The ability to improvise, adapt and overcome is a skill every motorcycle enthusiast could put to use. One area where this skill can be beneficial is easily revealed with a look into our tool boxes. Absolutely nobody owns every tool, to perform every job, on every bike out there. Not even the life long technicians who have handed their tool truck dealers several years worth of their salary.
We have all found ourselves in situations where we lacked a tool required to complete a successful repair. In these situations there are a few ways we can go about getting our bikes back up and running. One would be to order the tool and wait for it to arrive. Another would be to take your bike to a shop and let them handle it for you. Or, you can improvise and utilize whatever may be available to you and make things happen.
If you are the do it yourself type then you are likely no stranger to figuring things out on the fly. The trial and error sessions that accompany these scenarios tend to produce great developments. Some of the solutions I have used in a pinch can be easily accomplished with items that are not hard to find. For example, I once made a primary locking bar from a piece of 1/4″ x 1″ scrap steel. On another occasion I fashioned a clutch diaphragm spring compressor out of a cap style oil filter wrench. My current tire changing “machine” was born from an old car wheel. All of these junk items became functional tools with the help of simple hand tools and some basic hardware.
These are just a few examples of what you can pull off while flying by the seat of your pants. This is the kind of stuff you won’t read in any text book or study in any class. The only way to acquire or sharpen these skills is through simply giving it a try. In most cases all that is required is a little ingenuity and the will to adapt whatever is available to you. Keep in mind you can likely replace any tools or materials you used as donors rather easily. It is also good practice to maintain a scrap bin of sacrificial items. Swap meets and clearance racks are great places to shop for cheap donor items.
There may be times when it is far simpler or more economical to take the easy route. The wise thing to do in these instances is go ahead and order the right tool or even hand your bike over to a repair shop. But a majority of the time you will find there is a great deal of down time and money to be saved by taking the high road. Roll your sleeves up, open your mind and apply your will to creating your own solution. Don’t be afraid to throw the book right out of the window. When all is said and done you may discover that the best tool for the job was the one you had in your hand or in your head.
Tinker, Shred, Destroy, Repeat