GearWrench Stubby Flex Head Wrench
We've been big fans of the GearWrench product since
they first became available several years ago.
They work really well for motorcycle repair and
maintenance. The thin profile of most GearWrench
tools makes it easy to fit them into the tight
confines of a motorcycle.
Also, it goes without saying that the ratcheting box
end is very useful. They ratchet within a 5-degree
arc, which can be a real lifesaver.
The GearWrench folks keep coming up with more
configurations. As a tool freak, I can't have
enough tools, so every time they release a new design,
it seems to end up in my toolbox.
The Stubby Flex Head is the latest example to find a
home in my garage. Why a stubby wrench?
There are a couple of good reasons.
The first reason is obvious - sometimes a stubby
wrench is the only thing that will fit in a tight space.
But here's a lesser known reason: Motorcycles
use lots of aluminum and other lightweight alloys to
keep the weight down to a minimum. Every
motorcyclist who's every turned a wrench has probably
stripped a thread or two on their pride and joy at one
time or another.
Also, some of the threads used
on motorcycles have a very fine pitch. This is
due to the thin walled engine casings found on
many bikes, again because of weight savings. Thin
walls usually mean a finer pitch, so that the fastener
will have a few more threads to grab.
Thus, it's crucial to use the correct torque on every
nut and bolt and even screw to avoid problems. But
all that aluminum and alloy makes it very, very easy to
overdo it. The stubby wrench can help limit the
amount of torque that is applied, because the shorter
length means less leverage, and less leverage means less
GearWrench Stubby Flex Head wrenches have an added
bonus: a flexible head. I'll admit I don't often
use this feature on my Flex Head GearWrenches, but every
once and a while, it comes in awfully handy.
The flexible head allows access into some very tight
spaces, and sometimes it's impossible to get the entire
length of a wrench in the right spot. The
combination of short length and flexible head give these
wrenches a wide range of uses.
It seems somewhat ironic that the GearWrench Stubby
wrenches actually have a thicker profile than their
longer cousins. They seem very heavy-duty; an
11/16" combination wrench weighs 5 oz. (141 grams).
Or maybe they just feel heftier because of all the metal
packed in to a smaller size.
The ratcheting end of the GearWrench has a very nice
clicking ratchet sound - it sounds like a precision
instrument. The Stubby GearWrench combination set
doesn't have a reversing lever, so the wrench must be
flipped over to reverse it. This isn't really a
problem, and it's just one less thing to go wrong.
GearWrench products have a highly chromed finish - I
hate to get fingerprints on them, they're so nice!
And one more thing - the ratcheting box end has what
GearWrench calls "Surface Drive".
The wrench can be applied very tight to a flat
surface, unlike some other box-end wrenches which have a
rounded or recessed head, leaving the "teeth" too far
away from the flats of the fastener to get a good grip.
The teeth of a GearWrench are configured so that they
are a tiny bit farther away from the flats of the
fastener, which gives them more grip and prevents
rounding of fasteners, according to GearWrench.
Stubby wrenches are becoming popular, and rightly so
with motorcycle owners. If you're going to buy a
set of stubbies, you may as well get a 3-for-one and get
a GearWrench set. You get the GearWrench
ratcheting capability, the open-end capability, and the
flexible head all in one wrench set. These are
quality tools and they carry a lifetime warranty.
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Review: GearWrench Stubby Flex
Retail Price: $132.00 for 7 piece SAE or Metric set
(street price ~$75.00); $177.00 for the 10 piece set.
Metric: 7-piece set contains 10mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 15mm, 17mm,
19mm wrenches. SAE: 7-piece set contains 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8,
Comments: Excellent quality, appearance and feel; highly
polished chrome; lightweight; thin; Flex Head rotates 180 degrees; needs
as little as 5 degrees of sweep to move a fastener; lifetime warranty;
Flex Head is secured with hex screw, not pinned; washers provide
continuous tension so Flex Head keeps position.
See the wBW
Review of the Gearwrench
Ratcheting Combination Wrench; that review also has comments from webBikeWorld visitors who have
purchased Gearwrench tools.