paranoid_android UberDork
10/21/19 1:21 p.m.

For motorcycles, are Clymer manuals the preferred source for a particular model, or is the factory service manual the way to go?

This is assuming the reader has zero prior motorcycle experience, riding nor wrenching.

Nick Comstock
Nick Comstock MegaDork
10/21/19 1:22 p.m.

Im an FSM guy when it comes to motorcycles.  

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
10/21/19 3:58 p.m.

If the person has zero experience, I'd suggest both.  If only getting one, then the factory manual only.  The aftermarket manuals are OK for a second opinion and some suggestions on stoopid simple stuff that the factory manual might leave out because it assumes you have wrenched before.


This is from my observations in HD, Toyota and MB FSM's v. aftermarket Clymers/Haynes.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
10/21/19 9:31 p.m.

For my Japanese bikes I've always found the factory manuals to be superior.

ShawnG PowerDork
10/22/19 12:43 a.m.

I've found Clymer manuals to be full of errors. 

FSM for most Italian bikes.

"Guzziology" for Tonti and loop frame 'Guzzis.

I've never seen an English FSM for early Ducati's but I've been teaching myself Italian with a shop manual.

akamcfly Dork
10/22/19 4:45 a.m.

Not to get your hopes up, but I've never had much trouble finding scanned FSMs to download for the bikes I have. 

paranoid_android UberDork
10/22/19 2:45 p.m.

In reply to akamcfly :

I guess I'm being old fashioned.  And not very patient with scrounging the internet for one.

Ebay yielded a FSM and an owner's manual, so I guess I'll start there.

Thanks all!

ae86andkp61 Dork
10/22/19 4:24 p.m.

Most of my experience is with used Japanese bikes, and as Dr. Hess said, the main risk with the FSM is it is sometimes light on the  basic details (For example, "Remove XYZ" with a line drawing of the part floating in space, no further details about the hidden fasteners, disconnecting cable that is attached, or how to handle the gasket) The good news is there are often sections for year-specific variations to wiring, torque specs, procedures  etc.

My problem with Clymer is that they often cover multiple years/sub models in one manual, like Kawasaki 550 1977-1986 (example pulled from my backside, I'm no Kawasaki expert) whereas the factory manual will be for a KZ550 or a GPZ550, plus will note model year differences if they switched to a different carb, brake master, or fork damping rod partway through the production run.

I sometimes watch 4-5 YouTube tutorials to get some rough overview ideas and decent visuals (just don't take any one of them as gospel) before reading the FSM and undertaking the work.

thatsnowinnebago UltraDork
10/22/19 4:36 p.m.

I had no idea the Flying Spaghetti Monster (may His noodley appendages bless you) was so into motorcycles. 

ae86andkp61 Dork
10/22/19 5:24 p.m.

Try here for Suzuki DR stuff

The Suzuki manual can be a little frustrating. It covers '90-'99 model years. It starts by presuming you have a '90 and going through every sub-assembly on the entire bike, plus appendixes of specs at the end. Then it lists anything that changed for '91, but only the things that changed, followed by anything that changed for '92, and so on. If it didn't change from the year prior, and it isn't the first year, there is nothing under that year in the manual.

Let's say your rebuilding part XYZ, which was the same from '90-'93 then changed for '94-'97, and changed again for '98-'99. For a '92, you would reference the first XYZ instructions. Let's say yours is a '96...if you just go the main XYZ it will be wrong as it is the earlier unit, but there isn't a listing in the '96 section, so you check '95 to find nothing, so then forward to '94 and bingo, there's the correct part! Both '98 and '99 owners find their correct XYZ instructions in the '98 section.

For my '97, I sometimes start at the back, and then move forward until I find what I'm looking for.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
10/22/19 5:46 p.m.

The more knowledgeable you are the more useful the FSM is. They both have their place and to be honest, that bike is simple enough that either one is likely to work fine for the general maintenence and familiarization you're going to do. 

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