Thursday, February 1, 2018

Harley Davidson University


As Indians motorcycles and scooters or what we call two wheelers are just second nature to us. When I gave my test for my car license the authorities looked at me and said of course you can ride a bike and ticket the box for both. It’s just a given it’s like second nature to us.

But the funny part is it’s not second nature to us to fix our own motorcycles. There are so many roadside mechanics over and above the trained company ones that it’s just cheaper and faster to take your bike to one of them hand them the keys and come back when the work is done.

Ok let’s be honest I have spent many years riding motorcycles and spent many many days at mechanics and at Garage 52 watching stuff being done but never have I had a chance to take apart and rebuild and engine. So when Harley Davidson India invited me the attend two days at the Harley Davidson University learning to tearing down and building up a brand new Milwaukee Eight engine I jumped to it.

The Harley Davidson University is a school for all Harley Davidson technicians to come and learn and hone their skills. It was a first that a group of 40 odd motorcyclists (who don’t work for Harley Davidson) would be allowed in and allowed to run amuck.

To keep us in check they called in the big guns John McEnaney. An employee with Harley Davidson for almost 20 years he helped set up the India service operations and was technical lead for the longest time. When I asked him what bikes he had he said “every Harley since 42 and I rebuilt me all and they run” (it was some year like that I had a few beers in me when we had this conversation). So no better person to guide us in this operation.

We were given a new bench, a full set of tools, the official manual, step by step instructions by John and two of Harley India’s best mechanics to help us through the two days. John was a trooper he explained every step and came and lent a hand every now and then. Even when we snapped the bolt to the timing chain - because someone may have torqued it too much. He stood there took a deep breath and told us not to worry carry on but to put the torque wrench away as we were done for the day.

The two days on the bench working on those engines was such a brilliant experience all motorcyclists need to have specially here in our county. Thank you Harley Davidson for letting us be a part of it. Now to get some shut eye as I am riding at the crack of dawn to Goa for the 6th IHR and incidentally I am riding a new Milwaukee Eight Street Bob with the engines I now know how to put together. 

So if I break it I can fix it. 

But let’s hope I don’t have to.