Ten Must-Have Tools for Every Motorcyclist
Motorcycles rarely break down and leave you stranded these days. Kudos to engineers who have worked hard to make motorcycles more and more reliable. However, the times when bikes do break down are usually due to a faulty battery or, touch wood, accidents.
It is in times such as these that you wish manufacturers include more extensive toolkits with the bike – if there is a toolkit kit at all. Even when they do, the items are of lower quality, causing even more grief when used.
So, we have put together a list of tools that you should have under your seat:
Pliers are truly indispensable. However, the choice between flat-nose or needle-nose pliers is up to you, although the latter is much more useful in our experience, especially in tight quarters. For example, retrieving a dropped screw or extracting a stubborn blade fuse. You also need pliers to twist and cut safety wires.
2. Puncture repair kit
It is safe to bet that 9.9/10 bikes out there do not carry one of this – you will end up having to push the bike to the nearest petrol station or call for roadside assistance. It is best to invest in a set which includes CO2 canisters to re-inflate the tyre after you have patched the puncture.
X02 tyre repair kit – image credit: firestormmotorcycles.com.au
In the case of a multi-tool, you may buy a good (read: expensive) one in place of a few tools, thereby saving some space, since they usually include a pair of pliers, a sharp knife, Phillips head and straight-edge screwdrivers, among others. But do get one which is full-sized, such as those from Leatherman or Gerber.
So, you have a multi-tool now, but the screwdrivers on them may be too short to reach farther inside the engine bay. Buy a Phillips head and straight-edge, both of a length that can fit under your seat. Also, remember to purchase those with magnetised tips – which is black in colour – as you could use them to retrieve dropped metal parts.
5. Allen (Hex) keys
A set of allen keys (also known as hex keys) does not take up much space and you could bring along just those that are required for your bike. Manufacturers usually provide simple types, so go ahead and get those with ball-ends as they slide into the slot easier and allow you to work at an angle.
6. Adjustable wrench
Also called the pipe wrench, this is one tool we do not recommend its usage unless absolutely necessary, as it usually rounds out nuts and bolts. However, it is good to carry one, especially if there is not enough space for a set of spanners or sockets.
You may choose an insulated wire or “chicken” wire, although the former allows you to repair electrical parts (if you are absolutely sure you will not blow something more expensive). Either way, a length of wire helps in binding things together in situations when high strength is required and cable ties are too flimsy. And how do you cut the wire? That is why you need a pair of pliers or a multi-tool.
8. Cable ties
You could probably call cable ties (also known as zip ties) the mother of all temporary roadside repair solution. You could use them to hold together just about anything. They are inexpensive and easy to carry, so slip a bunch of them under the seat or in your tool pouch.
9. Duct Tape
No toolkit is complete without it. It is especially useful for repairing minor leaks, such as patching your rain gear or a hose. You could also use it to temporarily tape soles which had separated from your shoes, a common occurrence when riding. Yes, you could tape the top part of your helmet’s visor if it leaks under heavy rain. There are so many uses for it, so no wonder it is MacGyver’s favourite tool.
The sun may burn your retinas when you are out riding, but it is as dark as a black hole inside the bodywork and under the tank and seat. While almost all mobile phones are equipped with a torchlight function these days, it is more convenient to use a dedicated torchlight, and ideally, the type attached to a headband.