The correct motorcycle service manual should always be one of the first things you get when starting a motorcycle project.
Once you’ve bought your old motorcycle and have your workspace setup, you’ll need to find the shop manual. You can find free online PDF versions of the original manufacturer’s service manual for many old motorcycles here.
For a first-time motorcycle project, the manufacturer’s shop/service manual for your bike’s year and model is key to a successful build.
Free Motorcycle Service Manuals
Listed below are links to the free online shop manuals and aftermarket repair books you can buy for some common vintage motorcycles:
Honda Motorcycle Service Manuals
Kawasaki Motorcycle Shop Manuals
Suzuki Motorcycle Service Manuals
Yamaha Motorcycle Shop Manuals
With the shop manual you’ll be able to get a sense of how components work together on the bike, troubleshoot issues that show up, learn the installation and removal sequences so you don’t break anything, and find tightening patterns and torque limits so you don’t strip any threads.
Motorcycle Maintenance Books
If you can’t find the original motorcycle manufacturer’s shop manual, aftermarket repair books like Clymer manuals or Haynes manuals can serve as a good substitute.
Aftermarket manuals often walk through procedures in a different way. Sometimes the expanded explanations are helpful, other times the original manufacturer service manual will be the best source of information. For things like torque values, tightening patterns, and service-limits, it’s a good idea to reference the OEM shop manual.
What’s Covered in the Motorcycle Shop Manual?
Before you start taking your bike apart, spend some time reading the manufacturer’s shop manual to get a sense of whether or not you have:
- The correct tools in the correct sizes.
- Proper measuring equipment.
- The space to perform a particular job.
- The right parts to perform a repair.
- The proper specs for tightening and tuning.
The shop manual will save you a ton of time, energy, and money in the long run. You’ll be happy to have it at the start of your project.
Have any links to a motorcycle shop manual that aren’t listed above? Share them in the comments below and we’ll add to our list.