Tuesday Tip: RTFM

There was a time when flipping through your owner’s manual was about as interesting as watching paint dry. It seemed like they were written by lawyers more concerned with telling you what not to do than what you could do with your bike.

The good news is, as bikes have gotten more sophisticated in suspension, maintenance, and tuning, these days owner’s manuals are more akin to real tech manuals. When we asked Yamaha’s Steve Butler for some tech tips recently, his first suggestion? “Read your owner’s manual.” His second suggestion? “Read your manual.” He then tossed us a new YZ250F manual, and as we flipped through the pages, we quickly understood why it was on his list¿it looked like a race shop in book form.

So in your haste to head out for a ride on your new bike, you might be tempted to bypass the manual and leave it among the stack of paperwork that accompanies a new bike. Don’t do it. Consider it another tool in your toolbox.

Oh, and RTFM? It’s an old term, coined by tech support personnel. One definition on Wikipedia suggests that, “This instruction is usually given in response to a question which the responder knows or believes can be answered easily by reading relevant documentation, and suggests that the inquirer may be wasting people’s time.”

Don’t be that guy.