Blog, Motorcycle

Do I Need a Torque Wrench?

A friend recently contacted me, saying that she’d decided to fulfil a life dream and get her bike license later this year, and wanted to know if I could help her with ‘what to look for’.

Naturally, being asked by a girl to talk about bikes… I wasn’t going to pass on that.

Unfortunately, I probably won’t be around by then, so I suggested she come round and I’ll give her the need-to-know with my own bikes whilst I’m still here.

After glossing over the ‘organisation’ of my tools (sorry, May), and explaining why under-seat exhausts are cool, it hit me that – at least in my opinion – there is a potential issue for all new riders.

Firstly though, I wanted to see if there was any substance to my thought, and so created this poll.

Do you see where I’m going?

At the time of writing, 50% of my (admittedly small number of) respondents said ‘no’.

I’ve long wondered why, when eventually being handed our soggy CBT certificates (in the UK) on a rainy weekend, do we then often leave to buy a bike knowing little about how to maintain it?

I know this is a very broad comment, but hear me out.

When my parents collected my Kymco 125, emblazoned with L-plates, all those years ago, the dealer left them with the vague advice of: ‘Tell him to remember to check the chain’.

I honestly feel that this is a flaw in the whole process of learning to ride, maybe through culture, regulations, or instruction – though, I’m not knocking the instructors themselves.

Because, as we all know, chains need adjustment and it can’t be avoided. Is it a simple job? Depends who you’re asking, doesn’t it?

Imagine then, me in my garage, with my friend, as I tell her to keep an eye on the chain tension, but also exactly how to do it.

You can probably understand how she looked at me; being somebody who knows little about wrenches and bolts, nor why you should definitely lock the other side of axle when tightening…

The thing is, I don’t know what the solution is.

Should instructors whip out their Halfords tool set and teach everybody how to tension and align a chain? Maybe some already do, and I just don’t know about it.

In my own case, I ended up taking an online course purely for motorcycle maintenance, and eventually wound up as an apprentice with Norton, so perhaps it was good I was never taught and had to go learn for myself.

The fact still remains that my dad, an avid never-liked-bikes guy, still doesn’t understand why I have to keep ‘fixing’ things.

What do you think?

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