How to Assemble Motorcycles

by Don Bowman

There are many reasons and situations where it is necessary to assemble a motorcycle, including damage due to an accident, a need for a fresh rebuild, customizing and painting. The process remains the same for all bikes. It must be done in a certain order and requires a certain amount of mechanical aptitude. Only basic tools are needed; however a motorcycle lift or some appliance is needed to raise and hold the cycle securely.

Raise and support the frame securely. Install the front fork assembly by greasing the bearings then pushing the large stud on top of the fork assembly through the hole in the frame and putting Locktight fluid (which keeps bolts from vibrating loose) on the top threads. Tighten the retaining nut just enough so there is no up or down movement. Tighten the nut another 90 degrees.

Install the rear tire by installing the drive belt or chain over the sprocket prior to putting the wheel between the swing arm. Move the wheel adjuster so that it is three quarters of the way forward and tighten the axle bolt so that it is snug. Make sure the tires are aired up at this point.

Install the fenders and foot rests using nuts and bolts in the appropriate holes on the side of the frame.

Install the wiring harness with the solenoid close to the battery and the pigtails in their proper location. The taillight plugs go on top of the rear fender, and the generator wiring hangs down by the center post. Place the igniter either on the rear fender where it will be covered by the seat or on the side of the battery. The coil wiring is installed under the top forward frame rail that houses the gas tank. Install the coils under the tank location and bring the rest of the harness forward around the fork to the headlight. It will be plugged into the fuse block in the headlight, and the remainder of the harness is for the throttle side for the starter switch and the manual engine cut-off switch. The other side is for the turn signals, horn and lights. Holes are provided in the frame for all components.

Install the handlebars and risers on the top of the fork in the holes provided with large nuts and bolts. Install the headlight in the holes provided on the fork with proper sized nuts and bolts, then plug in the electrical connectors to the fuse block.

Install the throttle on the handlebar by pushing it on and clamping it down, then hook the wiring into the switches. Hook up the wire for the brake light on the right handlebar. Install the clutch handle by pushing it on the handlebar and tightening the clamp. Plug in the wiring on the left handlebar.

Install the brake support and caliper on the front wheel with appropriate sized bolts in the holes provided. Install the brake hose to the master cylinder on the throttle by pushing the hose through the provided hole and tightening the banjo bolt.

Bring the speedometer cable up alongside the fork and lay it close to the frame near the tank location. Install the taillight, rear turn signals and front turn signals in the holes provided on the frame. Plug in the respective plugs on the wiring harness.

Install the engine in its cradle by lining it up to the motor mounts and bolting it in. Bolt the carburetor to the engine, then attach the cables from the throttle and choke to their respective places on the carburetor. Bolt the header pipes pipes to the engine, then bolt the mufflers to the header pipes.

Install the battery and hook the negative cable end to the engine block. Hook up the connectors to the generator and regulator. Install the hot wire to the starter from the right side terminal of the starter solenoid to the main singular terminal on the starter. Put the nut on the connections.

Install the fuel tank and the hoses to the carburetor. Install the speedometer cable and the tack at this time. Install the chain or belt to the primary drive sprocket and adjust the rear tire to put tension on the belt and check the wheel alignment between the swing arm. Tighten the rear wheel hub bolt and nut securely.

Install the rear caliper and hose to the master cylinder. Put the brake pedal on and set the adjustment and the brake switch. Bleed the brakes.


  • check Most wiring is color-coded.

About the Author

Don Bowman has been writing for various websites and several online magazines since 2008. He has owned an auto service facility since 1982 and has over 45 years of technical experience as a master ASE tech. Bowman has a business degree from Pennsylvania State University and was an officer in the U.S. Army (aircraft maintenance officer, pilot, six Air Medal awards, two tours Vietnam).

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