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Featured Buying basic maintenance tools

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Servicing' started by cameraguy, May 22, 2015.

  1. Hi all,

    apologies if this is a repost, but my basic searches didn't return a relevant answer.

    i'm looking for a good quality basic tool kit to allow me to change oil and filters as well as do some basic touch ups to my bikes.

    can anyone recommend and maybe even link a place to buy quality gear for less than retail?

    so far i've managed to find a torque wrench without attachments for $80 ish - seems a lot for a common tool.

    cheers all and thanks again for any time your have for responses.

  2. A 120 piece toolkit for $50 from Supercheap/bunnings/kmart starts you off with the majority of sockets, pliers, screw drivers and hex keys to take fairings off. Yes the quality isn't amazing but its not horrible and gives you a good starting point to build up from and tells you what tools you actually use. Repco/SSA etc tend to be the cheapest places to get your oil trays, funnels, cans of spray and only cost a few dollars for most things.

    Quality tools cost about 3-4 times what budget tools would cost, if you're only doing basic maintenance and not using it everyday, starting with cheaper stuff for the majority of tools can go along way. Once you have a good idea on what tools you need, grey importing it via aliexpress or ebay saves tends to be about half what I pay from any local store..

    Total Tools can be a great source of quality parts if you want to stick local, keep a close eye on specials and newsletters as prices vary.

    Things I've built on separately from the base toolkits for basic maintenance:
    - Decent multimeter, wirestrippers and soldering iron
    -Drill with lithium battery and range of bits
    - Big Hex keys to unfasten and tighten brake calipers.
    - Vernier to measure rotor thickness
    - Good lighting and 12v ctek charger.
    - Rubber floor mat and Magnetic parts tray
    - 21 piece stanley kit that lives on the bike
    - Printed service manual
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  3. Cash convertors often have a selection of tools.
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  4. $80 is peanuts for a good quality accurate torque wrench.
    I'm lucky enough to have a roller cabinet full of Snap-On gear but you don't need that.

    The advice above is sound. Don't buy the cheapest nastiest from supacheap etc because you will find sockets not perfectly cut, hex keys will burr being weak steel and ratchets sloppy and prone to skipping.

    Buy mid range tools at least. Buy right- buy once. They last forever if decent quality.
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  5. 'Crescent' make ok enough cheaper Toolkits. Gumtree has second hand stools and beer fridge to complete the the kit
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  6. I recommend going to Bunnings and spending $100-$200 on a Kincrome starter kit, like these:



    I used to buy cheap tools and I found that over the years I spent more on cheap socket sets than what I would have spent on a single good set.

    My preference is Kincrome as I find the prices to be very reasonable but the quality is very high and they also have a lifetime warranty.

    My suggestion would be to also buy a good size tool chest for your growing tool collection, as you will find that tools are the sort of thing that you accumulate over time, so you will need a place to organise and store them.

    Another thing to remember is that motorbikes generally use very high tensile fasteners which are heavily torqued. If you use cheap tools made of soft steel you are likely to damage the tool before you loosen the fastener! Then you need to go and buy new tools in order to get the job done.

    Buy right-buy once
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  7. I was recently looking at torque wrenches and went middle of the road.
    Got a Sidchrome deflecting beam wrench for heavier stuff and a Norbar micrometer for smaller stuff at a combined total of about $400.
    I asked myself 'what will it cost if I snapped that bolt on the engine cover' and 'how long do I want these to last and stay accurate'.
    For me the answer was simple in that case because I need the tool to be reliable and accurate but I also have cheap tools where quality doesn't matter as much such as screwdrivers, spanners, pliers etc.
    As Tweet said an $80 torque wrench is cheap and it usually reflects in the quality.
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  8. One thing I'll note is that most bikes use metric fasteners, and it's worth keeping that in mind and paying attention to what's in a box when you're buying tools -- you may get more useful stuff out of a 20 piece metric-only set than a 25 peice metric+imperial at the same price.

    Regarding torque wrenches, be dubious about any which claimed a wide range, especially if they're cheap, as it's probable that their accuracy will be dubious. Also check what torques you'll need to be setting on your bike; you'll probably find a 3/8ths drive will cover all or almost all you will be doing, but there may be some particularly highly torqued bolts (single sided swingarms are a notable example).
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  9. Once again thank you to all the contributors, really sound advice. Much appreciated.
  10. Get a tyre pressure gauge while you're at it
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  11. If the budget reaches to a 'good' set of tools initially, then I would recommend investing in a muti-set, as noted earlier. I have had Sidchrome sockets for too many years to mention and they have never failed. So they have payed for themselves over the years. I have also bought lower quality wrenches and have had scuffed knuckles and forced to curse wildly when they have cracked under rubber hammer force . Probably misuse I agree, but the Sidchrome has taken the punishment and I trust their resilience.
    I recently bought a vernier to check disc thickness
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  12. Also, another thing to remember is that the cheap tools don't have good rust protection, so if you damage it at all they will start to rust, weakening them further and dirtying your tool chest
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  13. So it seems that the consensus is you get what you pay for, so spend a bit more without needing to go pro level.
  14. Trying to located a decent set second hand is proving pretty tricky, may end up getting bunnings to price match an ebay price. Anyone got any tips on this?
  15. I find Repco spanners are pretty good value and feel good in the hand, although in the last few years they have gotten fatter so they don't fit in such tight spaces.. so I have old and new ones :)

    3/8" torque wrench. some cheap ones are ok, and some are not. some calibrate fine and are consistent, but some vary over time...
    good quality cost more but.. torque wrenches are long term tools.
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  16. I saw on eBay if you buy from Supacheap via eBay I think there is 15% off whatever they have listed.
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  17. You might not ride your bike like it's stolen, but at least you can use tools like they're stolen.

    Which they possibly were...
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  18. And if you need the accuracy of a torque wrench, well, you need accuracy in your torque wrench.
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  19. After years of being on tools, my Grandfather a diesel mechanic, my step father a locksmith, and myself a locksmith daily, but also a qualified fitter and turner and electronic engineer(Yes, I spent a long time at school). I don't really have any advise specific to bikes, as I'm new to the sport myself. But one bit of general advise given to me was always have a "good" set of tools, the ones you use for stuff which matters to you, but also a set of beater tools such as chinese made sockets and allen keys. The amount of times I've found some strange fastener in a vehicle or piece of equipment which had some weirdo damn size on it, or square nuts etc, just hammer on an el-cheapo chinese made socket and piss the shit fastener off and put the right thing on. It's not worth pissfarting around with getting the "right tool" 90% of the time, or risking your good tools trying to get shit off when you can use that $20 socket set from the $2 shop around the corner and sacrifice the badly made socket or driver. Once again, not really bike specific, but may hold you in good stead should you purchase second hand bikes with awful repair jobs.

    One thing I will say is essential if you go past fairings/panels on any vehicle is a torque wrench. Once you're into anything that threads into engine, gearbox or suspension components, you will want to know it's right. Yes the bush mechanic way of twice as tight as you think it should be will work, but you may be stretching or stripping threads and not even realise it. Unless you're willing to drill and re tap later in case of fcuk up, use a torque wrench.
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  20. EBay is your friend for good prices on tools. I agree buy quality gear and do it once. Also buy the basics and add specialty tools as you need. Big kit are sometime false economy imo.

    I have a Bahco metric socket set which when I researched one of the best value options. Lifetime warranty. Add a hex bit kit and torX bit kit if your bike uses these.

    make sure you get a good set of BALL END Allen keys. the ball ends are very useful on bikes. I have bondhus which seem robust.

    add a good set of spanners and screwdrivers, maybe a shifter, and you are basically there for absolute basics.

    Buy the rest as needed.