If you want to start doing your own maintenance work on your motorcycle, there are some must-have tools you better have in your toolbox. While there is some upfront cost, you will save a significant amount of money in the long run by not having to take it to a bike mechanic for every little thing that needs to be done. Part of the fun of owning a bike is the ability to work on it and learn its mechanics. Here is a list of some tools that you will repeatedly go to when you are working on your bike. Remember, good tools are a good investment. You don’t need to purchase the most expensive but don’t go to the other extreme and buy the cheapest, either. You want these tools to last and do the job you need them for.
The Motorcycle Mechanics Go-To Tool List
1. Socket Wrench
You just don’t just want a socket wrench but a socket wrench set with handles and extensions. The best choice is six-point sockets as they have a better grip and reduce the chance of stripping heads when you find fasteners that are on tight. You want wrenches that are 3/8” and ¼” drive to fit in all spaces. Choose T-handle or ratchet, depending on what you prefer, and then you include some extensions and universal joints. The set should also include metric sockets for both drives.
In addition to socket wrenches, you will also need open-end (box-end) wrenches as well. Buy a good set that is the same size as the sockets. Find ones that go from 10mm-17mm as they will suit most motorcycle needs. You can buy other ones if you find your bike needs a specialized size.
Screwdrivers are one of those tools that you usually have somewhere around the house but if you are going to use them to work on your bike, buy a good set, not the kind you open paint cans with. They should be made of heavy-duty metal with hardened tips. Weaker screwdrivers won’t give you the leverage you need and you can end up stripping fasteners and breaking the screwdriver. If you can find a hex nut feature at the base and a rubberized grip, that will help with leverage and turning ability if something is stubborn.
4. Allen/Hex Bit Socket Set
These tools are a must-have if you are going to work on your bike. If you look at your bike, you will see that hex heads are on most of the fasteners. Hex keys themselves are usually not sturdy enough to work on them. Get sockets that are hex heads so you can put it on your ratchet or T-handles.
5. Impact Wrench/Driver
Impact drivers are a big help when you are working on your bike and screw isn’t budging. An aluminum crankcase versus steel screws can be problematic. Having an impact driver can shock it loose without shearing the screw. Make sure to use the driver’s heads not standard ones as they can damage the head of the fastener.
While you might not think you would want to use a hammer on your bike, it is actually a really helpful tool to have. You don’t need a large one but one that is just big enough to tap fasteners that are stuck or get things gently into place. It is not for heavy-hitting but getting things where they need to be.
This is a pre-hammer tool used to tap something. It also works well for items where you are concerned about marking or damaging the look or exterior. Start with a mallet that is softer than a hammer – you can always move up if you need to. If you want a cheaper way to do this or have not bought a mallet yet, you can use a hammer and piece of wood.
8. Needle Nose Pliers
While you should have various pairs of pliers in your toolbox, a heavy-duty set of needle-nose ones are a must. They are not just for turning nuts but are also perfect for pinching and pulling plus they can fit into smaller areas. You can get pliers that come with snips for wire which is even more helpful when it comes to working on your bike.
9. Torque Wrench
This tool gets missed in a lot of motorcycle mechanics toolkits. Using a torque wrench helps reduce the chance of over-torquing a fastener and stripping it. This tool helps get the fastener set as they should be. A click type of wrench is perfect and not overly expensive.
10. Tire Pressure Gauge
While all the other tools are great to have, a tire pressure gauge is a critical part of your toolbox. The tire pressure on your bike is one of the most important things that need to be monitored and maintained. You should check the tire pressure every time you hit the road. Don’t be cheap. Buy a good one because it should be used constantly and you want it to be accurate.
These must-have tools for motorcycle mechanics are just the tip of the iceberg but, once you have these, you at least have the basics. Don’t buy the least expensive options out there. While you may save money, you’re also sacrificing accuracy and quality. This doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive option, either, but you have to make sure you’re getting something that lasts if you are serious about working on your motorcycle. You do not want to damage your bike with a snapped or jammed tool or have to pay someone else to reverse the damage done by a tool that failed.