Where can I find a good starter kit for motorcycle maintenance/repair tools?
April 13, 2010 7:43 PM   Subscribe

I just purchased a Suzuki SV650 and I want to know where I can find a starter tool kit for maintaining the motorcycle. I bought a Haynes Service Manual/Handbook and want to regularly maintain the bike myself. Changing oil, check spark plugs, air filter, tire pressure, drive chain wear, etc... I would rather not buy all the tools separately one by one as that would not only be more time consuming but I don't know where to start.

Can anyone recommend me a good starter kit for a Suzuki sport bike? Does something like that even exist? Or if I should really buy all the tools individually, any specialized store recommendations in the Los Angeles area? Is the below tool kit a waste of money for my purposes?


I would appreciate anyone willing to walk me through this process. Otherwise I would probably end up spending too much money.

Thanks!
posted by Wanderer7 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Sorry, here is the link. It's a RoadTech Tool kit.

posted by Wanderer7 at 7:44 PM on April 13, 2010


Wow, I'm still trying to get used to this linking tool. RoadTech
posted by Wanderer7 at 7:46 PM on April 13, 2010


To do the stuff you're planning on doing you pretty much only need a set of screwdrivers (minimally just one phillips and one flathead driver) a set of normal wrenches, a set of allen wrenches, a ratchet (3/8 would probably be best) with a set of sockets, a spark plug wrench and a spark plug gapper (there's one in your toolkit in the top left) and a tire gauge.

I was thinking about when I worked on my own motorcycle (it was a dirtbike, but it needs pretty much the same tools) and I would rarely, if ever, need more tools than these.

And you don't need to worry about going to a specialty store, just got to like a sears or any hardware store.

On preview, that set looks like a good idea to start with until you have a better grasp of what you're doing. I would still recommend a ratchet and sockets though, it makes things way easier.

Have fun!
posted by DoublePlus at 8:01 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Those tool kits are pretty handy (I have a similar one in SAE sizes for my HD), and will have adequate tools to do most basic maintenance tasks and minor customization. You might be able to get a toolkit from a Suzuki dealer; if you can it will probably be more expensive than the kit you are looking at.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:08 PM on April 13, 2010


Do you have the toolkit that came with the bike? I'm going to assume you don't, but if you do, feel free to skip to the end. Usually, the factory toolkit will have most of the things you need to do basic maintenance like that, although none of it is great quality. Here's what comes with the SV kit:

http://www.svrider.com/tips/toolkit.htm

Out of that list, there's some things you'll want to have that don't come with the RoadTech kit:

19mm closed end wrench
22mm closed end wrench
27mm closed end wrench

These are pretty cheap closed-end wrenches, not much more than steel cutouts, that are really useful for taking the front and back axles off (and you'll need to loosen the back axle to adjust the chain). They're nice and thin to fit in the bag, and they won't tear up your axle nuts nearly as much as the adjustable wrench in that kit. If you don't care about portability, you could just go down to Sears and get a box-end wrench in the appropriate size. The other thing that the factory toolkit has that you might want are these:

Rear shock adjustment wrench
6" long spark plug socket with pivot
6" long spark plug socket extension (fits 14mm socket)

That spark plug socket with the pivot on the end can be really handy. It's been years since I worked on an SV, so I don't remember how much of a knuckle-buster it is when getting the plugs. The rear shock adjustment wrench makes setting the preload on your rear shock a lot easier on you and the equipment, so I'd suggest getting that too (and go set the rear sag properly as soon as you get it!). I guess what I'm saying is, get the factory toolkit and supplement it - looks like they're $30-50 on eBay, no idea what Suzuki charges.

Anyway, modulo the bike-specific tools, the RoadTech M3 kit doesn't look bad. It's got all the basics (and it does have a set of ratchets), but has some things you don't really need (adjustable wrench, vice grips, etc), and my experience with kit tools is that they tend to be a little on the flimsy side. You could probably go down to Sears and get everything in that kit for more money, but it'd be better quality. The RoadTech kit seems more like something you'd take along on a trip than have in the garage.

Ugh, sorry for the verbosity, hope that helped a little.
posted by hackwolf at 8:41 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Personally, I'd go with one of the Craftsman toolsets, and fill in the gaps as needed. Looks ike Sears is running a deal on their 155-piece mechanic's set (check www.craftsman.com) right now; you can get it for only $40 more than the kit you linked. Probably going to be better quality than the RoadTech kit, and working on your bike you will notice a difference.

You should also get a torque wrench. There are certain things on the bike you want to be very very certain are properly torqued. Again, Craftsman is good quality and not terribly expensive.

And if the wrenching bug really bites, go looking for a Snap-On truck.
posted by asterix at 9:03 PM on April 13, 2010


Oh yeah, and get a set of T-handle hex wrenches. (Again, Sears is your friend.) So much more pleasant than using an Allen key.
posted by asterix at 9:05 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


asterix: "Personally, I'd go with one of the Craftsman toolsets, and fill in the gaps as needed."

Ideally, one would do both. Have the Craftsman set at home, and keep the smaller kit with the bike at all times, just in case you need to do something on the side of the road (to your bike, or someone else's).

hackwolf: "Do you have the toolkit that came with the bike?

I'm not sure if it is the case with Suzuki or not, but I know some manufacturers have the toolkit as an (expensive, $200 in the case of the Harley-Davidson one) option that you have to specifically ask for when you buy the bike, which is pretty stupid IMO. This is the one that I got instead; I was surprised at the quality of the tools included.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 5:22 AM on April 14, 2010


I don't think JC Whitney is known for making quality tools. Craftsman are decent, and they have the added advantage of being easily exchangeable if you break them (the caveat being if you're not a professional mechanic and use your tools correctly, you're unlikely to break them). Home Depot's Husky line is decent as well. Snap-Ons are some of the best tools out there, but they come at a premium (disclosure: my brother is a Snap-On dealer).

I'd buy a cheap tool roll and buy only the tools you need. The Haynes manual usually tells you what the minimum tool kit should be.
posted by electroboy at 6:36 AM on April 14, 2010


Hmmm. All I needed when I had my motorcycles was a set of screwdrivers ($25 at Sears), a metric socket set (also $25 at Sears) , a hex bit set for that socket set ($8.95), and an adjustable wrench. Optionally add a couple pairs of Pliers. I bought all Craftsman tools because I've had good experience with them in the past, although I bought Channel-Lock pliers... again, good experience in the past. The bonus point is that these tools are basic enough that you should have them anyway for home, auto, and other stuff maintenance.
posted by SpecialK at 7:22 AM on April 14, 2010


electroboy: I don't think JC Whitney is known for making quality tools.

The one Wanderer7 is talking about is not JCWhitney brand. True, they sell some cheap crap, but I don't think it would be a problem here. I've seen this particular brand of tool kit in a couple different motorcycle catalogs.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:41 AM on April 14, 2010


AgentCorvid: Most Japanese and Euro bikes (dirt or street) come with cheap, basic toolkits included from the factory. At least, every one I've bought in the last 15 years has.
posted by hackwolf at 9:02 AM on April 14, 2010


The one Wanderer7 is talking about is not JCWhitney brand.

Eh, still, is Cruz Tools a noteworthy brand? I don't think you're going to spend much more buying from Sears or Home Depot, and then you can easily replace things that go missing or get broken.
posted by electroboy at 10:42 AM on April 14, 2010


Congrats on the SV! I have one, they're awesome.

If you don't already have one, you'll want a rear stand to jack up the rear wheel. It'll make chain maintenance (e.g. cleaning/lubing/checking) a *lot* easier.

All the other tools issues have been covered. A couple of other things:

Synthetic motor oil - the seals can handle it, and you'll get a lower operating temperature as a result.

And buy good spark plugs (NGK iridium) - the spark plug for the front cylinder is a bear to get to. Good spark plugs will mean you have to replace things much less often.
posted by swngnmonk at 10:45 AM on April 14, 2010


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