There are plenty of tools and toolkits out there so where does someone start? Basic tools to start off include wrenches, ratchets, sockets and pliers. There’s two ways to go about it: build your own toolkit over time by figuring which ones are needed and then purchasing those as part of a basic general toolkit or motorcycle specific toolkits that have already been curated as per the specifications of what sizes of bolts and nuts etc are there on your bike. These are definitely easier to use and more convenient.
Why do you need motorcycle specific tools in the first place?
If you’ve been stuck on the road not having tools you know what a pain it can be. Manufacturers tend to not give a complete toolkit for cost reasons. Simple sockets that are required to open your wheel can be missing from these toolsets. We surely recommend carrying a proper toolset while you’re on the road, be it a short trip or a multi day one. It could be for repairing your bike at home or needing the right tools when on the road.
The three benefits we see from a motorcycle toolkit are
- To get you back on the road – having the right tools at the right time means you won’t be stuck on the side of the road taking into consideration you don’t know what bolt has gone loose and if you have that tool with you. Good motorcycle tool sets are designed to have special tools as well as all the required sizes of tools you would need.
- Saves you a ton of money – we have seen motorcyclists not having the right allen key to remove their wheel at a time of a puncture. Your only way out is to get the bike towed back to the service center which will cost you money and a worthwhile trip gone bad. See it as an investment that pays off over time.
- They are easy to carry – Portability is what you pay for when it comes to motorcycle toolkits. You don’t need to be moving around with a complete general toolkit out of which ⅓ of the sockets are of no use to you. They generally are easy to carry in your luggage and are compact, having less weight.
What makes a good Motorcycle Toolkit then?
- Good Quality – we asked our friends at Goodwill Enterprises who are a very popular premium tools importer as to why someone should buy quality tools and they replied, “the bitterness of bad quality lasts longer than the happiness of low price”. It’s simple, good quality tools will last you longer, do the job and should not corrode over time. You don’t want to have flimsy tools that will break over time. Make it an investment that your tools will support you over time and the intended use.
Quality matters when it comes to tools that are used more often. For example some motorcycles have an abundance of 10mm hex bolts, over time you would be using the same socket to tighten and loosen them. Sub par quality sockets start to show signs of wear and tear and tend to start having an increase in gaps between the socket and the head of the bolt or a nut which over time will chew off the heads of these bolts. Tools should be durable and reliable. Well known brands have multiple checks during the production process to make sure quality standards are followed.
- Size – You don’t want to be carrying a large, heavy, bulky toolkit when on a motorcycle. There are a lot of options for rollup pouches that can take all the tools you need and these can be tucked into a corner of your tail bags, saddle bags or panniers. A good roll bag for tools should be made of heavy denier fabrics and have an organiser for all your wrenches, sockets and the likes and should hold up over time without loose pockets. In line to this good premium tools are now made stronger and lighter.
- Tools included – The first thing you need to figure out is if your bike requires metric or SAE tools. Bike specific tools should include a tool for almost every bolt and nut that’s on your bike. Toolkit makers usually strip down a bike to figure that out and that’s the time and research customers pay for when buying good premium tools. There are a lot of times the bolts and nuts on your motorcycle are not very accessible, motorcycle tool kits usually have these taken care of by designing specific tools for these tasks. Some of the bare essentials that should be included are;
-socket wrench set
You can additionally include these to your toolkit
-tire repair kits
- Innovative tools – Tool manufacturers are now getting more innovative where their tools are getting lighter in weight and more stronger. Ergonomics by way of how the handle feels or the special materials on the tips of screwdrivers is what is next big thing. A simple ratchet can sometimes be frustrating to use when a nut is at an angle. Wera has come up with the Zyklop ratchet where the head can be turned at different angles, something no other ratchet does. Another manufacturer that has innovated their motorcycle tool kits is SBV tools. SBV has 6 patents on its tools and it’s clear that SBV has thought a lot about how the tools will be used and how to ensure that they can perform more than one purpose. Simple tools with innovations will bring value to what you require them to do.
- Regular maintenance of your motorcycle means that you will have less breakdowns. Always do a pre ride check so you know everything is in order and all the nuts and bolts are tightened
- The toolkit that came with your bike doesn’t always include everything you need for basic maintenance or a roadside emergency. A well designed and curated motorcycle specific toolkit will serve your purpose of doing bigger jobs on your bike and also not leave you stranded in an emergency.
- Making your own bike specific toolkit can be expensive as individual tools are costlier than in a complete toolkit. In addition you miss out on special tools as well as tools that are innovated for the purpose of accessibility. Multi-purpose tools are designed to be used along with other tools such as sockets and extensions that can reduce the number of tools you would carry and eventually make your toolkit lighter and more compact.
Finally, what should you get?
We say motorcycle toolkits should serve your purpose, be innovative with the tools they have included, be capable, be well packaged so you don’t have to carry a big box of tools, save weight and last long.