BASIC TOOLS FOR MOTORCYCLE REPAIR
What are the basic tools for motorcycle repair? Well, it really depends on hat it is you are doing and what motorcycle you’re working on. Most motorcycle projects like chain/wheel servicing, valve/timing adjustments, or a clutch swap can be tackled with the tools listed below. If you're going to perform some more intense mechanical jobs, you may need some specialty tools. You can find a link to a list of these recommended specialty tools at the end of this page.
THE 11 MUST HAVE TOOLS
Usually sold in sets and called combination wrench sets, these are also what I consider basic requirements. There’s many times when a socket just wont fit or you’ll need a socket on one end and a open end wrench on the other. There are normal/standard length wrenches, stubby, s bend, offsets and more but I would stick with standard.
The most used tools you will have will be your ratchets and sockets set. Most all adventure motorcycles metric. So if you aren’t buying a full set that is part of a kit with both metric and imperial sockets included then I would lean towards the metric side of things. There are different kinds of sockets of course so make sure you pic the right ones.
So you’ve chosen a socket set but they aren’t much use without a good ratchet. Breaker bars and such being an exception of course. Ratchets come in 3 common drive sizes, ¼” ⅜” and ½”. The smaller the drive the smaller the socket thus it’s easier to operate in a tight environment. Also, the larger the drive the heavier duty it is. What defines a rood ratchet from a bad one?
Socket extensions are so simple yet so critical. Adventure bikes are inherently compact in there design. That means, the engineers are trying to pack as many widgets and gizmos between 2 wheels as possible. What that means for us would be motorcycle mechanics is that things are hard to access. You'll both need a good set of various length extensions to use in unison with your ratchet and sockets.
The lowly screwdriver, it is so basic that it is often overlooked. After all, a screwdriver is a screwdriver right? When buying tools we have all been tempted to buy the cheapest set we can buy but that is NOT what I recommend anymore. I would prefer to spend a little more in this department over a really nice set of sockets. Why? Well, in my experience even a decent socket set will function and get the job done but a cheap screwdriver will make your job miserable.
No these aren't just used for putting together IKEA furniture. More and more adventure motorcycle's these days use hex head cap screws and for that you'll need some Hex or Allen keys. A good set makes wrenching easy. A bad set will strip every fastener head you use them on. Find out how to tell the difference.
Just to make our lives difficult, the bike engineers will throw some Torx head fasteners here and there around the bike. I actually like and prefer Torx head of Allen heads as they provide more engagement with the tool. Bot tool kits will come with some Torx bits that will usually cover you but a nice key set is much nicer.
Adjustable or Crescent wrenches are great addition to any set. They are flexible, cover a variety of size due to their adjustability, and don’t take up much space. It’s nice to have a tool available that can be used on nuts and bolts that are too large for your sockets or wrenches.
Pliers are another tool that can be used for many different applications. I rarely use on actual fasteners, but they are great for holding irregular shaped objects. Mostly pliers are pliers but there are some things to look for when shopping for a good pair.
A far more useful tool than standard pliers, in my opinion anyway, is the locking plier. Locking pliers are adjustable in their locking range and force. These tools can really hold things that you can't get a grip on otherwise. If you have a stripped bolt head or nut, this tool may be your only hope.
You would think that you wouldn't need a hammer too much but you'll probably use a hammer more than you think. Especially if you start breaking into the engine cover or cases, a few taps with a good rubber mallet will be required.