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What You Need In Your Professional Motorcycle Tool Kit

Updated on November 21, 2009

Electric Drill

A 3/8-inch variable-speed reversible electric hand drill is a good first choice for the motorcycle mechanic's power tool collection. The drill should have good electrical insulation and a fractional high-speed steel drill-bit set.


A mechanic uses files to remove burrs on shafts, cases, and other parts, as well as to shape or straighten the edges of parts. Files vary in length, cut, shape, and edge. Cut refers to the number of teeth per inch and whether the teeth are single or double cut. Shape may be fiat, round, or half-round. An edge is called "safe" when it is without teeth. Handles should always be purchased and used with files because a bare file tang is sharp and will cause hand injuries. Files should be stored so they will not contact other files or metal; otherwise they will soon become dull. A file card or cleaner will make filing faster and the resulting metal finish smoother.


Hacksaws, jab saws, and hole saws are used by mechanics for frame and part modification and some types of disassembly. Blades for hacksaws and jab saws are replaceable, with 18-, 24-, and 32-teeth per inch blades commonly used. The 32-tooth per inch blade is used to cut very thin metal. When using hand saws, apply pressure on the forward stroke only and keep the strokes down to 30 per minute to avoid overheating from the friction.

Stone and Brush Hone

These hones are used in cylinder bores after boring or when fitting new rings. Wire brushes and stones are used for cleaning and smoothing or removing small amounts of metal.

Propane Torch

General heating for light bending, heavy soldering, and heating for press fits and removing parts are some uses you will find for this tool. Fuel tanks are simply replaced. Accessories include soldering tips and various burning tips.

Bench Grinder

A bench grinder should have at least 6- by 1/2-inch stones, a ball-bearing shaft, and a 1/4-hp motor. Screwdrivers, punches, and other tools that require sharpening will use a 60- grit stone. A wire brush wheel on the other end of the shaft is great for cleaning valves and other parts. A wheel dresser for keeping the stone straight and clean is also a good investment. Remember: safety glasses or goggles are a must when operating a bench grinder.

Hot Plate

A single-element electric hot plate is handy for heating press-fit parts, chain-treating grease, and coffee while you're working in a cold garage.

Soldering Gun

A soldering iron or gun for electrical wiring should be in the 150- to 250-watt heat range with replaceable tips. You should also have noncorrosive paste flux and good quality rosin core solder.

Impact Wrench

For motorcycle work, impact wrenches are used primarily for disassembly as the soft metal cases and threads won't last long due to the easily applied high torques when assembling. A 3/8-inch drive compact model will be handiest. When compressed air is available, the air drive wrench, is a better choice because it's lighter and more compact.

High-Speed Grinder

The rotary grinder is useful for port, piston, and head cleaning and modification. Look for one that has ball bearings and is capable of accepting l/8-inch through 1/4- inch shafts.

Impact Hammer

This is also known as an air chisel. It is used to cut sheet metal, frozen nuts, and welds. Special-purpose tips, such as rivet cutters and punches, are available.


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