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​Customizing In The Garage

​Customizing In The Garage

Posted by Wiley Moody on May 15, 2019

When it comes to customizing your motorcycle, there is no greater satisfaction than doing it yourself. The majority of custom aftermarket parts are direct replacements of the stock piece. Much of your customizing will be as easy as unbolting the stock part and bolting on the new part. But with any mechanical job, there are guidelines and specs that you must follow to safely installing your parts and making sure your motorcycle is roadworthy.

  • Work Space
  • The proper work space will help you be more organized and will keep things from getting lost or misplaced. Giving yourself an uncluttered, well lit work space will help the wrenching go a lot smoother. If you do not have a lift to get you motorcycle up off of the ground, a center stand jack will set your bike upright, making it easier to work on the left side. Make sure you secure your motorcycle to prevent any falls. Set yourself up with a container to put small hardware in, maybe a few if it’s a big job. Have a place you can safely lay and store chrome or painted parts. Make sure your workspace has ventilation if you’re using solvents, cleaners and spray paint.

    Tools hanging on wall in Garage

  • Procure All of Your Parts Before You Start
  • There is nothing worse than disassembling your motorcycle, just to find out your new replacement parts are held up for some reason. Back orders, lost packages, shipping delays and theft play a part in that scenario every day. Gather all of your parts and inspect them before tear down. If you find a damaged part and you need to exchange it, the process can add weeks to your project to get the proper replacement. Also make sure you have all of the right gaskets, o rings and fluids to finish your project.
  • Proper tools
  • Investing in the proper tools will not only speed the installation process up, but will keep the components you’re installing looking good. Using the wrong tools can cause the rounding off of bolt heads and stripped screw heads. Your tool box should have a full complement of metric and standard sockets and wrenches. Allen bolts are common on many motorcycles but have been replaced by Torx® head fasteners as of late. All of you tools need to be in good condition to keep from marring or damaging your new parts as you assemble them. Both foot pound and inch pound torque wrenches should be in your tool box to insure your parts are properly tightened. Loose parts fall off. Over tightened parts break, then fall off. Blue LocTite® is also a must to have on hand as double insurance your fasteners won’t come loose. Use the Red Loctite® if you never want the part to come off again. Protecting your parts during installation and your motorcycle is important so no finish gets scratched or chipped. Painter’s “Blue Release tape” is nice to wrap around chrome parts to keep your parts from damage, plus it’s easy to remove when you are finished.

    Toolbox for Motorcycle Customization

  • Service Manual 
  • A factory manual will tell you everything you need to know about your motorcycle. You will get proper procedure on disassembly and assembly, capacities and torque specs. Your torque wrench is useless without knowing the correct torque spec.
  • Safety
  • Before beginning any mechanical work, be sure to wear eye protection. You only have 2 eyes and if you lose one, half of your vision is gone in an instant and you probably won’t be able to ride anymore, so do it! Mechanic’s gloves are a good idea, keeping carcinogens off of your skin and protecting you from abrasions. (Side note: remove all jewelry and watches before beginning work to avoid scratching or marring of chrome or painted parts). Always keep an A/B/C rated fire extinguisher nearby just in case something sparks a fire. Keep some Speedi Dry or it equivalent in case of oil spills.

  • Cleaning
  • After installing your aftermarket parts on your motorcycle, be sure to clean off and grease, oil or any finger prints. This is especially true with exhaust systems. If you start a motorcycle with fingerprints all over it, the prints will burn into the chrome and will be forever a part of your motorcycle.