10 Essential Tools to Handle Nearly Any Trailside Repair
Be prepared for almost any situation with light, compact, multi-purpose tools.
6. 1/4″ T-handle and Sockets
You could pack a ratchet and sockets, but T-handles are lighter and generally faster when it comes to removing and replacing nuts and bolts. This 1/4″ drive T-handle kit from Motion Pro is compact, light, and includes 8, 10, 12 and 13 mm sockets. You can also purchase a variety of bits to make it a handy screwdriver or hex-bit driver.
7. Chain Tool
Chain repair is a case of knowing your bike so you have the right tools for the job. Most larger adventure bikes (and some dual sports) use endless chains, while dirt bikes often use clip-style chains. You’ll need a breaker tool for both, but if you have an endless chain you’ll also need a tool to press on a new side plate and stake the pins once everything is back together. Tusk’s chain breaker is simple, compact and inexpensive. Throw a compact Tusk chain press tool in your kit with it and you have everything you need for clip-style chains, and two-thirds of what you need for endless chains. It is possible to stake a rivet with a ball peen hammer, but why chance ruining an expensive chain? And why would you be carrying a ball peen hammer in the first place? Doing the job properly requires a riveting tool. Motion Pro’s PBR (press, break, rivet) chain tool is a high-quality, compact option for repairing endless chains. It’ll do everything you need, and it comes in a case that is small enough to carry.
8. Recovery System/Tow Rope
Say you’re out in the wild solo on your fully loaded adventure bike and, for whatever reason, you end up in a steep ditch or stuck in a mud bog. What’s your plan for getting 700-plus pounds of machine back on the road? If you have a Best Rest MRS, it’s simple. Attach one end of this innovative pulley system to your bike and the other to an anchor point, and drag the stuck machine out via the magic of mechanical advantage. The Best Rest MRS comes in 3-to-1 (for smaller dual sports) and 5-to-1 (for larger adventure bikes) versions. That means a person weighing 200 pounds could lift 600 or 1,000 pounds, respectively. The kits are compact enough to easily fit in your luggage and weigh around 3 pounds. Motorcycle Recovery Systems can also be used for towing a bike and have a built-in easy release safety mechanism.
Flashlights are a must for adventurers, and headlamps are a great way to free up your hands when performing trailside repairs. We like the Black Diamond Revolt for two reasons: 1) It is both rechargeable and runs on AAA batteries, which gives you options when you’re out in the middle of nowhere; and 2) Black Diamond has an excellent reputation for durability among outdoors enthusiasts. It has proximity settings for close-up work or seeing long distances, can be dialed down to improve battery life, and has a night-vision preserving red light option. It’s also very bright, rated at 130 lumens on its max setting.
10. Miscellaneous Items
These are the items no toolkit should be without. Gorilla Tape is like duct tape, only stronger and more waterproof. It’s got double-thick adhesive and sticks to almost anything. Wrap it around a wrench handle for carrying on the bike so you don’t have to carry the entire roll. Heavy Duty Zip Ties, the long versions (15 inches ought to do it), can help secure a blown tire to a wheel, temporarily reattach broken luggage straps, keep dangling parts in place, etc. Carry a range of different sized zip ties for smaller jobs as well. J-B Weld is great for fixing holed engine cases, plugging a gas tank puncture, repairing foot pegs, etc. J-B KwikWeld is the faster curing version of the famous two-part epoxy. It sets in six minutes and fully cures in four to six hours. Regular J-B Weld takes up to six hours to set and 24 hours to cure.
Note: Although not technically tools, don’t forget to bring your spares (tubes, bolts, levers, spark plugs, etc.).