Now that autumn has arrived in the
northern hemisphere, it's time to start thinking about
those winter maintenance projects.
finally time to install a set of
new set of tires? How about
flushing and refilling the brake fluid or the
or maybe tackle that
Check out the
Motorcycle Maintenance and Repair index of over 80 articles that
describe various projects that can be tackled during the winter months.
If you're lucky enough to have a garage, you may want to
think about springing for a kerosene heater.
We bought one a few years ago, and it works great. It
only takes about 15 minutes or so to bring an unheated garage up to
shirtsleeve temperatures, even on the coldest days. In fact, we
usually have to shut it off after about 1/2 hour or so, because it actually
gets too warm. We call it the "Temple", as in "Let's fire up the
So we figured this is a good time of year to do another tool
review. Besides, it's getting close to the holidays, and what better
gift for your favorite motorcyclist than a nice new set of wrenches?
GearWrench reviews have been very popular with tool freaks, and the
engineers at GearWrench have been very busy lately. We became fans of
GearWrench products when they were first released a few years ago when we
purchased one of the first GearWrench basic combination wrench sets.
Well, GearWrench has come a long way since then, with a huge
array of products and much higher quality than the originals. There
are now all sorts of different GearWrench products, including torque
wrenches, tap and die sets, FlexHeads and even the wild Half Moon ratcheting
The new GearWrench XL series of tools is designed to be the
"professional" line. They're longer and more robust, with a unique
twisted shape at the ends that is designed to provide greater strength.
GearWrench claims that the XL's "Surface Drive Plus"
provides a better grip on the fastener and helps prevent rounding of
The XL uses the typical GearWrench 5-degree ratchet box end, but the XL is
claimed to be 20% stronger than the original.
Note that we don't recommend using the box end of the
GearWrench combination wrenches for breaking free fasteners that will
require huge amounts of effort or your favorite cheater bar. But we
think they're perfect for the precision torque necessary on motorcycle
fasteners, which are usually threaded into relatively soft aluminum or other
The XL line is supposed to have a new oval shape that makes
them more comfortable to hold, but we really don't notice a difference
between these and the originals.
thing hasn't changed, and has actually improved: the finish on the
GearWrench XL is super, and I find myself wiping them off before putting
them to sleep in the toolbox!
It's a shame to have to actually use these beauties!
They make the old rough-cast Sears Craftsman set look like something out of
the 1940's. And the special twist on the ends gives the XL's a special
sort of futuristic appeal.
The XL must stand for "extra long", because one of the
features of this design is their length, which is claimed to be 25% longer
than the original GearWrench.
For example, an original 15 mm GearWrench measures 198 mm
long (7-13/16"), while the Sears Craftsman 15 mm is just a hair longer at
199 mm. The 15 mm GearWrench XL is 251 mm (~9-13/16"), which is just a
bit over 25% longer than the original.
I also weighed the three different wrenches just for grins;
not really a fair comparison, because the XL is so much longer:
15 mm Combination Wrench Weight Comparison
Sears, original and XL, left to right.
|Top to bottom:
|15mm XL, 15mmstandard, 15mm Sears
|10mm XL, 10mm standard, 10mm Sears
The GearWrench XL line is currently available as a
combination wrench and as a locking flex head. The metric set shown
here includes 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 mm wrenches,
which should cover just about any motorcycle maintenance or repair project.
They're also available in 13 SAE sizes, with 1/4", 5/16",
3/8", 7/16", 1/2", 9/16", 5/8", 11/16", 3/4", 13/16", 7/8", 15/16" and 1".
The wrenches can be purchased individually and also in sets of 8, which drop
off one at the small end and a few at the large end.
GearWrench products are manufactured by the Danaher Tool Group, which makes
professional tools like K-D, Matco, Armstrong, Holo-Krome and more.
The GearWrench XL is a solid wrench that is serving us well in the
Danaher offers a lifetime warranty on these wrenches.
We know some webBikeWorld visitors had problems back when the wrenches were
first introduced to the market, but it's our understanding that those days
are long gone now that GearWrench has a solid presence in the U.S.A. and
other world markets.
We've put away our Sears Craftsman wrenches after
many years of hard use -- not because they don't perform, but it's just such
a pleasure to use the highly polished GearWrenches, which work so well for