and me. The factory assumes that the reader has professional training and a workbench equipped with all of the factory special tools. By comparison, the Haynes and Clymer manuals show how the average rider can work on their sleds with commonly available tools and they explain how to use the tools. They also tell you when to seek professional help. Finally, the Haynes and Clymer manuals are considerably less expensive than the factory manuals.
Tied for second place would be other motorcycle manuals of a general nature. Depending on your background and whether or not you have a stable of more than one bike, your shop library dollar might be more effectively spent on a number of titles that appeal to your interest than on a single weighty factory manual full of information you can't use.
Haynes has a series of books that expand on various areas. Motorcycle Basics TechBook, Motorcycle Electrical TechBook, Motorcycle Fuel Systems TechBook and Motorcycle Workshop Practice TechBook are examples.
Finally, your interests my lie in performance modifications, customizing or collecting and restoring motorcycles. There are many titles available to assist with these activities.
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