Winter Motorcycle Wrenching & Sharing

Some of our readers are world-class mechanics, others are weekend tinkerers, and some would rather ride than pick up a wrench.

I know we still have some great riding season left in most parts of the country. But the early morning chill in the air around here often leads me to start thinking about off-season projects for when my bike is hibernating in the garage.

As editor-in-chief of this magazine for more than 20 years, I have been privileged to meet and learn about a lot of our readers. All of you are passionate about your motorcycle, or you would not be reading American Iron Magazine. I recognize that some of our readers are world-class mechanics, others are weekend tinkerers, and some would rather ride than pick up a wrench. As far as I’m concerned, who works on your bike is your business. But if your winter plans include some shop time with your Harley, I’d like to suggest including someone with fewer mechanical skills than you.

Do you remember the first time an old timer showed you how to spin a wrench, change a tire, or customize your bike? Remember how daunting it was? Hopefully, you took a deep breath and did it anyway — without doing any damage. For me, it was at a local aftermarket shop near where I went to school. I first reluctantly laid wrench to my pride and joy because I knew there was a more experienced wrench looking over my shoulder. Well, I have a news flash: you could be that more experienced wrench to the next generation rider and/or wrench. When is a better time than now to share your mechanical knowledge and pass on your skills? And, if you do it right, you get someone else to help work on your bike for free.

One suggestion is to encourage your kids, nephews (or nieces), or even a neighborhood teen with a dirtbike, bicycle, or skateboard to join you in the garage and share your motorcycle passion. In addition to passing on your skills and knowledge, you might have turned another young person on to motorcycling. Once he picks up a wrench and does it himself, his skills and self-image might improve.

And just because you’ve been riding and wrenching for more years than you’d like to admit, don’t think you know it all. Whenever possible, I like to watch friends work on their bikes as I often learn some clever trick or new way to find or fix an issue.

The gift-giving holiday season is coming on fast, and we’ve got a great deal where you can give a gift and get a gift, too! If you are wondering what to give your riding buddies, may I suggest a year-long gift they’re sure to appreciate. Buy them a gift subscription to any or all of our three motorcycle magazines: American Iron Magazine, Motorcycle Bagger, or RoadBike. A subscription to a great magazine lasts all year and costs less than an oil change for your Harley.

But wait, didn’t I mention something about a gift for you, too? You’ll get a $10 discount coupon for J&P Cycles with every $24.95 American Iron Magazine gift subscription you buy for a friend.

This coupon is good for your next order of $99 or more with J&P Cycles, one of the largest mail order companies in the world. It starts now for everyone in the US buying a gift subscription.

In spite of my passion for antique motorcycles, I am embracing the new social media technology and have been a regular on Facebook (Buzz Kanter) for awhile, and I’ve\ started to tweet (I can’t believe I just typed that) @BuzzKanter. I am exploring these as two more ways for you to keep up with my motorcycle adventures and also to let me know about yours.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.

Buzz Kanter  
American Iron Magazine