No traveler wants to bring more gear along for his/her journey than is absolutely necessary. Imagine trying to mule-pack all of the metal you see above onto your smallest displacement ride. Sure, you can never be too prepared but stealthy, multifunctional tools and adapters are definitely preferable to the latter.
“This list of compact motorbike tools will keep your roadside repair time to a minimum. Be equipped to handle mid-travel mechanical problems without worry.”
Before I continue, I should state for the record that all of my motorcycles are metric. If the bike you happen to be riding isn’t, substitute whatever information you must. If you’d like for me to compile and ship a custom roadside tool kit that’s tailored specifically to your motorcycle, please click here.
This page describes and explains the items I pack before every ride. Note the “every” part (I didn’t say “short”, “medium” or “long”). There’s a huge $h!t happens factor that every rider must reckon with and these are a minimal few keys to ordeal survival.
Your throttle cable will eventually break. So will your clutch cable. It probably won’t happen while you’re sitting on your couch. Rather, you’ll be on the road. Have an extra on hand. Sure, you can warp and crease it into the compartment under your seat but at least have it. It will be put to use.
At the heart of our tool kit is the Leatherman Wave. A stainless steel multitool, it eliminates four standard equivalents including needle-nose pliers, phillips/flathead screwdrivers, hex wrenches and wire strippers. Not only does it save space, it actually contributes thirteen additional utilities. I keep it in my pocket wherever I go. A full review is posted here.
Now, if someone were to open my topcase or tail bag, the first thing they’d see is whatever goodies I felt like bringing with: keys, gum, phone, wallet, watch … maybe the latest copy of a respectable gentlemen’s magazine.
Underneath these material assumptions of a trouble-free journey, nested in the bowels of future failure, rests a dichotomy of sophisticated, industrial grade band-aids which all motorcycles, new and old, show the remnant effects of. Peer into the bottomless deck of tarot cards that represent your roadside future.
Poof! Okay, they’re not all that special but they make grab-and-go much more feasible. Add these small tool bags to your shopping cart.
In one bag, namely the “tool” bag, I carry what you see above:
- small ratchet surrounded by three of my larger sockets for axles, brakes and engine
- adaptors, reducers and joints in case a socket doesn’t fit someone else’s wrench
- three smaller sockets for covers, panels and accessories
- headlamp with anti-bug, red LED option
- ratchet extension surrounded by four of my taller sockets for spark plugs, battery and such
- spark plug gap adjuster is a coin sized tool that’s easy enough to pack and worth having
- Leatherman’s driver assortmant adds forty tools using only 1″ x 3″ x 1/4″ of space
- Leatherman’s bit driver extension provides access to tight spaces
- cable lubrication tool
- tire valve adjuster
- medium vise-grips
- adjustable wrench
- monoshock suspension tool
- 10mm box wrench because for some reason, this often comes in handy
Now onto the other bag, which I’ve designated for auxiliary and electrical:
- bungee cords (1′, 2′ and 2.5′)
- siphons save time should you run out of fumes mid-trip
- 3/8″ vinyl tubing in case a temporary fix is the only option
- tire plug kit
- electrical tape (high quality)
- spare headlight bulb + one of every fuse the motorcycle in question makes use of
- battery tender clamps *
- zip ties are perhaps the most important item on this page!
Other, nonessential items that I access frequently include:
- Lockstraps helmet lock
- Slime 12v air compressor
- Battery Tender Jr.
- plexus lense cleaner
- microfiber towel for water, dust and debris
- 1/2 balaklava
- short cord stereo earbuds
- rubber earplugs are, in my opinion, preferable over their foam counterparts
- SAE to USB adapter for charging a phone directly via the tender access
- pain relief
- hand sanitizer
- digital tire gauge by Roadgear (very accurate)
- fancy mustache beer bottle attachment for insured sophistication when amongst strangers
These last two items are the bridge connecting you to directions, assistance, restrooms, fluids, food and phones. Do not overlook their importance. From left to right: deodorant, cologne.
So, there you have it. This basic motorway survival kit will either help you solve whatever problems present themselves or find a solution through civilized means. Scale it down to your heart’s content but don’t cut any corners to save space. You can never be too prepared (strokes fancy mustache).
If you’d like for us to compile and ship a custom roadside tool kit that’s tailored specifically to your motorcycle, please contact us directly. Items 1-22 are included by default and pricing is subject to availability. Make mention of any additions or omissions you require and we’ll get right on it!
Did We Miss Anything?
There are many tools worth bringing that defy rider logic. What compact/combination solutions have you developed over the years? Under what circumstances have you been forced to put such utilities to use? Your input is invited. Post an article!