If you’re in a hurry, the short summary to this review is: I bought the metric Motion Pro MP Tool, and I love it. It might not be suitable for your specific needs, but it’s just enough tool for many riders, and can save your butt in a pinch.
The longer take is: Every motorcyclist should have some sort of toolkit on board. Even if you’re a credit card biker, do you really want to call a tow truck to come tighten a loose mirror? And if you’re riding offroad, then you really need a good toolkit. Your next breakdown or maintenance issue could happen outside cellphone range, or out in the wilderness somewhere, where nobody else can/will help.
The question, then is–what tools should you bring? Most motorcycles come with an onboard toolkit, some better than others. Is this enough? Maybe, maybe not, but if you buy a used bike, the tools might be missing anyway. In that case, you can buy an aftermarket toolkit (Cruztools offers several options, as do other manufacturers). Or, you could build your own. There’s an excellent thread on this in ADVRider’s gear sub-forum, and I highly recommend you take a read through, if you’re serious about taking care of yourself and your motorcycle. I’ve built my own onboard toolkits over the years, figuring out what I needed and didn’t need by trial and error. That forum thread would have been a huge help, if I’d discovered it before I built my own kits.
Trouble is, most aftermarket toolkits are bulky, and so are most home-assembled kits. What do you do, if you want something small and lightweight? That’s where the ultra-compact MP Tool comes in, from Motion Pro. It’s tiny, but this well-designed multi-tool is surprisingly versatile.
What do you get?
I’ve heard of other versions of the Motion Pro multitool, but for now, there’s only one version listed on the company’s website—the MP Tool Metric, which is the one I have. Motion Pro lists it at $61 USD right now; you can order it directly through them, or find it elsewhere and maybe save some money. I found mine on eBay, and I can’t remember what I paid, but it was definitely less than the Motion Pro MSRP.
The MP Tool is based around three main parts: a square handle, an L-shaped mini cheater handle, and a double-ended driver. The handle has two crude-but-effective 10mm wrench openings, a 12mm wrench opening, and a 7/16-inch opening. There’s also a built-in bottle opener. That isn’t a necessity for motorcycle repair (it may even contribute to motorcycle disrepair!), but at least if you need an opener in a pinch in the middle of Baja, you’ve got one.
The driver is reversible, and fits into the 12mm hole on the end of the square handle. This configuration allows you to use it as a 1/4-inch driver. Rubber O-rings on the driver keep it from wiggling inside the handle.
Wait–you say you want more torque? That’s where the third main part comes in, the L-shaped cheater handle. This cleverly slots into the other end of the square main handle, giving you much more torque. There’s also a 14mm shallow socket-type wrench on one end, and an 8mm deep socket-type wrench on the other end. The reversible driver also slots into this 8mm hole, allowing you to use the cheater handle as a 3/8-inch driver. Devilishly clever, wot?
The rest of the MP Tool set isn’t quite so clever. The Metric version comes with a double-ended Phillips screwdriver bit (#2 and #3 heads), a double-ended straight screwdriver bit (small and medium heads) and a double-ended hex driver (5mm and 6mm heads). There’s also a 10mm socket and 12mm socket, for the 1/4-inch drive.
There’s nothing particularly trick about those components, but between them all, they can be used to loosen or tighten most of the low-torque fittings on a European or Japanese motorcycle. If you want, you can add your own sockets to the kit, or buy other bits from Motion Pro, including Torx heads or smaller hex heads. Unfortunately, there is no double-ended JIS bit available, which is weird, since Motion Pro does sell JIS-head bits for other applications.
All the parts for the MP Tool come with a hard nickel pewter finish, which seems to be very corrosion-resistant.
How does it work?
When you first see this kit, you wonder if it’s going to be useful, or just another gimmicky gadget that damages fasteners. I’m happy to report that so far, the kit has proven extremely useful.
My MP Tool showed up mid-winter, and I immediately started using it on general around-the-house projects, since it wasn’t riding season. Even for home maintenance tasks like replacing doorknobs, I found the MP Tool surprisingly capable. Once you figure out how everything fits together, it’s actually a very quick way to tackle basic tightening-loosing problems.
As riding season rolled around (such as it is, in our time of COVID), I started using the MP Tool as much as possible for basic moto maintenance. Again, it proved surprisingly capable. I could handle 10mm and 12mm fasteners easily with the sockets, and while I would have preferred JIS bits, at least the Phillips bit included is reasonably high-quality, and I haven’t stripped anything out yet. Same for the hex keys.
Of course, the kit doesn’t have the functionality of most OEM tool kits, but–throw it in the tiny OEM tool tube for a Japanese dual sport, and you’ve still got room for axle wrenches, an adjustable wrench, a pair of needle-nose pliers, or whatever. It’s far, far better than bringing nothing, and for simple rides around home, if I can’t fix the problem with the MP Tool, I can generally get myself home and come back with proper tools.
What are the shortcomings?
The BIG shortcoming I’ve heard about is that the tool can break when using the 3/8-inch drive, as this is supposedly only epoxied to the 1/4-inch drive. True, false? I dunno. I haven’t really used the 3/8-inch drive, and honestly, this tool isn’t meant for high-torque applications anyway. If you can’t find a 1/4-inch socket for the task, then you shouldn’t be doing it with this tool anyway, probably. Also, I’ve noticed a visual difference between older versions of this tool, and the model I have, so maybe Motion Pro fixed this problem anyway.
However, you can always get your buddy with a welder to zap the 3/8-inch head, making sure it doesn’t come off. If you don’t have a buddy with a welder, then make one, or drop by a welding shop and give them $5.
The only other real shortcoming I’ve experienced so far is just the natural limitation of a tool like this—it’s cleverly designed to do a lot, but it can’t do everything. I see this as the basis of a tool kit, not a complete setup. Pair it with the tools I mentioned above (needle-nose pliers, adjustable wrench, axle wrenches), and you can tackle almost any simple issue. Add in some electrical tape, Quiksteel and zip-ties, maybe 8mm, 14mm and 17mm wrenches and you’re good to go for most problems. Do what I did: Use the MP Tool for everyday bike maintenance, and you’ll soon figure out what else you need to bring.
And of course, there’s the price. $60ish isn’t great for this tool, especially if you still have to add some other components to be truly road-ready.
Would I buy it again?
I think I’d buy this multi-tool again, but after using it for a few months, I wouldn’t rely on it for full-on expeditions. For easy rides closer to home, this is the bee’s knees, especially if you’re riding with buddies who also have toolkits. For trips further away, or into rough conditions, well—the MP Tool does replace several tools and makes the load lighter, but if you’re bringing a truly comprehensive toolkit, the weight and space savings are less significant.
However, since I’ve paid for it now, I’ll be using it for the future, and likely basing much of my own on-the-road toolkit around this versatile piece of kit.
For more information, or to order, check out Motion Pro’s website.