Motorcycles seem to invite their owners to tinker with them. Maybe it’s the fact that often the components are easy to get to once the bodywork has been removed. Regardless of the reason, we, as motorcyclists, tend to maintain and modify our own machines, leaving only the most highly technical items to the mechanics at our local shop.

But what if you’re new to motorcycling? Where do you start? Most budding mechanics begin with a basic mechanics selection of tools: sockets, ratchets, open end wrenches, and a selection of pliers. If you shop carefully, you can score some good deals on quality tools. However, there are some specialized tools that may not be readily apparent that can make your wrenching so much easier.

Read on to find out what the staff at Motorcycle.com considers to be the essential special tools in their garages.

10. Rear Stand

Motorcycle tools

We’re happy to report that manufacturers are starting to include center stands on motorcycles again. Still, many bikes don’t have them, and working on your bike is much easier when it is upright on a stand. While not all motorcycles can accommodate a rear stand, if your bike will, it is a worthwhile investment. Chain lubing will be much simpler, and the bike will be held in a much sturdier position for other maintenance chores.

Shop for rear stands here.

9. Ratcheting combination wrenches

Motorcycle tools

Yes, you can get by with just a standard set of combination wrenches, but you’d be amazed at how many tight spaces that you can’t fit a standard ratchet into. In those instances, you can save tons of time with a combination wrench that has a ratchet at one end.

A selection of ratcheting combination wrenches can be found here.

8. Impact driver

If you get serious about taking things apart, an impact driver will make your life much easier. Just think about how many times you’d have to twist your wrist with a ratchet to take off a sprocket or a brake disc.

Buy your impact driver here.

7. Cable luber

Motorcycle tools

Although cable lubers aren’t terribly expensive, they are worth their weight in gold when it’s time to lubricate your motorcycle’s cables. You simply screw the tool onto the top end of the cable, insert the tube from your can of cable lube, and give it a spritz. Once the lube bubbles out the far end of the cable, you can be comfortable with the knowledge that your cables will last a long time.

Find your cable luber here.

6. Multimeter

Motorcycle tools

From testing your battery’s voltage to troubleshooting electrical shorts, a multimeter is an essential part of your mechanics arsenal. It doesn’t need to be a big fancy one, either. You just need the basics: DC voltage, continuity, and resistance.

Look here for a selection of multimeters.

5. Chain breaker/riveter

Motorcycle tools

Most chain-driven motorcycles come with endless chains from the factory. So, you’ll need to break it before you can replace it. Then you’ll need to cut your replacement chain to length. Finally, you’ll need to spread the rivets on the new master link to finish the job. Guess what? You only need one tool. Go ahead, spend the money on a chain breaker/riveter. It’s worth every penny.

Buy your chain breaker/riveter here.

4. Brake bleeder

Motorcycle tools

A vacuum hydraulic line bleeder used to be a luxury, but now with the increasingly complicated systems on ABS-equipped motorcycles, a brake bleeder is a must for the home mechanic. The brake bleeder not only saves you time, but it also can help you do a better job of getting any stray bubbles out of your bike’s hydraulic systems.

You don’t need to spend a ton of money on a brake bleeder.

3. Axle Tool

Motorcycle tools

For years, owners of modern sport bikes had to go buy an odd-sized allen key to enable them to remove their bike’s front wheel. Then some clever soul (bless you!) came up with the motorcycle allen tool. This tool has all of the most common help key sizes used in front axles all in one place. Buy it. You’ll be glad you did.

Remove your front axle with the tools found here.

2. Torque wrench

Motorcycle tools

Yes, torque wrenches are expensive, and your dad and grandad may have claimed to never have needed one. Still, motorcycles have changed, and the manufacturing tolerances are much tighter. When you’re putting your bike back together, you’ll feel better about your work if you use the proper torque for each part. Trust us on this.

Check out torque wrench prices here.

1. Factory service manual

Motorcycle tools

Nobody knows a motorcycle better than the engineers who created it. So, it makes sense that you buy the factory service manual for your bike. You’ll learn the proper way to disassemble and reassemble your bike like a pro. Also, any specialty tools you may need for your particular motorcycle will be listed, making it possible to buy them before your engine’s halfway apart. A factory service manual will outline all of the service intervals for your particular model. Seeing that book on the shelf with greasy fingerprints all over it will put a smile on your face.

See your local dealer for your bike’s factory service manual.


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