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What's in Your Tool Kit?

Posted on Jpm9000000pmFri, 11 Sep 2015 16:48:24 +000015 4, 2016 by Brad Zerbel There have been 0 comments

For some riders, a cell phone and credit card are the only tools they need. Unfortunately, they are also at the mercy of whoever they call to bail them out of their predicament. Besides, what if your cell phone has no reception where you've broken down? What then?

main-tools Contents of my main tool bag and tool roll.

I grew up riding in the deserts and mountains of Southern California, before there were cell phones, on a used dirt bike I could afford on a supermarket bag boy's wages. I learned quickly that if I couldn't fix it on the trail, I might not get home that night. These days I'm still riding a dirt bike (a much nicer one that is street legal) and an adventure bike in the New England woods, but I can still find myself in the same predicament. And I now have to deal with possibly submerging the bike in one of the many water crossings or flooded-out trails common to the northeast.

Kit-bags Tools separated into bags and rolls for separation, packing and protection. Jumper cables also shown.

I've built this tool kit over the years, adding to it when I find new tools that work better and deleting ones that are redundant. I try to have the smallest tools that will get the job done and, when possible, have multiple uses. I use this tool kit for two bikes, a Husqvarna TE450 and a BMW R1200GS, so I have broken it up into smaller kits. This has two benefits: I can add or remove bags that have tools and spares specific to a particular bike, and the small bags keep stuff separated and insulated from each other. The whole kit lives in an SW-MOTECH Drybag 80, which straps to my seat rack or goes in a side case.

Drybag80-full Drybag 80 from SW-MOTECH holds all the tools and removes easily with buckles.

 

Drybag80-sidel Keeping your tools dry also prevents them from rusting.

Hex and 1/4" drives are your best friends

The crown jewel of my tool kit is the Husky 1/4" - 5/16" ratchet wrench I bought at Home Depot. One end fits hex bits so I can use it on Allen and Torx fasteners and also as a right-angle screwdriver. The other end fits 1/4" sockets and accessories. It also has very small gaps between clicks, which is great in tight places. All those hex bits also fit in the Moose 4-in-1 screwdriver. Add some 1/4" sockets and extensions, and there isn't much I can't take apart. Notice I didn't say put back together.

Hex-torx Interchangeability of this group of 1/4" and hex tools means I can take almost anything apart.

Get your wheels off

If you have tubeless tires this is not as much of an issue; just use something like Stop & Go mushroom plugs. But if you have tube tires you will need to take the wheels off to fix the flat. In the case of my GS I'd need to carry a big, heavy Allen wrench, and that's the only purpose it would serve. Okay, maybe I could also use it as a hammer, but we all know hammers are anywhere: they're called rocks. No need to carry one. I solved this problem with a 18mm-16mm socket tool from another motorcycle tool kit. The 18mm end fits inside the hollow axle, and I turn it with a long 1/4" socket extension. It also removes the spark plug in my Husky. That's five tools in two.

Front-wheel Removing the front axle with tools that also serve other functions.

 

rear-wheel Removing the rear wheel.

The other special wheel-removing tool I carry is a 27mm aluminum box wrench from Motion Pro (for the Husky's rear axle nut). The handle is a tire spoon. I have duct tape wrapped around the handle, because when tools won't fix it, duct tape will. The Trail Bead Buddy from Motion Pro helps keep the tire bead in the rim's drop center when changing an inner tube, and takes up very little space.

 

Flooded motorcycle

Should your bike's engine ingest water for any reason (dropped it in a stream?) you need to get the water out before you try to restart it, or you risk destroying your engine. The easiest way to do this trailside is to remove the spark plug and use the electric starter to pump the water out. That's only one of the reasons you might want to remove your spark plug on the road. On my GS this requires a special tool from BMW that grabs and pulls out the stick coil spark plug cap, as well as a deep spark plug socket (also from BMW) because the plug is so deep in the head.

BMW-roll This group is specific to my BMW and includes tools to remove the spark plugs.

Spring string

My spring removal tool is literally the cheapest and easiest-to-pack tool in my kit. It's a piece of string tied in a loop and it's better than purpose-made spring tools. Simply loop one end on the spring's hook and the other end around a wrench, and pull. When installing a spring, use your other hand to manipulate the spring onto its hook. Works great for exhaust springs and center/sidestand springs. If string isn't your thing then purpose-built tools are available.

spring-puller A piece of string really is a tool.

Spares and band-aids

Since I break things I also bring stuff to put it back together, sort of. I have a small assortment of nuts, washers and bolts in an Altoids tin. When that doesn't work, I have duct tape, electrical tape, safety wire and zip-ties. If I punch a hole in something metal, I have steel putty. For the Husky I carry spare master links, clutch and brake levers, a front inner tube (can also be used in the rear tire) and a fuel hose. On the GS I carry spare handguard clips and skidplate mounts, both of which are sort of sacrificial parts and I tend to bust them easily.

Tire-plugs Typical tubeless tire repair kit.

Final thoughts

When you're doing maintenance in the comfort of your garage, try using your on-bike tool kit to do everything. If you find you need a tool from your big tool box, then you've just identified something missing from your travel tool kit. Hopefully you'll never have to use your tool kit on the road, but if you do, you will know you're prepared.

 

Tool Kit Contents

Bag 1:

  • 400 & 220 grit sandpaper
  • Safety wire
  • Zip-ties
  • Trail Bead-Buddy from Motion Pro
  • Screwdriver with large and small Phillips and standard bits by Moose Racing
  • Steel putty
  • Fuses
  • Electrical tape
  • Spare spark plug in holder
  • 2 master links, o-rings
  • Fuel hose
  • Breather hose
  • Tin containing spare nuts. bolts, washers, exhaust springs

Tin containing:

  • 13mm, 12mm, 10mm, 8mm, 6mm sockets
  • 1/4" universal joint
  • 1/4" to 3/8" drive adapter
  • 1/4" short extension
  • Hex drive extension
  • Husky ratchet 1/4" adapter
  • Husky ratchet hex drive adapter
  • 1/4" drive for 10mm box wrench by GearWrench

Gear-wrench

  • Hex to 1/4" drive adapter
  • T20, T25, T27, T30, T40, T50 Torx bits
  • 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm Allen bits

Moose Tool Roll:

  • 8-in-1 metric Allen wrench tool
  • 3mm, 4mm Allen wrenches
  • 18mm-16mm socket tool (removes front axle on GS)
  • 3/8" drive for 13mm box wrench by GearWrench
  • Spark plug gapper
  • String loop (Spring tool)
  • Small needle nose Vice-Grips
  • 1/4" T-handle
  • 1/4" long extension
  • 8mm/10mm open end wrench
  • 10mm/13mm open end wrench
  • 8mm/10mm ratcheting box end wrench
  • 12mm/13mm ratcheting box end wrench
  • Husky 1/4" - 5/16" ratchet wrench
  • Tire spoon with 27mm box wrench end by MotionPro
  • Aluminum and wrapped in duct tape
  • Red shop rag
  • Bike manual
  • Jumper cables
  • Tubeless tire repair kit from Slime

BMW Tool Roll:

  • Spark plug cap remover
  • Spark plug removal tool
  • T6 to T30 combo wrench
  • Oil cap wrench
  • 17mm open end wrench with duct tape

This post was posted in Maintenance Tips, SW-MOTECH Bags-Connection

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