Over the last few years I’ve been slowly creating a collection of tips for motorcyclists. Hopefully these 30+ beginner friendly motorcycle tips will help you feel more comfortable and confident both riding your motorcycle, and working on your motorcycle. They’re all written at a level even a beginner totally new rider could understand, some even have videos because a lot of people prefer that these days.
I’ve divided the tips into five categories: Maintenance and Repair, Modifications, Riding Tips, Finances & Career, and Vehicle Specific. Please bookmark this page so you can come back to it, and if you see anything and think it could be useless for your friends, please share it!
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Beginner-Friendly Maintenance/Repair Motorcycle Tips:
Working on your motorcycle yourself is easy. In fact, it’s much more easy than working on your car. Everything is easily accessible, and even if it’s not, all you have to do is remove a plastic fairing or two, which is a breeze compared to removing panels or trying to access things on your car.
Working on your motorcycle yourself is also a great way to save money, but it can be a little intimidating at first. That’s why I wanted to put together a bunch of tips to help new motorcyclists who might be having problems with their bike. Give these a look, and if you still have any problems, leave me a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll help you!
How To Fix Stripped Screw Heads on Motorcycles (or Anything Else) (+ video) – A screw with a stripped or rusted out head can be terrifying, and if you don’t know what you’re doing you’ll only make it worse. The good news is, if you do know what you’re doing, taking out a screw with a stripped head can actually be easy! Learn how to deal with it yourself, so you don’t make it worse.
How To Jump-Start a Motorcycle with a Car – Your motorcycle battery is dead, but luckily, you have a car and some jumper cables. Now what? Here’s how to safely jump-start a motorcycle from a car. If you don’t follow these steps, you could risk damaging your motorcycle’s electronics, but if you follow these 5 steps, you’ll be just fine.
How To Siphon a Motorcycle Gas Tank – If you’ve left gas in your motorcycle gas tank for more than a couple months, and haven’t treated it with fuel stabilizer, the gas will start to go bad. Running bad gas through your motorcycle tank is a bad idea. It can clog up fuel lines, carburetors and jets, fuel injectors, and more. But removing a gas tank completely from a motorcycle isn’t easy, clean, or practical. A happy compromise is using this $10 fuel transfer pump to get the old gas out, without having to take the tank off. It’s clean and easy.
How To Prepare Your Motorcycle for Winter Storage – The goal of storing your motorcycle for the winter is to have it in as good a shape (or betfter) in the spring as it was when you put it away in the fall. That means no new corrosion (rust), no flat spots on your tire, and no unnecessary wear done to your battery. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your motorcycle for winter storage.
How To Tell If Your Dead Motorcycle Battery is Still OK (+ video) – Motorcycle batteries can die for any number of reasons. Sometimes you can recharge them and they’ll be almost as good as new and you won’t have to pay for a new battery. Other times you recharge them but the damage has been done, and they leave you stranded again a week later. Here’s how to tell if your motorcycle battery is still good, or if it needs to be replaced.
How To Test Motorcycle Turn Signals (+ video) – Sometimes you can fix your motorcycle turn signals with ease, but sometimes, they need to be replaced altogether. If your motorcycle turn signals are not flashing, this is a really quick way to determine if the problem is with your signals themselves, or with your wiring. This is also a great thing to do BEFORE you start installing motorcycle turn signals to make sure they aren’t dead on arrival, and it’s easy!
How To Test a Motorcycle Headlight (+ video) – For those wondering how to test a motorcycle headlight, this is the easy way to do it. You can use this quick way of testing a headlight whether your motorcycle’s headlight isn’t working, or before you install a new one you just bought t to make sure it’s good. If the headlight comes on like this, but not when it’s in your bike, you’ll know your headlight is fine and your problem is elsewhere.
How To Get The Ownership of a Motorcycle With No Ownership – So you just bought a vintage motorcycle, or someone else’s basket case project bike, or maybe it’s a low mileage barn-find. It was a steal of a deal, and you had to have it. You get home with your motorcycle and boxes of parts, only to realize that there is no ownership for the vehicle. Now what? How do you get the ownership of a motorcycle with no ownership?
How To Install a Black Widow Motorcycle Lift (+ video) – Now that you’re an expert at taking care of your motorcycle, a table lift would probably make it the work a lot easier. That’s why I got this professional grade motorcycle table lift for under $1,000! It was a deal so good that I still tell everyone about it. Here’s how I put it together (and here’s my long-term review of it)
How to Tow a Cruiser (or Any Motorcycle) (+ video) – Whether you’re looking to bring your motorcycle with you on an adventure, or you just need a way to get your bike to the shop, knowing how to tow your motorcycle properly and safely will stop you from damaging your bike.
Beginner-Friendly Mods (Modifications) Anyone Can Do:
Everything we’ve covered until now has been all about keeping your motorcycle running as good as new, but what about making your motorcycle better than new? That’s where modifications come in. One of my favorite thing about motorcycles is how easy they are to customize. You can add on all of the things, or even take off some of the excess you don’t care for. These beginner motorcycle tips for mods will give you some ideas of both.
How to Change Sportster Handlebars (+ video) – The Harley-Davidson Sportster has been around since 1957 and we can all agree that no matter how you feel about it, the Sportster’s longevity makes it one of the most popular motorcycles of all time. One thing motorcyclists can’t agree on is what kind of handlebars it should have. The handlebars play a huge role not only in determining a motorcycle’s handling characteristics, but handlebars also determine the ergonomics and style of a motorcycle. This article and video will walk you through replacing the bars on any Harley-Davidson to make it more your own.
How To Install: Cell Phone Mount & USB Charger – Cell phones can do everything can from saving a motorcyclist’s life, to letting us share our adventure along the way, to giving us turn by turn navigation, but man does GPS and a screen on full brightness suck a lot of power out of these little things. That’s why a cell phone mount with charging is the best gift you can buy yourself for $18. Here’s how to install one, shown on a V-Rod, but it applies to all bikes.
How to Remove Warning Sticker From Your Motorcycle – When people say they love their motorcycles, but they still have the factory warning labels all over their bikes, I don’t believe them. You wouldn’t let your best friend walk around with retail stickers on his or her clothing, so don’t let your motorcycle be seen with her retail stickers on. Learn how to remove those stickers without damaging your paint or leaving gooey glue residue behind.
How To DIY Motorcycle Table Lift Side Extensions – If you can’t yet justify the costs of a professional level motorcycle table lift, no problem. You can save about $500 by getting a cheaper alternative from Harbor Freight. These things will last a ton of uses and you can fit a variety of motorcycles on them, but my recommendation is to use some heavy duty hardware to add some side extensions. It doesn’t cost much, but will let you get motorcycles on and off the list a lot more easily. This is how I did it and it’s held up for years.
Motorcycle Riding Tips for Specific Conditions (all with videos):
Until now, we’ve talked about the advantages of motorcycles. They’re easy to work on. They’re easy to customize. Parts can be relatively cheap. You can save a lot of money by working on your motorcycle yourself. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot closer to perfect when you have a motorcycle. But motorcycling does come with some downsides that go hand in hand with being out there in the elements. Being more exposed also leaves us more vulnerable, and sometimes road and weather conditions can make things less than ideal for us. Being cool and staying smooth is the strategy to win this game. Here are some tips to help new motorcycle riders get home safe when conditions are less than perfect.
Remember, every condition described below is scary, but not being prepared for when you find yourself in those conditions is scarier.
How to Ride a Motorcycle in the Rain – When it comes to motorcycle riding in the rain, we often think of the loss of traction. Having less traction makes taking off, maneuvering, and coming to a stop more slippery, but there are other challenges too, like seeing, being seeing, and how other drivers will behave. This article and video tackles all of that.
How To Ride a Motorcycle on Grooved Roads – One minute you’re riding down the highway on a beautiful sunny day. The next minute you a Construction Ahead sign (or worse, no sign) and what once was smooth clean pavement is no a rippled service that makes your front end feel like it’s going haywire. Don’t freak out. Here’s what’s happening, what to do, and how to (smoothly) handle it.
How to Ride a Motorcycle in Windy Weather – A beautiful day can become a little challenging for motorcycle riders when the wind starts gusting. You might get pushed around your lane a bit or even feel like you’re going to be blown over. Here’s how to handle motorcycle riding in windy weather.
All Things Money/Finance/Career and Motorcycles:
I’ve always been careful with my money, and for the past decade, most of my career has been spent in the motorcycle/powersports/automotive world. I now make a full time living being totally self-employed working with motorcycles. That’s why I want to help you save a few bucks with motorcycles, and maybe even kick-start some other people to have careers in powersports!
How To Increase Motorcycle Fuel Economy – If there are two things we can agree on it’s that gas prices keep on going up, and paying more to ride really sucks. These five motorcycle-specific tips will help you increase the fuel economy on your next ride.
10 Tips on How to Sell a Motorcycle – Motorcycles inspire feelings of nostalgia, sentimentality and freedom from the restrictions of a normal life. The decision to sell a motorcycle is a hard one, but sometimes it’s necessary to take that next step. If you’re going to part with your favorite machine, make sure you get a fair price for it. Here’s how to sell a motorcycle for as much money as you can get for it.
4 Ways to Make Money with Motorcycles – Yes, motorcycling can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean it has to cost you anything. In fact, motorcycling can make you money. Don’t believe me? Check out these 4 ways to make money with motorcycles.
10 Ways to Find a Job in the Motorcycle Industry – At the motorcycle biz pub night in Toronto it struck me how tightly knit the industry is. Everyone knows everyone. The titles and companies worked for might change, but over the years you realize it’s the same faces just changing places. It’s a small collection of circles that overlap and mix and divide. A passion for motorcycles alone won’t get you in, but you can get in, and here’s how.
How To Work in the Motorcycle Industry After Graduation (+ video) – A reader left a comment on the previous article, asking for advice about getting into the motorcycle industry after he graduated from university. Rather than just leave a quick reply in the comments section, I decided to put together a full article and video with my three tips for him.
Motorcycle-Specific How-Tos/Walkthroughs (all with videos):
Sometimes when I’m working on other people’s motorcycles, if I have some time I’ll document it so that new riders or motorcyclists who are new to wrenching on their bikes can see how it’s done. All steps are done following the factory service manual and all torque specifications and part numbers are shared too. If you don’t see anything for your bike, and have some specific questions, leave a comment at the bottom of this article, or if you’re in Ontario and need someone to work on your motorcycle, contact me.
Oil and filter changes
How To: Kawasaki Ninja 650R Oil & Filter Change
How To: Suzuki Boulevard M50 & C50 Oil & Filter Change
How To: BMW F800R Oil & Filter Change
How To: Harley-Davidson V-Rod Oil Change
How to Replace the Battery on a BMW F700GS
How to Replace the Battery on a Moto Guzzi V7
Honda CB300R Battery Location, Service, Pigtail Installation
Suzuki Boulevard M50/C50 Shaft Drive Oil Change / Final Gear Oil Change
How To: Install a Daymaker Headlight on a V-Rod
Did you find anything in here helpful? Was something missing? Please leave a comment below!
Hi, just found your site. Did some digging and cannot find a solution for my problem. Last ride last fall right turn signal not working (back light) out. Fast forward 3 months atempted easy repair, new rear bulb, new problem. Left turn signal works fine, turn on right turn signal and all yes all lights flash including dash except right rear, Ground wire to turn signal socket has continuity. Get a small 1>2 volts at positive terminal of rear light. Help.
A quick call for what to check from your dealer would probably be beneficial. Trying to diagnose an electrical issue over the internet based on a few sentences is like asking me to perform surgery blindfolded. Also, I’m not a surgeon lol.
My best guess: bad ground somewhere, or bad relay. Could be as simple as loose connection at the battery, or ground cable cut a bit somewhere in the battery harness. That’s assuming you don’t have any alarm system, crazy aftermarket lights or other mods, etc. I’d start by double checking the battery, and then following my ground cable. If you have weird aftermarket stuff that’s getting power off of something it shouldn’t be, that could be the root of the problem. Again, without seeing the motorcycle in front there’s only so much advice I can offer unfortunately.