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Thread: Review - NC700 Service Manual - Mark Barrett

  1. #1
    Bike: Waiting for NC to arrive
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Review - NC700 Service Manual - Mark Barrett

    I went looking for the official Honda Manual ( hard to get hold of in the UK - dealers very reluctant to sell them ) and found this instead.

    UK: Honda NC700 Service Workshop Owners Manual NC700S NC700SA NC700SD NC700X NC700XA | eBay

    US: Honda NC700 Service Workshop Owners Manual NC700S NC700SA NC700SD NC700X NC700XA | eBay

    What you get is a spiral bound manual of about 100 pages written by a guy who really knows his stuff. He's taken all the best practise from the actual manual, and re-ordered it to be lined up into specific tasks.

    So, there is a laid out, tested process to check valve clearances. Another to change the discs. Another to change the pads etc etc, rather than a true Workshops manual is which is usually laid out in terms of tasks - i.e how to lift off the cylinder head, and the mechanic threads the tasks together to get a specific job done.

    Every major and minor task that I can imagine doing in a home workshop is covered and is the best laid out manual of any of the cars and bikes I have had previously.
    Every process is laid out with a difficulty rating, an estimated time, followed by some commentary and then a well broken down step by step set of procedures, followed in all the cases of needing it with a method to test that the work has been completed properly and safely.

    I am an especially big fan of the commentary he gives before the step-by-steps. He clearly states where ever he is diverging from any practice which Honda set down, either because he's found a better way, or he's found a safer/more reliable way for the home mechanic. So, for example, he shows a longer process for checking and setting valve clearances than Honda themselves use, but there is much less risk of making a mistake and it's a lot less fiddly if you haven't done it 50 times before.

    If you are a guy who has been working on bikes for 30 years, you might find some of his methods a little conservative, and there might be too much detail for you, but you can quickly get to the few bits of information you need and work from there.

    The intro to the book also lays out some really good best practise for someone who hasn't done a lot of work on bikes and cars before. This covers everything from actual useful advice about putting a set of tools together on a budget ( where it's worth spending money on tools and where it's not) to how to tighten up a component with lots of nuts on it. This is the kind of stuff that you're dad taught you as a kid, but written down really clearly and concisely.

    The single best thing about the book is that he calls out where you should stop - he shows you how to get the bike safe enough to get it to a main dealer. This is something that I don't think I've seen many other books do - knowing when you're out of you're depth saves you an awful lot of money.

    If you've got any mechanical tendencies at all, this book is all you need to get into home maintenance of you're bike, even if you have no previous experience of it. If you are in that catorgary, start with the Level 1 processes, and when you get the confidence up, move to Level 2 and so on.

    There are a couple of downsides - it would be great if there were a few more pictures, and in some cases, it's hard to tell what the black and white picture is actually showing, although if you hold the image next to the bike itself it becomes obvious. I'm also not the biggest fan of the order in which some of the processes are laid out - for example, there are different brake maintenance tasks near the front, in the middle and near the end, rather than all grouped together in a section called "Brakes"
    Lastly, if you were going to be exceptionally picky, you could mention that he doesn't call out every single minor risk - for example he doesn't do things that a Haynes manual would do such as "WARNING!!! Using Brake Cleaner on Hot Brakes gives off fumes is potentially dangerous". Personally I like that - too much molly-coddling is making people go a little odd, but it might bother some people

    Aside from those couple of niggles, I can't say enough good things about this book. It has a place in pretty much NC700's owners garage I think.

    Note: I have no affiliation with the author or anything to do with him - I'm just very impressed by his book

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Review - NC700 Service  Manual - Mark Barrett 670cc's Avatar
    Bike: NC700X, GL1800, KLX140G, CRF250L Rally, Ruckus 50
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    If this is the same manual, here is previous discussion from July 22 thread:

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  3. #3
    Senior Member AdamW's Avatar
    Bike: NC700X DCT
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    San Francisco
    Steve, thanks for a well-written and thoughtful review. This sounds like exactly what I need to learn some basic maintenance tasks such as changing the oil/filter and adjusting the chain.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mike Cash's Avatar
    Bike: NC700X (Red, manual, ABS)
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    I've been meaning to write a review of it when I got the time, but you did a far better job of it than i could.

    I will just add that following the manual I quickly and easily pulled the front wheel for a tire change, despite never having done anything like that in my life before. The manual is well worth the price and is perfect for those of us with little to no experience doing our own maintenance tasks.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Review - NC700 Service  Manual - Mark Barrett FlaNC700X's Avatar
    Bike: NC700XC
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Sunny Ft.Lauderdale, Florida
    I'll wait for Lee's manual!
    John B.

    Previous Bikes- XS 400 Yamaha (77), Honda Hawk (78), Honda CB500 , Honda CB600 Custom, Honda GL500, Nighthawk S, FZR 750 Yamaha, CB600F4i, VFR 800, NC700x. National Spearfishing Competitor.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by FlaNC700X View Post
    I'll wait for Lee's manual!
    Is he actually doing one or was this tongue in cheek?

  7. #7
    Supporting Vendor Review - NC700 Service  Manual - Mark Barrett
    Review - NC700 Service  Manual - Mark Barrett
    johnakay's Avatar
    Bike: tracer 700
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    United Kingdom
    just to say that I've bought one.
    it is well thought out and ideal for beginners.
    most of it for us experience guys is not much use to us.
    a lot of it is set out in a methodical order for those who know very little mechanical wise to which is ideal.
    and because if it simple explanation I would recommend it but not to those who have done mechanical work themselves.
    If I wanted to make a life-long career out of
    working with the mentally retarded I would
    have opened a Harley Davidson Dealership

  8. #8
    Member Review - NC700 Service  Manual - Mark Barrett rjcrtc's Avatar
    Bike: 2012 NC700X
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Kansas City
    Just received the Mark Barrett service manual and I am very happy with what I received. This manual, along with this forum will help me to do a lot of the basic maintenance and repairs myself. I also bought the Honda Service Manual, but for me it is very technical. Not sure I will get much use from it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Joe A.'s Avatar
    Bike: 2012 NC 700X Moto Guzzi Jackal, Moto Guzzi Quota, GL1100 Goldwing
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Livonia NY
    I really appreciate the well written, and apparently objective review. I do my own basic maint., but this would be valuable to me. just ordered it and should have it in a aweek or so. thanks again.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Review - NC700 Service  Manual - Mark Barrett belrix's Avatar
    Bike: 2012 Silver NC700X
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    South-East Kansas
    Thanks for review and the link! I will be ordering a copy next week. I'm fairly good with basic maintenance on cars but totally new to motorcycles. This manual looks to be of great value to me.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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