Craftsman ups tool versatility

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Check out this new hybrid ratcheting wrench set from Craftsmen. On the open end, a spring-loaded tooth grips as you rotate right and loosens as you rotate left, allowing the wrench to work as a ratchet. Simple and useful, as is the rest of the company’s new automotive line of tools.

Our favorite item is this new “Figure Eight” wrench, which packs eight different size static ends into one $25, compact, strong, user-serviceable tool. Each end is a different size on each side thanks to a stepped design and the design can accommodate six-point, 12-point, partially-rounded, external-Torx, square and spline bolts of any length. That’ll simplify your tool roll, right?

The new “Max Axess” ratchet will be useful too, by using external splines to grip bits, it eliminates any need for deep sockets, bolts of any length can pass through. Craftsman also claims this external spline design is far stronger than conventional ratchets.

Craftsman is also increasing the versatility of its powerdrills, the bolt-on 20-volt system has attachments not just for bit drivers, but can accommodate a jig saw, impact driver, 120psi air pump and all sorts of other tools more appropriate for working around the house than on your bike. Charge time for the Lithium Ion battery is just 30 minutes and incremental charging can top the battery up to 30 percent in just 10 minutes to keep you working.

Craftsman tools are available on their website or in Sears.

  • Alex

    Those ratcheting wrenches basically are like simpler Alden wrenches. I’ve wanted a set of Alden wrenches for a LONG time and these are WAAAAY cheaper. I can dig that.

  • aristurtle

    You’re… you’re just trolling us now, right Wes? Please tell me this is trolling.

    • Alex

      Despite it seeming like an obvious advertisement I think we can all agree that we love tools, haha.

      • holdingfast

        both of the above.

    • NewOldSchool

      Do you not work on your own rides anymore?

      • aristurtle

        This whole thing is ad copy with stock photos, becoming more and more generic as you go down the “article”.

        Wes, look, if the site isn’t working out for you, monetarily, you can probably do better than being an adwriter for K-Mart’s upscale cousin. At the very least you can go back to whoever is currently running Jalopnik and beg for your old job back, right?

        • brian

          Wow…you are just too cool for school. In my book any information or products that pertain to buying, riding or maintaining motorcycles is appropriate for this site. I found it beneficial. What are you…the f’ing content police?

          • Toby

            I would value Wes’s personal take on tools he uses. I do not value a press release from Sears.

          • Bronson

            I think aristurtle is right. This looks like an advertisement disguised as a blog post, which I’m very disappointed to see. Since “the sale” it appears to me that there’s a change in the quantity and quality of articles here. I used to look forward to coming here every morning. Not so much any more.

        • Campisi

          Maybe this is part of a plan to make people demand the subscription model back. I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to it.

          • aristurtle

            Perhaps this represents the “big changes behind the scenes” that he’s been talking about for the past four or five months.

            • gsx750f

              Next in line: Affiliate links

        • RagdollOp

          I like how one of the stock photos is of a car tire. I thought this was a motorcycle site.

    • Wes Siler

      Guys, the RideApart team is exceptionally busy right now building you a powerful new consumer and content portal. I write this from a meeting with our VC firm in Irvine…

      Take of the tinfoil hats. This is a news article. Craftsman has some neat new products targeted at motorcyclists and came by the other day to talk to me about them. In a former life, I was a carpenter, so I sorta have a thing for tools.

      At some point yeah, we’ll have a review or whatever, but right now, these are new products that aren’t in the market yet, so we have a news article.

      Personally, I don’t need a ratcheting crescent wrench, but I really do like the Figure Eight, it’ll simplify the stuff I carry with me everywhere I go.

      On power tools, I use Dewalt (just a carry over preference from when I used them professionally), but that bolt-on system will be nice for hobbyists.

      In short, chill the fuck out. I’m busy building something right now, but what I’m building is the ability to do what I’ve been doing for you bigger and better.

      • the_doctor

        Wes, just tell us this. I spent the whole day thinking you had sold out. It was like not knowing if my wife survived a plane crash. Seriously.

        • Wes Siler

          I’ll never sell out. I can’t be on a computer all day everyday right now, but you just need to trust that I’m doing what I do for a reason.

          • jp182

            Do your thing bro-ham

      • rohorn

        Good tools have always been important to motojournalists!

  • Kevin

    “On the open end, a spring-loaded tooth grips as you rotate right and loosens as you rotate left, allowing the wrench to work as a ratchet.”

    But isn’t the function of a ratchet that it tightens in one direction and *doesn’t* loosen in the other? If it tightens when you rotate in one direction and loosens when you rotate it the other, it’s just a wrench. But I think I get the drift.

    • HammSammich

      Seemed clear to me that “loosens” was in reference to the spring loaded tooth. The more confusing aspect was when it says, “Grips as you rotate right.” Presumably, this is only true when you place the open end in one direction. So flip it over, and the spring loaded tooth grips as you rotate left…

  • contender


  • richard gozinya

    Yes, but will they clash with my skinny jeans and ironic mustache? I’d hate to be pretending to work on my UJM with clips ons and rear sets and have someone point out that my tools aren’t period correct. I’d feel like such an idiot.

    • Michael Gore

      hahaha if you’re going to play the part, you will be needing the period correct props.

  • Campisi

    Thankfully my father bought a bunch of Craftsman tools back before I was born, because every Craftsman tool he has bought in the last fifteen years has been crap by comparison.

    • cdeforrest

      I have a pretty good set of Craftsman tools from the late 80′s, and even between now & then, I see a marked difference in quality.
      For some reason I keep breaking 3/8″ ratchets and each replacement is worse than the one before it.
      So while these sound like a good idea, pardon me if I’m a little skeptical about the execution.

    • 85gripen

      When I was a kid my dad told me to only buy tools made in USA as everything else is crap quality and you get what you pay for. He used to buy Craftsman tools almost exclusively. I know the world has changed and just because something is made overseas doesn’t necessarily mean it’s crap anymore but Craftsman tools, which used to be made-in-America are now often made overseas, including China. Look at the package to see where it’s made before buying it. Craftsman still has the great lifetime guarantee but I’d rather not have to bring back a flimsy tool multiple times for replacement just because it’s much cheaper for Sears to manufacture stuff in China. I believe Craftsman tools used to be made by SK Tools here in the U.S. and you can often find exact equivalents if you look for them.

      • doublet

        There’s all kinds of stuff out there if you dig, about what used to be / is what..

        I’d heard “Husky” from Home Depot was actually the old (better) craftsman, but that was ten years ago. If you look at that stuff now, most of it seems cheaper (and IS cheaper) than current Craftsman. You’ve got to look at each thing individually, though. There’s no room or reason for ‘brand loyalty’

        I kinda like Kobalt for Lowes right now. As far as hand tools, anyway. Alot of decent tools are made in Taiwan, relatively speaking, if it’s imported.

        A good set of run-of-the-mill combination wrenchs (7 or so) from snap-on / matco etc is around $500. The tolerances / fit of manufacturing, quality of steel and quality of plating are important if it’s getting any real use.

        What’s a shame is that everything is ever-evolving. I’ve got quite a few Mac tools as that was the most regular guy at our shop. However, they’re owned by Stanley, and at this point, I think it’s mostly boutique pricing for the same crap you can get anywhere, with an inlaid “MAC” logo. Like Harley sunglasses. It sucks when the powers that be take a respected and trusted brand, and cheapen the product on the ‘inside’. You can’t really tell the quality of chrome plating until you easily chip it off after a few uses. Looked like a nice pick set at a decent value for a QUALITY product. Little did you know the quality you paid for was only what you could see. Doesn’t “look” cheap until it breaks.

  • NewOldSchool

    Meh, this really doesn’t bother me, but I’m in advertising so I guess the concept of money needing to come from somewhere to finance something (we now get for free) comes as easy for me to grasp.

  • longtravel

    Can you just start taking my money again so I don’t have to read about gimmicky new tools I don’t want?

  • Dennis

    If you’re name is Mitt Romney it makes no difference what tools you buy, because you can afford as many as you want and you don’t technically have to use them yourself.

    But for a regular person, every extra dollar you spend on silly ass gizmo wrenches is a dollar you could have spent on tools you really need. Pretty soon you’re out of money and you lack a decent multimeter or compression tester, or, God forbid, a decent set of big, medium and little torque wrenches.

    Regular, non-trick Craftsman combination wrenches are a decent value — especially if you buy them used (used, not stolen). But after that, what you need is to buy tools that cover all the bases. Once you’ve already got every weird special tool your bike could ever possibly need, then maybe start picking up goofy ass “figure 8″ wrenches.

    And, no, don’t buy this shit as gifts for the mechanic on your Christmas list, either. If you can’t think of anything else, buy the geek/toolhead in your heart a totally blinged and pimped out Dremel Tool 9000 Ultra Max with Drill Press. The possibilities are endless, and he will thank you for it.

    • Gene

      Dennis! Bro, sing it! Drink’s on me if you’re ever in Orlando! It’s not as if the f-cking Honda special tools don’t cost an arm and a leg already.

      The main problem with the multitool stuff is it usually has useless sizes. For example, none of my Japanese bikes take odd-numbered fasteners, and I can see that “figure-8″ thing has a useless 13mm right now.

      Another problem is they don’t fit in a lot of spaces on a bike. For example, I had to cut one end off a 16mm combo to get to the stupid centerstand bolts on my FJR.

      I’ve had way too much shit torqued to 250ft-lbs by the factory gorillas to trust any of this stuff to not round fasteners. I keep to 6-point wrenches, if possible.

      • pplassm

        European bikes have lots of 13mm bolt heads.

  • Coreyvwc

    I make my living as a helicopter mechanic, and I use predominantly craftsman tools while doing so. I must say, I would not use those ratcheting open ends. Small unserviceable internal parts = crap.

    • 85gripen

      Hear, hear. More and more the Craftsman hand tools with moving parts are made in China or Taiwan and are flimsy.

  • RT Moto

    Crapsman tools??? Good for around the house every blue moon kind of work. If used on a regular they suck horribly. Even their professional line isn’t up to daily abuse.

  • BMW11GS

    First of all, I think everyone is being a bit dramatic. Anyway, I have some early 80s to mid 90s craftsman and they are are great, you know I really can’y say anything bad about them and they do work. One time I had the chrome plating come off an 11mm socket. I took it to sears and they gave me a new one. I think that part keeps me going to craftsman.

  • Ben W

    Add me to the list of frowny faces.

  • Emmet

    blah blah blah you get what you pay for. People who make a living off their tools rely on brands like Snap On and Cornwell, not Craftsmen. I believe the point of this article is to point at new options out there for guys looking to lighten their tool roll. I’m grateful, given that my daily ride is a ’71 Triumph Tiger-I could use any advice to lighten my backpack of tools and field expedients (and no, I don’t need a snarky comment to get a more reliable bike, thank you!)

    • CCarey

      As someone who does make a living by their tools I’d sooner buy Craftsman than most Cornwell garbage. That being said 99.8% of my box is Snap On

      • Devin

        Plus Snap-on provides much better calandars than Craftmasn, amiright?

        • Campisi

          The Snap-On truck drivers tend to have much more interesting armaments stashed inside their trucks than the Cornwell guys do.

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

    I don’t know why the Max Axxess are described as “new.” I’ve had mine for a while. They are awesome for nuts on long bolts/lugs. For whatever reason, a bunch of the nut/bolt fasteners on the frame and under the hood of my 4Runner would normally require extra-long sockets. With the Max Axxess set, long sockets are not needed.

  • loki76

    As long as there’s still some wheat in the chaff

  • Fresh Dave

    Is this real?

  • NewOldSchool

    holy crap yall are dramatic.

    How dare someone try to make a living so you can have the luxury of reading a subscription free blog…

  • filly-fuzz

    Baffling to say the least.

  • Von Scotch

    Ride Apart Presents: Some Adverts

  • the_doctor

    I am disappoint.

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

    I don’t mind occasional, rehashed press releases or ads, along as they are useful — and the majority of the editorial content is original and meaningful.

    For example, on a directly related note, I found out about the Max Axxess thru-hole sockets from a thinly disguised press release (“review”) in a motorcycle print magazine. That prompted me to do my own research, after which I determined that my home-mechanic needs did not warrant paying three times as much for the higher-quality Snap-On version. So I bought the Craftsman set with a RetailMeNot discount — and I’m thrilled with the set.

  • fred vg

    Why not have ‘sponsored posts’ instead? There’s a bunch of great blogs out there that use them to solve this problem. Most only feature products that they believe in, so the endorsement is still worth something. At the same time they clearly list the post as ‘sponsored’ so you can skip the post altogether or take what you read with a grain of salt.

    • Paulie 4k

      I agree with Fred. I understand that advertisements are the price we pay for free, but when an attempt is made to blend them in with the regular content is when editorial credibility is lost. I really see this as a misstep, and I truly hope this is a one time mistake that will be seen as such by even the advertisers behind it.

      Advertisements and sponsored posts are ok to have so long as they are clearly set apart from the regular editorial content. Hell, even a Jalopnik style call out in italics after the first paragraph that says that compensation was received for the space on the site would be an improvement over this, so long as the following write up was from the editors and not filled with what reads as something straight from the advertiser’s marketing department.

  • Slothrop

    The old HFL was worth the subscription price for me. I hope they haven’t lost the plot under the new regime.

  • Triman023

    I enjoyed this article about tools I wont buy and am looking forward to the article about Harbor Freight!

    Where I was able to buy a set of very large sockets with ratchet handle and steel case for the same price as one Craftsman socket. Cant afford to spend a ton of $$ on sockets I use once a year.

  • Lawrences

    47 comments….. Ahaaa ha haaaaa. I’m not buying a KTM 1190 until they come with all these tools. So there. I’m gonna go for a bike ride.