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Discussion Starter #1
A lot of folks have told me that owning a bike requires much more maintenance than a car, and it helps to have some gear/DIY skills to do things like adjust carburetors, tension settings on seats, throttles, etc.

Not being much of a gear head (I can change oil, old style brake pads, a tire, etc. - very basic stuff on a car), what kinds of skills would I need to pick up and tools would be needed for a new biker? I'd ideally like to have some sort of kit that I could tuck into one of the saddle bags. Books, websites, articles, blogs, etc. are all welcome.

I know I can Google for this stuff, but with such a plethora of information out there - it's hard to determine what's good, accurate, and crappy. Tks in advance!
 

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I ride a ninja and it comes conveniently with a set of tools to do just about everything on the bike. I have a set of tools anyway, but it is not totally necessary. Almost every bike has a dedicated web page too if you are interested in more about your interested bike...

As for the ride, take the Basic Riders Course offered in your state by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. You will learn a few things about the safe riding of bikes and it will increase your knowledge of the bikes necessary components.
 

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The amount of maintenance is going to vary by year, make and model.

The importance of being vigilant about maintaining your motorcycle is the fact that injury can likely occur if it is neglected.
 

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It depends on how much you intend to do yourself and how much you rather leave to a pro. I consider myself of above-average mechanical ability, but I never attempted a valve adjustment on a bucket-style lifter setup. Screw & locknut setups are easy though. I can do carb work, but I hate it. Brake / rear end / engine / fork fluid changes are all simple for me, but other people don't like to bother with them. I've never done swingarm maintenance either as it requires equipment I don't have. Are you wanting to do EVERYTHING or just more routine stuff? Screwdrivers, allen wrenches, combination wrenches, torx bits....are just the very basics that I can think of right now. And yes, bikes are more maintenance than cars unless you're riding a brand new Goldwing and you drive an old Jaguar.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the replies! I actually am taking the Basic Rider Safety course (which begins tomorrow!)...

I should probably preface my statement with a little of my background:

Rode a lot in high school, then weaned off in college when I didn't own my own bike. Getting active back into it now, and am wanting to make sure I spend my money wisely. First up is protective gear:

Boots, helmet, jacket, gloves

After that, I realize that the specific sizes of tools would vary by year/make/model, but for routine level stuff am wondering if sockets, screwdrivers, etc. are sufficient? I have those in various sizes with several duplications (i.e. 2-3 sets of torx bits, square bits, phillips and flatheads). Ideally, I'd like to assemble a "kit" that would tuck into my saddlebags.

Speaking specifically to the year/make/model issue, I am looking at (actually, more salivating over) a 2007 V Star Custom 650 I saw locally:

(I can't link yet as apparently one needs 15+ posts to do so...LOL)

It's a bit overpriced (according to KBB it should be at about $3300), but a beauty to say the least! What would be a good kit for that model?
 

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You will need a set of metric wrenches, and possibly some Allen and/or torx sockets. A torque wrench is one specially tool that all shade tree motorcycle mechanics should use, since the torque on several motorcycle fasteners is critical.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Again, great info, tks! Adding spares to my grunt roll for under the seat. What about something like a tire repair kit?
 

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It probably wouldn't hurt to carry a tire plug kit, if you have tubeless tires. If they are the tubed type, it isn't going to help much.

Paying an extra $1 a month for towing coverage on your insurance is probably the best bet.
 

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I just purchased a Clymer manual for my bike. There's alot of helpful information in it, even if you are like me, and aren't mechanically inclined.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
A couple other suggestions I've read now include the following:

miniature flashlight
two collapsible orange cones
Swiss Army knife/Leatherman or other multi-tool
 

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A cell phone, a friend with a trailer, or insurance that includes towing. I would not waste my time with a rolling tool box on the bike since any major repairs are going to be done either in my garage or the shop. If the bike comes with a tool kit, that will handle the extent of any work I am going to do on the side of the road.

I do carry a few extra fuses.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Extra fuses, another good tip!

As for the major versus minor repairs, I totally agree...just looking for a kit go ride with that can accomplish those easy quick fixes, or "gotta have it" when you ride!
 

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Just a little tip for you on that miniature flashlight...l work in building maintenance and use those little LED flashlights all the time. They are fantastic! You can get them cheap at Harbor Freight tools. That being said, the batteries that come in them are worthless, they will literally go out within a few clicks, so whenever l buy one the first thing l do is buy energizers and throw out the stock.
 

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If you spend a lot of time on the open road, the tool kit that came with your bike combined with a cell phone and a credit card are all you should need. If that tool kit doesn't get you rolling again, the cell and credit card will. Riding on the open road means accepting the fact that you may need to spend real money.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the tip about the batteries in those flashlights hawk, I do the same though use Eneloops (LiOn rechargeable ). Dollar for dollar, best battery out there imho
 

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As others have noted, virtually all new and most used bikes come with a tool kit specific to that motorcycle. It's meant for "emergency" roadside repairs, but they're usually more than enough to do the routine maintenance tasks.

Outside of that, a basic Craftsman Mechanic's Tool Set is relatively inexpensive to buy and great to keep around the house (or garage) and will cover virtually any maintenance task you should run into early on. After that, just acquire specific tools as you find you need them and add them to your kit.

Additionally, a Hayne's manual (or other shop manual) for whatever bike you will be riding will prove to be an invaluable source of information as far as things like "How to change my _____" or "What tools do I need for ____''. You can also look at a step by step guide for virtually any repair your bike may need, and if you decide that particular job is out of your wheelhouse, just take it to a professional -- at least you will have a good idea of the work he or she will be performing for you.
 

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Off topic, but I am from the Cleveland area as well, I was just visiting my family there last week.

Anyways to make this post relevant the tool kit that comes with the bike is enough to do your own limited maintenance. I too just to the basic oil, brakes, battery and other minor routine matinance with my car and that is basically all I would do on a bike as well. Certain things I don't trust myself to do yet.
 
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