Some tools are easy to categorize – you’ve got your pliers, your spanners, and the simple but ever-trusty screwdrivers.

But then you’ve got others types of tools that aren’t as easy to put into a specific category.

That’s because these tools are known as “specialty tools,” and this special Tool Tutorial is all about them.

Specifically, we’re going to cover the following:

  • What makes a tool a “specialty tool”
  • Some examples of specialty tools
  • Whether you actually need motorcycle specialty tools

Prefer to get this information in podcast form? Listen to the 30-Minute Motorcycling Podcast episode about speciality tools:

What’s A Specialty Tool?

A specialty tool (AKA a “specialty purpose tool”) is a tool designed for just one specific purpose.

Often, that purpose and where it’s used are in the tool name. Consider the following examples:

  • Clutch compressing tool
  • Flywheel removal tool
  • Wheel alignment tool

To bring the point home even further, take a look at this seemingly ordinary screwdriver (not a specialty tool, just for the record):

Image by Aleksey Nemiro from Pixabay

Now, think about some of the jobs you can perform with a seemingly ordinary screwdriver:

  • Change an air filter
  • Remove fairings and covers

But try doing more removing a fairing with a clutch compression tool, and you’ll see that it’s not possible.

If there’s one thing to take away about specialty tools, it’s that you should only use them for their intended purpose. Doing otherwise could actually damage them beyond repair.

4 Examples of Specialty Tools

1. Clutch compression tool

Need to replace clutch plates? Then you should know that you’ll need something that can press down on the springs to make the removal process possible.

And unless you’ve got insane hand strength, you’ll need a tool strong enough to compress the springs for the clutch.

Enter the clutch compression tool, which gives you the strength necessary for that job.

For a demonstration of this tool in action, check out the video below from Motion Pro:

2. Flywheel removal tool

Since I brought it up, the flywheel is mounted to your engine shaft and is responsible for providing a continuous source of power.

If you need to remove the flywheel, you might run into a problem preventing the flywheel from spinning while you remove the nut securing it to the transmission. 

The flywheel removal tool (sometimes known as a “flywheel puller”) solves this problem by locking the flywheel into place while you remove it.

If you’d like to know more about flywheels and flywheel pullers, check out this article about motorcycle flywheels from venhill.co.uk.

3. Wheel alignment tool

Poor wheel alignment can cause everything from poor steering to the dreadful death wobble, which is why you must check it often.

You can do this with your eyes and the lines on the rear swingarm or a wheel alignment tool. 

If you’d like to know how to use a wheel alignment tool to check your wheel alignment, check out this video from Motorcyclist Magazine:

4. Torque wrench

Compared with the other tools we’ve looked at, the torque wrench doesn’t have a component or task in its name.

So what do you use it for?

The torque wrench tightens nuts and bolts to the exact tension or “torque specs.”

In other words, a torque wrench avoids the problem of the front wheel coming off simply because the wheel bolt wasn’t tightened on properly. 

Do I Need a Specialty Tool?

While many specialty tools can make repair and maintenance much easier, some can be expensive.

Just as an example, a clutch compressor can cost the equivalent of $1,000.

Sometimes, you can get away with using just standard tools for essential maintenance.

With that said, however, there are some tools that I recommend that you’d get – a torque wrench is an excellent example of such a tool.

And if you want to get serious about working on motorcycles or scooters, a specialty tool is one of those investments that will pay for itself in the long run.

Buying specialty tools? Keep this in mind

Before you buy a specialty tool for any purpose, you must remember that some of them are made for specific motorcycle brands.

Therefore, don’t waste money buying a clutch compressor tool for a Harley Davidson (like the one displayed earlier) if you’ve got a BMW.