Owning a motorcycle comes with it a commitment that requires you to maintain a relationship between man and machine. You treat your bike just as you would of a wife, with tender love and care. You don’t have to be a professional mechanic to give your bike some proper care if the need arises. Still, a time will come when you would have the itch to do the tinkering by yourself or if you’re in need of some emergency repairs. Leave the most technical of jobs for professionals but for the more basic ones, at the very least, be equipped with the right tools together with your bike’s service manual to bring out that budding mechanic in you.
Tire Pressure Gauge
Our bike’s tires are one of the most critical parts of the motorcycle and yet, they are still often neglected. Problems could occur from both underinflating and overinflating your tires that could affect your bike’s handling braking, road grip, and impact absorption. Thus, always have a proper tire pressure gauge within reach to closely monitor if your tires have enough air pressure.
One of the most basic of tools to have, but at the same time, the most essential among your tools, even for the simplest jobs. Be sure to get more than just a pair of flat and Philips head screwdrivers. Get them in all the various sizes to avoid stripping the screws you’re trying to loosen up. Quality screwdrivers come with magnetic tips to avoid dropping the screws into openings. Others come with interchangeable tips making them more portable. This type would also give you the option of attaching hex-head tips that a lot of Japanese motorcycles make use of.
A wrench set is another useful tool your motorcycle would surely need. It is used to loosen and tighten most of your bike’s nuts and bolts. While having a ratchet wrench is also very useful, you’d be surprised at how some fasteners are placed between really tight spots where a ratchet couldn’t really fit. Thus, a set of combined open-ended and ratchet ended wrenches would save you a lot of time instead of second-guessing which tool to use. Have a set of bigger sturdier wrenches for your garage but at the same time, keep a lighter smaller set that you can take on the road.
Determine if your bike uses metric or standard fasteners and buy the corresponding set and sizes that are common to your motorcycle to save you some money.
Ratchet, Socket Set, and a Breaker Bar
Socket wrenches are also one of the most used tools for motorcycles or any other type of vehicle maintenance. It is used to fasten or unfasten sockets that your normal wrench set isn’t capable of reaching. Most socket wrench sets will have sizes ranging from 4mm to 20mm. Chances are, you wouldn’t be expected to use every single one of it but for the larger sizes that you do need, like for removing your rear wheel, buy them individually instead of a whole set to save you some money.
Another important piece of kit will be a breaker bar. This tool may come with a kit. The breaker bar is used for loosening up nuts and bolts that are not easy to crack open by adding length, which increases your leverage and gets that tight nut out of its threads.
Hex Keys or Allen Wrenches
Modern-day motorcycles now commonly use hex heads for a number of their screws all throughout the bike. They come in either a set of L-shaped hex key sets or may come in the form of heads that you may either attach to your ratchets to give you more leverage and torque for those bigger and tighter screws.
For every fastener’s nut and bolt you remove and take apart, you’ll eventually have to put them back together. A torque wrench is used in tightening or loosening fasteners without second-guessing how tight you should twist them. It does the job perfectly for tightening rear axle nuts, front axle and pinch bolts, brake caliper bolts, engine and clutch cover bolts, and much more. More often than not, second-guessing the tightening torque of these bolts could either cause them to rattle off if they’re too loose, or to strip if they’re too tight. Either way, you don’t want to be in any of those situations.
Nowadays, not a lot of motorcycles come with center stands, especially the newer motorcycles. Still, most of the time you’d be working on your motorcycle, it would have to be standing upright. In the absence of a center stand, holding your bike upright with a properly mounted motorcycle stand allows you to easily access both sides of the bike instead of having it lean on a kickstand.
A chock-type stand holds the bike upright with the front wheel which is ideal for street bikes but would not allow for wheel removal. Paddock stands to hold the bike up by the swingarm and forks allowing you to lube your chain and remove the wheels.