Ten essential motorcycle tools you should never be without, from tire irons to a magnetic parts dish
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Here are 10 essential motorcycle tools no rider should be without:
1. Cruz Tools’ Outback’r provides 14 tools in one tight package. The unit weighs 9oz and is 3.5in long, meaning it won’t exactly need its own bungee cord. While any tool is in use, the rest can remain folded in the handle. Just don’t forget it’s in your pocket when you go to the airport. Price: $19.95. More info: www.cruztools.com
2. The 10-inch Ultimate tire iron from Zip-Ty Racing Products features an ergonomic handle designed to increase comfort and take the chore out of tire-changing. Price: $14.95. More info:
3. S•K Hand Tool Corp.’s seven-piece open-ended wrench set features SuperKrome corrosion-resistant finish and 15-degree rotated heads for improved access. Price: $104.93. More info: www.sktools.com
4. Where’s that &%$#@ cotter pin? Get a Motion Pro Magnetic Parts Dish, and you’ll never have to sift through the shoulder gravel for a fastener or small part again. The dish clings magnetically to any steel surface and is small enough (5in diameter, 1in deep) to take on the road. Price: $9.99 and up. More info: www.motionpro.com
5. Progressive Suspension’s TRK-4 tire repair kit includes a nozzle/adaptor for threaded or unthreaded cartridges, three 12-gram cartridges, glue and plugs for tubeless tires and patching material for tube-type tires. Price: $49.95. More info: www.progressivesuspension.com
6. The oil filter is hardly the only cylindrical part on a bike, so a strap wrench can come in handy even if your filter is brand new. This wrench, from S•K Hand Tool Corp., comes with 3/8in or 1/2in drive squares. Price: $35.97. More info: www.sktools.com.
7. Motion Pro’s basic chain breaker is compact, with a handle that folds away for easy storage. The replaceable pin is heat-treated for strength and wear resistance and will push the link pin completely through the link/side plate. Price: $29.50. More info: www.motionpro.com.
8. S•K makes a variety of rigid and flexible spark plug sockets, ranging from $10.93 to $24.93. More info: www.sktools.com.
9. If you can’t fix it with Cruz Tools’ EL1 Electrical Kit, it might be time to call a pro. The kit includes about everything needed to troubleshoot and repair electrical failures, all in a 10-by-5 inch bag that weighs less than 2 pounds. Price: $44.95. More info: www.cruztools.com.
10. KD Tools’ Model 162 feeler gauge features 15 blades and a 2.5in rule in a compact package. Price: $5.26. More info: www.kd-tools.com.
I used to hate all-in-one tools: They were spindly and cheap, and they usually twisted or folded on themselves when you really needed them. Thank the sport of mountain biking for introducing a new breed of light, high-quality multi-tools to the market, a breed that’s trickled down (or is that up?) to motorcycling.
Okay, so Cruz Tools’ Outback’r isn’t exactly a featherweight at 9oz, but that’s okay, because I’m not relying on my leg power to haul it around in my tank bag. And its assortment of phillips, allen, straight and socket drivers is capable of getting you into more places on your bike than you might want to go.
My test for Cruz Tools’ Outback’r was simple: How many routine operations could I perform on the side of the road? Applied to my ‘72 BMW R75/5, the Outback’r was almost made to order. Operations performed included removing the front cover and adjusting the points, removing the top cover to access the starter, removing the coils, carbs and air filter cover, and tightening down the odd nut and bolt here and there.
The only tarnish on an otherwise polished tool was the 13-14mm open-wrench blade, which also includes spoke nipple slots: The cutouts aren’t very precise, limiting its usefulness.
But at 3.5in in length it’ll fit into any bag, and now that it’s in mine, it’ll stay there. - Richard Backus