The manual I’m talking about isn’t the owner’s manual you get with the bike, but the actual manual that professional mechanics use (or should be using). These mechanics work at OEM dealerships and reference these manuals to work on bikes day in and day out. There is no substitute for an OEM manual in terms of completeness. While other companies attempt to recreate OEM manuals in whole or in part, or combine many different model years together, I personally have not seen an aftermarket manual that rivals an OEM manual in quality, accuracy, and completeness.
Getting your hands on an OEM manual shouldn’t be too hard. There are several ways to go about this. First, if you visit your local dealership most of them will be happy to sell you a service manual. Some dealers will even be able to offer you the manual in print or pdf form. Print manuals usually run from $25 - $100 dollars depending on the manufacturer selling the manual. The age of the machine also has an influence on price and for older models the manuals can be a bit cheaper.
The internet is your next best friend for getting your hands on a manual. While I don’t condone piracy, there are plenty of legitimate options on the internet for obtaining a manual. Almost all manufacturers have a dedicated page or website devoted to service and owner’s manuals. These sites will either have options to buy, download, or point you in the right direction so you can get one. In addition to the manufacturers’ sites, try searching sites such as Ebay and Amazon. Usually manuals in either print or digital format will turn up on these sites and can be purchased from a private party.
Check out the list below for links to OEM service manuals.
Online Service Manual Sources
Honda - https://www.helminc.com/
Yamaha - https://www.yamahapubs.com/
Kawasaki - http://www.kawasaki.com/OwnerCenter
Suzuki - https://www.genuinesuzukimanuals.com/
KTM - https://www.ktm.com/service/manuals/
Google is another good search tool that can be used to track down service manuals. If I wanted a manual for a Honda CRF450 I might try the following search terms.
Honda CRF450 Service Manual pdf
Honda CRF Service Manual
Honda CRF 450 Manual
Adding the pdf to the end of the search term will indicate to Google that you are looking for a specific file type. It has done the trick for me quite a few times!
The resources I’ve provided should get you heading in the right direction but are by no means a complete list of places to obtain an OEM manual. If you have places to get a service manual you would like to share or want to provide your own tips on finding service manuals please leave a comment below.
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