Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Howdy. Many years ago I used to be Maxman Motorcycle Services of Stamford CT. That was before hardly anybody knew about the internet so you probably never heard of me but I apprenticed under Carlos Escudero of Motofixx (later Solomoto). We worked on whatever came in the door. It was a pretty good life.

Then for some stupid reason I decided to get a college degree. I really don't remember what possessed me to do so. I think I had an idea that if you have a college degree somebody hands you a cushy desk job with a big paycheck. Taht didn't work out too well for me but I started my own shop to get through it and that turned out to be a pretty smart idea.

I rented out 2000 feet of wharehouse space and built myself a cool bachealor pad in the back and 100% of my life was tax-deductable and so I got really favorable rates on the degree itself (it was a state university with a sliding-scale pay thing) and with the tax incentives for fist-year businesses and such at the time, I think I ended up paying like $1k out of pocket for books and such.

All I had to do, because we were on really good terms with every motorcycle shop within 100 miles was just show up and tell them "I'll take all the mopeds and scooters and junk you don't want to work on" and they were like "oh yes thank you, you are god, we hate mopeds".

How can you hate mopeds? Ya just ain't right in the head to hate mopeds. That's just wrong.

So I worked on Minarelli and Batavus and Puch and Peugeot and Sachs and Derbi and Tomos and Piaggio and Zundap and heavens knows how many others I forgot and I was considered pretty expert. I think I owe most of my reputation to this really snazzy Snap-On dial indicator. But it was kinda like working in the dark before internet let me tell you,

YOU GUYS HAVE SUCH COMPLETE TECH SPECS ON THINGS IT'S LIKE DREAMLAND. Half of what we were doing before all this info was trial and error. But now I look back in time after a career in technology, politics and business-building and I see that in many ways I was much more happy then than I am now.

Ain't that sad? I'm an old man that misses being the young kid that fixed mopeds. I remember how freaking important I felt having my very own shop. I felt like the king of the world! I had lots of friends come to my parties. We used to play these outrageous drunken moped-tag games. All the gals wanted to be with me and half the dudes wanted to be me. But the whole time I was just using mopeds to get something else I wanted which was the stupid degree.

They say to follow what you love in life. I'm here to tell you it's true in reverse: I could have stuck with what I loved but I didn't. I left the love of my life behind. But every year since I have heard a small, quiet voice calling to me and it says Puch. Puch. Puuuuuuuuuuuuuch.

So just the other day I bounce into the local thrift store and HELLO KITTY! It just came in the door and it went right back out pretty fast. It's the hobbled 1hp Sport MKII but it's complete and unrestored. Only thing I need for that is a petcock (currently shipping from those crazy guys at Treat). And naturally I'm looking for salvage parts. Think I might have found my guy already.

If there's any kind of advice I can give aspiring young wrenches who want to do what I did except for do it right, there's a way to kind of work the books. Get yourself a shop and build a secret apartment in the back so your rent, your phone, everything is all deductable. Then go for every tax advantage and SBA grants and stuff you can find. Being a young, honest and had working young wrench has lots of advantages because people basically respect you and try to help you out. I was the young kid working hard to get a college degree. People really helped me out.

And you do good work and you turn it around quick and ALWAYS CHARGE THEM UNTIL YOU SEE THEN WHINCE. YOU HAVE TO HURT THEIR WALLET TO GET RESPECT.

Now I guess it's been long enough to where I can make this admission but my shop had a sliding scale. If you showed up in a beat up old pickemup truck with 3 half naked kids and a dog you are getting a pretty good deal from me.

If you showed up in a BMW the price just went up. Show up in a Porsche and I'm taking me and everybody I know out to dinner. I never said so publicly before but I thought of it as my "Robinhood pricing structure". Steal from the rich, give the poor a break.

I guess with so few decent carreer fields available to young people these days, being a wrench is totally something to be! You work indoors, it's warm in the winter and cool in the summer, you get your boom box and an ash tray and a fridge full of beer. You are always, always necessary, your skills can take you anywhere in the world. And there's just TONS of pride and satisfaction in it. Plus I'm very happy to see that there is a MOPED ARMY and you are all happy and fun people.

Plus, as our nation seems to be intent on a collision course with economic reality, small and efficient is gonna be making a major come back. My advice on that front is to get into solar and electrics along with two strokes and such. There's only a few new methods to pick up in solar for the young wrench.

I'd like to see more young lady wrenches out there.

Your coveralls are your uniform and the grease on your brow is your badge of office. The wrench in your hand can be a weapon or an instrument of life. The stickers on your rollaway boxes literally catalog the story of your life and they will be your boxes even after you die.

If there is a God on this earth, it's the young wrench with his or her very own shop. Just do the one thing I didn't do. Stick with what you love in this world no matter what kind of promises the world makes to you. It's probably a bad trade.

Now I'm lucky if I can get the dog to hang out. I am no longer cool. Maybe I can regain just a bit of my coolness. I still got the piston stop and the flywheel puller and the dial indicator so another Puch is coming back from the dead. I'm gonna ride it. (edited)

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Wait so are you a chick or what? anyway cool story

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

TLDR

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Cosmo nPuch Stillstolen /

Prescott is where my brother went to college for a gunsmith degree.

I like it up there, but it's kinda 'spensive.

As for pricing: The more I charge, the more belligerent the customer gets. They usually call or email me after they've talked with my competition and are glad to pay what I charge.

The only "people" I jack up the price for are: Lawyers, property managers, house flippers, veterinarians, dentists and certain religions.

Edit: Oh and especially above all: insurance adjusters (edited)

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Awesome story and absolutely worth reading. I hope it inspires many.

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

†▲m †▲m /

Fuck you and your shady business practices.

Cosmo Sunburn Wrote:

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> Prescott is where my brother went to college for a

> gunsmith degree.

> I like it up there, but it's kinda 'spensive.

> As for pricing: The more I charge, the more

> belligerent the customer gets. They usually call

> or email me after they've talked with my

> competition and are glad to pay what I charge.

> The only "people" I jack up the price for are:

> Lawyers, property managers, house flippers,

> veterinarians, dentists and certain religions.

> Edit: Oh and especially above all: insurance

> adjusters

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

SkUG SkUGosarus /

Just cos I saved for years and years to buy the car of my dreams, doesnt mean i'm made of money and can afford top notch prices, (or the gas (petrol in the UK) to go in it!) chances are i'd fix the moped myself anyways...

Mind you... saying that - quote a price first, if people wanna pay it - they will

If the quality of your work is good - the word will spread, no need to advertise etc etc

My uncle used to be a builder, he'd quote high for jobs that he really didnt fancy doing... but because he had a good reputation (top notch bloke - RIP) people would pay him over the odds...

Thats alot of words, i think i'll go have a lay down

edit : what do you guys call gas (like nitrogen gas etc) if petrol is gas? *confused* (edited)

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

I guess with mopeds and scooters I kinda narrowed it down to 3 levers of service: your basic tune and service with the timing and all the cables and chains addressed and I think that was $150.00

But Stamford CT is at sea level and the salt air and the fact that most mopeds seem to sit neglected for years, a top-to-bottom fuels system reconditioning was my most popular ticket. So that's an acid-etch for the tank and the carb gets the dip and the new petcock and fuel line and inline fuel filter and the ignition timing and possibly the baffle burned out.

The trick to baffle-burning is i first got it light up with oxy-acetaline but one it's burning just feed it with straight 02. Anything with carbon in it wil burn off but it won't melt the aluminum.

So I think I was jamming out that level of service between $250-300. With great results! Customers said they ran better than new.

The final level of service was really about taking wrecks and doing major surgery but at a certain point, well I was selling the new Korados at the time and past $500 the customer is better served getting something new.

The Korado Puchs were so freaking fantastic! I was picking them up wholesale from American Jawa. I hope that piaggio group will bring it back and the Slovakian engineering was up to par in every way.

The acid etch I used was just 50% battery acid that I bought in 10 gallon increments.

My favorite parts wash for a while was mineral spirits but then I found out that citrus solvent works really well and it makes tha whole shop smell like tangerines. YUMMMMMM. My least favorite parts wash was one of those drums that you break out for the real seriously munged up carbs and it has like 20 pages of warning on the label along the lines of IF YOU USE THIS STUFF JUST GO AHEAD AND KISS YER ASS GOODBYE.

There is also this cheap fizzgig that you can pick up from Harbour Freight, a little mini spark plug bead blaster. Keep a B6HS in service for years. That and the dial-indicator for setting timing. Absolutely indispensable. You get the "one-kick wonder" every time.

My favorite wrench set for mopeds is the T-handle kit we used to get from K&L. Makes you faster than air tools without sneezing threads.

Some people want to know if I am a chick. If I am I sure got the wife and kids fooled.

RUBBER SIDE DOWN!

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

COOL.

STORIES.

BROS.

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Adrien Pearson /

I love this thread! i am a young guy my self and i love mopeds. I have a peugeot that isnt working right. its making a sound like metal on metal. and i believe its the bearings but i dont know.

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Moral of this story is KARMA...

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Patrick Keaton /

Let me see a picture of this T-handle wrench set by K&L for mopeds.

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Recovering gas-a-holic /

Getting old is a bitch.....I ride with guys and girls that could be my grand kids....Its all good though we are having fun and they don't seem to mind to much that I'm around....I wrench for therapy (recovering addict), I don't really like it, however I love to ride and ride fast....I love blasting all my Harley friends.......Your story made me sad, but I will recover because I've got a garage full of mopeds.....Rubber side down...

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

I enjoyed reading your story, thanks for sharing.

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Overpriced Parts /

1hp sport MKll ?

If it is a 1 hp za50 good luck with that restricted geared engine.

Prolly a 1.5hp you just don't know.

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

wHAT?????

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Cosmo nPuch Stillstolen /

@tomtom Fuck yourself, bitch.

I own my business so I can retain the right to refuse service and charge whatever I want to anyone.

Stay on food stamps. (edited)

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

So very nice story until I read the part about charging "certain religions" more.

Perhaps that is why your degree didn't work out as expected. Justice manifests itself in strange ways, call it Karma, call it divine intervention, call it luck. Maybe someone from that "certain religion" could have changed that.

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

got my posts jumbled misdirected Karma

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"-Wizrad of Oz

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

don't use piston stops.. rope does the trick.

2 posts on ma is not much credit. wiser words have been said.

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

There are other things to do with the rope.

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

i like this

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

There is some good advice here. Life is short. Do what you feel. If you have any questions about what you should do ask yourself how you would feel about it on your death bed. This guy may have discriminated against some religions because he thought they oppressed peoples free will or something stupid like that. You never know. I didn't like fucking fat girls for instance.

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Cosmo nPuch Stillstolen /

Indeed Flag,

Don't judge until you've walked a mile in that warrior's moccasins.

I love what I do for a living. It's a "green" profession, and that wasn't even my goal.

"Discriminate" is a tricky concept. Erudite consumers want clean healthy food. Discriminating against sketchy food sources is essential to survival. In the same vein, discriminating against those persons or institutions that would hobble, squelch or destroy income, or the opportunity to earn income, is also essential to survival.

To clarify- I refuse any and all work from governments and insurance companies outright. I leave that work for my competition and their rapacious, discriminating attitude toward all customers. Tho, I will charge my maximum to insurance agents and adjusters along with the aforementioned professions and religions (Edit: In private, person-to-person transactions). I said before I have the right to charge whatever I want and I exercise that right with near religious fervor. My prices are always quoted, usually in writing as a low to high range before I start. Any deviation or additional charges are always upon the pre-approval from the customer(s)

Everyone has seen the sign in bars or shops that state: Prices are subject to change according to the customer's attitude.

BTW I've done thousand dollar jobs for some folks on my shit list ---for free. Some of those people were punished enough by life/karma/employers and I still have a softie heart. It's the arrogant, the pushy, the whining and the greedy that pay the most, whatever their religion, color or nationality. (edited)

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

You certainly do have the right to make any agreed upon price for whatever reasons suit you. That is a foundation of free enterprize. The caveat is, you, and all of us for that matter, will eventually answer to a much higher authority.

What are the offensive religions that you elusively refer to?

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

my 5 year old son and I love mopeds, I use to ride and fix motorcycles , but man we love wrenching on these mopeds now. voting doesn't change a thing,(electoral vote) but the way you raise your kids are everything. lets make America better with our children. or if you can mentor a young boy or girl with good values and respect. later all,

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Cosmo nPuch Stillstolen /

The religions that I detest are those that convince their followers that they (the followers) are God's chosen and everyone else is shit.

Higher authority? Really? So the implication is that I will pay for my "sins" of charging different rates according a customer's attitude, occupation or religion?

ROFL

I won't brag, but I volunteer and donate large.

BTW What is your or anyone's advice on how to run a business? I'm interested in hearing from people that don't own a biz.

My competition charges about triple what I charge. When I jack up the price, customers still only pay about half. I get accused of not charging enough.

I invite anyone that thinks I'm evil to spend some time with me "on the job" and see what the fuck.

The world is not fair, grow up.

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

kind of thinking of doing the same thing.

i'm planning to start a Fab Shop, to do pre-fabricated sprinkler pipes / fittings for a company i work for right now.

but currently i use the space im living in to move a bunch of mopeds, but your story is making me rethink some stuff.

Re: Mopeds got me my college degree debt free! Be a wrench!

Pictures wanted http://www.klsupply.com ?

Maxwell Mann Wrote:

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> My favorite wrench set for mopeds is the T-handle

> kit we used to get from K&L. Makes you faster than

> air tools without sneezing threads.

For mopeds, as in, they work good on mopeds, not specific for JUST mopeds...

Patrick Keaton Wrote:

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> Let me see a picture of this T-handle wrench set

> by K&L for mopeds.

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