Given all of our recent talk about hands on skills and the positive reception it has among readers here, think about another real benefit the hands off crowd might not consider, the freedom to buy used. Take a minute to check out the motorcycles for sale. Look through those listings for a few minutes, how many are really out of consideration if you don’t do your own work? If you need a knowledgeable mechanic you can trust to fix and maintain your bike and there’s none nearby, you might as well write off almost any vintage model. Those good looking BSAs, Nortons, all vintage British bikes really, forget it. Even early models of some current brands would be questionable, along with recent models of bikes not sold anywhere near you. If all you can do is pay for service instead of doing it yourself, you eliminate many potential choices.
In a world where everyone is supposed to be able to buy whatever they want or need, many often don’t consider the narrowing of choices a lack of skills creates. Even if you buy it new, if it breaks and no one is around to repair it, you replace it or do without. (Whether it’s designed to be repairable is an issue for another day.)
If you want to buy a new Triumph, Moto Guzzi, Ducati or even a BMW, the dealers are spread a lot thinner than they are for Harley and Honda. If you go the distance and buy new, who does the required service if you can’t? Another long trip, time and again and pretty quickly you cross those off your list. With this economy, those dealers are getting spread even thinner and the lack of DIY skills makes it tougher for those brands to hang on to territory if everyone needs dealer service for every oil change or valve adjustment.
With the impressive reliability of a lot of current new motorcycles, some non DIY owners might take a chance and buy from a distant dealer anyway, but it doesn’t take overwhelming skill and years of experience to get to the level of basic maintenance and for the effort necessary to learn, the reward of so many more potential choices is a strong incentive to get familiar with a tool box.