“A well-planned expedition creates its own luck,” said Theodore Roosevelt
Or something along those lines. Being prepared for emergency fixes on a ride can mean the difference between a beautiful memory or haunted recall of being stranded roadside in a strange place.
With the right tools, you can repair a host of basic mechanical issues yourself. Tire repair or inflation, chain adjustment and lubrication, tightening nuts and bolts, and a handful of other repairs are fixable with a small assortment of tools.
By doing your own maintenance at home, you can assess the most commonly needed tools for your mount. This allows you to narrow down the kit to the essentials and avoid carrying extra weight. You will soon have a decent idea of what to shop for when you maintain your bike and learn from your experiences. Here are some ideas for your tool kit.
Cruztools offers an assortment of tool kits, some which are brand specific. The company have kits for Harley-Davidson, BMW, and Indian, as well as metric kits.
The kits range from very basic to complex, allowing you to tailor to the amount of room you have on-board. Cruztools also has a variety of air gauges and various pocket knife-like tool kits.
Both Revzilla and Amazon have a wide array of options for tire plug kits, tube repair, and compressed air inflator kits. If your tires are tubeless, a simple plug kit and compressor should suffice. If you have tubes, be sure to also pack spares in plastic baggies with pre-applied anti chafing powder.
Another essential in any rider’s emergency kit is a flashlight, preferably a headband-style one to free up the hands. A flashlight with a red light can also be used in emergency situations or to keep moths from flying up your nose while your elbows deep into a repair.
If your motorcycle has a chain, be ready to make adjustments and repairs on the road. Learn how to use the tools needed to loosen the axle and manage the adjusters.
Carry chain lube (which can also be used on cables) as well as contact cleaner and WD-40 (in either normal or small cans, depending on available room) for a variety of uses. Also, small lengths of chain and extra master links, with pocket-sized chain breakers, can come in useful, especially during rugged off-road venturing.
If you want to be especially proficient with proper chain adjustment, include a small tape measure in your kit to measure from swingarm pivot to rear axle on either side to ensure proper wheel alignment. Search for the shortest/smallest one that has enough room to cover this measurement.
Rags, plastic bags and baggies for waterproofing, duct tape, and a good multi-tool knife should be included in any motorcyclist’s emergency tool kit. Shop around and find one that offers a combination of blades that best supports your particular style of riding and travel needs.
Some people swear by carrying an emergency siphon tube. However, a hand pump is a better idea because a mouthful of gasoline is far from tasty.
Depending on fuel availability on your planned route, there are a number of approved auxiliary fuel containers that might spell the difference between being stuck out in the boonies and getting back to civilization.
There’s nothing more valuable than experience. Each trip and conversation with fellow riders often gives you ideas about a clever must-have.
Don’t hesitate to make lists of necessary items before a trip. It’s all too easy to overlook something very basic in the ramp-up to departure.
Being prepared brings you a wealth of confidence and reassurance when riding. It also allows you to comfortably enjoy yourself knowing you’re prepared to remedy a host of mechanical issues and failures.