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Good set of tools for beginner?

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' started by Danzotron, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. Hi guys,

    I've recently picked up a cheap bike from the wreckers that I bought with the intention of teaching myself about bike engines and maintenance. I've got the service / workshop manuals and stuff that I need. But no tools! I'm fairly new to all of this and hence I don't really know what tools I will need / should get. Is anyone able to give me a list of some tools that I should have or a good tool set to pick up that will cover all the basics and some of the advanced stuff that I might wanna do on this thing?

    Any help / advice would be greatly appreciated..


  2. Hello Dan,

    This has been asked a few times before, so if you run a search you should get some really good info on what you may need or not need. The very first tool you should buy is a service manual for your particular model bike. I love the Haynes manuals over the actual factory service manuals cause they have lot of pikturs like. I like books with pikturs!

    Good luck and well done with starting tooling your own bike. It's not too scary starting off and you can really save yourself some bucks.
  3. Set of sockets
    Set of spanners (open ended one end and ring the other is good.)
    Straight and phillips head screwdrivers
    Allen key set if your bike uses them
    Socket or tube spanner to fit your spark plug.
    Maybe set of feeler gauges for setting plug gap and valve gaps

    You are going to have to work out what sizes you need, since bikes vary slightly but generally if you buy a spanner set you will get enough to cover most situations. Similarly a one of the quarter inch drive socket sets usually cover most of the smaller sockets you need but they normally only go up to about 13mm so you may need to buy a few extras. If you know exactly what sizes you need you can work out if it is cheaper to buy sets or individual tools.

    Some people will tell you buy the best tools you can and there is no doubt that good quality tools will last a lifetime. But I have never had any trouble with the cheap spanner sets and socket sets like they sell in Repco and SuperCheap (mine have lasted a decade or two).

    However make sure you get get good quality screwdrivers as cheap ones seem to round off making them hard to use and liable to damage screws.

    You may need to buy odd one-off items peculiar to your bike. Removing the oil filter on my bike is a bastard because of the way the pipes wrap around it. I haven't got one yet (been on order for quite a while) but would desperately like an oil filter tool. Makes removing the filter on my bike so much easier.

    I also needed a very large spanner to do the wheel nut on LizzyM's bike (necessary for chain adjustment) but picked up a cheapy at SuperCheap that does the job for a few bucks.

    Finally my late father -in-law recommended everyone had a cold chisel. He always said "How the hell can you bugger things up without a cold chisel". Advice which I find still works to this day.
  4. +1 twistngo

    I would recommend investing in a percussive adjuster.
  5. +1 all, you can get away with cheap sockets and spanners - the supercheap ones seem to be really good for home use. Just make sure you pay >$20 for your screwdriver set. I have only had to buy a new Stanley driver once, after I wore out my #2s (over about 5 years) Also, consider an impact driver and drill bits if you want to break your own carbies. :)
  6. Have to disagree here. Cheap open ended spanners are particularly bad news. Too much clearance and/or too much flex in the jaws will strip nuts and bolts.

    I generally don't like the adage "You get what you pay for" but when it comes to spanners "you can't get good and cheap" seems to be appropriate.

    A medium priced open/ring spanner set should form part of your kit. For some reason many kits don't have 15mm, so keep an eye out for it. I've found I need it on every vehicle I've owned.

    You can get away cheapish 1/4" socket set, but only count on it up to 10mm (12 for non critical stuff). Anything larger and you will need a better set. and you will need larger on a bike.

    Check for free-play in ratchet tools etc when you buy them. If the packaging prevents you checking, you can bet they are crap. Supertool tools have too much free-play.

    A shifter should be an absolute last resort on a bike, but if you do buy one, make sure it has absolute minimum freeplay in the jaws.
  7. I jus got myself a big cheap kit from Super Cheap Auto. Sockets, Allen Keys, Screwdrivers, Spanners, Shifters... It was less than $50.
  8. Don’t forget a tire pressure gauge (pencil type will do) and something to pump the tires up with.
  9. If you don't want to pay a fortune but still want decent quality gear we've had good results from Kingchrome tools at work.

    There's a catalogue at this url.


    The $299 55 piece kit on page 6 would be the basis of a good starter kit IMHO.
  10. Bought a Kincrome socket set and I'm very impressed with it. Got the stupidly tight sump plug off my Spada with it no trouble (once I got enough leverage, thanks to a nice long pipe)

    To me that was a pretty good test as a badly fitting socket would've easily stripped the head with that much force and a shitty/weak socket would've broken almost as easily. So +1 for Kincrome. Lifetime warranty, too.

    Oh and +1 on the Stanley screwdriver set. They are ridiculously popular for a very good reason.
  11. I bought a Sidchrome metric tool kit over 35 years ago now & every piece is still as new & it gets used alot.
    In those days Sidchrome was made in Australia & the quality was first rate.
    These days Sidchrome tools are made in asia & the quality has suffered i.m.o.

    Kinchrome & Stanley are good brands & will serve you well.

  12. Did he buy a Harley?

    Stanley socket set is great value.

    Stanley screwdriver set, fantastic and pretty cheap.

    Sidchrome spanners because I can afford it but I woulld buy Kinchrome.

    Cheap is cheap mate.
  13. I'm with people on the Kinchrome quality, but they don't strike me as being particularly cheap anymore. They've doubled in price in the past 3 years. They were good value then. Now . . .
  14. Repco are currently doing a very neat set of AF/MM 1/4" and 1/2" sockets and combination spanners. 60pc, $199. I have been very happy with the tool quality and the no nonsense warranty. Buy a good set for LIFE.
  15. +1 buy quality

    Also a Torque Wrench for more sensitive/critical threads.

    Dave I think you've done really well to make cheapo tools last like that, but sounds like you're almost the only one.
    I had it with cheapo ones not fitting / deforming / stripping / causing me to swear, twice, before I bit the bullet and got decent Kingchrome stuff. Now work's faster & easier, and it's nice to know I now have reliable tools which will last a long time.
  16. The best tool I have purchased would be my impact driver. Mine's 40 years old, never let me down yet. Needed to replace the bits once. You can use it on stuck screws, take off the top and add a socket and you can use it to undo stuck bolts. Very handy with soft phillips head screws.
  17. I pulled nearly my whole r6 engine apart using a 8dollar 30 piece socket set - I did end up breaking the 1/4 --->3/8th adapter tho undoing head bolts, but after replacing that adapter with a better quality one it was all systems go and no problems lols (but no, the bike never went again hehhahah)
  18. That's no problems?
  19. lol touche'
    But it turned out the bike had big issues, It was time for a change anyway and I didnt want to spend anything on a bike that kept trying to kill me, so i traded it as a rollin chassis for somthing with a steering damper lol - dunno if the guy ended up replacing the engine or not tho that took possession