10 Essential Tools to Handle Nearly Any Trailside Repair
Be prepared for almost any situation with light, compact, multi-purpose tools.
When it comes to tools, there’s a fine line between being prepared and overpacking. You want to keep your kit as light as possible by carrying only what you’ll need. But how do you know what you’ll need until something breaks?
The answer is try to anticipate the mechanical issues that can crop up on a ride, then pack appropriate tools that are light, small and serve multiple functions to address them. You also want to bring along a few items that can provide a fix for situations that you can never anticipate.
Below are 10 essential tools that will help ensure you are prepared for nearly any situation on an Adventure Ride.
Courtesy Alfonse Palaima
1. Tire irons
Ride long enough and you will get a flat. And on larger adventure bikes, repairing a tire often involves breaking a very stubborn bead. Motion Pro’s BeadPro levers combine tire spoons on one end with a unique bead breaker on the other. Just slip one of the BeadPros inside the other, squeeze, and you’ll (usually) conquer the most reluctant bead. Flip them around and spoon the tire off just like a regular set of levers. At just 9 ounces (255 grams) a set and 9.8″ (249 mm) long each, the forged 7075-T6 Aluminum BeadPro levers are sized for carrying in your tool kit. Motion Pro also makes a forged steel version which are more durable and a little longer, but we recommend the aluminum BeadPro Bead Breakers for carrying on the bike.
2. Tire Repair kits
How you repair your flats depends on whether you have tubeless or tube-type tires. For tubeless tires, the Dynaplug Pro is quick, easy and very compact. Just load a brass-tipped plug into the tool, insert it into the puncture, pull the tool out and you’re done. Pre-load the tool before you pull out a nail out of your tire, for example, and you won’t even lose much air. It’s that fast. The Dynaplug comes in several variations, but the Pro puts everything you need in one small package, making it the best choice for riders. Tube-type tires are more involved. You take the wheel off the bike, break the bead, and pull out the tube. Some people insist on a new tube every time they get a puncture but if you don’t have that luxury, Slime’s time-tested patch kit has everything you need: pre-cut patches, a small grater to rough up the tube, and rubber cement.
3. Tire Pump
Some riders swear by the lightweight and simplicity of bicycle pumps, others like the ease and convenience of Co2 cartridges. But if you’ve got a bike with a 12-volt plug, a mini air compressor makes pumping up your tires a whole lot faster. The MotoPumps Mini Pro is designed for bikes with features such as 10 feet of power cord, a combo cigarette/BMW/SAE connector, a coiled air hose to save space, an LED work light, and a backlit pressure gauge you can see at night. It weighs 18 ounces (510 grams) and can crank out 50 PSI. For a cheaper option without all the features, try the Slime Power Sport Tire Inflator. It weighs a little more, but it’s powerful and costs about half as much as the MotoPumps unit.
4. Multipurpose Tool
Leatherman’s most popular model, the Wave is a compact, handheld toolbox featuring 17 things you might need for trailside repairs including pliers (needle nose and regular pliers), files, wire strippers, a saw, etc. Many of the bigger tools, including the three-inch knife blade, are accessible without opening the tool. The Leatherman Wave weighs in at a petite 8.5 ounces (241 grams), and could save your bacon, or cut it up into bite-sized pieces.
5. Universal Wrenches
Having a set of universal wrenches will allow you to handle a variety of different sized bolts you might find on a bike. While you may be diligent enough to pack every sized wrench that fits on your bike, you can’t always be assured your riding buddies will do the same. And when your riding buddy has a problem in the middle of nowhere, their problem becomes your problem. The Craftsman 4 IN 1 is great for the smaller nuts and bolts common to dual sport and adventure bikes. It’s a box-end, ratcheting wrench for 8, 10, 12, and 13 mm sizes that takes up the space of one standard wrench and weighs only 9 ounces (255 grams). The Snap N Grip is a universal wrench good for larger applications, like axle nuts. Both universal wrenches come in sets of two (smaller and larger versions) but you can get away with carrying just the small 4-IN-1 and the large Snap N Grip.