So, What's In Your Tool Pack?
- Spare spark plug in small rigid plastic spark plug carrier
- A few most common bolts specific to your bike
- A 520 O-ring masterlink
- A new 21" tube (can be used in rear tire as well) - patches do not always work (ask Dave W.)
- For 2-strokers: 50 & 100 ml shampoo bottles of 2 stroke oil (I use 100:1 Opti-2) good for 5 & 10 litres of gas
- A four foot length of fuel hose (for siphoning fuel)
- Some people will carry a brake lever and clutch lever, although I have never broken one with hand guards (of course first ride out after writing this, I broke my clutch lever!)
- Wrenches applicable for your bike, I carry 8, 10, 12 (float bowl), 13 mm combination wrenches
- A wrench to fit that drain plug (check the size of your plug, and practice removing it or loosening it enough to allow fuel to drain). A badly drowned bike often needs the float bowl drained to get the water out and the bike started.
- T-handle with sockets most commonly used on your bike (standard in KTM toolkits with 6, 8, 10 mm sockets .
- An eight inch crescent (adjustable) wrench
- A five inch visegrip; you can do a lot of things with visegrips including replacing a lost or busted shift lever
- Any Allen keys required for your bike, particularly to tighten your handlebar guards
- Spare valve cap with valve core tool
- A "Leatherman" style multitool, or swiss style pocketknife
- Air pump, 2 tire irons, plus I carry a 27 mm box end/tire spoon tire iron combination.
- Spark plug tool that fits your bike and spark plug (yep some riders carry something that fit their last bike)
- Some people carry a freddette wrench; this is a handy bike-specific tool (available for a wide variety of bikes) that fits axle nuts, the spark plug and the float bowl drain plug. I prefer the actual sizes needed as they can get into tighter spots.
- Needle nose pliers; slip lock pliers
- Small screwdrivers depending upon your bike
Other really useful stuff
- A disposable lighter or waterproof matches. Check regularly to make sure they work
- A variety of cable ties (zip-ties); what you can do with these is only limited by your imagination
- A clean rag; for clearing hands, grips or goggles and, in a pinch, a first aid item
- A small flashlight (that works)
- A piece of emery cloth to clean your buddy's fouled spark plug when he "forgets" a new one
- Some cash, $5's and $10's can buy you gas or a tow
- Small tube of blue loctite
- Tube of instant metal (patching punctured rads, cases)
- A few feet of stainless steel safety wire
- Electrical tape (useful for many things)
- A few feet of black gorilla tape wrapped around a tool like spark plug socket or wrench
- A first aid kit, including a packaged foil emergency blanket
- A packaged tow strap, 1 inch by 12 - 16 feet.
- Bug repellent
- Disposable nitrile gloves.
- Early season rides, carry a folding pruning saw - but also handy in the event of "emergency camping" and the occasional cutting of emergency wooden parts.
Where to carry all this stuff: Seems like a lot, but you will regret not carrying any of the above the first time you need it. I heard an experienced rider say one time: The bike should carry what it needs (tools, parts) and the rider should carry what he/she needs (nutrition/hydration/gear). The major options are a tool belt, your backpack, or a fender mount tool bag. Tried them all. There are pros and cons of each.
- Backpacking tools and 3 litres of hydration is heavy, and the tools tend to throw your pack up when you bend over, or to the side if you lean over sideways.
- Back protection or body armour often makes carrying a tool belt an uncomfortable experience as the bag rides down too low.
- As I wear body armour with back protection, a fender bag mounted (securely - see pictures on right) on the front fender of my 2 stroke is a wonderful way to not carry that weight, saving you energy, while not making any noticeable difference to my ride. Tall riders can also mount the fender bag behind the seat, but for shorties like me, I can barely swing my leg over the seat, let alone over top of a rear fender bag.
- Tire irons can be heavy, and hopefully you don't have to use them each season. I have successfully carried tire irons and pump held together tightly with elastic bands cut from old inner tubes (what do you think bungees are made of?) inside my air box under the seat. Regular cleaning and rustproofing required - good to do each filter change/cleaning.
- I can fit the spare tube (if folded just right) and usually the tow strap behind the number plate.
OK, what additional tools/items do you recommend by added to the above list? Add them to the form below.
Thanks Eric McSweeney!
Current bikes: KTM 300 XC-w, KTM 400 EXC, Yam TTR-125
Favourite riding area: Any area you can ride is a great area, but both Calabogie and Limerick are special to me. Biking in the Kootenays is really awesome, but I look forward the exotic areas like Nevada or Costa Rica like those other lucky guys.
Most memorable ride: has to be riding to the top of Paradise Mountain in BC - riding above the tree line in what is like a moonscape with a lot of shattered shale that shreds knobs!
Favourite event: well the Boogie for sure - the 2011 Boogie provided weather and riding from heaven!