Its seems to me we've hit some rather hard times in this country. I guess it has not affected some people yet though. I was talking to an owner of a motorcycle shop the other day that is geared to performance work on all brands of bikes. He didn't usually sell bikes just works on them. He did have 3-900 Kawasaki's that were for sell for over $11,000 or more each on the showroom floor as he was an old drag racer back in the day. I think they were mostly to show his workmanship. He said they charge $80.00 shop rate. I noticed he had 2 guys in the back wrenching. It sure wouldn't take long to run up a major repair bill at that rate. I guess it pays to learn what you can to avoid a shop if possible. I think I would have to find another hobby if I had to rely on a shop for all my repairs. Jeffery
You have the right perspective. When it comes to old bikes, a guy either needs to enjoy troubleshooting, maintenance and repair as a major part of the hobby, or have really deep pockets. You can probably find lower rates at a repair shop as opposed to a performance shop with machining capability, but rent, insurance, and other incidentals aren't cheap, and everybody has to eat. I can't count the number of times I've seen a guy haul a nonrunner into a shop with a rusted chain, locked up brakes, mutilated wiring, gummed-up carbs, etc., and ask them to "just get it running." Then he gets all red-faced and hollers "Whaddya mean? I only paid $400 for it!" when he gets a $1,200-plus estimate for the basics (as if that has anything to do with what needs to be done). We usually manage to keep a straight face till he's out the door.
"We usually manage to keep a straight face till he's out the door. "
I don't even try to keep a straight face . They never make it in the driveway let alone in the door . I get loud , profane , and downright physically abusive . I even was confronted with "if you won't work on this bike you won't work on any of my bikes " the answer was a simple "have a nice life". As a talented restoration and vintage performance mechanic I don't have to demand top dollar I just get it . I've become to some a conceited , self proclaimed oracle of all things motorcycle and a genuine pain in the a$$ to boot . Others just pay the tab and smile . My life no longer depends on every little nasty job that comes through the door because I don't need the money or aggravation . I've been away from day to day operations of a motorcycle business for 7 years this month and miss none of it . I just recently began taking on a few interesting jobs from people . Seven years it took to heal the wounds of nearly 25 years of something for nothing , can you just , pay late or not at all , deadbeat fukwits to the point where I again enjoy working on my own let alone someone else's motorcycle . then ... $60/hr $80/hr if you watch $100/hr if you help $120/hr if I have to teach now ... $60/hr maintenance $80/hr repair $120/hr restore * *(when not governed by a previously agreed on flat rate) All original fabrication and construction is time and materials @ $100/hr
I have a understandably small and loyal clientèle .
Feel free to take exception . My life is better for the right to ignore you.
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2009 2:35:41 GMT -5 by kopcicle
Then he gets all red-faced and hollers "Whaddya mean? I only paid $400 for it!" when he gets a $1,200-plus estimate for the basics
That actually sound pretty reasonable. I bought a complete original XS750 for $100 and added up the cost of every nut, bolt, and drop of oil to just get it running. Doing all the work myself, it was $1087.38. And that was only what was needed to make it ridable, nothing cosmetic. These old bikes will nickel and dime you to death. Almost all the receipts I added up were under $25. As a hobbyist it is easy to overlook these little expenses but you can be sure the guy at the shop is doing the math.
Somebody in the equation is making some money thats for sure. I'm not so sure its the mechanic. I live in Phoenix where one of the few Motorcycle Mechanic schools in the nation is located. I don't know how many of these students I have met over the years who sold their sole to come to school out here. The school parking lot has hundreds and hundreds of cars at any given time from any state you can name. I think what most graduates have found after spending 20-30 K to attend, is a mininum wage job upon graduation, especially if they choose to stay in this area. I'm sure wages improve with time and experience but I think they still get a small piece of the pie. Jeffery
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2009 17:21:18 GMT -5 by jeffery
Rent, insurance, taxes, equipment, utilities....that stuff aint free. Buying brand new will keep you off that hook for awhile. But with old bikes, you either have to learn to play the fiddle yourself or be willing to pay the guy who took the lessons.
Yes shops have massive overhead. They also have massive turnover as well as some limitations to do what the factory tells them to do in case of repairs. Like a savage with a oil leak form the head. The factory says to replace the head gasket. 700 bucks BTW they charge 95 an hour. It will come back leaking in ~30 days if run regularly. If not, longer and they stop warranty on repairs in 30 days. So, well they get to do it again and charge for it again. Guess what, it never leaks from the head gasket. Its from this weird plug in the top engine cover. I've done it for people and @35 an hour I rarely spend over 3 hrs on it. And that is me, with a disorganised garage and having to deal with all the other crap in life, like phone calls, wifey and kid interrupting and the usual other interruptions ... and it will not leak there again ... not in 30 days, not in 1 year, not in 5 years till you blow up the motor. Cool. Srinath.
Then he gets all red-faced and hollers "Whaddya mean? I only paid $400 for it!" when he gets a $1,200-plus estimate for the basics (as if that has anything to do with what needs to be done). We usually manage to keep a straight face till he's out the door.
I've seen a few of this ... and I usually say ... that's because he also got a $1200 estimate from me ... or someone else.
What is even more annoying is when some idiot pays ... and this whole story is 100% true ... 1500 bucks for a cherry CM400 and then thinks he got a steal and then nickels and dimes me when I am supposed to fix whatever the hell is wrong with its carbs, and I say 200-300 bucks and he gets all angry and leaves in a huff ... saying this perfect bike and you want 300 bucks to fix its carbs ... man that's wrong ... then on a ride to wilmington he blows up the bike. Then he rebuilds the motor over the winter and guess what, he paints a perfect blue and silver CM400 ... pruple cos he saw purple rain and that bike was a CM400, and then he wants a used tire ... Like what is wrong with these people ... I asked him is he still has the racing idle and he said yes ... nice lets see how long before the rebuilt motor detonates ...
Post by ShakerNorm on Nov 18, 2009 19:44:07 GMT -5
Srinath - that's why smart people go to GOOD mechanics like you - who take the trouble to find the REAL problems and fix them properly the first time.
I don't mind dishing out $90/hr to someone who knows what the underlying problem really is and can and will fix it properly the first time. I'm an aircraft mechanic and know how much decent tools cost, plus your overhead add up to a pretty penny.... and experience is invaluable!
What I HATE is the "technician" who has very little experience, won't properly diagnose the problem, and only fixes the symptoms - as your case in point about the "leaky" head gasket....
My old man used to complain that many people "don't have time (or money) to do it right, but they always have time to do it over......" It's smart people who will pay to do it right the first time!
Definition of an Expert-
An Ex is just a Has-Been, and a Spurt is just some poor drip under a lot of pressure.........
And since I am a software engineer and not a mechanic profesionnally, I can yell at them, they're not my meal ticket. I tell people I am a way better mechanic than the 35 bucks I charge per hour, but if it will make them more comfortable I'll charge more.
I recently swapped a starter planetary gears out of a kawi 454 starter and put it in the vulcan one's housing. None of the mechanics could tell me how to do that ... or if it even is doable. I also crack open and fix ignitor boxes ... my virago one, 500 replacement or a 8c resistor ... yea ... worked for 8000 miles and 3 years so far. I learn all the evil tricks from web sites like this, and often post about what I did which sorta is like modifiying the recipie I get form someone ... some times it back fires ... like the xs650 air box mod.
Anyway, lots of smart people on these old bikes sites. The new latest GSXR/CBR/YZF/ZX just attracts a clueless squidly crown I guess.
My locall Yamaha dealer (Fredericktown Yamaha) says they wont work on a bike more than 12 years old. They said they would work on my carbs if I brought them in with out the bike, but were honect and said it could cost around $400 to rebuild them. Thanks to Mikes XS and Stadium Yamaha, I did it for less than $100. I guess I am lucky that I am mechanically inclined for an electrical tech.
I do gs500 carbs all the time. In fact I dont replace O rings unless they are leaking. BTW a GS has 4 O rings that are vital, I sell those, and they are generic items. I sell em for $8 + 2 shipping and often that is all any carb needs, other than Jets ... or course they sent it out with 1 size smaller than ideal jets from the factory. Anyway rebuild kits include a float gasket and seats etc that I dont have in mine, the mikesxs is very reasonbaly priced ... if you need them. I reused everythign except a couple O rings in my xs. Cool. Srinath.
a little of topic but I'm a technician for mercedes-benz. our labor rate is $140.00 an hr. it's not uncommon to do 5,000$ plus jobs. last week I did a 7,000$ job on a 2001 S500. hell, even our oil change is 130$ plus tax.
r80rt: :)This is a splendid write up, THANK YOU!!!!
Dec 26, 2015 16:54:05 GMT -5
mashermoto: What the what is this shoutbox for? Or should I shout, WHAT THE WHAT IS THIS SHOUTBOX FOR!
May 12, 2016 22:22:21 GMT -5
motormike: Good Day ...just a FYI.. Wild Cat is this Labor Day weekend. Still go'n on. A few 650's still make the scene. Various rides at different skill levels each day.. awards dinner sunday eve. BS in the park'n lot after dinner.
Aug 23, 2016 7:57:01 GMT -5
lsettle: First post in over 6 years!
Aug 28, 2016 19:45:17 GMT -5
kardon: Wow quiet here, where did they all go.
Oct 7, 2016 2:18:13 GMT -5
gggGary: XS650.com LOL
Feb 16, 2017 20:49:02 GMT -5
buell88: Anybody have any idea who built the xs650 tracker used in the Draggin Jeans Ad on Pipeburn?
May 16, 2017 16:24:09 GMT -5
joshua: The regulator/rectifier unit I got from Mikes PMA has closer hole spacing than original. Are we supposed to mill the holes to fit?
Jun 7, 2017 19:25:58 GMT -5
joshua: My bad. I found the bracket they supplied to mount the rectifier/regulator... Uh oh. How is this meant to work? Which way is it meant to mount? Looks like I have to use some spacers or something. Good instructions would be nice.
Jun 7, 2017 22:09:52 GMT -5
craig8johnson: Not sure if this is the right spot or not but oh well...
Jul 11, 2017 18:04:15 GMT -5
craig8johnson: I'm checking the charging system. I'm afraid I might have fried the last battery. With the solid state regulator (after market) what should it be charging at. The book says, I think, 15 volts. I'm hitting 17 when revved. Is that too high?
Jul 11, 2017 18:06:19 GMT -5
gggGary: Yes 17 volts is too high, about 14 volts is max, sounds like you don't have the right regulator or it's wired wrong.
Jul 13, 2017 6:54:33 GMT -5
dean: Just saying Hello, new member who is going to fix up a 79 XS650 that has seen its better days. I will definitely have lots of questions coming up.
Jun 23, 2018 16:45:32 GMT -5
tt650: Trying to breathe life into a 1980 that's been stored (indoors) for 25 yrs. Air filters are dry rotted. Have cleaned carbs but she only runs briefly on choke then stops. Need jet setting info and other ideas that might help her idle and rev.
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trix13: Hey everyone! New to the forum and am fighting those gremlins!! New charging system, ignition switch, coil and fuse box. Resistance is higher than normal on the ignition pick up so I'm trying to find one. No such luck yet.
Aug 16, 2018 8:50:48 GMT -5
trix13: Also, even though all of my connections are clean, I cannot seem to find out why , when at higher rpms, I hit the signals and the rpms pulse with the signals...hahah. same with the brake light. I appreciate all input!!
Aug 16, 2018 8:55:08 GMT -5
bob99: how do I post a question. I am new to the forum
Jun 6, 2019 10:52:10 GMT -5
adlpc: Hello all! Been enjoying your edifying posts and discussions - and as a fan of the XS650 since my early teenage years happy that I now own a 1980 Special which I plan to turn into a vintage half faired racer. Thank you all for being here!
Oct 1, 2019 0:58:56 GMT -5