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Old 09-02-2007, 06:59 PM   #1
hilslamer OP
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Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Chch, EnZed
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The Toolkit Thread

After participating in a couple of Neduro's clinics, and having had to use my toolkit several times during, it's become obvious that a formal list of toolkit and trail(road)side repair neccesities would be a useful item to have for both noob's and senior ADVer's alike. That said, I've taken a few hours on a recovery day after a very intense ride yesterday to photo-document my toolkit and essentials. Special thanks to Dan for letting me use his epoxy-painted garage floor and digital camera for the photoshoot!

That said, I would like to open for comment/criticism my toolkit, it's contents in considerable detail, and why they're in there. The stuff I carry is the product of many years or trailriding, dual sport riding, trials riding and more recently my short streetbike excursions. I ride primarily dirt, race alot as well - desert/enduros/scrambles/GP's - and generally have an observed trials and dirtbike background.

Thus, experience with repairs and essentials has honed my toolkit down to the items listed here, and I can only disclaimer that these are the things I carry on any ride(and sometimes when I race) that I expect to have bike or body drama on from one or more of the participants. I have carried things I eliminated later, and things I have only needed once or twice but that would have prevented a night spent in the cold or otherwise miserable.

A lot of this stuff might seem self explanatory, but oftentimes I'm the only one on a ride of 10+ people that has what someone else(or I) need. Everyone agrees that it's good to have, but no one seems to remember it when they are sitting around drinking beer later and have the chance to hop on the internet and mailorder the stuff they needed hours before to avoid a major catastrophe!

Anyone that spots anything I've missed, or has a worthwhile addition/suggestion for a situation I haven't yet encountered
is welcome to chime in about it - just provide some background and a reason, and try to keep it realistic by stating what form of riding it might work best for, or if it's bike-specific or the like. Everyone has different needs, and this should just be used as a guideline to developing your OWN toolkit. You get the idea!


For general riding where my tools and spares can't be carried on the bike, I carry a waist pack - or fannypack as we call it here in the US. I used to carry a tool wrap inside a backpack, but that proved too cumbersome to access and carrying the weight up that high was no help to moving aroudn ont he bike either. Obviously, some of us can't or won't wear a waistpack or even a backpack but I think the following banter should outline the important points of packaging all of your tools wherever you choose to carry them...

I looked all of the commercially available waistpacks, found them in stores and opened every pocket and un/zipped every zipper until I had figured out which ones had the features I wanted and fit me. Fox, Thor, Moose, MSR, Oneal, Fly, and Ogio, were the primary brands I looked at to name a few(I get by a lot of different shops). I also considered some stuff made by Mountainsmith and others at the outdoor sports shops, but I settled on the Ogio MX 450 for the following reasons:

- Fit. It fit my waist, and I'm a skinny white guy. Many I tried on had to be adjusted as small as they could go when strapped on to my 31" waist. I don't know why but whoever designs these things makes them long enough to fit around a big person and still have strap to spare. Perhaps this is flattery? I dunno...bottom line is that if you're not inclined to wear your toolpack because it's uncomfortable, there's a good chance that the ride you take without it will be the one you need it the most on. This should be a seriously motivating factor in selecting any baggage, IMO, even at the sacrifice of some other important factors in many cases.

- Security. Zippers on the MX450 were twice the size of comparable Moose or MSR packs. I know, I know, weight is an issue but not if all your tools fall out because a zipper didn't stay zipped or burst behind the zipper itself! Zipepr pulls must be easy to grab and use with gloves, or worse yet, wet/muddy gloves on without having to take them off to get into the pack. Larger zippers also tolerate sand/mud better, because they are less sensitive to the inevitable wear caused by them and evacuate them more readily when being cleaned or used. Buckles on the Ogio were high quality, and I could stand on them in the store without them breaking. Brittle plastic is not welcome on equipment that sees an environment like a toolkit on a motorcycle, whether riding or in storage in the bed of a truck or gearbag. The buckles on one of the Fox bags were broken in the store!

- Flexibility. The side pockets on the MX450 have expanding bottoms to carry an oil bottle, water bottle or other more voluminous cargo in an emergency. This feature is very similar to many of the expandable tailbags, backpacks and panniers out there, and is a small sacrifice in weight for a great gain in versatility.

- Stayputtedness. Is that a technical term? I don't know, but you get the idea. The MSR bags have an oval patch of grippy material in the center of the pack where it rests on your back. It seems good, and is better than the Moose ones or any of the others which just seem to have bare cordura in this critical location. But the Ogio one has this same grippy textile material all the way around the inside or contact surface of the pack. It stays put and does not slip down even after miles and miles of sand whoops at a good clip. A side benefit of this is that things that do not move at all do not chafe or rub raw, either.

Another benefit to the grippy material that it stays put when it's off your waist and open and sitting on the seat of your bike(inevitably angled so that most packs wont *quite* stay on there when your bike is on the kickstand or leaned against a rock/tree). Non-grip packs slide off and dump your tools in the sand/grass/mud/dirt = bummer.

These are my priorities, not yours. You may have different needs or different body shape or other issues that another pack works better to minimize, but the theme here is to think ahead to how you're really going to use the pack and look for features that look like they will solve those.


Make sure everything in your kit will work/fit/swing/loosen/tighten where you think you even might remotely need it to, and try it out ahead of time. There is no sense in carrying something you don't know how to use or that won't work on your bike. This is especially true of tools that need to fit in tight spaces, like to get to the underside of carburetors or backside of rear sprockets or the like.

Tins - Silly me, I pack individual tools in tins like the ones you get Altoids mints and other candies in. The above example has been used to carry spare chain and masterlinks, and is now my patch kit storage facility.

WHY ar tins so great? They make a tool that might otherwise poke through or wear through the compartment of your toolbag that it's in sit neatly in place, and stay there. If the tools are properly packed/wrapped in foam or felt, they can keep moisture out better than the tool bag alone and will not rattle like a maraca with each whoop you pound over. If the lids want to pop open, throw some rubber bands around each them and they'll come in handy sometime too.

Acerbis Sparkpug caddy w/plug - these are very common and made by others as well, do a good job of keeping spare plugs dry and will tolerate free-fall without allowing the porcelain part of the plug to crack. They work better if the plug cannot move within them, so I pack the end cap with a bit of open-cell foam to pad the electrode and keep things from shaking themselves to pieces:

If you own multiple/change bikes for some reason, be sure and update the plug so you're lugging around the right one! If your ride a twin cylinder, or more, carry that many plugs!

Sparkplug Wrench - I use the stock KTM one, because it's light and simple and fits my bike nice...BUT...there are many, many different varieties of these and what's most important is that it works. I'll be rounding up one for my 990 Adventure as soon as it comes in... As with all of your tools, use it at home before you need to use it on the trail so you're sure it will work when you are depending on it.

200, 400 and 600 grit sandpaper - I prefer the Testor's variety, from the model car/airplane shops, because it is abrasive bonded to a mylar backing that will tolerate oil, water, coolant and brake cleaners(petroleum distillates) without becoming useless, gritty pulp. It rolls up nice, and weighs .1 ounces to carry. Many uses, too:

Why carry it you ask? It works great to prep painted or anodized engine cases for the Quiksteel(below) to adhere properly to, even when they've leaked oil all over the place the grit will nor come off the sandpaper.

Ever fallen/crashed and put some big gouges in the stanchion of a fork? If you notice it before it eats your forkseal alive, you can rub it down with the sandpaper and preven leakage.

Got a leaky forkseal? good chance it just needs dirt removed from beneathe the lip. Flip over the 600 grit so the abrasive side faces the fork, trim it with a knife or scissors and it can be used to clean the lip of fork seals and dust seals out.

Quiksteel or equivalent - the best way to patch an engine case or sidecover with a hole/crack in it. Even if you can't find all the pieces of the case, you can use a pop can and make a patch on the outside of cases and use the epoxy to hold it in place and seal oil in. This stuff tolerates incredible heat and bonds amazingly well to almost anything but plastic. Not strong enough to use as a major structural repair, but in sufficient quantities will hold on chainguides, hold a busted cable into a lever where the barrel end pulled out, I have also seen it hold a stripped rear brake master cylinder rod into the pivot barrel on the end of the lever.

Axle Wrench
- Be sure it fits your bike! Be sure you're prepared for front and rear flats! There are new Motion Pro 7075 Aluminum Combo Lever tire "irons" out there that have a 6-point hex axle nut wrench on one end and are very light and STRONG.

Chain Tools

Chain drive is one of those things like the spoked wheel - it has always been there and probably won't go away anytime soon. With rare exception, nearly every bike made in modern times uses a chain to transfer torque to the rear wheel and having the right tools/spares to deal with all of the common problems associated with this system them seems like a no-brainer to me. Even on a simple dualsport ride, an innocent little rock can bounce up into the chainline and cause all sorts of mayhem - its just a matter of statistical chance. If you haven't had a chain problem yet, you will, just keep riding.

Motion Pro T-6 Chain Tool - This is the lightest, easiest and only way you're going break and re-assemble an O-ring chain in the field with the same tool that I know if. Small and compact, it comes with it's own zippered case with elastic bands(just like my Ogio toolpack) to hold all the components in place and keep them from abrading themselves into uselessness. It works with all 520 and 525 chains, I don't know about 428 or 530...It even includes storage for spare parts:

Chain Parts
Stored in the Chain Tool pack. Why? I have knarled chain on a rock, and twisted chain up, and folded chain the wrong way:

Minimum Two(2) Spare master links - amazingly, I have never had one come loose, but I have had to repair one for another person. A single random chain link repair usually means you'll need two master links.
Minimum Two(2) Links of Chain - this means two inner, two a continuous piece, can cut what you need on the spot or cut one link for extra orings lost in the process or...keep using your imagination. This is just plain old spare parts, really.
Spare Chain O-rings -

hilslamer screwed with this post 06-07-2010 at 05:15 PM
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