Ben’s 5 favourite tools...
Which things could he never be without?
1 Fork spring compressor
‘When you are stripping down a fork and you have the spacer tube exposed, you can see two holes. All this tool does is secure into these holes with locking pins and allow you to compress the spring so you can undo the nuts and get the spring out. It’s nothing flash, but basic can be brilliant. Without this you end up trying to do it without a compressing tool and that results in your fingertips getting bitten when it fights back!’
2 Lock wire pliers
‘I just love a good bit of lock wiring and some of the disasters I see on customers’ bikes really upsets me. It’s an art form and I love the satisfaction of getting it right. And yes, I confess I do spend time looking at the quality of other riders’ lock wire on their race bikes. Especially full factory bikes, it’s beautiful on MotoGP machines...’
‘This is a Dynojet 150 and it was a huge investment, but the hardest part was getting a good cooling system in. We run a huge 500mm fan that shoves enough air through to peel your shirt off! Dynoing a bike makes such a massive difference and it takes real skill to set a bike up properly – but the benefits are instant. I’m good at dyno work and while I was working for Slick Bass I set up Dean Harrison’s Supertwin as well as his Superstocker and Tim Reeves’ sidecar.’
4 Boxford lathe
‘I play pool in a local league and after one of the old boys called Neville passed away, one of his mates happened to mention that he had a lathe and milling machine sitting in a shed at the back of his house, so I donated a few quid to charity and took them home with me. We have an engineering firm around the corner, but this is great for doing little bits and bobs and it really isn’t hard to learn how to use one. I don’t do things for customers as it isn’t cost-effective, but it’s so useful to have around when we need spacers and that sort of thing knocked up.’
5 Long screwdrivers
‘I get so much stick for using these, but the long shaft means you can get much more torque on them. I use them even when I can easily access the screw’s head with a standard length screwdriver. They are absolutely excellent on carb drain screws, for example, where you really need to get some oomph on them. Although it does sometimes feel like you are approaching them from the other side of the room.’