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Keeping up with service changes is important

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Since Road and Sport opening its original used motorcycle sales and service store in 1978, the changes in how motorcycles are serviced are astounding says Road and Sport co-owner Barry Sproule,

“In the Seventies, there might have been old and seizing clutch and throttle cables hanging vertically, and every morning the apprentice would feed drops of Penetrene or light oil down inside the casing to eventually free them up. We hoped they’d work again, as did our customers.”

Mechanics had excellent skills with every tool from a hammer to a micrometer, but workshop electrics were limited to a voltmeter and not much else.

One thing Barry has always had in the service area was – and still is – a fully operational, well equiped service workshop, using the latest technology equipment and recently with the addition of a digital machine lathe, replacement or custom parts can now be repaired or made from scratch with thousandth-of-an-inch accuracy in house.

The all-encompassing change since then is the computerisation of the motorcycles, and the diagnostic tools and equipment.

“Today our diagnostic computers, proprietary units built, programmed, supplied and updated by Harley-Davidson, can tell us nearly everything about a motorcycle’s operation,” Barry says. “It saves a customer so much time! Most faults can be identified instantly and accurately, and these factory H-D computers are only at authorised Harley dealers.”

Barry’s early history in motorcycling was in service departments, and he still keeps abreast of each new engine and motorcycle as they’re released. “Technician training is everything. Our techs must be factory certified, and their training from the Motor Company is ongoing… almost endlessly,” Barry says.

After a great deal of effort and training, technicians can reach master level from Harley-Davidson’s own Harley-Davidson University (H-DU).

The existence of H-DU at all shows how seriously the factory is about dealership service departments being the best in the industry, Barry says.

“Even a master level technician is continually required to upgrade and re-certify, not just on diagnostics and engines, but for the entire motorcycle… brakes, suspension, everything.”

Road and Sport’s three recent Dealer of the Year awards show that the store’s technician training, performance and customer feedback are indeed working together to create a reliable, top quality service department.

There are other arrows in the Road and Sport service arsenal too. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, the machine shop is now using the latest digital lathe, and other best-quality machinery. That goes hand-in-hand with the next important part of the service are – building high-performance race and road engines and custom motorcycles.

This has always been a passion for Barry and the team. Complete engines, or Stage-Kits from Harley’s genuine performance brand Screamin’ Eagle, and from other reputable brands such as S&S, are being installed every week, as customers trust the dealership’s experience and ability in high performance work.

That’s also why there’s a Dynojet dynamometer in the store, for perfect computer-controlled tuning of high-performance engines. Barry and some of his staff regularly drag race their bikes (and win), partly to test performance parameters for future engine builds in-store, but mainly (of course) because it’s addictive fun!

The service equipment is replaced when necessary to ensure that it’s the best available. Not long ago the tyre changing machine and wheel balancer was swapped out for a new one, with features to prevent any damage to wheel rims, and of course precision computerised balancing.

Barry is adamant the key aspect of the success and quality of the Road and Sport service department is training, and care. Our service area is equipped with heat pumps for year round comfort and special rubber tiled flooring and exhaust extraction also helps to provide a very comfortable and safe working environment. 

“We train by following Harley’s lead, their innovations, their upgrades… and we add our own training from 44 years of experience and 32 years of Harley experience. Plus, we care. The motorcycles are someone’s pride and joy, and we never forget that. It will leave here better than it came in.”

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