To all the aspiring “builders”, “mechanics”, “bike guys” etc. There are two “jobs” that separate those who “can” and those who “cannot”, those who “know” and those who “know not.”
#1. Fixing a rear flat on the road – Preferably on a 1978 T140V Triumph Bonneville. Removing the wheel, pulling the tire, switching the inner tube, replacing the wheel, while alone, is the physically hardest mechanical job on a motorcycle. If you complete this task successfully, and ride on down the road, there is nothing you can’t do while “building” a bike.
#2 Ignition Timing – Setting the ignition timing on a motorcycle, any motorcycle, is the same job whether it’s an old magneto, points and coil, or modern electronic ignition, the principle is the same. Learn it, understand it. Many people can describe what ignition timing is, but have no understanding of what is actually happening on the machine. My point is “ignition timing” is the hardest concept to grasp and once understood, there are no tasks you can’t perform on a bike.
Follow these tips and you could wrench in any shop, anytime, anywhere.
– Hugh Mackie, 6th Street Specials. NYC.