My tool-kit journey, like most of you here, started out with the OEM kit that’s provided with every bike. But that quickly proved inadequate on my 250-300 km rides. Back then, I had a few loose spanners at home and took to carrying them along as well when venturing beyond the city. These rudimentary attempts did help however, in getting stranded fellow-bikers back on the road, on more than one occasion.
The thought train jump-started again, when a friend’s bike suffered a flat tire on last Sunday’s ride and the friendly puncture repair guy didn’t have the spanner that’d have helped in disassembling and dismounting the tire to fix it. Thankfully, I was lugging my usual set of tools and had the right spanner handy, so we were back on the road in a few hours (had to bring in another guy to fix things).
When I decided to begin my tool-kit goals afresh, a few years ago, I went back to the basics. I read up a bit, asked other, more knowledgeable riders around and put my own experience together before drawing up a plan. Given that I regularly ride old two-stroke motorcycles & Royal Enfield models of varying age, my tool-kit has grown to reflect the needs of these bikes. So please feel free to add or remove from these, as per your requirements.
At any time, I carry a combination of 3 Pliers in my kit. These include Linesman (or multi-purpose) Pliers, Long-Nose Pliers and Monkey Pliers. Between these three, every field side repair requirement involving pliers can be pulled off.
Combination Spanners (Open/Crescent shaped at one end & Ring at the other) are a great compromise over carrying separate sets respectively. Not only does this result in considerable weight and space savings, but it also leaves your wallet with more money to spend on other, essential kit.
The sizes I carry along include (6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 17mm, 19mm, 22mm & 24mm). I additionally carry a 30mm-32mm Open Spanner as well.
If you’re as sensitive to the air-pressure in the tires as I am, then you’ve got to invest in a pressure gauge, as the ones at the tire-shop/fuel-bunk are seldom reliable. Analog or Digital would be down to individual choice. I personally use a Slime digital gauge, that’s compact & lightweight to be carried along, in-addition to being fairly accurate.
I typically carry a pair of reversible screw drivers with me, in addition to the one that’s part of the OEM tool-kit.
I bought myself a ¼’’ Socket Set within a month of welcoming the Royal Enfield Himalayan home. This nifty 46-piece set is a utility beast. I’ve simply added a longer extender to the kit, so it enables me to work from a comfortable distance when necessary.
This ubiquitous lubricant is a go-to pal for all the electrical moisture & stuck nut/bolt problems. It can also be used to loosen up grime in hard-to-reach parts.
Fuses, Wire-lengths, Insulation Tape & Blade:
Spare fuses, a roll of insulation tape, wire-lengths & a blade can get you out of some real tricky electrical malfunctions. You can, for example, rewire/fix the horn, headlight, signal lights, etc.
Spark-Plug & Oil-Filter:
Now these two are a 50-50 decision. To most, they sound like overkill. But to me, the spark-plug comes along on every ride, with the oil-filter joining in, on every long (>200 km) one. Your call ultimately.
Ever since I’ve gotten my hands on it, I’ve carried my Victorinox Multi-Utility knife along, more for the peace of mind, that, I’ll not regret having it, on the off-chance that I need one.
Chain Lube & Dust Cloths:
A can of chain-lube (hate running on a dry chain), some bare wire (to tie stuff together) and a few dust-cloths to wipe those grimy hands off are the other extras that I can think of.
Spare Tubes, Tire Inflator, Tire Irons:
I recently completed a grueling 3000 km over mountainous terrain on tires that had already been used well for >10000 km with not a single flat along the way! I had carried along a set of tubes as backup but given how they’re unused, I’m not sure, if I should continue hunting for a reliable inflator & tire-iron combo. Maybe I’ll do that as I venture into the far-flung corners of the country and go beyond borders into conditions unknown.
To be honest, every ride/break-down brings further clarity into what I need to include, and stuff I must discard as dead-weight. So, now that you know about my tool-kit build journey, I’m curious to know about the kind of tools that you take along on your rides. So hit up the comments and share your experiences, I’m all ears to learn…
Happy Riding 🙂