After rebuilding an engine, there is no better sound than to hear it start at the first kick (or touch of a button). But for all mechanics, learning how to undertake mechanical work must be done in stages; it starts with basic jobs and progresses, as the knowledge base increases to more challenging work.
There is no set learning path for most home mechanics. Often, their knowledge increases with the necessity to undertake repairs or maintenance: from changing a dirty spark plug, through a full service to carb cleaning, for instance.
However, the complexity of mechanical work can be seen in the following lists. The order gives an idea of the knowledge required; and the list progresses from the easy to complex. Needless to say, as the complexity of work increases, so too does the amount and quality of tools required.
Basic Mechanical Work
- Setting tire pressures
- Changing spark plugs
- Cleaning or replacing air filters and fuel filters
- Replacing light bulbs
- Setting control lever positions
- Oil and filter changing
- Fitting new brake pads (as applicable)
- Balance wheels
General Service and Repairs
- Full mechanical service (including carburetor balancing where applicable)
- Full electrical service
- Replace chains and sprockets, and set wheel alignment
- Fit fork seals
- Replace/service head-stock bearings or swing arm bearings
- Replace shocks
- Fit new tires
In-depth Mechanical/Electrical Work
- Fault diagnosis/repair (mechanical noises, for instance)
- Electrical fault diagnosis/repair
- Fuel system/carburetor fault diagnosis/repair
- Engine and/or gearbox replacement
- Fully disassemble, inspect and repair as required, an engine or gearbox, then rebuild same
- Full restoration
- Race or competition preparation
- Race tuning
Although this list is not definitive, the classic bike owner can judge his or her competence level and decide which jobs they would feel comfortable undertaking.