How to properly stock your motorcycle tool kit
Last updated: January 1
The warm days of summer bring more opportunities for long motorcycle rides. And when you’re out on the open road, you want to feel prepared for whatever comes your way. Having the right set of tools on hand can help ensure that your bike trip goes as smoothly as possible. So, we’ve compiled a list of essential repair items for any motorcyclist.
Of course, there isn’t much room for tools on a motorcycle (many modern bikes have a small storage area under the seat) so space is at a premium. Though this list may not be comprehensive, it covers many of the basic tools you’ll need to handle many minor emergencies.
Basic repair tools
Motorcycle expert and author Basem Wasef suggests that riders pack their motorcycle tool kit with a few key items:
- Wrenches: Different types of wrenches can be helpful in removing, installing or tightening various parts of your bike. For instance, folding or compact Allen wrenches, that can be used for tightening or removing fasteners on your bike.
- Wire cutters: They can be useful in a variety of situations on the road where you need to cut or trim wire, fasteners, rope, etc.
- Pliers: A quality set of compact pliers can help you hold and straighten parts, fasteners and nuts.
- A selection of nuts and bolts: Stocking your kit with nuts and bolts appropriate to your bike's size and needs can make it easier if you need to replace parts you lose or damage while on the road.
- A small combination screwdriver: Boasting both a flat head and Phillips head (possibly with size variations, too), this tool is essential when you need to tighten or loosen screws on your motorcycle, which can be a common occurrence.
- Spare fuses, spark plugs and bulbs: They don't take up much space but are essential to have on hand because when you need one, nothing else will do. Make sure they fit your bike's specs.
- Multi-tool or all-in-one pocketknife: Wasef also recommends an all-in-one pocketknife or multi-tool, since it provides redundancy to some of the items above and can come in handy for quick repairs on the spot.
Cycleworld.com adds that perhaps the best way to know if your "take-along" or "on-bike" tool kit is properly stocked is to use it for service and maintenance at home. That way you'll quickly find out if it lacks any of the important tools your particular bike requires, like hex keys, a spark-plug socket and a shop rag.
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In addition, Wasef recommends some further materials which may prove useful in a pinch, including:
- A first-aid kit: If you're in an accident or experience chaffing issues like blisters, chances are you might need to be patched up a bit. It's also handy when you want to be a Good Samaritan and help fellow bikers in a bind. Look for a compact, pre-assembled kit you can store easily.
- Duct tape: It isn't a traditional toolkit necessity, but it can help in temporary repairs or in keeping parts together or sealed until you're able to get professional mechanical help.
- Zip ties: Small and light, they can be similarly helpful in holding and connecting parts in a pinch until you can get a real repair completed.
- A flashlight: This can be helpful when you're stranded at night, repairing your bike or looking for help or supplies in a bind. Get a small, high-quality flashlight with a long battery life — but even a small keychain light can be very helpful in illuminating tight or dark spaces.
The joys of the open road bring infinite excitement and possibilities. Prepare for the unexpected and make your ride a long and enjoyable one.