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COMBINATION WRENCHES

They don't call it wrenchin' for nothin'

COMBINATION WRENCHES

As the sub title says, they don't call it wrenching for nothing. Combination wrenches are probably the most essential tools of any good mechanics tool set. Sure, you may use sockets and ratchets more often, but undoubtable, you'll probably use a wrench of some sort on almost any motorcycle repair project you do. There will be many times when a socket just wont fit or you’ll need a socket on one end a wrench on the other end. Combination wrenches are so called because they have a combination of ends. They have an open end on one end a closed or boxed end on the other.

 

Below I have listed the most common types of different combination wrenches. If you are just getting started, I would stick with a standard set of combination wrenches and then expand your set as you need. Wrenches are usually sold in sets of 8 to 15 pieces each. My recommendation is starting with a 15 piece metric set for your motorcycle repair jobs and then expanding as needed. A metric 15 piece combination set will usually start at size 8mm and go to 22mm. Again some motorcycles are not metric or have a combination of metric and SAE fasteners(standard/imperial), so if you can afford it pic up a set of both.

1) Standard Combination Wrenches 

The standard combination wrench is most typical wrench type. These wrenches have the same functionality but across the different brands. However more expensive brands may sport more features. Below are the features that are usually constant across all brands.

Standard Features

  • Available in Metric and SAE 

  • One open end, one boxed end

  • Boxed end of wrench has an offset

  • Open end angled to one side

2) Ratcheting Combination Wrenches

Another option that is becoming more mainstream is the ratcheting combination wrench. This type of wrench has a ratcheting mechanism built into the boxed end of the wrench. This is a nice feature and often very useful. However, most of these types of combination wrenches are bulkier and also do not have an offset. For these reason, I find that I am unable to use my ratcheting set of wrenches in many applications. If you can only pic one type of wrench, I would start out with a standard set and grow into a ratcheting set as you can afford. 

Standard Features

  • Available in Metric and SAE 

  • One open end, one boxed end

  • Ratcheting mechanism on boxed end

  • No offset on boxed end (typically)

  • Open end angled to one side

  • Boxed end is 12 point on most offerings

3) Stubby Combination Wrenches

Stubby or short body combination wrenches are almost identical to standard except, as you can imagine, they are shorter in length. I don't find that I need these too often while working on motorcycles although the occasion has presented itself a few times. I find more applications where these are useful while working on cars where the engine bay is cramped and things are less accessible. You can get these as ratcheting versions as well. 

 

Standard Features

  • Shorter bodies than standard combination wrenches

  • Available in Metric and SAE 

  • One open end, one boxed end

  • Boxed end of wrench has an offset

  • Open end angled to one side

4) Flex Head Ratcheting Wrenches

If the standard offset of a combination wrench won't do the job AND you want a ratcheting box end, these types of combination wrenches will fit the bill. These tools are more of a luxury than a necessity in my opinion but they are quite handy for accessing bolts and nuts at an odd angle where a socket or standard wrench just wont do.

 

Standard Features

  • Boxed end offset angle is flexible

  • Boxed end ratcheting feature

  • Available in Metric and SAE 

  • One open end, one boxed end

  • Boxed end of wrench has an offset

  • Open end angled to one side

5) S Shape Double Box End Wrenches

S type wrenches are not technically combination wrenches but they are worth mentioning because they offer an offset that is on the same plane as the fastener head or nut. This differs from the offset found in standard wrenches. These can also be had with a ratcheting feature as well

Standard Features

  • Wrench in the form of an "S" 

  • Available in Metric and SAE 

Boxed S Wrenches.jpg

6) Crowfoot Wrenchs

Again, not technically combination wrench but it is a wrench. Crowfoot wrenches allow you to access fasteners as you would with a standard wrench but instead of using the leverage of the wrench itself, you must use a ratchet or breaker bar. These are very useful if you want to use a torque wrench on something that you can't access with a socket. 

 

Standard Features

  • Available in Metric and SAE 

  • Can be used with a ratchet, torque wrench, or breaker bar

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