We'd all love to have the ultimate workshop to make life easier when we work on our motorcycles, wouldn't we? Obviously, there are loads of wonderful goodies you can pack in there but you can't have everything. So we've come up with what we think are the 10 best to start making your dream shop come true.
First on our list has to be a motorcycle lifter and/or race stands. If you've worked on your motorcycle in the past, you've probably spent some of you time crawling or lying around on the floor trying to adjust your chain, change a wheel or change the engine oil and find that sump plug. When you go to a mechanic for a service you'll almost certainly find one or more lifters and a bunch of race stands to suit various models. (if they have them not think twice to let them work on your motorcycle.) Motorcycle lifts are easy to use, can be operated on you own and won't break the bank in terms of cost. One benefit of a motorcycle lifter is that it brings your machine up to the perfect height for you to work on it and then easily lowers it to the floor once the job's done.
Put down a good-size piece of industrial carpet where you park your motorcycle so that if you have to lie down you'll be reasonably comfortable. And butterfingers, pay attention: all those tiny little nuts, bolts and clips that you drop won't bounce on the concrete and spring off into oblivion, never to be seen again. Carpet cushions the fall!. Still on the comfort side of things, you'll need a cooling fan. There's nothing better than being cool in a hot garage. These appliances are already reasonably cheap from any shop around your house. Or just borrow the stand ventilator from inside the house and brace yourself for the complains!
Ideally, your workshop should already be adequately lit with fluorescent lighting so you're not fumbling around in poor light or the dark. But what about when you need to get light into those tight, dark spaces? The only way to go is to have a light with a lead that you can position just so. Many outlets sell lights like that and you can even get LED ones, but I've found they don't give the quality type of 'natural' lights needed.
We're halfway through our list and we start to get serious. Latex disposable gloves are a must. Now, doctor jokes aside, latex gloves are ideal for the workshop environment because they keep skin and nails free from grease and grime. They also dramatically reduce the changes of developing dermatitis caused by regularly getting your hand covered in grease and oil.
You need a workbench with a vise to carry out all those niggling tasks that you just can't do without three hands. The bench should be a minimum 1.5 meter long and have a wooden or chipboard top. You'll notice many workshops have aluminum benches, but that's not so good for the home mechanic since you leave yourself open to damaging your parts if you're not careful.
Let's get serious: it's tool time. For me, there's only one way to go and that's to splash the cash and get good quality tools. I've been using good quality tools for more than 15 years and they still have that new feeling and there's a quality fit every time. A good way to have your tools within easy reach is to mount then on an board on the wall. You can even trace around each tool on the board so you have an easy reference for where it belongs and to make it easier to see if it's gone. Also, make sure you invest in the special tools for your motorcycle needs – things like a dedicated clutch puller. And, make sure you get a good workshop manual for your model motorcycle.
Wouldn't it be nice to wash all the grease and grime from the parts you've taken off your motorcycle before replacing them on your machine? Well, now you can with a parts washer. This looks like a metal tub with a simple system that uses paraffin (or other degrease) and a brush to bathe and bring your motorcycle parts back to as-new condition. A parts washer is ideal for degreasing all those parts that get plastered with crud over time.
What would any workshop be without some tunes? Grab your MP3 player and put it in a sort of docking station or set up a portable sound system near your machine. Crank it up with some of your favorite sounds and you'll be surprised how much easier even the most difficult job can be. Also a Internet connection with a notebook or desktop computer could be helpful in your workshop for a quick look-up.
Last bet not least, the best and undoubtedly the ultimate piece to have in your workshop is, of course, fridge (filled with beer). After getting down and dirty there's nothing better than kicking back with an icy cold beer, taking, pride in what you've achieved while working on your own motorcycle.