I really like the garage I am in. For where I live in Los Angeles, getting a one car garage with electricity for the amount I pay is kind of unheard of. However, it is by no means the ideal garage. It is a single car garage, which can get cramped with two motorcycles and a scooter, a workbench, tools, and motorcycle jack. I can shuffle things around in a pinch, but I can’t wait for my next place where things can be more permanent. Here is how I will set up my next garage, ideally:
Most garages have a concrete floor, which is functional but looks like crap after a while, and can be hard on your feet. Now if I were rich, it would be easy to install the classic black and white checkered flooring that most fancy garages have. But if I were rich, I wouldn’t be renting a garage in Los Angeles. However, a lot of places make a non-permanent solution that looks pretty damn sharp and can work in most situations.
Craftsman makes a tile that you can section together to cover your garage floor, and they are made of a durable plastic that has a little bit of grip to them. Also, they prevent that CLANG of the wrench after you wrack your knuckles for the third time on that stripped bolt head. I think I would go with light gray/dark gray checkered – looks handsome and small parts that you drop would be easy to spot.
Also, if you have a more permanent garage space, DynoTile looks awesome.
Right now I just have a rally box for most of my tools, which does the job for what I have. But I also have a lot of larger tools and sockets that I keep in separate cases. I would like to have these all in one rolling toolbox. These are very expensive, but once you get one set up it could be a real time saver.
Also, a peg board would be handy for tools that you don’t necessarily use everyday, but want to keep handy. Tools like torque wrenches or clutch compressors don’t need to be out all the time, but when you need them it can be frustrating to search for ten minutes because you can’t find them easily.
On one of the walls, I’d like to have a corkboard and a whiteboard. A whiteboard would be handy for jotting down where those bolts go on the engine case – basically what I call the “idiot list.”
Finally, I’d like to have enough tools so I can pack a separate, smaller toolbox with all the tools I need for each bike. For instance, if I were going on a scooter rally, I would grab my “Primavera” toolbox, which contained all the sizes of wrenches I needed as well as a few spare plugs, etc.
Shelves, shelves, shelves! Places to stick my spare carbs and cables, everything accessible but out of the way. I’d like to have a light under each of the shelves so I can actually see what I’m looking for. Finally, a series of small, well labeled drawers for small parts would sit on my workbench.
I would like to have a large, stationary wooden work bench. I would pick wood because it is soft enough to pound aluminum on without it marring up the aluminum. On the workbench, I’d like a small vice as well as a Vespa engine mount. I already have a rolling metal workbench that I can use for smaller jobs or for holding parts while working on a bike.
I have a motorcycle jack that holds up a bike by the bottom frame, however this doesn’t work for my 350 because of my exhaust system (and the 750 will have the same style exhaust system). I’d love to have a hydraulic motorcycle lift that holds the bike by the front tire. That way you can set it on the center stand lift the entire bike up to chest level. My friend Tanktop has one of these, and working on bikes on it is a dream.
I’d also like a parts cleaner – a large tub where I can let parts soak and clean them up without any worry of making a mess.
A bathroom and a sink would be nice. Instead of the stereo I have in my garage now, I would replace it with my old Mac Mini. That way I can have a small, out of the way computer that I can look up info on, as well as access online radio stations and my iTunes library.
My mini fridge would definitely go into the new garage – fully stocked of course. Depending how big the garage is, why not throw in a small couch on the side? Awesome.
I always like having visitors in the garage, and making it more comfortable to hang out and yack with a couple of beers would be an awesome addition.
Finally, the lighting is a big one. Because fluorescent is a bummer. Halogen lights would be ideal, as well as having a hanging shop light that you can drag to wherever you needed extra illumination.
A small bookcase would be nice to store all of the manuals I’ve accrued as well as the parts binders I’ve been making.
All of this awesomeness isn’t that out of reach – it is basically a matter of having more space. If my next garage is twice the size of my current garage I would have more than enough space to do everything I’d like. The rest is just building and buying, and those are the most fun parts.
Anything you think I missed? What would be in your ideal garage?