Tools for the RX3

Like most bikes the RX3 comes with a small assortment of tools. These are emergency tools, meant to be carried on the bike in case a small bolt or screw comes loose. They're not adequate for much else, not even routine maintenance and certainly not for any significant mechanical work. If you don't have a decent set of tools, buy one.

Don't buy really cheap tools unless you're prepared for them to break, blunt and generally make life difficult. You may be able to get an SAE + Metric socket set for $9.99 or even $4.99, but don't. Dirt cheap tools may be OK for light work and situations where it doesn't matter much if they break. Working on the bike is not one of those situations. Good tools don't cost all that much more (though they can if you go crazy).

You'll need a set of good screwdrivers (mostly Phillips or JIS type), a set of metric wrenches, a set of metric sockets and a ratchet plus extensions. That will get you started. Add in a pair of locking pliers, some wire cutters and some metric hex wrenches and you'll have most of what you'll need. A torque wrench is also very useful, but only if you know how to use it. If you don't it can do more damage then good.

Phillips and JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) screws look almost identical but they aren't. Most Japanese motorcycles use JIS head screws. While a Phillips head screwdriver can be used with them, it may slip and damage the head, making the screw hard to remove. I really don't know what the RX3 uses, being Chinese rather than Japanese. JIS screwdrivers are much harder to find than Phillips. The RX3 cross head screws do look like Phillips head and Phillips head screwdrivers seem to work with them OK. The difference is that the Phillips system allows the screwdriver to "cam out", i.e it will slip when too much torque is applied. The JIS system doesn't allow that to happen so it's up to the operator to limit how much torque is applied. Phillips screwdrivers don't fully engage with JIS screw heads.

Don't buy cheap socket sets off eBay. They will break and you will be unhappy. You don't need top of the line, $1000 Snap-on tools either. Your best bet it probably to stick with something like Craftsman tools, as sold by Sears. They can be very good and they come with a lifetime warranty, so if something breaks, you take it back to the store and they give you a new one. You can get a decent set of sockets, wrenches and screwdrivers for under $150, probably under $100.

Husky 3/8" + 1/4" drive SAE and Metric Set

Slightly lower in quality, but often still pretty decent would be the Husky line of tools from Home Depot, or Stanley tools from Walmart. You can get a few decent tools from Harbor Freight and their prices can be very low, but you have to know what you are buying. Their Pittsburg Pro line (made in China of course, not Pittsburg) can be decent. They sell a lot of pretty questionable quality stuff, but it's not all total junk. I have their torque wrenches in 1/2", 3/8" and 1/4" sizes ( and they work OK. Not the highest quality, but they seem to be reasonably well calibrated and for around $15 each when they're on special, you really can't beat the price. The danger with torque wrenches is if you believe them 100% and you have no feel for torque. If you set them wrong of they are way out of calibration, you can be in trouble. If you set a torque and you feel that you're overtightening a fastener (something that comes with experience), STOP. People have been known to try to torque small bolts at 100ft-lbs when the spec is 100in-lbs. Of course the bolt shears off.

The best sockets are 6 point sockets. They are stronger than 12 point sockets, but sometimes it's easier to get a 12 point socket on a nut or bolt head because it will fit in twice as many positions as a 6 point. For the RX3, a 3/8" drive socket set is probably adequate. Sometimes you'd want a 1/4" drive set for small bolts, but I don't think the RX3 has many bolts with smaller than 8mm heads. Similarly a 1/2" drive set can be useful for larger nuts/bolts but there's probably nothing on the RX3 that's big enough or requires enough torque to demand the use of a 1/2" drive socket.

A good set of tools will make your like SO much easier when working on the bike. If you don't have them, buy them. They'll be cheaper than a new seat or additional lighting or a set of tires and they'll last a lifetime if looked after.

Some suggestions: