I'm a motorcycle novice and want to learn how to maintain a bike and fix problems that may arise.

I've found a few great videos that have elucidated some basics:

How a motorcycle engine works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m2EGXlwMIs Basics of a motorcycle electrical system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUziJ9XDsxQ

I've also been reading the service manual for my bike, and will soon be attempting basic maintenance including replacing the chain and sprockets.

-Are there any books that are routinely given to beginners to explain basic concepts in motorcycle diagnostics and repair? Esp geared towards people with no mechanical experience.

-Is there a "bible" reference book for bikes?

-Any good online resources / YouTube channels?

Obviously you can only learn so much by reading / watching, but you have to start somewhere in terms of theory. This is in preparation for a long bike trip. Thanks.

  • which motorcycle do you have?
    – Shobin P
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 14:13
  • I have a Yamaha TT600. I've read most of the major threads online for this specific bike. However, I'm not confident in my understanding of mechanical / electrical concepts common to all bikes.
    – bevanb
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 14:27
  • As with any motorised vehicle it is never possible to learn to fix every issue unless it has actually happened since there are thousands of small and even large things that can go wrong.
    – Shobin P
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 14:35
  • Look at this mechanics.stackexchange.com/questions/3069/…
    – Shobin P
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 14:35
  • Thanks for the link, that seems like a good checklist to start with. I want to get a basic theoretical understanding of how the main motorcycle systems work, and build off of that understanding with first-hand experience. Learning how to fix every issue is definitely out of scope.
    – bevanb
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


The closest thing I would consider to be a bible for maintenance and repairs would be a Haynes or clymer manual. http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-XT600-83-89-Clymer-Manuals/dp/0892875461

There is a difference between maintenance and repairs. Proactive vs reactive. Learning how to do basic maintenance will teach you a lot about the bike and what tools are important to carry.

It also gives you a good opportunity to find things that need fixing before you start your trip.

Repairs once you are on the road (or off) is a different matter. Parts can fail or be damaged in an accident or fall.

Anything can fail and leave you stranded in remote locations. So you should seriously consider what your plan B is. Cellphone? Spot tracker? Epirb?

There is a limit to what you can carry in the way of spare parts. in many cases some improvisation can get a damaged bike rideable to get you to civilization again.

The most common problem on a trail bike off road will be punctures. If you are planning and off road adventure i highly recommend you learn how to fix a puncture and replace an inner tube.

Apologies if I've gone off on a tangent. Advrider.com is a great website with some great resources that will give you an idea of how to prepare yourself, bike, tools and contingencies.

Good luck with your trip. I hope it's a good one :)

  • Thanks Peter, I have been studying the Yamaha manual and learning a lot from it. Thanks for your insights.
    – bevanb
    Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 8:55

haynes 4071 is a pretty good non brand specific motorcycle maintenance book. Probably a good choice after one specific for your model.

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