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Motorcycle tools

To maintain and repair your own motorcycle and fit accessories, all you need is a workshop manual, some peace and quiet and decent tools.

[HEADER: werkzeuge.]

The one thing that many DIY mechanics do not have is the right tools. A random collection of screwdrivers, much too soft, cheap slip-joint pliers, blunt nippers, and a few poor-quality wrenches are not a great starting point. Nobody can do a good job with tools like that. Without a doubt, working with bad tools is a nightmare you don't want to experience. A few useful, high-quality tools, however, can make working on your bike a real pleasure, and can also save money.

Basic equipment for the hobby workshop

Costing little more than the hourly rate charged by a workshop, your first purchase should be a good-quality, reasonably extensive socket wrench set with a large (1/2 inch) and a small (1/4 inch) ratchet, lots of sockets, bits, bit holder, universal joints and extension bars. This will enable you to undo the vast majority of screw connections on your motorbike, including in hard-to-reach places. They don't have to be the most expensive professional tools, but definitely go for chrome-vanadium steel. Also useful are sockets with a flank-drive, which will even undo many a damaged hexagon bolt. For example, the Rothewald socket wrench set (Fig.1) – or Rothewald complete set (Fig.2) with combination wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers and additional 3/8-inch ratchet. If you own a Harley or a British classic, you will, of course, need imperial tools. Rothewald imperial tool set (Fig.3) – incl. combination wrenches and ball end Allen keys.

[IMAGE: socket wrench set.]
Socket wrench set, 108-piece
[IMAGE: tool set.]
Tool set, 122-piece
[IMAGE: tool set.]
Imperial tool set, 92-piece
[IMAGE: combination wrench set.]
Combination wrench set
[IMAGE: knipex pliers wrench set.]
Knipex pliers wrench set
[IMAGE: digital caliper gauge.]
Digital caliper gauge
[IMAGE: led multifunctional tester.]
LED multifunctional tester
[IMAGE: japanese connector set.]
Japanese connector set
[IMAGE: self-amalgamating insulating tape.]
Self-amalgamating insulating tape
[IMAGE: brush set.]
Brush set, 6-piece

You often need a second tool to hold nuts, So a large combination wrench set is also essential, unless included in the socket wrench set (Fig.4). You should also have A pliers wrench set; e.g. from Knipex (Fig.5), a medium hammer (300 g), a caliper gauge for measuring bolts etc. (Fig.6), a voltage tester (Fig.7) for tracking down electrical faults, a set of cable terminals with a suitable crimping tool (Fig.8), a roll of self-amalgamating insulating tape (Fig.9) and a set of brushes for removing dirt and corrosion (Fig.10).

Now you have the basics covered!

More tools give you more options

[IMAGE: screwdriver set.]
Screwdriver set, 10-piece
[IMAGE: impact driver set.]
Impact driver set, 5-piece
[IMAGE: wrench sets.]
Hexagon socket
[IMAGE: wrench sets.]
Wrench sets
[IMAGE: variohammer.]

Although the bits in the socket wrench set will also work for slotted, cross-head and hexagon socket screws, sometimes you will probably prefer to use conventional screwdrivers because they are sturdier. So unless they are included in the socket wrench set, you will want a screwdriver set (Fig.11). If there are lots of cross-head or slotted screws on your bike, an impact screwdriver (Fig.12) is a great help, as they are often really tight and get damaged easily. The ideal tools for hard-to-reach hexagon socket screws are ball-end hex keys (Fig.13) because they can be inserted at an angle. They have come right down in price nowadays. Not needed if included in the socket wrench set. A tap with the Variohammer rubber or plastic hammer (Fig.14) can often help to loosen parts on your bike that are stuck fast. A standard steel hammer would often do more damage than good in such cases...

[IMAGE: tools chart.]

At some point you will probably have to remove a bike part that is fastened with a circlip or lock ring, for which you will need two special pliers, one for internal and one for external rings: Set of circlip pliers (Fig.15). Next you should purchase a battery charger suitable for your bike battery. If your motorbike doesn't have a centre stand, you should also get yourself a suitable paddock stand, for example, so that you can safely park your machine when working on it, or for the winter. A stand will also enable you to turn the rear wheel to lubricate the chain. Experienced DIY mechanics who plan to do engine repairs, for example, should own a small (Fig.16) and a large (Fig.17) torque wrench. So too should any biker who doesn't have a knack for tightening bolts correctly according to their purpose and size. But don't forget, as solid as these wrenches look, they are only used for tightening, and not for loosening stubborn screws, as this may damage them internally.

[IMAGE: seeger ring pliers set.]
Seeger ring pliers set
[IMAGE: torque wrench.]
Torque wrench (6–30 Nm)
[IMAGE: torque wrench.]
Torque wrench (40–210 Nm)
[IMAGE: disc brake piston spreader.]
Disc brake piston spreader

With all that, your DIY workshop would be pretty well kitted out. You only need further tools if you are doing special work. For regular brake servicing, tools like a disc brake piston spreader(Fig.18) and a brake bleeder (Fig.19) are very practical.

[IMAGE: brake bleeder.]
Brake bleeder
[IMAGE: 2-gauge synchroniser.]
2-gauge synchroniser
[IMAGE: 4-gauge synchroniser.]
4-gauge synchroniser
[IMAGE: ignition tester.]
Ignition tester

To change oil filter cartridges, you use a suitable oil filter removal attachment for the ½-inch socket wrench. If you're going to synchronise a multi-carburettor system, you will need a synchroniser; e.g. from Rothewald, 2 gauges (Fig.20), or 4 gauges (Fig.21). To track down faults in the ignition without risking damage to the electrical system, you use an ignition voltage tester (which does not cost much at all) (Fig.22).

digital multimeter
Digital multimeter
hand tap and thread cutting sets
Hand tap and thread cutting sets

Nor does a multimeter (Fig.23) cost a fortune. You use it to find electrical faults in general, and you can even download comprehensive instructions for how to use it on motorcycles at (for further product information, go to the product in the Online Shop). If you own a vintage motorbike, or if you enjoy customising your bike, you will have to repair threads every now and again or cut a thread on parts you make yourself. Not a problem with a good thread cutter and tap set (Fig.24).

[IMAGE: thread file.]
Thread file
[IMAGE: workshop creeper.]
Workshop creeper

If the thread of a bolt is damaged, it can often be repaired with a thread file (metric) (Fig.25). Unlike a thread cutter, it restores the existing metal rather than removing metal and further weakening the thread. Working in comfort will increase your enjoyment of bike repair. A comfortable creeper seat (Fig.26) for working on your motorbike is a useful addition to your workshop. And it's certainly not an unnecessary luxury, as good posture while you work is not only more comfortable, but also helps you to stay focused on the job you're doing.

[IMAGE: tools chart.]
[IMAGE - Download this tip.]

Download this tip

For the garage: Simply download, print out and take it with you.

We recommend:

Three interchangeable
10 - 50 mm diameter

Rating : 2.85 out of 5


For professional
thread repairs
39-piece metric M3-M12

Rating : 3.4 out of 5


For professional
thread repairs
39-pc. imperial UNC

Rating : 2 out of 5


Accurate to 0.01 mm!
Display in mm and inches
Includes battery

Rating : 2.25 out of 5


Enables fast
detection of
ignition problems

Rating : 4.33 out of 5


Ideal for working on your
bike's electrical system

Rating : 4.7 out of 5


(1 Meter = 2.001)

The inexpensive set
for the true
DIY mechanic. 501-piece

Rating : 3.66 out of 5


Detects +/- current flow
For 3-48 V elec. systems
LED indicator lights.

Rating : 5 out of 5


Covers everything from M4
to M22 axle nut
Chrome-vanadium, hardened

Rating : 4 out of 5


12-piece with bag
TÜV/GS-tested, acc.toDIN

Rating : 4.41 out of 5


Professional tool
with many
different uses.

Rating : 3.83 out of 5


Prevents the brake
piston from tilting
in the guide

Rating : 4.36 out of 5


Chrome-vanadium steel
9-piece, magnetic
Ideal length for leverage

Rating : 3.57 out of 5


Effortlessly undo
seized or rusted

Rating : 4.52 out of 5


One set for everything
Chrome-vanadium steel
122-pc., metric

Rating : 4.3 out of 5


Imperial version
Chrome-vanadium steel

Rating : 4.76 out of 5


Gunmetal finish
Chrome-vanadium steel
Magnetic, 9-piece

Rating : 2 out of 5


Comfortable work position
Rugged quality
Padded seat

Rating : 3.4 out of 5


Go-through blades
With impact caps
and external hex

Rating : 4.93 out of 5

instead of 29.991


Many different uses
6 different brushes
Top value for money

Rating : 4.28 out of 5


Professional quality
For finishing
For metric threads

Rating : 5 out of 5


Professional torque
wrench in 3 sizes
Accurate scale

Rating : 3.34 out of 5

from 59.991

We recommend:

Automatic 8-stage battery
charger for Li-Ion motor-
cycle starter batterys

Rating : 5 out of 5


Fully automatic 8-stage
battery charger
IP65 enclosure protection

Rating : 4.37 out of 5

instead of 69.951


Automatic 8-stage charger
with max.5A & temperature
compensation, IP65

Rating : 4.78 out of 5


Fully automatic
6-stage battery charger
IP65 enclosure protection

Rating : 4.9 out of 5

instead of 49.991


[IMAGE: the experts.]

The Louis Technical Centre

Problems getting spare parts? Or maybe you've got a technical question about your motorcycle or an accessory The Louis Technical Centre can help! Remember to quote all the necessary details of your vehicle – better still, send us a copy of your registration document.

We will get back to you as quickly as possible!

So: send us your technical problem!

Please note!

These tips for DIY mechanics contain general recommendations that may not apply to all vehicles or all individual components. As local conditions may vary considerably, we are unable to guarantee the correctness of information in these tips for DIY mechanics.

Thank you for your understanding.

[IMAGE - Buy the Louis Mechanic Manual now.]

German Version

Louis DIY Mechanic Manual

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The big Louis DIY mechanic manual available in a printed version: in color and practical A4 format at cost price.

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