What should a good set of tools include?

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Metric Socket Set

  • 10" Ratchet with 3/8" drive
  • Shorter ratchet with 1/4" drive
  • 1/4" drive sockets: 4mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm
  • 3/8" drive sockets: 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, 19mm

Additional Socket-type Stuff

  • 22mm socket [front axle]
  • 24mm socket [rear axle]
  • Hex (allen) socket, t-handle, or key set: 3-10mm
  • Adapter for 1/4" drive -> 1/4" hex bits
  • #2, #3 Phillips 1/4" screwdriver bits
  • 3mm, 4mm, 6mm, 8mm 1/4" hex bits and a screwdriver handle for them - comes in handy for things like carb drains that a socket won't reach.

Breaker bar

This looks like a ratchet, but it won't break as easily.

Breaker bar.jpg

If you need one this big, something's definitely wrong.

Navy Seals breaker bar.jpg

  • Short length of pipe to fit over your breaker bar for more leverage. (When using this type of extension, make sure you have plenty of clearance everywhere, so you don't rash or break bike parts. Also, MAKE SURE you're turning the nut/bolt the right way.)
  • Any time you're using a breaker bar, or anything that applies a lot of torque, make sure you're not going to bring the bike over on top of you. Get someone else to hold the bike if you can, and be very careful. Be aware that pulling your bike off its centerstand isn't that difficult to do.

Combination/open end wrenches

Combination 3.jpg

Get 6-point wrenches. They're better than 12-point.

  • 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, 19mm

Unless you really like rounding off fasteners, don't use one of these on your bike, or anything else you care about.


Screw Drivers

This is a very important place to buy the best quality tools you can afford.

  • #1 Phillips
  • #2 Phillips
  • #3 Phillips
  • Small and large flat-blade (straight) screwdrivers


  • Spark plug tool (elbow piece) from the stock toolkit. This is the best tool for working on plugs.
  • Rubber mallet
  • Torque wrench - A must have.
  • Minimum: Two inexpensive deflection bar wrenches from WalMart, one 10-100 ft-lbs and one approx. 0-250 or 50-250 in-lbs. More information.
  • Ideal: 2 ratcheting torque wrenches (US$50-90 each), one in inch-lbs, one in ft-lbs. Bigger one must handle ~100 ft-lbs max.


There is a ton of "gravy" to be had; this is a small list:

  • Short ratchets for hard-to-reach places
  • More screwdrivers
  • Circlip tool
  • Magnetic pick-up tool for stuff you drop
  • Kawasaki valve adjustment tool
  • The usual supplies: WD-40, cable lube, chain lube, brake cleaner
  • A jack for lifting the bike by the motor
  • Hand-operated vacuum pump

Bottom line

Buy tools when they're on sale, and buy the right tool for the job when you need it. Never buy cheap tools. Unless you're just buying a screwdriver to hit with a hammer, they cause more problems than they're worth. Now you know what you need; you can walk through Sears and see what's on sale the next time you're in the mall.

Tools for general maintenance

Ratings Of Tools By Brand