Your bike tool kit will be the most important thing in the world the day you need it. Here, ‘round-the-world traveller Andy Davidson explains how he packs right tools for those inevitable breakdowns…
I’ve seen people carrying everything from a roll of Gaffer, four cable ties and a penknife to a full-on motorcycle workshop stuffed into two extremely heavy panniers. The problem isn’t what or how many tools you’ve got, it’s knowing what tools you need and can use.
There are plenty of bike travellers out there who carry tools that they’ve never used, don’t know if they need, and sometimes don’t even know how to use. There’s no point in taking stuff like that. Be honest with yourself, if you’re not going to change your chain and sprocket, don’t take chain breakers. Nobody is expecting you to be a mechanic and have every tool to fix every problem. There are blokes in garages the world over who are more than happy to help!
The trick to preparing the right kit for you is this: know what you’re capable of fixing (or want to have a go at fixing), prepare it for those jobs, remove duplicates, condense the kit, practise with the kit and condense some more. Here’s how I suggest building a tool kit for an around the world journey…
Strip the bike down and remove everything that is likely to go wrong – within reason (don’t bother trying to take the engine apart as it’s unlikely you’ll want to fiddle with it in the middle of Ethiopia). Then stick the bike back together and put all the tools used to one side. Add tools and accessories like tyre levers and pumps as if you would have used them (imagine going through the process of changing your tyres and figuring out what you’d actually use). Once finished, you’ll have all the tools needed to put your bike back together. Go through that pile and condense it as much as you can by buying attachments, 2-in-1 parts, swapping out heavy Allen keys for hex bits, and so on.
By doing this, not only will you build a solid and lightweight tool kit, the process will also build your confidence in using those tools and fixing anything that breaks.
We’ve had more than our fair share of breakdowns on the road and use our kit often. Here’s a complete list of all our tools, accessories and spares. Have fun building your own!
- 3⁄8-inch ratchet with sockets and extension used to remove any bolt on the bike
- Socket and 1⁄2-inch adapter for front spindle
- Set of spanners
- Pin punch to remove brake pin
- Phillips and flat head screw driver
- Hex head bits
- Rear axle bolt spanner
- Multi tool (with pliers, file, knife, saw and tin opener)
- Chain split link breaker
- Funnel – It filters out water and debris which can contaminate fuel in areas with poor petrol like in Uzbekistan and has no serviceable or changeable parts.
- Cable ties
- Gaffer tape and electrical tape
- Ratchet tie down (used for ferries, towing, strapping broken stuff together – very important)
- Jump cables
- O-rings and washers for oil filter changing/ nuts, bolts and washers
- Slinky Glide universal cable repair kit
- Spark plug
- Front inner tube. The spare front tube can always be put in the rear tyre so we could hobble to a garage
- Moto Pressor Tyre pump – compact, light and cheap at around £30
- Three tyre levers
- Puncture repair kit
- Tyre pressure gauge
- Grease, Loctite and copper grease
- Metal epoxy
Andy and pillion Alissa have been motorcycling in far flung corners of the world for the last 10 years. But on January 1st 2018 the pair gave up their lives in the UK for an indefinite life on the road. You can follow their round-the-world adventure online at www.madornomad.com or on social media as Mad or Nomad.