Originally Posted by messenger13
Although buying/owning the service manual is great, I hardly think one needs it to change the tranny fluid. But that's you rich guys for ya.
A service manual is just another tool. You can't change the tranny fluid without some sort of a 14mm hex socket, piece of All-thread, or 9/16" bolt/nut combo, so why wouldn't you consider proper instructions just as essential?
I'm all for enabling garage mechanics to do their own maintenance. It helps you get familiar with your bike, and can give you piece of mind that the work is done right (I'll take far more time and care on my bike than a mechanic working on an hourly rate would). But you have to be realistic, and know your own limitations. Some guys are great mechanics with years of experience, and some guys admittedly can't change a light bulb without a three-page manual with full color pics.
I have a fair amount of mechanical and electrical experience, and I'm not afraid to tackle just about anything on this bike. But I'm not a doctor, or architect, or chef, so when I need those services, I call in for professional help.
We've been pretty good here about writing up detailed instructions for common service tasks, and offering instant help on almost any topic imaginable. I've attended or hosted numerous tech sessions and always share my knowledge freely to anyone interested. Some guys learn how to do things on their own, and some just like to see it done so they can be more informed when talking with their dealer. But we've also had a few serious problems from folks getting in way too deep and making simple mistakes that cost them downtime and dollars to repair. Not to mention the possibility of a safety-related failure, which I hate to think about.
So again, if you're going to do any real work on your bike, get the proper tools, including a quality manual (for about an hour's labor charge). Or leave it to someone you trust.