Want to do your own wrenching? Here's where you start.
Are you looking to do a little wrenching on your bike but you have questions? Want to know what tools you need? Where can you get them? How much should you spend? Industry veteran Ari Henning is here to help, with a YouTube video laying out the basics of what you need. All in, this list should cost you less than $500 USD.
The video is the latest installment in RevZilla’s The Shop Manual YouTube series, aimed at helping riders learn to wrench on their own bikes. Henning built the list by running down the maintenance schedules from a few shop manuals, and noting which tools are needed for those tasks. This tool list isn’t everything you’d need for an engine rebuild, or even a tire change or valve adjustment, but for basic repairs and maintenance, it’s got what you want. Henning does note individual bikes will require some changes to the list (some machines use Torx heads instead of Allen fasteners, a Harley-Davidson might use SAE fasteners instead of metric), but a sensible motorcyclist should be able to figure that stuff out.
Henning's list isn’t filled with super-expensive tools, so don’t worry about breaking the bank. To stay under that $500 limit, these are affordable tools, mostly available at places like Harbor Freight. Maybe you’ll want better equipment down the road, but for now, if you’re looking to save money, this is where to start. As the video notes, a motorcycle shop can charge as much as $80 for an oil change. Learn to do the job yourself with this toolkit, and you’ll recoup the cost of the tools after six oil changes. Industry experts say bike maintenance costs $1,000 to $1,500 a year in the U.S., and learning to do your own work will put a massive dent in that bill.
In future episodes, Henning will use these budget tools to show us how to perform basic maintenance tasks. He says he’s hoping to put viewers on a path to independence and self-reliance that benefits far beyond the realm of motorcycling, after “Fixing stuff becomes a habit.” For the cash-strapped rider, or even someone who just wants to learn to take care of themselves, this expert advice is exactly what’s needed.