Precision Pliers | Tools 101

By Karel Kramer, Photography by Karel Kramer

Like hammers, pliers are much maligned as motorcycle repair tools. The problem isn’t the pliers themselves; it’s folks using them as a wrench. Pliers are guaranteed to round off nuts and bolts, but they are excellent tools to have on hand for the work for which they are intended. I have some favorites that I don’t like to be without. I have a set of three precision mini-pliers: a needle nose, a long nose and a wire-cutter. The long-nose pliers see use all the time, and are priceless when installing piston circlips. Cheap pliers have jaws that don’t match perfectly, and serrations which quickly wear smooth. Spend the money for good ones. I also have a medium side-cutter with a square nose. My favorites come in KTM toolkits; I haven’t found the same thing from any tool outlet. I also use the heck out of long-reach pliers with a 45-degree bend near the tip. Mine were a gift, and I feel dumb for not buying my own a long time ago. I also have a set of quality snap-ring pliers. Again, cheap ones are useless; good ones are priceless. I don’t use them often, but water-pump pliers can be very handy. Factory mechanics swear by the Knipex brand, but I like a standard serrated jaw for the work I do.

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