What tools are needed to work on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle?

If you’re new to motorcycle mechanics and new to Harley Davidson motorcycles, it can be a tough time deciding what kind of tools you might need to enable you to do routine maintenance or even more in depth mechanical and electrical jobs.

Most rider/owners build up a set of tools over a number of years and will tend to buy tools as and when they need them. So as long as you’re not buying a bike that you’ll need to strip down to its bare bones immediately, then chances are you will need very little to start with.
However you will soon learn that all mechanical jobs will need some tools and some just make life a lot easier too.

The following is a list of tools from the top that will get you started. It doesn’t mean these are definitive ones but rather a decent place to start. As you move down the list you can begin to add more as each job requires it.

So initially, a good place to start will be a complete starter tool set that has various tools, sockets, screwdrivers etc. It might be quite an investment but it will pay dividends as you progress.

Complete Starter Socket Set

Mechanics Tool Set

Boxed Tool Chest

Mechanics Tool Set and Chest

However, if you want to start to buy particular tools such as socket sets for different measuring systems, i.e. metric and imperial, then you may want to start here. Harley Davidson motorcycles are an oddity in that they have both metric and imperial sizes.

Spanner Set – Metric & Imperial

1/2 Inch Socket Set

3/8 Inch Socket Set  

1/4 Inch Socket Set    

1/2 Impact Deep Socket Set

3/8 Deep Socket Set

1/4 Deep Socket Set

Spark Plug Socket Set

You will also find it helpful to have socket driver adapters and extension bars too. T handles aren’t necessary but they make life easier too.

1/4 Inch Sliding T Handle Driver

3/8 Inch Sliding T Handle Driver

1/2 Inch Sliding T Handle Driver

Driver Extension & Adapter Set

Now one thing is for sure, you will need a torque wrench to tighten up bolts properly.

1/4 Drive 5-25Nm Torque Wrench

3/8 Drive 20-110Nm Torque Wrench

1/2 Drive 25-220Nm Torque Wrench

Next coming high on the list are screwdrivers, allen keys and torx heads.

Torx Bit Socket Set 

Allen Key Set Metric/SAE

Complete Allen Key Metric/SAE Socket Set

T Handle Allen Key Metric/SAE Set

T Handle Torx Set

Screwdriver Set – Flat/Phillips

Screwdriver Set – Flat/Crosshead

Long Reach Screwdriver Set

And the last items are what I like to call the grippers and the hitters…

Plier Set

Mini Plier Set 

Long Reach Plier Set  

Circlip Plier Set 

Rubber Mallet 

Belt Tension Gauge

Of course the list can go on and on but if you have these tools in your arsenal, then you’re already doing very well for any home mechanic.

There are certainly electrical jobs that may need attention, so some wire strippers and a multimeter would be a wise investment too.

Wire Strippers


And finally, so form of motorcycle lift jack or scissor lift would be a great addition to help raise the motorcycle off the ground especially if needing to remove wheels, fork legs or rear swingarm etc.

Scissor Lift

Motorcycle Jack Lift

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