Making a perfect toolkit for YOUR bike; why do I need to do that I hear the new riders say, my bike came with a toolkit!
The seasoned riders around here probably can help you if you or if you have a friend living close by, the first thing they will tell you is a stock tool kit most of the time is just junk. The quality, selection, and variety of tools will most likely not be enough.
What I’m going to describe is not a new theory by any means but for newer riders, this might be all the help they need…
Go into your garage have your toolkit, your bike and a bucket (and maybe a pen and paper) in front of you and do the following – put a tool on every fastener you can see, begin on one side of the bike and go from front to back and top to bottom, make sure you look underneath the bike as well, there are fasteners under there as well.
Make sure you can turn that tool if need be; if there is a nut that you can eyeball that its a 10mm and you already have an open ended 10mm wrench in the bucket, check it will fit, is that nut/ bolt recessed, would it be easier with a socket?
Take your seat off, take your tank off, take your fairing off, manufacturers love to use unique fasteners in these areas.
Ok, so its about 20 minutes and a beer or two later and you have a bucket full of tools, empty them out on the floor, grab another beer and put ‘like tools’ together and then when you have doubles or triples of a tool/ size eliminate the one/s that are the least useful…and that’s it there is your toolkit.
Once you have it you can now refine it by size and weight over time, with special multi purposes tool that is on the market.
One final note – ask a question to a friend who has the same make/ model/ year bike as you or in the bikes section of ADVrider does my bike have any what could be termed as unique fasteners, some fairly common ones are torx/ safety torx/ twelve points and one-off large sizes like steering stem nuts or fork cap nuts. Tools for these can be found from motorcycle parts supply houses specifically made to be smaller and lightweight.
When the need for a good toolkit becomes relevant is not riding around your local neighborhood where there a mechanic or Autozone/ Napa on every corner where ‘that tool’ could be sourced.
It when you get more remote or international, even if you don’t know how to use the tools you carry there is a good chance you can find someone who does and this could get you back on the road in hours rather than days or week because you had to wait for that one specific tool to undo that fastener you looked at in your garage and thought…’i’ll never need to undo that!’
Remember ‘righty tighty, lefty loosey’…but not 100% of the time, that countershaft sprocket nut might be a left-hand thread…if you don’t know ask the question in the forums, that what they are there for, we are all in this together…combined knowledge.
To give you a few ideas, what is out there if you are not familiar –
A stock toolkit may look something like this, Yamaha WR250R, as you can see the size is small which is great, but the selection and quality is not. If you felt this was all the tools you needed to work on your bike in 80%+ of situations then replace the kit with good quality tools that will last.
I can replace it with this off the shelf Motion Pro tools for around $100 and be able to take almost the whole motorcycle apart
I add a couple of extra sockets
While prepping a motorcycle for a long trip I would use the same technique for compiling a toolkit from my tools that I already own, but I would take it one step further. I would work on the bike, take most parts apart if need be, add Loctite where necessary and check torque specs as well.
If I had one or two obscure fasteners, torx for example, I would swap them out so I wasn’t carrying one specific tool for one specific fastener…reduce weight!
Working on my Super Tenere, for example, I used all the tools in the photo below; there is a very detailed build thread on the S10 here
…but before hitting the road I condensed it to this, and I confess this is still too many tools but as a motorcycle mechanic I find myself working on other peoples bikes when I am on the road when they don’t have the knowledge to do it themselves
On my DR 650, the toolkit I carry is different again, but again was put together when I did a complete rebuild of two bikes from the ground up, that thread is here
Another toolkit that you may not have heard of because it is so new and due for delivery is made by a company called RRR tools, this was created with the help of Adventure riders and was brought to life on Kickstarter
Before you scoff at the price, read and see that it replaces over 100 tools and fits in the palm of your hand, try and do that with high quality and small pack size.
if you’d like to read more on tool kits there is a very big discussion right here, 215 pages and counting
More ideas on motorcycle related gear and travel on my website rtwPaul.com