ESSENTIAL TOOLS TO ALWAYS CARRY ON YOUR MOTORCYCLE
Even if you’re not the least bit mechanic savvy, having these tools can help you MacGyver your way out of a tricky situation or save you hundreds from being caught stranded looking like a tool, waiting for the ride of shame, the tow truck.
If you’re an adventure rider look into getting a bigger tool kit, if you ride vintage or a chopper carry more duct tape, if you ride a Harley you will need imperial tools & a lot of Loctite and if you are completely new to this, just make sure you have the basics.
Think about how and what you ride and customise this list as you see fit.
Go over your bike in detail to see what size bolts, nuts and screws are on the bike. This will be the first and most important step to build a tool kit for your needs.
Many Owner's Manuals will list all the tools needed to dismantle your entire bike, we don't suggest packing all these tools, however it’s a handy reference to find out right sizes, particularly if you don't own many tools to physically check with.
Always use the proper size tools for your motorcycle. The majority of bikes will need metric tools to fasten or loosen bolts, however if you own an American bike such as an Indian or Harley, you will need a set of imperial tools.
Fun fact: There are two main sizes of tool sets: metric and imperial.
Metric tools are most commonly used worldwide and are in metric sizes (generally mm). Imperial tools are used in the United States and are generally measured in fractions of an inch.
Look and physically check what tools you need to:
- Remove your seat
- Get to your battery and tighten your battery terminals
- Get to your fuses
- Adjust the handle bars, levers and cables
- Tighten nuts & bolts (engine, exhausts, indicators bolts etc.)
- Adjust any aftermarket additions to your bike such as a Quadlock or panniers etc.
Our Tool Guide.
Remember, less is more!
Pack light and find tools for your kit that are compact & reliable.
Adjustable spanner: This tool is ideal for holding a nut in place whilst tightening a bolt and also comes in handy when you don't have the right size spanner or need to throw something at someone. Always avoid using this in place of a correct sized spanner as the grip will not be as secure, giving you more chance to thread the nut.
Also know as an adjustable wrench (US).
Combination Spanner: These have an Open End and a Socket End. They come in a large variety of sizes that will fit snug around a nut or bolt. Use the closed end to loosen the nut so you can quickly unscrew with the other end.
Also know as combination wrench (US)
Ratchet & Sockets: A ratchet lets you loosen or fasten nuts and bolts by pivoting the tool back and forth to turn its socket, unlike a spanner where you remove and reposition it to fully turn. This is handy when there isn't enough room to turn a spanner in a full circle.
The sockets come in various sizes and attach to the ratchet and other turning tools. Identify which sockets you need for your bike and only carry the sizes you need.
Allen Keys also known as Hex & Torx (Star) Keys: You may recognise this tool from your last Ikea flatpack purchase. There are plenty of allen bolts, both small and large holding your bike together. Be sure to check you have the right sizes.
Double Ended Screwdriver: Save some real estate in your toolkit with a reversible screwdriver. Flat Head/Slotted tip on one end & Phillips Head tip on the other end. This is generally the most vital tool to removing your seat or battery cover.
Multi-Tool: Commonly know as a Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife. These gadgets will save your ass when you can't find a knife, pliers, screwdriver, cutters, nail file or bottle opener. An awesome all round tool that doesn't take up much space and will get used all the time.
Cable Ties (Zip Ties): The cheap and incredibly reliable solution for so many problems. They are designed to organise and fasten cables together however they can be used to tie things together, on or off your bike, as a permanent or temporary solution.
Duct Tape (Gaffer Tape): Pretty much everything in life can be fixed with Duct Tape, and if it doesn't work then just apply more!
Electrical Tape: If you find any exposed wires, opt for electrical tape instead, it's important to tape them up otherwise you're at risk of the electrics short-circuiting and if this happens you'll find yourself in a right pickle. This can also be used if you run out of Duct Tape.
Hot Tip: Duct Tape is bulky and super adhesive but it can easily be re-rolled onto something more compact, making it travel sized for your convenience.
DIY Pocket-Sized Duct Tape Roll:
Step 1. Find a thick business card or small strip of cardboard to use as a spindle.
Step 2. Neatly wrap the tape around and around the card until you have your desired amount.
Step 3. Unravel it as and when you need.
Spare Fuses: Just like light bulbs, fuses can blow at any random time. There should already be a spare or two in your fuse box, but they’re cheap and small so easy to pack extras. Take note that they come in different blade sizes and Amps. The cover of your fuse box should tell you what Amps you need, if not, check your manual.
Pliers: It's always handy having a pair of these bad boys around to cut and bend wire or use when you need a firm grip on something small or slippery.
How are you going for space in that beautiful sexy tool kit you're building?
Here are a few bonus goodies that could be useful for you and your bike.
Spark Plugs & Spark Plug Socket: Spark Plugs should be replaced every five years but if you have an old motorcycle or are prone to flooding your bike it's a good idea to have a backup with you. This is also a good essential for everyone to carry on long road trips.
Threadlocker (Loctite): Use this fluid on nuts and bolts before fastening them, it acts as an adhesive and prevents them corroding & coming loose from vibrations. Available in high strength and permanent. This is an essential for all Harley owners!!
Shock Adjustment Tool: This little doovielacky makes a world of difference to your ride and how it handles. It allows you to adjust the compression (sag) in your rear suspension (shocks).
Shocks are pre-set for an “average” sized rider but you can adjust your shocks to suit your weight and your riding style. If you have a pillion or extra luggage it’s super quick and easy to change your suspension settings with this tool.
Double Ended Spanner: Two for the price of one, yet another great space saver! Unlike the combination spanner these have different sized openings on each side, for example 13mm on one end and 12mm on the other end.
Screwdriver Bits: Nope, this is not one of the names we made up. These are the little end bits that you pop into an adaptor, ratchet or screwdriver, and come in all different sizes and shapes (phillips, flat, torx, hex etc). Pack light with a ratchet, adapter and all the bits you need.
Road Trip Tools & Gadgets: If you're planning a getaway you may need to add a few more items to your tool kit, such as; a tyre repair kit, portable air compressor, spare bungee cords, portable jump start and chain lube, just to name a few.
So you have a collection of awesome tools and you know exactly what they're for, now what?
You could Duct Tape all the tools to the tank, or better yet... just invest in a Tool Roll or Pannier Bag for your motorcycle! These are made to strap on to your bike and will keep all your precious tools organised and in place.
Find a spot on your motorcycle to mount your Tool Roll, make sure the placement is clear from any moving parts (wheels, chain, belt etc.) and wont overheat from the engine or exhaust. Under the headlight or on you side panels is a prime location.
Let us know in the comments below if you think we've forgotten any essentials that may have helped you out of a sticky situation before.
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