Carrying a basic motorcycle toolkit can help you avoid small problems turning into big ones. This is RideApart’s suggested list of essential tools that you should carry at all times on your bike.
Providing your motorcycle is relatively new and more importantly well maintained, and if it’s not an old clunker that’s on it’s last leg, these tools will take care of most situations.
However, the biggest issue you’re going to face is finding the space on a bike to carrying a few essentials you may need. Most modern bikes have a very limited toolkit – normally found under the seat. Chances are that kit is not going to be complete or that useful if you ever find yourself stranded at the roadside. This is where an aftermarket tool roll comes in that can be bolted or strapped to your bike. For that, we recommend the Kriega Tool Roll.
Fold-up allen wrench: These are cheap, easy to find and can be used for the removal and tightening of fasteners on your bike. Make sure you get one that fits the parts on your bike. Either metric or AMSE (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) types are what you should be looking for.
One flat head screwdriver: Ideally this should be pocket size and as skinny as possible to give you good access in tight areas. If it’s got a magnet on one end too that is even better, as it will help you locate any fasteners that drop into tight spaces.
Multipurpose pocketknife: Something like a small Swiss Army penknife or a pocket Leatherman are ideal as they carry a lot of blades and small tools and are also easy to stash on your bike. This is good for cutting hoses or lines that can become brittle over time. You may need to use a knife to cut the end of a hose before re-clamping it to ensure a tight fit.
Combo screwdriver: This is a good idea as it can be used to replace the flathead screwdriver we mention above. It will also have a Phillips crosshead screwdriver bit as well, along with a few other useful attachments.
Pair of pliers: As you’re going to be restricted by space, try and find a good quality pair of small pliers. They can give you good grip and can help straighten, tighten and hold parts and fasteners.
Adjustable wrench: Try to find one as small as possible, but also one that will fit the fasteners on your bike. Know your motorcycle: some bolts may only be accessible by sockets, in which case, carry the right sizes of those and a small socket wrench, possibly an extender too.
RideApart contributor Chris Brundage working on his DR-Z400 in Costa Rica.
Small flashlight: Very useful if you run into trouble at night. Make sure that the batteries are kept fresh. If you use Lithium batteries, they have a 10-year shelf life and work in cold weather. We recommend the Maratac AAA.
Battery cables: Lightweight cables that can be rolled up tightly are a good solution and can be stashed somewhere on your bike. If you’ve got a flat battery they’ll get you going again. Attach them to another bike’s battery providing you’ve asked the owner. In a pinch, you can also fit the cables to a car battery and then on to your bike’s battery. But don’t start the car, as there should be sufficient power in its battery to get your started.
Spare fuses and bulbs: In the size and specs your bike needs. They’re small and cheap and often come in a convenient case that keeps them together and protected against damage.
Tire repair kit: Whether your prefer rope plugs or mushrooms, C02 or a pump, or even just a can of Fix-a-Flat, a flat tire is going to be your most common problem. And, with the appropriate kit, the easiest to fix.
Miscellaneous: Don’t forget to pack a few zip ties and a small roll of duct tape, as they will all prove invaluable time and again as you spend time on the road.
Make sure you have the phone number of a reputable towing company or have an annual membership to AAA.
These are what we recommend lives inside every basic motorcycle toolkit. What are your suggestions and what has worked for you in the past?