They don’t have to be Snap-Ons, but things like 6-point sockets instead of cheap 12-point ones greatly increase your chances of successfully taking crusty old things apart, and when aren’t things crusty and old? The good news is you can buy good tools like Johnny Cash got his Cadillac, one piece at a time. Which is the #1 reason why Sears still exists.

111016-top-10-hard-moto-lessons-tools-2

Get some hex keys with ball ends while you’re at it. Who knew how much easier they access fasteners in inaccessible places? And if you have any doubts about where to insert your tool, all kinds of manuals and Youtube videos are a Google search away for almost every moto-mechanical endeavor.

  • JMDonald

    This is one of the most enjoyable features Burns has ever done. Do they other guys know about his six figure salary? Well done Sir.

  • spiff

    That van rocks.

  • Old MOron

    John, these are pearls worthy of your celebrity. As for Catterson, I hope he’s a better person now than he was about seven years ago.

    • john burns

      aren’t we all?

  • Starmag

    Top ten click throughs are annoying enough, (but worth it on Motorcycle.com), but double Facebook pop-ups on top of that on every page has me reaching for my ad blocker. Don’t make me use it. They ruined an otherwise entertaining JB missive.

    That illustration from what I guess is the 50’s from the great tailfins is funny. What is the fascination with auto pilot? I just had to put my mom in assisted living due to dementia. She lost all her possessions in the space of 4 months. The thing she says she misses the most is being able to drive. I’m sure she’d be willing to give up playing Parcheesi (or watching Harry Potter for that matter) while being baked under glass to take the wheel again.

    • Old MOron

      I’m sorry about your mom, Starmag. And I agree about the facebook toadying.

      • Starmag

        Thanks OM. I only mentioned it to illustrate “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” because I personally reject all the autonomous vehicle noise. I got my D.L. the day I turned 16 because I couldn’t wait to drive and ride a motorcycle. I can’t imagine the desire of relinquishing that.

        • John A. Stockman

          Also against it (both autonomous vehicles and having to click through an article that should’ve been put on one page). No government, or organization such as Vision Zero, can stop people from dying. People still get hurt and killed working around their house and just living in it. How about boating or riding horses? Bicycles, etc.? No one seems to talk about that, but the bad, dangerous motorcycle must be banned. Risk can be managed, not eliminated. Driver training is the best place to start, especially in this country. Keep 7-10″ TV, I mean infotainment, screens off the dash. The worst thing is in the world of autonomous cars/trucks, motorcycles do not fit. The founder of Vision Zero and other pro-autonomous groups would like to see them NO longer a part of the transportation system. Then you have auto-balancing gyro systems that are being experimented with and used on prototype single-track machines…

  • Andre Capitao Melo

    Legitimate question: what’s wrong with 12 points sockets?

    • Gabriel Owens

      They don’t offer enough surface area and tend to strip the edges of the nut.

      • Jon Jones

        Drain plugs are especially susceptible to this rounding. Six-point is the way to go.

      • Andre Capitao Melo

        I like to use 12 points wrenches just because I thought it was harder to round nuts with it. I’ve done some research now and see lots of people claiming that 12pts have a higher probability of rounding nuts… Well, 12pts always worked well for me.

        BTW, I use wrenches, not ratchet/sockets, so 12 points made it easier to re-position the wrench.

        Another BTW, all the bolts on my bike have “crispy” corners, I see why a 12pt would be bad to use on an already rounded bolt.

        Sorry for the messy writing, I just poured my mind on it and I’m too lazy to reformat =)

      • therr850

        Unfortunately, manufacturers are starting to use twelve point bolts in place of hex head bolts so now you will need both six and twelve point wrenches.

    • Steve T

      6 pt. to break them free, then spin it off with your favorite 12 pt. wrench or socket. In some rare cases like 12 point bolts, you have no other choice. Use good quality sockets if possible.

  • Jon Jones

    Fun read, good advice.

  • Vrooom

    Screw rain gear, but waterproof riding gear. OK, that probably just applies in the Northwet, in California you can probably just use rain gear for the rare occasion it rains.

  • Allison Sullivan

    Backup transportation for the win. You need it to make at least two trips to the store – one for the tool you don’t have/can’t find, and one for that screw that just fell down into the motor, never to be seen again.

    And gloves (shudder). I’ve wrecked so many pairs of gloves mountain biking, I just cannot imagine a full on motorcycle crash without them.

  • John B.

    Now that I’ve entered the “surrendering with grace the gifts of youth” phase of life, I marvel at the “I’m bulletproof” mindset among young men. They really don’t believe they can die. How fabulously intoxicating that must feel. Anyone remember that feeling?

    • john burns

      personally, I was born a big puss and people have been grabbing me by it ever since.

    • Born to Ride

      It was pretty awesome. Then my daughter was born.

      • throwedoff

        Yep, thought I was Iron Man until they day I was taking my daughter to her kindergarten class in freezing mist. Opened the door of my truck and stepped out on the nerf bar (which had accumulated a layer of ice during the drive and ended up underneath the car parked next to me. The bad part about it was that my left arm got hung up between the door post and the seat. It split my ulna, knocked a chunk off of my humerus, destroyed all the ligaments in my elbow along with some muscle and tendon tears, and I still had to walk her into her class. I pulled myself up, used my right hand to stick my left hand in my coat pocket, and carried on like I was fine, so she wouldn’t know I was hurt. Walked out of the school and drove to the hospital. That was seven years ago. This year at age 54 skiing with my daughter I tore my left rotator cuff (my surgeon’s words on seeing the MRI, “wow! that’s massive!”) slipping on some ice in the damn parking lot at Wolf Creek at 9:00 in the morning. However, I managed to hang in for the day (didn’t want to ruin it for her). The drive home to Texas was a lesson in misery though. Now I’m pretty much afraid to jump off of the tailgate of my pickup truck. Who knows what I’ll tear up next?

    • Old MOron

      Youth? Does 38 count? That’s how old I was when I started club racing. I was a contract employee at the time, meaning I had no health insurance. Holy shit! I can imagine a 20-something kid racing without insurance, but at my age I should’ve known better – maybe.

    • JMDonald

      The extent of my going to the edge and looking down is that on New Year’s Day I do the ton. If I can’t do it on that day I do it at least once or twice a year.

    • therr850

      They aren’t all young in Michigan. Lots of them are beyond middle age but the right of ownership a cruiser or any H-D means you don’t need to wear a hat, gloves or a shirt with sleeves and your lady doesn’t need long pants or proper shoes let alone boots.

  • Numbone

    11.
    Never trust a man who offers you pearls.

    • Numbone

      Especially if his name is Burns.

      • Numbone

        I’ve gone too far haven’t I.

  • Matt Forero

    I can’t believe the number of riders I see around LA not wearing gloves. Just the concept of “palm sliders” is enough to make me never sit on a bike without gloves. These things are my money makers and how else would we comment on Motorcycle.com articles ok siri submit that’s enough submit the comment no seriously siri stop

  • craig collins

    Re tip #6
    Second time I nearly froze to death was during a midnight Xmas eve jaunt over the mountains on a Metralla ( first time was snorkeling on the Merced River. )

  • SRMark

    Don’t take your pet on a motorcycle. You’ll crash and there goes fido flying down the road. But in the pic above, fido will be dry. Humans are odd.

  • Mark Lindemann

    Regarding Number 2:
    So, Mistah B., don’t leave us dangling. Where can we find the best Frito Pie?

  • Steve T

    Pet peeve from stupid people-riding with bare skin showing. Leg skin doesn’t heal well ladies. Ever see a tat. removal? That’s what the scare will be like. And then there’s the pain thing. Any state that doesn’t have a helmet law should have federal funds revoked for their roads. No one should have to tell you to wear one anyway. It’s abrasion we’re trying to live through.

  • John A. Stockman

    One I’d like to add in the proper tools category. Shown to me by my grandfather after I tried NOT to bung up the Phillips screw heads on a clutch cover of my metric dirt bike (but did anyway), was getting a set of JIS screwdrivers. Slightly different than the Phillips head, but different enough. Got a set, plus the same selection of drivers for my impact “wrench”. When I replaced the clutch discs in my KZ440, that clutch cover’s screw-heads were undamaged. Probably should’ve replaced them with some Allen-head screws, but with a set of JIS drivers, no need. I was worried about taking the engine side covers off my 1968 Z50 Mini Trail, never removed for 40 years, but the JIS drivers came through for me.

  • E-Nonymouse A

    Crashing hands down from a bicycle should be all anyone ever needed to encourage the use of proper gloves (high performance bicycles can reach speeds of 60mph with sustained speeds of up to 30). I had a few incidents like that in my teens and twenties, the scars from road rash can last for decades.
    Gloves and gear in general are not just about road rash either, heavy or sharp flying objects (IE: Rocks, Bugs, Metal fragments, Glass) can slap you on the knuckles in the most unpredictable moments. As a motorcyclist I encounter at least one rock collision with my knuckles every few rides, some of them the size of a quarter.
    Occasionally some unnamed object slaps the slide of my helmet hard enough to push my head back (usually very large bug, sometimes a rock). At speeds of 50-80mph this is an experience that unprotected portions of you will remember for a long long time!
    Get hit in the throat with that stuff and then try to tell me it does not hurt!

    P.S. MC Mag, please get rid of the click bait format, I detest it! I’d rather burn than read it.. 😛