Creating Your Own Motorcycle Tool Kit
It used to be you bought a motorcycle and it came with a
tool kit that would let your do just about anything you needed
during a simple level one service. Adjust the chain, drop the oil,
reposition mirrors and levers and so on. That was sensible.
After buying a new bike this past month, I opened up the tool
pouch to find a screwdriver and a fuse puller. That was it. Thank
you very much.
My next step was to see if the manufacturer offered a complete
tool kit to handle level one work. No. But they did offer all the
tools separately. Imagine what the price tag would be on that!
Some manufacturers do offer optional kits, but they are not
always specific to a particular model, so you may wind up with some
tools you don't need and be missing a few you do.
Ditto on aftermarket kits such as those offered by
and Motion Pro.
Photo: CruzTOOLS Road Tech Metric Kit is a good
start for owners of Japanese and European motorcycles that did not
include a tool kit at
the time of purchase. But that's just the beginning.
Nowadays, the only real way to insure you have the tools you need
on the go is to start by sitting down with your motorcycle, its
manual, your home tool box and a note pad. Then have a little
meeting of the minds between the four of you.
Start by opening your manual and going through the maintenance
section. What size tool would you need to open up the drain plug on
your oil pan? Write it down. Will it require an open end, closed end
or socket? Make a note of that.
How about the oil filter? What will you need to access that and
replace it? Write it down.
As you work your way through the tasks and identify the tools
you'll need, try and slim it down so a single 10mm wrench, let's
say, will accomplish all the 10 mm duties. Remember that certain
tasks like a chain adjust might need two of the same sized wrenches—one open and one closed.
Today many motorcycles have a lot of bodywork, so you must
account for all those allen or hex bolts that will need to be
removed to get to, say, the battery.
Moving through this procedure when you purchase a new or used
motorcycle will also keep you aware of what you'll need to do when the time comes
to perform some maintenance. Don't assume it's going to be simple to
access an oil drain plug easily. You won't know until you actually take a gander at location and
accessibility (and you early F650GS owners know exactly what we're
talking about here).
Now you've got your list and it's time to go shopping. Your
Your Dealer: As stated before, I was able to purchase all the
tools I need through my dealer via the manufacturer's offerings. But
the grade of each tool may be lower, and I may be able to get better
grades for the same or better price elsewhere.
Some dealers have a significant supply of tools from OEM kits
that seemingly never got to the customer at the time of purchase.
Ask if you can dig through the loose tools and make a deal to get
your kit off the ground.
What we like about OEM kits is they are typically stealthy, with
pieces nesting together to make it easy to store in a small place.
After Market Companies: Companies like
CruzTOOLS and Motion Pro
offer a good selection of after market tools. Between the two they
probably have 90% of what you need. In the case of CruzTOOLS, their
basic kits are a good place to start. See what is included, then
fill in the blanks using the below alternatives.
And don't forget the axel wrenches. Again, CruzTOOLS offers some
nice stealthy alternatives. You don't really want to ride around
with the large size wrenches you'd get at the hardware store. Go for
a lightweight slim setup. The CT wrenches come in combinations of
14/22/27mm and 14/22/32mm. One of each will work for many bikes.
Photo: Minimize space by getting smaller tools that still get
the job done. Sears large 32mm wrench can't hold a candle to the
small size axel wrench from CruzTOOLS.
new mantra at motorcycle manufacturers is to use a 19mm hex nut on
the front axel. To get that out CT makes a 19/22 hexnut removal tool
The Hardware Store: Places like Sears, Lowe's and Home Depot are
where you're going to go to start filling in the gaps. A simple 8mm
and 10mm allen wrench can typically be purchased solo. No need to
carry around one of those combo allen sets with everything in it
from 1.5mm to 10mm. That's just going to suck up space in your
Beyond level one maintenance, be sure you have your bases covered
on handlebar bolts, shift & brake pedals and other parts that might
need tending to in the event of a crash.
And then there are odds and ends you might want to add. Some CruzTOOLS kits include electrical tape, bailing wire, a
flashlight and a one-use tube of white grease. Practical. If you
don't already carry these items, keep them in the pouch the kit
comes in, otherwise discard the duplicates to your spares box in the
Most importantly, you're in the garage - so HAVE FUN!
Tom Mehren/Summer 12