Essential Motorcycle Tools for Performing Maintenance on Your Own
If you own a bike, you’ve probably developed a special relationship with your prized possession. You’re passionate about riding often, and you’re probably just as passionate about learning all the different things that make your beloved machine work. That being said, doing maintenance on your own is probably one of the most satisfactory pastime activities on your weekend. It gives off a sense of pride and empowerment. If you’re a new rider, however, getting into it can be quite difficult. What motorcycle repair tools do you need? What can you work on yourself, and what is best left to a professional?
I’ll help you figure out which tools you need to perform the most common motorcycle maintenance tasks. Using these motorcycle repair tools and the service manual, you’ll be able to maintain your tyres, change filters and oil, replace bulbs, adjust the drive chain, and keep your motorcycle in a good condition. Motorcycle tools are considered investments that pay for themselves in due time. You can expect to spend up to $500 on them, or more, if you want to perform more advanced repairs. However, you don’t have to buy all of them, especially not those for the advanced repairs. Start slow and build your collection up.
Tyre Pressure Gauges
This is arguably the most important tool for maintenance. Proper tyre inflation is essential for your safety and the performance of your bike. The tyre, after all, is the only point of contact between you and the road. Moreover, bike tyres are palm-sized, yet they handle all the forces of leaning, acceleration and braking. There are many different types of gauges available, from pencil style to professional digital gauges. Higher precision is always better. While quality gauges are expensive, they’re a worthy investment.
However, you still need to factor the cost into your decision, alongside the highest pressure your tyres are rated for, the angle and clearance for access to the valves, and whether you want a stand-alone model or a model with an inflator to use with a compressor. The right tyre gauge will be easy to use, as you want to use it before every ride. Measuring the tyre pressure regularly will save your tyres from wearing down as fast.
Tyre Compressor or Inflator
The gauge will tell you the exact pressure of your tyres, and if it’s low, you’ll have to inflate them. The best option is to get an inflator that provides just enough pressure to inflate your tyres to their ideal pressure. A more expensive, but the longer-lasting option would be an air compressor that’s not only capable of inflating tyres, but also provides power for motorcycle lifts and air tools.
You’ll want a set of screwdrivers that include: Flat and Phillips head, long and short shafts and handles, and multiple tip sizes. Moreover, angle screwdrivers can come in handy in your screwdriver set.
Combination wrenches are the handiest type. They come with an open and boxed or closed end. The open end helps you turn the flat sides of fasteners and provides the best connection, whereas the closed or boxed ends are used on corners of fasteners, providing more angles to grip the fastener. Offset wrenches are also useful, as they allow you to work with recessed fasteners. This type of wrench provides a direct connection to the fastener and more control over torque. You can find wrenches with built-in ratchets, but they won’t be as strong and provide as much control.
Ideally, you should get a ratchet and socket wrench set to quickly change fastener sizes and get to awkwardly placed and recessed fasteners. Many sets feature long and short extensions. Ratchet wrenches feature a drive lug that can fit into the back of sockets and lever to change from loosening to tightening.
Oil Filter Wrench
You can usually hand-tighten a new oil filter, but you’ll need a wrench to remove the old one. When buying an oil filter wrench, you have to consider the type of motorcycle you own, the filter and the location of the filter. The wrenches can be plier types, sockets or even strap-style.
Oil Catch Pan
You’ll want an oil catch pan that fits under your motorcycle right where the drain plug and filter are located. You should be able to fit your hand between the oil catch pan and motorcycle to remove the filter or drain plug. The pan should have the capacity to hold the capacity of your motorcycle. Moreover, consider how you’ll store the used oil until you can recycle it. Some oil catch pans can double up as oil storage containers.
Most motorcycles only come with a side stand. Some maintenance and repair jobs, however, are best done with the motorcycle being upright. This is why centre stands are very useful. There’s a wide range of aftermarket motorcycle stands, suitable for every type of motorcycle. Be careful when placing your motorcycle on the stand, as otherwise, you risk injury to yourself or damage to your motorcycle.