Top 10 must haves for the ideal workshop

Any of these on your dream workshop list?

Make life easy

EVERYONE'S GOT their own idea of what they'd like to see in their 'perfect workshop' - things that make any maintenance job that much more enjoyable.

With that in mind, we've asked around the industry for the things that the pros would like to see in their ideal workshop, other than good quality tools - here's the Top 10 items that proved most popular:

Hydraulic workbench:

If you've worked on your motorcycle in the past then you've probably spent some of your time grovelling around on a cold floor, trying to adjust your chain, change a wheel or locate a hidden sump plug.

Check out any professional motorcycle garage workshop and you'll almost certainly find one or more hydraulic benches commanding centre stage. They're easy to use, can be operated on your own and can be bought new for around £400, or considerably less on the secondhand market. What's more, the bench brings your machine up to the perfect height to work on your machine, before gracefully lowering to the floor once the job's done. Just ensure you tie-strap your machine to the bench before lifting for added security.

Ideal for those with a bad lower back.

Tool board

Simple and cheap to make

TAKE A PIECE of decent quality MDF board, paint it white, mount in on your garage wall and then judiciously mark out where you'd like your essential tools to be situated, before mounting clips/nails on which to hang your kit.

Cost: Around £30


Keep warm and toasty

WORKSHOPS can be cold places, especially in winter, which makes this mini propane heater and ideal item for the warmth-loving spannerman.

Costing new anywhere from £90 (and a lot less secondhand on eBay), the propane space heater will turn your chilly garage into an emporium of warmth in no time at all. You'll need to invest in a propane gas bottle and ensure your workshop has adequate ventilation.

Ensure the heater's kept away from anything flammable; consider keeping a fire extinguisher nearby.


No more squinting

IDEALLY, your workshop should be adequately lit in the first place, so you're not fumbling around in the dark, but what about when you need to get light to those tight spaces where the sun don't shine?

A bespoke inspection lamp that directs a blast of quality light into darkened recesses is the most ideal option but a head torch or even an angle-poised desk-top lamp can do the job just as well.

Budget on spending around £100 for a decent, rubberised inspection lamp, or from £5 upwards for a head torch.

Parts washer

Get rid of grease and grime

WOULDN'T IT be nice to wash all the grease and grime from the parts you've taken off your bike before replacing them back on your machine?

Well now you can with a bespoke parts washer.

The simple system uses paraffin (or other degreaser) to create a small bath in which your can bring your bike parts back to as new condition. It's ideal for degreasing all those parts that get plastered with cack over time.

A bespoke washer, like the one picture above, costs around £120 but you can create your own by simply using a deep-sided metal container, some paraffin and a paintbrush.

Latex gloves

No nailbrush needed

DOCTOR jokes aside, latex gloves are ideal for the workshop environment, as they keep skin and nails free from grease and grime. They also drastically reduce the chances of dveloping dermatitis (skin disease) if you regularly get hands on with your machine.

And at around £5 per hundred pairs, it's a bit of a no-brainer.

Paper towel dispenser

Keep it clean

YOU DON'T need to spend a fortune on an industrial-quality paper dispenser to give your workshop that professional touch; a simple wall-mounted kitchen version will do just fine.

It's ideal for when you need to mop up spills, wipe down surfaces are simply stop you from smearing your greasy hands down your nice new overalls.


Cheaper than you might think

ONCE YOU'VE got your machine elevated on the hydraulic lift and removed any parts you need to work on, ideally one should have a separate bench away from your bike, on which to carry out any other jobs.

A metal engineers workbench will set you back, on average, around £250 all in but alternatives can be made for much less. I've just installed a new workbench in my workshop, made from an old kitchen unit clad with a metal top I had knocked up at a fabrication shop. Cost? £80.

Once you bench is installed, you can then kit it out with a vice, grinding wheel, overhead lighting etc.

A big f*&k off bin

Keep it tidy

NO WORKSHOP'S complete with a bloody big bin; one that's capable of containing all your waste, from oily rags to old bike parts.

Ideally, it should have a lid to keep any undesirable smells wafting out and prevent any rogue fag butts from straying in; no one wants a fire in their garage.

A decent quality wheelie bin can be picked up for £20. Alternatively, a big cardboard box will do; just watch out for naked flames.


Great sounds while you work

WHETHER IT'S Mozart or Motorhead, most of us enjoy working with some sounds in the background, so what about a docking station for your iPod or iPhone (if you have one).

No need to bugger about with CDs or speakers, docking stations like the one above are simple to use; just plug in your iPod/iPhone, select your music and get to work!

Prices range anywhere from £50 for a budget model to £250 for a BOSE system.