Tool Kit Essentials for ADV Travel
Tires running flat, bolts falling out, and parts breaking without warning; it’s all part of adventure motorcycling.
Chances are, most of you have had to perform some type of maintenance or repair on the side of the trail/road before.
When you find yourself in this sort of situation, the tools you carry can often be your only way out…
That being said, here are 3 of our top tips when it comes to tool kits!
- The Right Tools for the Job.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you should make sure that your tool kit is tailored to the bike that you ride.
This means carrying the specific socket, hex key, and torx bit sizes that are used throughout the bike, carrying the proper sized axle and spoke wrenches, carrying a patch or plug kit depending on whether your bike runs tube or tubeless tires respectively, etc.
It can also be very helpful to determine any special tools that may come in handy - for example, I know of a few bolts on the R1200GSA that are much easier to reach if you are using an extension and universal joint with your ratchet wrench.
- Consolidate and Simplify.
As important as it is to ensure that your tool kit contains all of the tools needed to work on your bike, it doesn’t mean that you must carry a whole Snap-On toolbox around with you.
The less individual pieces found in your tool bag/roll, the better. You can consolidate and simplify your tool kit by using multi-tools such as folding hex key/torx sets (my personal favorite), and combo-tools such as tire levers that feature an axle wrench on one end.
Motion Pro makes a light and robust model of this tool that can be tailored to your axle nut size. A single adjustable wrench - preferably made of aluminum so as to reduce the weight of your tool kit - can take the place of 3-4 open end wrenches (and also can be quite effectively used as a hammer if you find yourself in need of one).
- For When Tools Won’t Cut It.
Occasionally you will find yourself in a situation where a wrench or screwdriver just can’t do much to help you; perhaps you broke your brake lever, or maybe you discover a hole in hole in your clutch cover after dropping your bike in some rocks…
It’s time to cue up the MacGyver theme song and break out the zip ties, bailing wire, and JB Weld. I cannot even count the number of times that a few zip ties saved my hide while out on the bike.
I once joined back together a cracked-in-half carbon fiber lower fender using zip ties and Lone Rider stickers; the repair held for another 5,000+ miles!
Another time I lost an important skid plate bolt, so I ran two zip ties through the bolt hole instead!
JB Weld works well in a pinch for plugging leaks (and more extensive repairs if you have the time to allow it to cure), but be sure to properly repair or replace the compromised part once you are back home.
I hope that you can take something away from these 3 tips regarding tool kits, and use it to better your adventure riding experience!
Also, I would love know; what is the wildest and/or most extensive repair that you have had to perform roadside???
Whoever replies with the best story will receive an envelope of heavy-duty vinyl Lone Rider stickers - the same ones that I used to hold together my front fender!
Cheers and happy riding!
- Blake Draguesku