Assuming you’re following the owners manual and keeping up with motorcycle maintenance it’s unlikely you’ll run into any serious issues on the road.
On the off-chance something does happen it’s smart to be as prepared as possible.
That’s why a basic motorcycle tool kit needs to be part of every rider’s daily carry.
The majority of problems you’ll experience on the road can be fixed with a small tool kit. Unfortunately, most riders neglect to bring a small kit of essential motorcycle tools when they’re out riding.
Instead of having to call for a tow the next time you’re stranded, let’s take a look at what’s needed for a basic motorcycle tool kit.
This way you’ll be able to repair the bike on your own and get back to riding in no time.
Motorcycle Tool Kit Essentials
Space is limited on motorcycles. You can’t bring your entire toolbox and every motorcycle-related accessory with you on your rides.
Taking the right tools can alleviate a lot of issues should you run into any problems on the road.
Don’t forget about preventive and ongoing motorcycle maintenance. It’s important to properly maintain your bike and to follow a maintenance schedule during your riding season.
Allen Keys or Hex Bit Sockets
Allen keys are essential for basic maintenance on your motorcycle.
The hex heads are everywhere on most bikes. They’re used as a standard fastener for fairings, wind screens, seats, and other bike parts.
These should be one of the first tools you toss into your motorcycle tool kit.
For Allen keys we recommend using the Allen key set. Alternatively, you could use a motorcycle multi-tool that comes with the Allen keys included.
Some riders might find that the L-shaped Allen keys are practical for motorcycle use.
In that case, consider adding hex-head sockets to your motorcycle tool kit. These can be used with ratchets or T-handles for better leverage.
Whether it’s basic maintenance at home or on the road, you’ll be using Allen keys a lot for maintaining or repairing your bike.
Socket Wrench Set
Socket wrenches are essential for motorcycle maintenance.
Most riders find that a socket wrench set covers all of their maintenance requirements.
There are two main types of sockets – 12-point sockets and 6-point sockets. Typically 6-point sockets offer a better grip on the fastener and won’t strip heads as badly.
Along with sockets there are different types of handles that can be used,
Ratchets are the most popular and most practical for riders. Ratchet handles give you the best reach and most versatility when you’re working in small spots on your bike.
T-handles might offer a better grip but their versatility is limited in small spaces.
Consider adding both ratchet handles and T-handles to your motorcycle tool kit. Both of these handle types can be used for specific maintenance purposes and each are helpful in different scenarios.
There are a number of options for fully equipped socket wrench sets online. These sets come with a number of handles, extensions, and most of the parts you’ll need for basic Motorcycle Maintenance.
Screwdrivers + Screwdriver Sets
Screwdrivers are a tool you’ll be using regularly for motorcycle maintenance.
Don’t skimp out and grab the cheapest, lowest quality screwdrivers available. These will strip your screws and can damage your bike.
Good quality screwdrivers are made from strong metal. They come with hardened tips and reinforcements on the handle.
The hardened tips give you leverage for loosening stuck screws without ruining the screwdriver or stripping them.
Some of the better quality screwdrivers come with a feature called a hex bolster. This is a small hex-nut built into the shaft of the screwdriver. It’s possible to use a wrench and add more leverage to a screw with this design.
Grips can make a difference in the quality and versatility of a screwdriver. Look for large, comfortable grips made from durable materials.
Either single screwdrivers or a screwdriver set is suitable for your tool kit. Some sets come with too many unnecessary bits and attachments.
Here at R&R we recommend adding only the screwdrivers you need for your bike to your motorcycle tool kit.
Tire Pressure Gauge
Monitoring your tire pressure is part of the ongoing motorcycle maintenance you need to be performing weekly.
The best time to check your tire pressure is on weekends or before your longer (weekly) rides. Those of you commuting should be checking the tire pressure twice per week or more.
Tire pressure gauges are inexpensive yet key to the performance of your motorcycle when you’re on the road. Properly inflated tires make a noticeable difference in performance, handling, and grip.
There are analog and digital tire pressure gauges available.
We recommend digital tire pressure gauges. They are easier to use and provide a more accurate reading.
Needle-nose pliers are the only type of pliers you’ll need for motorcycle maintenance.
Picking up tiny bolts that fell into your fairings, loosening components you can’t get a hand grip on, pulling out filters and gaskets – needle-nose pliers are essential for the riders toolbox.
These tires will be especially useful for adjusting your brakes, maintaining your clutch, and pulling up debris from the hard-to-reach spots on your bike.
Needle-nose pliers are reliable, inexpensive, and readily available. Pick some up if you don’t have any already. You will need them one day for maintaining your bike.
Impact Driver or Wrench Set
It wasn’t until I started maintaining my on motorcycle that I realized the usefulness of an impact driver.
It took me ages to manually remove the handlebar bar-ends on my CBR250R. With an impact driver they were off in under 10 seconds!
This tool is used to “shock” over-tightened or loose fasteners that you’re having trouble removing.
A massive force is applied from the impact driver. This makes it easier to remove components and loosen stubborn screws or fasteners.
Torque wrenches are used to safely tighten the fasteners on your bike. The torque specs for your specific motorcycle are available in the owner’s manual.
Many people are happy tightening bolts, screws, and other components by hand. Riders that want to follow the manual explicitly will need to use a torque wrench for the proper torque values.
These wrenches give you the ideal torque for the fasteners on your motorcycle. Following these values will avoid issues with stripped or broken fasteners that are impossible to remove.
Torque wrenches are readily available online and inexpensive. We recommend picking one up and adding it to your motorcycle tool kit.
A small flashlight is a tool you should carry on your bike at all times. They’re necessary for working on your bike in low-light or dark conditions, especially if you’re not at home.
Depending on your garage or workspace a small flashlight could still be practical. Personally, I’ve used mine for inspecting the chain and cleaning out those hard-to-see areas inside the frame.
Flashlights will last years of regular use when maintained properly.
Portable Jump Starter
Riders having issues with their motorcycle battery will want to invest in a portable motorcycle jump starter. These small, lightweight jump starters are designed for motorcycle batteries.
The lightweight, streamlined design of most jump starters allows for them to be stowed in your bags or under the seat for quick access. Apart from charging your battery on a tender before your ride, having a booster is the next best tool to help get you out of trouble.
While it’s possible to get a boost from a car, these jump starters are designed to give just the right amount of charge to your battery. Higher power boosts have the potential to damage your motorcycle battery further and could damage the bikes electrical system.
Take a look at our post on the best portable motorcycle jump starters for some recommendations.