About

What’s up everyone? Welcome to the (HTMR) How-To Motorcycle Repair Blog!

This site is all about showing people How-To repair and maintain your own motorcycle. I put together step by step videos and blog posts with as much information as possible to help you with your project. I don’t pay shops $100 per hour to fix my bike, and neither should you. It’s the only way I can afford this awesome hobby!

So read my story below and make sure to sign up for my newsletter which will notify you when new How-To’s come out.

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My Story

My name is Matthew Bochnak, and I have been a motorcycle enthusiast for as long as I can remember. I believe I was nine when I rode my first ATV. I would have started at an earlier age if the choice was mine, however it’s really hard to convince your parents that you need a dirt bike.

I didn’t actually own a motorcycle until I was thirteen years old. My brother and I bought a real rough 1984 Yamaha YZ80 for $180. Everything was going great until two weeks later the motor blew up. The repair bill ran $600, which was a ton of dough for a kid my age. Do you know how many burgers I had to flip to pay my parents back? I decided right there and then it would be a good idea to start educating myself on how to repair and maintain my own motorcycles.

So when I decided it was time to learn, the only resource I had was a Clymer service manual. It was the mid 90’s, and the internet was not well established like it is today. In fact, I don’t think we had the internet until 96’ or 97’, I can’t remember. Also, at the age of fourteen, chances are you aren’t going to know any mechanics or have any friends that can guide you.

Learning by myself was definitely NOT easy. I made mistakes left and right. I did hurt myself and set things on fire by accident from time to time. As time went on, I became more confident, experienced, and smarter (I bought a fire extinguisher). I eventually found motorcycle repair & maintenance to be rewarding and enjoyable (well most times anyway). It came to a point where all my friends where asking me for my help with their motorcycles.

I was an average student in High School, goofed off quite a bit and not really sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. My favorite classes were drafting/CAD, metal shop, & auto shop. I eventually narrowed down two occupations, motorcycle technician or mechanical engineer. My father works as a mechanical engineer, so I thought it would be pretty cool to follow in his footsteps. I must admit, at the time, I was intimidated by how hard college would be. Afterall, I thought that motorcycle repair was easier than math and science.

Senior year in high school I was hooked up with a job at an independent motorcycle shop who specialized in Harleys and machining. I only worked there on Saturdays since it was located forty five minutes away. I basically started with tasks such as sweeping the floor and spreading oil dry under the leaky Harleys! The shop owner is probably the best mechanic I have ever met, his attention to detail blew my mind. One of the most beneficial perk of the job was the time he took to explain repairs to me, I definitely learned things I would have never learned on my own.

As I neared HS graduation, I looked back at all the jobs I had: mowing lawns, flipping burgers at a fast food joint, ACE hardware cashier/stock boy, Lube Pro’s oil change station, Just Tires tire mounting, snow plowing with a bobcat, and the Harley shop mentioned above. Wow, seven jobs before graduation!

Immediately after high school I landed a job at a motorcycle dealer as a pre-delivery inspector. I was stoked, however there was a small problem: I wasn’t eighteen yet! I was promised this position the day I received my motorcycle license. After my birthday in mid-June, I started this gig full time. A pre-delivery inspector’s responsibilities are to give all new and used bikes a once over before they are sold. The best part of this job was the test ride, which lasted five miles or more. I loved showing up to work only to ride brand new Ducati’s, Aprilla’s, and all the Japanese models. I easily logged thirty miles on a good day! After a few short weeks, I was given more responsibility, such as tire changes, carburetor work, and brake system repairs.

Once summer ended, I quit the PDI gig at the dealer and enrolled into the mechanical engineering program at the local community college. I started a new job as an intern in an engineering department filing and revising 2D prints. I spent three years at the community college before I transferred into the Aerospace Engineering program at University of Illinois in Champaign. As you may not know, UofI is rated as one of the top ten engineering schools in the country. It was NOT easy for me to get admitted. I worked my butt off to get good grades! To top it off, I sold all my motorcycles in order to help pay for tuition!

After college graduation in December 2004, I packed my things and headed west. After all, where are all the Aerospace jobs? California! Many of my classmates did the same. Now, I moved with my wife (girlfriend at the time) since she was able to land a contract with a mobile healthcare company who set us up with free housing. Yes, you read that right, it was a free ride!

After a year and a half out west, we moved back to our hometown, in the NW burbs of Chicago. We were now married, and she wanted a home and I wanted a garage, and both wanted to start a family! So we decided to have three beautiful children!

Nowadays I work as a full time Mechanical Engineer by day, and repair motorcycles from my home garage by night. After pushing around a PC mouse all day, and spending quality time with the family, on occasion I like to escape out to the garage for some alone time. Don’t we all?

I started this site with the hopes of helping people, as people have helped me along the way. It will also be a great way to discuss the same interests as others.

So that is my story in a nutshell, thanks for reading,

Matthew Bochnak

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