Prologue: The Fear of getting stranded on a Motorcycle Road Trip without a Motorcycle Tool Kit is one of the biggest nightmares for all motorcycle riders. In this blog, I will talk about the importance of a comprehensive Tool Kit as part of your saddle.
Motorcycle Tool Kit Essentials for those Short or long Adventure Motorcycling hauls
J R R Tolkien quoted “Not all those who wander are lost”. Now this quote might certainly inspire you to grab your motorcycle keys and start riding & through the ride you just realise that this quote actually means what it reads. Now, let’s say you got your juices flowing, you enter wilderness & just when your worries are left behind, god forbid, you have a break down & even worse, the adrenaline of rushing for this ride left hasn’t spared you anytime to grab your Motorcycle Tool Kit!
Likewise, throughout my Motorcycling peregrination, I have met few tourers who believe its admissible not to have a tool kit as help is never far away. But what do you do when you are stranded even on a fairly well know location with no help or most importantly no tools?
This is when the investment on a Basic or Comprehensive Motorcycle Tool Kit certainly pays and gets you back on the road in most cases unless its a major issue that needs Expert attention.
Here’s my recommendation or a set of tools I use in all my rides ranging from the far Northern Adventures to the Sunday morning rides.
This relatively inexpensive squeegee is a boon during monsoon rides especially when there’s a frequently need to clean the visor.
Tip: Carrying a mini bottle of Visor cleaner comes in super handy. Squeegee and visor cleaner make it a super clean combo.
Hazard Warning Reflector Kit
While there’s no dedicated Reflector Kit for Motorcycle’s, its advisable to make one that fits into the Motorcycle Kit or anything which does the job.
An incident from one of my remote trip to Kedarnath taught me this. It was around 6:30 and my beloved R15 had an electrical Snag and eventually died on me thus leaving me stranded on a curve! The fact that I was riding solo on an almost isolated stretch meant that I couldn’t get immediate support at that hour and the time spent fixing the bike(around 20 minutes) was extremely scary as a vehicle speeding down the curve could have easily crashed into me due to poor visibility. This is a must have per me to warn oncoming vehicles of a breakdown.
These prove to be a saviour when you need to recharge battery and they do not take up much space so why not carry them along?
Tip: This is a must, if your bike doesn’t come with a kick starter.
One of the most versatile tools that comes in handy to remove the nails etc. during a puncture, will also help in while you straighten, hold the parts or while fastening screws etc, and almost doubles as an hammer. This one’s a must have too.
Tip: Today, there are an array of combination pliers available. Choose the one that you think is the most versatile.
Puncture Repair Kit
Tip:If your bike is running on a tube then consider replacing the puncture repair with a kit more suited for a tyre with tube.
Buy the most compact one you can get hold of. Search the common shopping portals to get a best bet and if you have the luxury of time then do visit the local Automobile markets to get this at the lowest price possible.
Tip: Ensure you add either a cigarette lighter adapter or a socket that matches the compressor. I prefer a cigarette lighter adapter as it doubles as a charger for GPS and mobile devices.
Cigarette Lighter Adapter and Voltmeter
Though this isn’t part of the Motorcycle Tool Kit, I would like mention that this should be one of the first few accessories you install in your motorcycle as these serve extremely well.
A voltmeter reads out the Voltage of battery and the ideal battery voltage reading should be approx. 13.8 – 14.5 volts at 3000 rpm and 12.6+/- 0.2 volts on stand by.
Tip: If the voltage drops below 9.5 volts, the battery has very low capacity and should be replaced
I would suggest against the carrying the entire artillery of variable bits for a screw driver. Rather understand your bike and figure out the most commonly used screws and carry the most appropriate screw driver & bits.
Tip: look at buying a socket type screw driver so that you can carry only those sockets and save valuable space in your Motorcycle Tool Kit
Read your motorcycle’s owner’s manual to figure out the right Fuse ampere ratings or even inspect the fuse box located under the seat. In most motorcycle’s, its 10, 15 & 20 amps.
Literally, do not mess with the fuses . Replace the blown fuse with new one of the correct capacity as specified in the Owner’s Manual or blown fuse.
Tip: If the sAME FUSE IS BLOWING UP REPEATEDLY THEN YOU GOT BIGGER PROBLEMS TO SOLVE. TRY TROUBLESHOOTING THE CONNECTING CABLES AND DEVICES TO PIN POINT THE ISSUE.
A quick walk around your motorcycle & flipping of the service manual will help you identifying the right size of Allen Keys you would need. The idea is to carry only the essentials or only those key’s which is commonly required.
Tip: A fold up allen wrench is a handy tool, ensure you verify the size of the keys before getting carried away by the design and options.
This Tool deserves its spot in the Motorcycle Tool Kit. The movable jaw allows an user to fasten an array of bolts and nuts.
Tip: A 10 inch or a 250 MM Adjustment Wrench is the most ideal for a motorcycle however you may also add on a 8 inch wrench.
Zip or Cable Tie
The self locking loop in a relatively inexpensive Zip Tie proves of great importance when included in a Motorcycle Tool Kit. This is extremely helpful in tying cables, wires and practically everything.
This genius invention helped the Lunar Module – Apollo 17 safely land in space! Do I need to write how important this would be in Motorcycle Tool Kit?
Tip: You can either pull out a sizable amount and create your own roll to avoid space else use the space inside the spool to store other EQUIPMENT’S or tools. FInd a box that fits into the spool and convert it as box to store fuses, spare screws etc.
Its a must to carry a spare bulbs as you wouldn’t want to ride in the dark should you have a blown bulb or a weak one.
Tip: Most Motorcycle’s carry a stock 35w bulb but in bigger machines you do see the 55w bulbs. Do check the motorcycle’s owner manual to find out the right one for your motorcycle as adding a 55w bulb for a stock 35w would not only drain the battery but will also eventually burn out the connectors.
Adjustable Knife or commonly known as Cutter
You investment on this relatively inexpensive item wouldn’t be a waste as this tool serves numerous purposes ranging from cutting wires to anything else.
Tip: You can pick up one at a stationery store but my recommendation is to buy either a caping knife which brings in its own set of advantages and if you prefer it to be compact then do check the foldable card type knife which can be stacked amidst your cards.
Spark Plug and Spark Plug Spanner
This one’s overrated! Many may recommend replacement around 40k kms. I would advise you to check your spark plug’s health by visually inspecting it, referring to the spark plug manufacturers guide and deciding accordingly.
The things to check are the gap clearance, signs of any compression leakage which is denoted by stains on the white ceramic portion of the plug and Carbon Track which occurs when spark plug fires both at the top and at the base of the ceramic shell thus leaving a carbon track.
If you see any of these signs then replacement is the ideal option prior to your ride but if you are banking on fixing gap clearance and cleaning then its a good idea have it validated by an expert and also carry a spare set just incase things go bad.
Tip: Follow the 80-20 rule. If your manufacturer recommends replacement at every 75K kms then it would be ideation replace it at 60K kms.
This one’s a no brainer! I almost excluded penning this one, not because i forgot about it but because its the thing to be in every type of kit! 10-12mm is a must and the rest is something more personalised to your bike.
Tip: You may be tempted to carry the entire fancy spanner set but ressist this urge and carry only the ones suited and most required for your bike. E.g. No Point carrying a spanner for the frame bolt as these a fastened using pneumatic guns and the regular tools won’t help!
A wise man once said “Let there be light”! that’s true for our Motorcycle Tool Kit too. Carrying a torch light is a must as it serves variety of purposes raging from helping you inspect those tricky areas for faults to doubling up as work light while mending your motorcycle.
Tip: You can rely on your classy mobile phone light but its advisable to pick up either a dynamo torch or a more powerful rechargeable one available online.
If you do not want your hands to get messy while fixing your bike then a pair of work gloves is mandatory. These don’t have to be the leather ones as they would consume too much space.
Tip: My pick is the Light-weightLevel 5 Hand Protection kitchen gloves AS THESE WORK EXTREMELY WELL.
Spare Nuts and Bolts
Carry the ones required especially for the auxiliary accessories you may have installed as these are the ones that tend to loose out.
A small WD-40 can, Chain lube, Chain cleaner, Microfibre cloth, insulation tape and space indicator bulbs.
Tip: its advisable to review your route plan and pick the refill when your lube reaches 3/4th of the volume. Do not lug multiple cans unless venturing into remote locations.
Chain Cleaning Brush
The Chain Cleaning Brush is a must, if you are riding on dusty surfaces for several days as the fine particle can cause damage to the ‘O’ rings.
I hope you liked reading this blog. Please do leave you thoughts, comments and suggestions.