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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do you do it? What's it been like?

I've only really built one bike, and make a few big changes to my Ducati, but it's always been a fairly solitary experience. I've not really got any friends who are mechanically inclined and the few people i know who ride don't tinker with their bikes. I've had a few drunken deals with friends, told them to drop by the garage, have a few beers and help out, but in the cold light of day it's not happened.

In the final week of the Winter Build-off i had my parents visiting the city (we live about 200 miles apart) and at that stage the bike was fully broken down. My dad wanted to help, knows his way around a bike so came and helped me get the frame back on, mounted the subframe again and the swingarm, got it back to this stage:



So a good day's work, but all-in it was a fairly frustrating experience. Just tripping over each other a bit, finding him busy work, just not really able to fall into my usual rhythm and flow (probably didn't help we were a teeny bit hung-over). It was great building something with my dad, i'm glad we did it, it's just that seemed to be more work (other than the heavy lifting) rather than less work like i was expecting.

My brother is visiting this weekend and i was thinking about things to do and once again there is loads to do on the bike so was thinking about getting a helping hand. Just not sure if it's more hassle than it's worth after my last experience.

Anyone else do it regularly? Do you enjoy it? Should i give it another shot?
 

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i cant fart
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Had my little brother helping me out for a month or so around the garage, I just ended up yelling at him most of the time. Other than at the track, tire warmers on/off, bike on/off the stand it was just frustrating and wasted time.
 

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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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Not a regular thing, but the couple of times I've gotten help with fabricating a part (machining, welding bits I wasn't up to, etc) its been great. I'm still noob enough there's things I can't do, and lots I can learn.

I've actually got a possible 'mentorship' type situation lined up for finishing my build, but that would be a really odd case, one time kind of thing. Seems totally worth it for me.

I think the necessary conditions for something like that to work include being willing to learn from (or take time to teach) the other person, having clear boundaries as to who makes what decisions (IE, design choices, task order, etc). Plus your shop has to be set up to support it; the space where I do my work is a often messy and disorganized, or even outright broken, but its BIG, and laid out with multi-person projects / teaching situations in mind as the default.
 

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I haven't ever built a bike with someone but from time to time I'd invite a friend over and we'd drink and do some shit. My mechanically inclined friend, working with him was awesome, we swapped a motor like nothing and we're always working on each others shit for fun. But everyone else really just makes it frustrating unless they're just sitting there talking me.

I can't stand someone bringing their ego around trying to correct and instruct when they're never even worked on a bike and know how nothing works. It really slows the whole process down and just makes for a real frustrating experience. That's repairing a bike, building one will be different; if I were you I'd delegate tasks and let them help whenever with things they're capable of but keep the decision making to yourself.
 

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I've done it with bikes and cars.

One buddy has a Monster, he is not mechanically inclined, but wants to help me fix and modify his bike. It is always frustrating to work with him and takes forever. I have significantly scaled back the work I am willing to do with him, it is just not worth it.

Another buddy is putting a Subaru motor in an old bug. Working with him on that is great and we make really good progress each time. He knows that I know what I am doing, and I don't question his vision. I'll do any of the work he asks and I'll give my input once, if he doesn't like it then I do as he asks. I ask him to check out the work I've done before I proceed to the next task. It works the same way when he helps me with my bike. He knows what I am working toward and knows what things I want to do myself. He knows where all my tools are, and I trust him to use them correctly and not abuse them.

I think the sucess of working with somebody else on YOUR stuff hinges on the other person/people having the same "modify everything" mindset as you do. That really seems to be the issue I run into when working with other people. I would trust most CFers to work with me on my bike because I know they know tools and know what the end product should be.
 

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DW is all that matters
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Just a few but they always want to fast forward to the 'ride' part. I've never found they have patience to work on something, just fifteen minutes and then, 'hey can I take the other bike around the block a few times,.....?'
 

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lb/hp is what it's about!
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I'm the most mechanically inclined of my local group of friends so whenever anyone stops by to help they usually find a stool and park themselves off to the side and just keep me company until there is grunt work I need help with. Doing anything else just frustrates me. On the upside I have taught 4 people how to weld, 5 people how to use a bandsaw and grinder, 1 person how to run a mill, 2 people how to run a lathe, 3 people how to use a plasma cutter, and 3 people how to use a ratchet. I trust some to help bolt simple things on but I don't like it when other people fabricate things for my projects because I typically have to redo it anyway because I get a little OCD about having things symmetrical and curves blended together correctly.
 
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I tend to build alone most of the time as i enjoy it more that way but i do have a couple of good friends who help with the heavy lifting when needed, one of those mates has the mechanical knowledge of a cabbage but sometimes comes up with great off the wall solutions to problems i find

Having had the irritating experiance of building for other people purely for the cash i can say if i was to do it again i would first have to find a really good place to hide the bodies
 

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Stupid motherfucker
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I'll often have the old man come park himself in the shed while I'm working on our bikes or something, it's nice when you're just bolting stuff on or measuring stuff up but when welding and grinding it's a bit of a drag. I just take it as an opportunity to catch up, talk some shit, drink some brews, and simultaneously get a little more work done. It's good that at least he knows not to get in my way.
 

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Triple nutter
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Being the most fabrication-inclined person out of all your friends can be a major bummer when you're looking for help to try finishing something quicker. Like pariah said, I think you usually just have to set realistic expectations when working with others. My brother is about the only other person I can work with in a super efficient manor, and we never get to work on anything together cos he lives 90 miles away. He's the only person I know who can work like a clone of myself. That's the problem, we all want clones of ourselves to work with.

Cookie, I say give it a shot with your brother if he's stoked about it, but don't put big expectations on progress. Pay attention and get a feel for how he works, that'll make task delegation much easier. Good luck bud
 

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Remi's Dad
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my wife helps me out a little in the shop. She mostly sits in her chair and drinks a glass of wine.

My cousin and my buddy caleb are about the only people i can work with and work well together. We all have about the same fab skills/ mechanical ability. We can usually work from a "to do list" checking off things and moving on to something else without getting in each others way.

I don't mind having a bunch of people tackle a project to get it going. We've done that the past two years at the Midwest Fighter Fest get-together

ahks and Ammaiden put the 600 oil boiler back into the quad-tana


i know it's cliche to say,"it's about the journey rather than the destination". but i enjoy building bikes more than riding them really. Getting to share the experience helps my patience grow, among other things, i also have another thought process that could help my build in good ways.
 

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Wannabe
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A couple of years back I became friends with a machinist who also liked to race. Every Saturday we'd get together in his garage and combine our skills sets. Me being a mechanic and him being a machinist with mechanical background things went well.

We each had our project bikes (race bikes) and we'd sit down at the start of the day over a cup of coffee and a bagel then discuss our goals for the next 8 hours. If one of us needed to do something that required two people we'd buckle down and work together to get it done. If we each had our own thing we could do we'd do that. And sometimes we'd look at one bike decide that each of us was able to do two different things. Those things would be mutually exclusive... eg one of us bolting up the front while the other modifies the subframe.

I think the real key to us working so well together is that while our skill sets different, but as a result of our training there was a... crossover as machinists need mechanical skills, and mechanics need machinists skills. So we were on a nearly level playing field when the work started.




I've also had people come over and try to give me a hand in my garage now that I have ones. Those who have a clue what's going on are great to have around. But there are always those that don't even know which end of a wrench to turn. So long as they stay out of the way and just watch I'm happy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm glad I asked, cool hearing peoples individual takes on it. Generally it seems family is what people find easiest to deal with. But if you have to work with anyone it sounds like most agree it's best to just tinker rather than working at speed toward a deadline..... Keep them coming!

UF - I'm pretty jealous, my missus has zero interest in coming anywhere near the garage. Even for wine drinking.

Oh, and Mike, did you offend this guy or something?

It works the same way when he helps me with my bike. He knows what I am working toward and knows what things I want to do myself. He knows where all my tools are, and I trust him to use them correctly and not abuse them.
'Cos he's done like no work to your bike in about a year. Maybe you should apologise or something? Flowers? Dunno, something anyways. :D
 

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UF - I'm pretty jealous, my missus has zero interest in coming anywhere near the garage. Even for wine drinking.
Maybe because your garage is freezing and has no electricity?

Oh, and Mike, did you offend this guy or something?

'Cos he's done like no work to your bike in about a year. Maybe you should apologise or something? Flowers? Dunno, something anyways. :D
Hmm, he is slacking, I'll talk to him about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

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In my experience I generally work alone on my projects.Find it goes better that way.If I do need help I will ask the missus.She has helped to build a couple of motors with me.Piston into barrels carry on etc.She has an interest and asks questions.For a female she is quite mechanically inclined as her brother taught her a lot when she was young.
She will ask and then takes it in.Some of my friends think they know more than they actually do and generally piss me off.Hence the reason I do most stuff alone in the garage with a whisky and tunes going....
 

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Stupid motherfucker
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I make a bit of extra cash on the side, wrenching for a local club. I advertise myself at half the price of a normal shop, and I come out to your shed to do the work. Lots of guys like that because they get a chance to keep an eye on what's going on with their ride, get to know it a little more, and learn something new. I love teaching too, so I don't mind at all helping these guys out. I do however draw the line at helping. You can pull the tank off, undo the seat, whatever, but once we're into the stuff that you're paying me for, you sit and watch and listen if I tell you something. It generally works out well, if they've got the time to sit and watch then they probably don't have the skills to do it themselves, and if they know enough to second guess what I'm doing, then they probably don't have the time to do it themselves or sit and watch what I'm doing.
 

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always a work in progress
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The only guy I'm really willing to work-with, is my father-in-law. He and I think the same way, we get each other, and he's a master mechanic.

Working with other people is frustrating. But it could be that they're not mechanically inclined and I'm more "teaching" them how to do things (like cleaning carbs) instead of really working to accomplish something.
 

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On my own bikes....It's only me. I trust no one to touch anything of mine...every bike or car I have owned has had a matching factory shop manual on my shelf. I have had others do work though (mount tires/bore cylinders/rebuild cranks...) Other people do bring stuff for me to fix, and sometimes they do some of the dirty work (literally) but nothing remotely technical...
I actually like the time alone in the garage for a little peace...no ones issues to hear about, or problems to constantly solve for others.

My dad was the only one I would allow to mess with anything of mine....he taught me most of what I know, but he's been gone now for almost 10 years. And my kids never showed interest in playing in the garage much, regardless of their ages.

My girlfriend does come out in the garage to hang out occasionally, she loves the gas and two stroke oil smells that constantly linger... Usually with a beer instead of wine though:drinks:
 
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