A Day in the Life of a Motorcycle Service and Customization Shop: Helping Customers Keep the Rubber Side Down

Talking bikes all day.

2 p.m.
After answering a few more phone calls and setting parts aside, it’s back to the parts for the custom bike. After going through a couple of catalogs, I find something close to what I need. I run the part number and just so happen to have it in stock. The parts are almost perfect, but still require modifying. A quick trip to the machine shop and I make a few new holes in the sideplates. Next we have to get them put on the fender so we can fit them for a sissy bar. While the tech is installing the plates I go back to the parts department to try to find a bar to fit the custom fender and support plates. More customers are at the counter, but mostly for small and easy jobs like oil changes and accessory dress-ups.

3:45 p.m.
After wrapping things up with the last customer at the counter, I answer the call from a stranded customer whose battery went dead a few miles away — the problem is we just sold him a new battery a week ago. I offer to have the bike picked up and brought to the shop free of charge, but had a feeling that he may have a problem with his charging system. I inform him that I will put a new battery in when it gets back here, but would like the bike to be checked out. But since its late in the day, I can’t get the bike looked at until tomorrow. I send out one of the porters to pick-up the customer and the bike, and then I get back to finding the sissy bar.

I find one that will work if we add spacers to the sideplates. The hard part is done, now I just have to find a backrest that will look good with this custom. As soon as I finish that, the stranded customer arrives with his bike.

I put the new battery in and explain to the customer that I will put the "faulty" battery on the charger overnight so I can bench test it and give him a call tomorrow with the results. He is happy that his bike starts and will get him back on the road tonight.

5:30 p.m.
Time to start getting ready for tomorrow by making more notes and reminders about tasks I could not get to. The Shovelhead parts will have to be located and ordered first thing in the morning. The parts for the Softail should be here tomorrow morning, so hopefully we can finish that up and get the bike back to the owner on time.

6:55 p.m.
It’s closing time and we go through our nightly routine of cleanup, counting the cash registers, totaling up sales and making sure all the paperwork and money is in order. The radio is turned off, doors are locked and the lights are shut off, and we will be back tomorrow to tackle more projects and do it all over again.

Kris Grate, Parts and Customization Specialist, Uke's Harley-Davidson, Kenosha, Wis.

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