Well another dealer bites the dust. If your sensitive dont read this post

moto.monk

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Living here in the Los angeles ive gone through 4+ shops. Most dont care about you and just want the money. I have blown away at the level that these shops work at. Even when talking with the owners they dont care and its more like next.... With the latest being RPE motosports in Whittier, CA. The owner felt that his pride was more important then doing the right thing. He damaged my rear brake bracket because he placed the 3mm spacer in the wrong order. He than attacked me with that bad mouth other shops and the how he balances tires. Well I am gratefull that a friend who is a former car mechanic caught the misalignment in the suspension. Its crazy how hard it is find a good mechanic now a days because of the volume of shops and people. Some shops wont feel the hit but will offer cheaper service. Per my friend he told me to do my own work and more importantly because its for safely.
 

SkunkWorks

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Sep 13, 2018
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I do ALL my own work, mostly for the reasons that you just posted.
I also do quality work for other people for really cheap (comparatively), mainly because I hate seeing people get screwed-over.
You're right, with most shops these days it's all about the dollar $$
 

Sierra1

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I suspect that many dealers, especially with as many people that live in CA, just rely on numbers. As we know, there's a lot more people that can't work on their bikes, than can. Son #2 and I do our basic maintenance stuff. Son #1, takes his bike in and drops it off. . . . for everything. Luckily we have a great dealer. If we didn't, Son #1 would be in trouble.
 

Cycledude

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Rib lake wi
I do most of my own work but in most cases where I have chosen to use a shop to have work done the service has been very good although expensive , it costs a lot of money to keep a good shop going And it’s definitely not all profit.
Possible service needs are a very important thing to Consider when buying .
 

RCinNC

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I feel bad for the guys who have to depend on a shop for routine maintenance, because I can't see it getting anything but worse. The motorcycle business is crashing, which ultimately means fewer dealership/service centers, and more consolidation of dealerships as the healthier ones buy out the less healthy ones. Fewer dealerships means less competition in a given area, which means even higher prices on service. And, since volume becomes even more important as the overhead costs of dealerships go up, quality suffers even more. Getting jobs in and out as fast as possible so more paying jobs can be booked is always going to mean that corners will be cut to keep the work flow going.

I took a look at the maintenance records I keep on my bike. Among other things, I've changed 21 tires, changed the oil 19 times, serviced the forks twice (including seal replacement), serviced the headset twice, flushed the brake and clutch fluid three times...well, you get the idea. I would shudder to sit down and figure out the cost of all that maintenance if I'd had to pay a shop to do it at anywhere from $80-$120 an hour for labor.
 

ballisticexchris

Chris Moritz
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My experience is a lot different than most. I have no problem whatsoever taking a vehicle to a dealer for service. Most all dealerships and service centers I conduct business with do fantastic work. Poor service where I live is far and few between.
 

ballisticexchris

Chris Moritz
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Fullerton, CA
Living here in the Los angeles ive gone through 4+ shops. Most dont care about you and just want the money. I have blown away at the level that these shops work at. Even when talking with the owners they dont care and its more like next.... With the latest being RPE motosports in Whittier, CA. The owner felt that his pride was more important then doing the right thing. He damaged my rear brake bracket because he placed the 3mm spacer in the wrong order. He than attacked me with that bad mouth other shops and the how he balances tires. Well I am gratefull that a friend who is a former car mechanic caught the misalignment in the suspension. Its crazy how hard it is find a good mechanic now a days because of the volume of shops and people. Some shops wont feel the hit but will offer cheaper service. Per my friend he told me to do my own work and more importantly because its for safely.
I just now called RPE for a quote for valve adjustment on a Super Tenere. They quoted me 595.00 without even seeing the bike. That right there tells me to not bring my bike to them. I have never ever got a repair/service quote over the phone. A good service center will always tell you bring the bike in first. For our area the are a bunch of outstanding shops that do solid work.

Here are the two I have used and another one that I have had the mechanics do work in the past before they opened their own shop:

Berts Mega Mall: The go to Service Tech is Shawn. He rides and knows any bike inside and out:


Mach One: I have known Long Mach for over 25 years. He is not only a friend of our family, He is the master of all master mechanics. He has a in house dyno with a guy who can fine tune any bike you want. Anything from an oil change to cams, bore, porting and performance mods.


Gustin Motorsports. I have known both Graham and Eric for over 20 years. I remember when Graham was just a parts guy at Champion Motorcycles. After the owner of Champion retired and closed, Graham opened up his own service center. Both he and Eric can repair and rebuild anything on two wheels. They are both fantastic riders as well:

 

Checkswrecks

Ungenear to broked stuff
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Thread moved where it belongs. Please don't start every thread in the Super Tenere discussion thread.
thx
 

holligl

Find the road less traveled...
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I just now called RPE for a quote for valve adjustment on a Super Tenere. They quoted me 595.00 without even seeing the bike. That right there tells me to not bring my bike to them. I have never ever got a repair/service quote over the phone. A good service center will always tell you bring the bike in first.
I don't necessarily agree with this. A standard maintenance quote can be based on factory standard times, and I prefer to be able to get these estimates over the phone. In the case of a valve check and adjustment, there should be one price for just the check and an additional cost for the adjustment, with some variability for the number of valves ultimately requiring adjustment. Likewise, if you don't do your own, you should be able to get a phone quote for tire replacement and balancing, or something like fork maintenence, on or off the bike.

You do need to ask appropriate questions when getting a phone quote.

Obviously, if you have bike mods that make the job more difficult, they can adjust their estimate accordingly.

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ballisticexchris

Chris Moritz
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I would shudder to sit down and figure out the cost of all that maintenance if I'd had to pay a shop to do it at anywhere from $80-$120 an hour for labor.
I consider my time worth as much or more than paying someone. And the average guy like myself is not equipped with lathes, mills, presses, lifts, TIG welders, and other equipment that makes the job much easier.

It's really sad when I see some people that will not let anyone touch their machines just because they have trust issues. I have very simple rules for working on my own vehicles. My own capability limitations, cost in labor, and whether or not I enjoy it. When I do it for enjoyment and relaxation then labor cost goes out the window. After that it then becomes not cost effective at all and off to the service center it goes.

I don't necessarily agree with this. A standard maintenance quote can be based on factory standard times, and I prefer to be able to get these estimates over the phone. In the case of a valve check and adjustment, there should be one price for just the check and an additional cost for the adjustment, with some variability for the number of valves ultimately requiring adjustment. Likewise, if you don't do your own, you should be able to get a phone quote for tire replacement and balancing, or something like fork maintenence, on or off the bike.

You do need to ask appropriate questions when getting a phone quote.

Obviously, if you have bike mods that make the job more difficult, they can adjust their estimate accordingly.

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That is not my experience. No mechanic or service center worth there salt is going to give a quote over the phone without seeing the bike. Sub par dealers hurting for work will do phone quotes just to get you in the door. This fact was proven when I called RPE for a quote.

Another thing to consider is why would I get a quote over the phone? I would not let anyone touch my bike unless I have met them in person and had a conversation with the person wrenching and discuss the repair. I have to see a service shop in person before asking for quotes. I'm sure that's a big reason I get good service and repairs done. By looking at the condition of the shop, meeting the techs, seeing the tools they use, and how organized the shop is. Most important watch them do work on someone else's bike before mine to determine if they have the skills to perform the work. If I can't watch them do a repair then I run away!! You cannot find any of this out over just a phone conversation.
 

WJBertrand

Ventura Highway
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Things like oil changes, valve clearance inspections, tire replacement and new brake pads are pretty routine and the service shop should have a base price at hand. If they have to see your bike first before quoting these standard maintenance items, it'd make me think they weren't familiar enough with the bike or were looking to see if they needed to jack up the price because you have modifications that take extra time.
 

RCinNC

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I consider my time worth as much or more than paying someone. And the average guy like myself is not equipped with lathes, mills, presses, lifts, TIG welders, and other equipment that makes the job much easier.

It's really sad when I see some people that will not let anyone touch their machines just because they have trust issues. I have very simple rules for working on my own vehicles. My own capability limitations, cost in labor, and whether or not I enjoy it. When I do it for enjoyment and relaxation then labor cost goes out the window. After that it then becomes not cost effective at all and off to the service center it goes.
I'm not sure where TIG welders, lathes, or presses, tie into my statement of "I would shudder to sit down and figure out the cost of all that maintenance if I'd had to pay a shop to do it at anywhere from $80-$120 an hour for labor " that you quoted. I don't own any of those things, nor do I need any of those things in order to do the maintenance I do on my bike. What general user type maintenance (changing brake pads, rotors, bleeding brakes, oil changes, etc) is someone going to do on their bike that require a TIG welder? If you're doing something to your bike that requires a TIG welder, you are so far beyond "basic owner maintenance" that you're in a whole different hemisphere.

I don't know what sort of shops you're used to dealing with, but your statement about "No mechanic or service center worth there salt is going to give a quote over the phone without seeing the bike" is flat out wrong. Every shop has a set price for individual tasks like brake pad replacement, oil changes, fork service, etc (you know, the basic user maintenance tasks). It's the only way they can efficiently book jobs and estimate both work flow and profits. That's not my opinion; that's just how it works. How else would a shop know how many jobs they could book in an eight hour work day unless they knew how long each task would take on average? No shop I've ever dealt with in 35 years of riding has ever needed to see the bike before quoting a price on changing brake pads. When I owned a Harley, some of the Harley shops I went to even had a price board in the service dept that told you how much a certain job would cost, broken down by what type of bike you had. If I called up a shop about changing a tire, they would give you two prices; one for bringing the tire in, one for bringing the bike in. When it was time to do the valve adjustment on both my old V-Strom and my current Yamaha (one of the tasks I don't perform myself), I called up shop and asked them what it would cost, and they could tell me the cost breakdown (parts, labor, shop costs, etc) all over the phone. Why on earth would they need to look at a bike to know how much to charge for a valve check? They can check their book and find out that a valve check for a 2014 Super Tenere should take"x" number of hours and require "y" number of parts ; how does making you bring your bike in before they quote you a price that they already know make them a shop "worth their salt"? And if you polled all the members on here about their experiences in this area, I bet the majority of their experiences would be like I described. So it's one or the other; either every shop I and a lot of others have ever dealt with is "not worth their salt", or else the shops you deal with are operating in a very unique manner that most shops don't.
 

ballisticexchris

Chris Moritz
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I'm not sure where TIG welders, lathes, or presses, tie into my statement of "I would shudder to sit down and figure out the cost of all that maintenance if I'd had to pay a shop to do it at anywhere from $80-$120 an hour for labor " that you quoted. I don't own any of those things, nor do I need any of those things in order to do the maintenance I do on my bike. What general user type maintenance (changing brake pads, rotors, bleeding brakes, oil changes, etc) is someone going to do on their bike that require a TIG welder? If you're doing something to your bike that requires a TIG welder, you are so far beyond "basic owner maintenance" that you're in a whole different hemisphere.
I'm only going off of my experience with shops and mechanics and how they do work. Your experience might be different. I'm also thinking the way I have my vehicles worked on at a service center is a solid and reliable way to do business. Thus me never having an issue with repairs done by someone other than myself.

Tig welder, lathes, mills presses, etc are standard at any good repair facility. Bent or broken frame, machining the head/cases, performance work, radiator repair, relieving cases for stroker kit, fabrication, etc. Good full service shops have all of the above and more.

My buddy Dave at Get Dirty Dirt bikes (https://getdirtydirtbikes.com/) has been a life saver for those special parts and repairs. I had to modify my radiator, R&R to an upgraded auto decompression on my cam, and a clutch basket repair on my bike. All of that required a TIG welder, press, and some other special fabrication tools. At home I even have a small inverter welder and torches for frame repair and the dreaded broken tabs and foot peg mounts that snap off.


For lack of a better word, IMO, it's ignorant to get a random over the phone quote and drop off your vehicle for repair. I see a lot of customers that bring it in, get a write up, and leave without ever stepping foot in the service bay or meeting the human who is going to do the repair.

If I can't see the work space or meet them in person then it's a no go for me. The horror stories of sub par repairs is almost always owner induced. Reputation is earned not given to some random shop with a phone quote.

It is also very important to know how much a repair is going to cost before stepping into the shop. The only thing a customer should be concerned with when "random calling" is the hourly labor rate. If you have a service manual it's very easy to figure out how long the repair will take. Providing you don't have a bike that has been maintained poorly. Doing your homework before stepping into an unfamiliar shop is a very smart way of doing business.
 

Kruzzin5

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Newmarket, Ontario
At the January bike show this year, I was speaking with one of the dealer owners. He was lamenting the fact that he had not received a resume from a twenty-something looking to apprentice as a mechanic in over 10 years! Being in the business for well over 20 years, he said he had not had a weekend off in that time. And he was getting to the point that, working weekends was grinding him/family down. He also said how hard it is for dealers to make money, with so much product being available on the internet. I get that part loud and clear. I don't know how dealer survive on merchandise. In the Toronto area, we have lost quite a few dealers over the past few years. It's astounding when you think about it, as compared to late 90s early 2000s, there were dealers everywhere. Not so much now.

As several have posted, I also do most of the work myself. I do it because I enjoy it and of course, it saves me a lot of money and convenience.

It's got to be tough maintaining a dealership, and employees, while trying to make decent margins. I don't know what the future holds, but, let's hope dealers survive because a lot of riders are going to need them.
 

RCinNC

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I'm only going off of my experience with shops and mechanics and how they do work. Your experience might be different. I'm also thinking the way I have my vehicles worked on at a service center is a solid and reliable way to do business. Thus me never having an issue with repairs done by someone other than myself.
And other guys in this thread (and in the numerous other "dealer horror story" threads) are going off their experiences with dealerships, including the OP. The difference is that they aren't trying to invalidate your good experiences, the way you try and invalidate their bad ones. Dismissing and deriding the bad experiences that many, many guys have had with shops and their resultant refusal to continue that process as "trust issues", and worse yet, blaming the customer of all people for that poor experience with sub par repairs the way you do a few paragraphs down, is simply a form of elitism. In this worldview, the shop is always in the right, and if they aren't, it's the customer's fault.

Tig welder, lathes, mills presses, etc are standard at any good repair facility. Bent or broken frame, machining the head/cases, performance work, radiator repair, relieving cases for stroker kit, fabrication, etc. Good full service shops have all of the above and more.
Okay, but again, so what? I still don't get the relationship between my post that you quoted about how much it would have cost me to pay someone to do all the maintenance I've done over the years, and your response about how a good shop has all that stuff. It's a non sequitur. My statement had nothing to do with what a good shop either has or doesn't have in the way of equipment; it was a simple, non judgemental statement that it would have cost me a lot of money to pay someone to change 21 tires, etc.

For lack of a better word, IMO, it's ignorant to get a random over the phone quote and drop off your vehicle for repair. I see a lot of customers that bring it in, get a write up, and leave without ever stepping foot in the service bay or meeting the human who is going to do the repair.

If I can't see the work space or meet them in person then it's a no go for me. The horror stories of sub par repairs is almost always owner induced. Reputation is earned not given to some random shop with a phone quote.
Well, you'd be out of luck in every repair shop I've been in, because their liability insurance forbids allowing customers to hang out back in the shop area to watch the mechanics. Usually they have a sign somewhere making it clear that customers aren't allowed in the bays. It's especially unlikely that they'll let some random first time customer do it. If your particular mechanics allow that, then good on you; it's not the standard that most guys are going to encounter at most places, especially in a litigious society. You aren't going to be able to hang around giving the mechanic a skills test before you start asking about prices. So no, "ignorant" isn't the right word; "reality" is the right word. It's a "reality" that you, as an average customer going to a dealership, are going to get a book price for a job when you talk to the shop without being able to interview the mechanics and inspect the shop floor. If you'll only use a shop that allows that, I recommend you never leave the maintenance Nirvana that you now reside in. As for your contention that the stories of sub par repairs are almost always owner induced, well obviously that's anecdotal, and I'm willing to bet that the anecdotal evidence on the other side of that coin (i.e. that many guys' horrible dealer experiences were a result of the dealership's greed, incompetence, or a combination thereof) would far outweigh yours, and I bet they'd disagree with your assessment.

It is also very important to know how much a repair is going to cost before stepping into the shop. The only thing a customer should be concerned with when "random calling" is the hourly labor rate. If you have a service manual it's very easy to figure out how long the repair will take. Providing you don't have a bike that has been maintained poorly. Doing your homework before stepping into an unfamiliar shop is a very smart way of doing business.
LOL, so if you have a service manual, but you've never taken a steering head off and replaced the bearings and races, or broken a fork down and changed the seals, you claim it's easy to estimate how long that takes just from looking at the manual? I'd love to see that put to a test of random members on here to test the accuracy of that contention.

As far as knowing the price before stepping into the shop, you're right: It IS very important. That's why you call them and ask them what their price is for a valve check, or rotor replacement, or whatever. That's pretty much the definition of "knowing the price before you step into the shop". How does your way work to make it any better, as far as the price is concerned? You drop by the shop, hang out with the mechanics, satisfy yourself that all is well, and then the service manager gives you the same price for the job that he'd have given you if you were just some rando who walked in off the street or called them on the phone? And if someone did just call the shop and got the same exact price for a job that you got with your meticulous vetting of the mechanic, does that invalidate your method? I literally don't understand your claim that the only "right" way to get an estimate for a standardized service like a valve check is to take your bike to a shop, meet the mechanic, have him look at your bike, and say "yep, a valve check is $475.00". I can see that your way might give you more confidence in the mechanic himself (not that the shop has any legal obligation to ensure that they guy you talk to is the guy who'll actually do the job), but what does that have to do with what's essentially a fixed price? If I get a quote on the phone for $475 for a valve check and I take my bike in and the guy says "oh, your radiator hose is bad" and wants to know if I want to replace it, how is that any different from you taking your bike to the shop so the mechanic can look it over and say "well, the book on the valve job is $475.00, and I see your radiator hose is going bad, do you want me to replace it?". And certainly, one very good way to be informed about a price is to call other shops and find out what they charge.

It's great that you have so many choices of great shops in your area, but your reality certainly isn't everyone's; it's not even in the same ballgame. The county I live in has a grand total of zero motorcycle shops that service Japanese bikes. The nearest shops are about an hour away; there are two within that distance. Neither one of them will allow customers to hang around in the shop area; they both have signs about that. I feel safe in predicting that a lot of guys in here face that same dilemma; very few choices, so you either take what you can get or you start learning how to do it yourself. And that doesn't make them lazy, or ignorant, or burdened with trust issues; it just means they have to deal with the reality of the situation.
 

gv550

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Listowel, Ontario, Canada
I enjoy working on my own vehicles, and since I buy new and different bikes every few years there is plenty to learn and keep my mind active. I also like to save money (rather than pay for labour) and as a side benefit I use what I've learned to service bikes for several others and actually earn a few dollars to help offset my own costs.
One exception has been my Ram 1500 pickup with Ecodiesel engine, this is a very nice truck with fantastic performance and fuel range but has a reputation of engine failures, so I let the dealer do all the maintenance including simple oil changes to avoid any potential warranty issues. A few weeks ago it developed a slight misfire so I asked the S/M about it, he suggested a fuel filter change and I authorized them to do it as it was due anyway. That didn't cure the miss (I expected that) so they then suggested it needed a fuel additive.
The fuel filter was $84, the special Chrysler fuel additive was $27.23. The bill was $479.03, including $55.11 tax. So................... to replace a fuel filter and pour a liter of additive into the fuel tank cost me $312.69 labour! (2.3 hrs) and the engine still has a misfire...................... <rant off>
 

Sierra1

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Not true in case of BMW dealers, they are busy and keep making money for various reasons !!!
If a person is willing to pay that much up front, they have to be willing to pay that much to keep it on the road. :D

As many have pointed out, the price for dealership to work on the bike can get quite expensive. Which is why many of us do our own. One problem is as bikes become more capable/advanced, the likely hood of having to take them to a dealer is increased. And, as with anything, if the cost is higher, the product/work had better be higher quality. Nobody likes paying more, and getting s**t.

My personal opinion is that the dealerships going under, are doing so because of what they're doing, and how they're doing it. Sooner or later, the only dealers that are left, will be the better dealers. My dealership "discounts" just about everything. A smaller profit of more transactions makes for a lot of profit. The FJR ES I bought was a '14, in '14, with 8k miles. He sold it for $10,800. He sold me my Tenere ES was sold for less than the price of a non-ES. If a customer shows him an internet price, he will match it. He told me he only sells a bike once, but if can keep customers coming back, that bike continues to make him a profit. If he burns his customers, they'll burn him back.

Kruzzin5 spoke about a dealer not getting any youngsters applying. That is not exclusive to motorcycles. I recently was finally able to get my shop/garage built. The builder, an off-duty fireman, talked about not being able to get help. For years he used new fireman as his helpers. Over the years, the new (younger) fireman have no interest in off-duty work. I had noticed that the concrete crew seemed to more "seasoned" than I would have expected (40+). The garage door guy complained about not being able to find quality (reliable) help anymore. And, the electrician complained about the guys that are asking for a job aren't worth crap, and the guys he tries to hire, want $40/hr. (which is high for around here) A family friend that does "handy-man" work, no experience needed, had similar complaints. The common denominator was that they all have depended on younger workers. That source is drying up. I don't know what the answer is.
 
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holligl

Find the road less traveled...
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A few weeks ago it developed a slight misfire so I asked the S/M about it, he suggested a fuel filter change and I authorized them to do it as it was due anyway. That didn't cure the miss (I expected that) so they then suggested it needed a fuel additive.
The fuel filter was $84, the special Chrysler fuel additive was $27.23. The bill was $479.03, including $55.11 tax. So................... to replace a fuel filter and pour a liter of additive into the fuel tank cost me $312.69 labour! (2.3 hrs) and the engine still has a misfire......................
Yeah, but that was $Canadian! You've probably been babying it and need to just blow the cobs out!

Seriously, GV550 has helped me in the past, and I appreciate both his skills and special tools. I may need to visit BC for my next valve adjustment. I'm not sure any dealers will still be in business by the time this virus is done. Half the ones within 50 miles of me closed last year.



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