¶ The first thing you should buy for your motorcycle, even before gas and oil, is a Shop manual. Every thing you need to know about your motorcycle is in that Shop Manual. It will save you time... Lots of time, and it will save you money... Lots of money. EVERYTHING I tell you on this web site is meant to be used with a Shop Manual. You absolutely, positively MUST have a Shop Manual for the bike you are working on.
But Dan, you might say, Shop Manuals cost a lot of money, and reading them takes time. How does this help me? Ok, good question..... Once upon a time I had to put new wheel bearings in my motorcycle, a Norton it was.....front wheel..... 750 Atlas. Hey, I are a great mechenic right? Shoot, I don't need no book. ( DUH ! ) I work for almost an hour... no luck... they will not come out. Soooo, I get the Shop Manual out and I read how to do it. It then took LESS THEN ONE MINUTE to knock both bearings out. There's your time.
Now what about money? Well, every once in a while, usually on the crank or cluch end, there will be a LEFTHAND thread nut. If you ever snap one of those off it's new crank time, and that, my friend, will cost you a lot of money. What about piston clearance...Ring end gap...torque values for head bolts, all that good stuff can cost you money if you do it wrong. With a Shop Manual you'll do it right the first time.
Factory manuals are best. (most of the time, anyway) I really like Haynes manuals too, and Clymer manuals are good. If you are working on older bikes, and if you can find them, Glynns manuals are excellent. You can get shop manuals fron a lot of different places. The local dealer for your brand of motorcycle will have, or can order, a factory manual for your bike. Your local book store can get you any of the Clymer or Haynes manuals. The local Library will have some manuals on older bikes, as will a used book store. You can also find them at a motorcycle parts and accessories store, and on the Internet. In fact, over the years, I have down loaded over one hundered Gigabytes of Shop Manuals from the Internet. They are not hard to find, just look around.
"YOU NEVER HAVE TIME TO DO IT RIGHT,
If You Don't, It's OK, I Don't Care.