Gunson Strobe Light
Sometimes it’s the simple things that cause the most problems, a good example being ignition timing on your scooter. Get it wrong and at best your bike runs badly. At worst, you’re into the world of holing pistons and paying for expensive mistakes.
I bought this Gunson (model unknown) strobe a few years ago now for about £25 from a local tool shop. Once I’ve marked top dead centre on my engine casing and set the scooter’s timing after a rebuild I fire it up, aim the strobe at it and see how accurate my timing actually is. It is as easy as that.
The power for the strobe comes from a 12v battery, but that doesn’t have to be connected to the scooter you are strobing, so in my case my Vespa PX has powered timing checks for my T5, Li Series 1 and RT225 Lambrettas. Inexpensive, easy to use and very reassuring.
Cordless Makita Drill
This is another tool that’s been in the shed for quite a few years now and do you know what? It may not be cheap but in that time it’s seen off two ‘cheap’ corded alternatives and is still as good today as when it was new.
Again, do your research before buying; I mainly use my drill for drilling holes and with wire brush attachments, occasionally with sanding discs. You therefore need to make sure any potential drill revs fast enough for your needs. This 18v LXT drill has enough power for a good brushing session and the battery recharges in less than an hour. The latest LXT drills in the Makita range claim as little as 30 minutes charge time these days.
The drill is also well balanced so not too tiring during sustained use, it has both forward and reverse features, as well as ‘drill’, ‘hammer’ and ‘screw’ modes too. The chuck is keyless and there is even a little light in the end that shines towards whatever you are drilling, should it be in a dark nook or cranny that the freedom of a cordless drill allows you.
Makita cordless drills start at around £65 according to the internet, but the better models cost more so do some research, try a few out and maybe see if you can strike a deal at your local hardware shop – the effort will be worth it.
Dremel Cordless Multi Tool
I have had both corded and cordless Dremels for a number of years now and I make no apologies for using this brand name against other products. For me I have found it invaluable for cutting rusted bolt heads, removing seized nuts, cleaning parts, drilling small holes, polishing, grinding into headsets to route hydraulic hoses, plus of course fettling the multitude of aftermarket scooter parts that don’t fit in an attempt to make use of them. A Dremel does all of this and more for me, and speaking to John at JB Tuning who uses a Dremel to port countless barrels, piston and engines a year, in his opinion it’s simply not worth buying an inferior alternative. Not if you want one that does what it says on the tin.
Again for those with no power in the shed, I can recommend the Dremel 8200 cordless multitool, which has a 10.8v Li-Ion battery that recharges in about an hour, revs between 5000rpm and 30,000rpm, and weighs just 600g. Like the rest of the range it features their innovative EZ Twist Nose Cap there is no need for a minispanner to tighten and loosen the collet when changing accessories, a number of which I do buy with different brand names from my local hardware shop. As always, shop around as a basic Dremel 8200 can be found from around £70 upwards.
Sealey Cordless Impact Wrench
If you are the Muscles from Brussels, or your biceps are the size of Bournemouth, and you have a long enough breaker bar, then no nut or bolt – however seized with rust – should present much of a challenge to you.
For the rest of us, a bad day in the shed can consist of little more than applying liberal coatings of WD40 then using ever larger tools with an increasing amount of violence in an attempt to remove whatever is stubbornly refusing to turn that day. Then I discovered the impact wrench…
At first the preserve of only those with a compressor and airline, nowadays technology has moved on to allow such tools to be bought by a wider audience. This particular example is the Sealey CP2400 which has a ½in drive, 24v of power and can deliver up to 325lb-ft (441Nm) of torque. If you have rear hub nuts to undo but no holder, a barn find scooter to strip that was actually dragged out of a river, or even if you’re feeling particularly lazy when taking your bike apart for a winter rebuild, seriously consider one of these.
You do need to do your research first though; some cheaper offerings offer so little power they are verging on pointless. And if you’ve no power in your shed then a cordless version will need to do the biz and also recharge quickly enough (Sealey claims one hour for this). The CP400 also has both forward and reverse control so clutches and flywheels can both be tackled, it is balanced and light in your hand too, and I know for a fact it does flywheels, hubs, front sprockets and more.
A word of caution though; firstly, make sure you only use special hardened impact sockets on such a tool. Secondly, don’t use it for tightening things up or you might risk damaging certain components. Use the torque wrench we advised last time.
The Sealey CP2400 and has an official retail price of £287.94 (including battery and charger), but if you shop around on the internet you can find it for less than half of that price. If it gets you out of trouble even once, you’ll love this piece of kit forever!