If you like motorcycles and you like puzzles, dealer setup might be the job for you—it’s basically like putting together a life-sized mechanical puzzle. All the parts are most likely in the box that comes from the manufacturer; all you have to do is put them in place, take the battery and throw it on a charger, fill fluids, and tweak as necessary. Sounds simple enough, right?
Youtuber Duke of DC talked to the helpful staff at Woods Cycle Country, who kindly led him through the assembly process of a brand new 2019 Suzuki DR-Z400SM. As you might expect, dealer setup can be more or less involved depending on the type of bike you’re working on. In Woods’ experience, big Kawasaki cruisers have traditionally taken the most time to assemble. The DRZ, meanwhile, is somewhere in the middle in terms of time. Total time for proper, careful setup can take anywhere from one and a half to four hours.
Among the other things that Woods revealed: shipping crates that bikes come in often get damaged in shipment, so they’re usually trashed/recycled after bikes are assembled and can’t be reused. Occasionally, there are animals that sneak into the crates during shipment, including raccoons. Most important to know as a rider is the fact that most brake rotors on new bikes are shipped from manufacturers with a protective coating that must be removed before you can expect to use them to, uh, stop. Your dealer should remove this during setup, but if you have any questions about it, just ask.
Everything else really is like a giant puzzle, but with torque wrenches and extra care taken with shiny bits. Not damaging a bike’s front rim when the dealer hoists the bike up to attach it, hook up the speedo, and get everything right and tight so the bike is safe and to manufacturer specs before you take delivery of it is of particular importance. This is also the point where some dealers might take the bike’s battery and hook it up to a charger so it’s ready to go when you pick up your new ride.
Reflectors, fenders, mirrors, controls, reservoirs—basically, every bit of your bike gets touched (and torqued, and adjusted for ergonomics) by your dealer before you take it home. Generally speaking, most bike mechanics are also enthusiasts—but it’s always reassuring to know that we have our own looking out for us at all levels.