Workshops Done Right

March 8, 2024 | By Mike Seate


Regular readers of Cafe Racer magazine will know our garage is a revolving door of visiting technicians. We’re the first motorcycle magazine to devote a sizable portion of each issue to building, designing and maintaining a fleet of customized streetbikes so the need for call-in help is frequent.

On occasion, we’ve had professional mechanics stop by to assist with one specialty task or another and frequently, they’re displeased with the state of things. As you can see from images of the magazine’s workshop, it’s far from a neglected mess, though the flow of its set-up and storage facilities leave a bit to be desired. The feeling we get when someone whose mechanical skills we respect and admire looks askew at our messy tool chest or struggles to locate a tool that’s buried beneath a half-dozen others, is similar to the chagrin expressed by housewives with dirty kitchen floors in those old 1970s Mr Clean TV commercials.

The weird thing is this: like a cluttered, busy office desk, what appears to be disorganization to others seems perfectly ordered and sensible to the owner. After 14 years of wrenching on motorbikes using the same tool chest and steadily growing inventory of tools, everything (pretty much) to hand and easy to locate.

Apparently I’m not the only amateur mechanic suffering from a disorganization issue as a newly published book from Quarto explain.

C.G. Masi’s “How To Set-Up Your Motorcycle Workshop” is a practical guide to organizing a workshop for either restoring and customizing motorcycles, or just making a space for performing routine maintenance. The richly-illustrated book tackles common problems that many of us have endured (bad planning, investing in the wrong tools) and even provides detailed floor plans of several garages dedicated to classic rebuilds and roadracing. Masi explores efficient ways of making a workshop work more efficiently- a concept the CRM garage desperately needs as our stock of fasteners and hardware is, fr some unknown reason, a good 60 feet away from our tools and workbench area.

The useful tips are worth the $30 cover price alone. If you’re considering creating a motorcycle workshop either professionally or for private use, this is a great how-to guide that I wish had been available back when Cafe Racer’s staff decided to start building bikes for every issue. Still, it’s never too late to re-organize, and this is one way to get your mechanical ducks in a row.