Sunday, March 09, 2008

Tool Run and adding to my riding toolkit

Temperatures from mid40s in the early morning to low 50's. Felt much warmer by 1300, sunny.

I had spent some time last night surfing the motorcycling forums and came across a posting on where toolkits and what they should be composed of were discussed. It got me to thinking that perhaps I should do a couple things re the tools I already carry on Maria when riding:

1. Ensure I've a tool for every type of fastener on Maria, it'd be pretty frustrating not being able to fix something because I could not loosen things to get at it!

2. Compare what I have vs what was recommended be carried for field repairs on one's motorcycle when nowhere near a mechanic.

After doing the above, I did about 30 miles of riding today to collect some tools I was missing or wanting. I went over Maria and tried the tools I already carried, made a list of tools I needed and off I went. Tried Home Depot, a couple of auto parts store, with not great results. Found some stuff at HarborFreight and ended up at Sears to get the remaining items I needed.

So here's my toolkit for field repairs:

In my tankbag or on my person, my cellphone and my trusty Leatherman Multi-tool.

In the compartment designed by BMW to house the radio, which I use as a lockable glove compartment:

The Altoids box contains: 6-12,14mm 1/4 inch drive sockets, T40 and T25 1/4 inch drive bits, a 1/4 inch drive adapter and a Kobalt reversing rachet. I also carry four spare tupperware screws and related donuts.

What I call the "Electrics Case" contains: Spare keys for the brake disk lock, spare bulbs, electrical connectors of various types, $20 cash, insurance info card and registration and lip balm. The case itself goes inside the radio compartment with the Altoid box above.

Here's the remaining contents of the radio compartment/glove box: Swiss Army pocket knife, radioshack multimeter, LED flashlight, Cruz Tools M14 Metric version, jumper cables, a tube of "quicksteel", spark plug remover tool and a few feet of 24gauge electrical wire.

More on the Cruz Tools M14 Metric Multitool:

14 tools - four hex keys (3,4,5 and 6mm), two screwdrivers, a socket driver 8,10 and 12mm sockets, 13 and 14mm open-end wrenches and three spoke wrenches - all in a nine ounce unit thats only 3.5" long.

The remainder of my tools I stashed in the tail compartment behind the passenger seat:

BMW Stock Tool Roll: Lug nut wrench, flattip/phillips combo screwdriver, sparkplug tool, 10,13,14mm open end box wrenches, T30+T45 torx wrenches and 3-6, 8mm allen wrenches. The 4 and 8mm allen wrenches are not standard BMW issue. Neither is the 14mm open end box wrench.

The Stop-n-Go Tire plugger kit I used to not only carry the stuff used for plugging tires but also a hemostat for picking up and holding stuff, and two larger allen wrenches: 10 and 12mm.

Finally, in a case of their own or in nooks and crannies in the tail compartment of Maria: A bundle of big and small zip ties, two types of mini vise grips, regular pliers and an adjustable wrench (21mm opening), siphoning tubing and the ever useful roll of duct tape. Not pictured is the wrench and feeler gauges I use for valve clearance checks.

I will endeavour to use only the above tools when doing services/repairs and such on my motorcycle even when at home in the garage, this is the only way to know for sure one has the right tools for whatever fixable things might happen on the road.

My wife and I joked that by doing this, I've practically ensured nothing will break since I am ready with the tools, hope we're right! : )

Oh, I also carry in terms of consumables:

Quart of oil, old alternator belt as spare, electrical fuses, rubber gloves both for working on the motorcycle and keeping hands dry in rain under riding gloves, lighter, colorado maps and bungie cords.

I'll carry more stuff for really long distance trips, the above is just every day carry. I hope this helps you in deciding what to carry for repairs on your motorcycle. Yeah, it's a lot to carry, but it beats walking and Maria is already a pretty heavy motorcycle, what's a few more pounds?

Correction: the jumper cables pictured above won't work for jump starting a motorcycle, they'll work to slowly charge another motorcycle using my motorcycle's power outlet. I carry also a set of mini-jumper cables, 18 gauge, for jumpstarting purposes.

Forgot to mention also, I carry a small 12 volt air compressor.


Anonymous said...

If you ever have to use those tools at the side of the road in Colorado you might also need... sunscreen.

Keep up the great blog.

Conchscooter said...

I used to carry tools but I can't think what I'd repair roadside on my commute these days. It seems as quaint as trying to make a roadside repair on my car...Cellphone, Visa, AAA, and fix a flat. Oh and a trailer at home to pick up the ride if it ever does fail.