The thing that gets us most excited about adventure rides is conquering the unknown. From new trails to new bikes, getting out there and exploring is what it’s all about.
But dreaming about the reward without thinking about the path to get there, literally, could leave you stranded. Adventure rides are great at throwing curveballs and potential mechanical issues your way. Being prepared is the name of the game.
In a previous article, we covered some essential gear items you should wear or pack to keep you as comfortable as possible.
For this article, we’ll cover some essential tools you should consider for your trip. If it seems like a lot, then consider the alternative – being stuck and needing assistance. That said, depending on your ride route, some of these items can likely stay at home.
The Ultimate ADV Tool List
By and large, modern motorcycles are very reliable. The most common issue most people face is a tire puncture. So we’ll focus primarily on things to bring to deal with a bum tire. Towards the end of this list you’ll also find essential items to bring to deal with other, non tire-related malfunctions or problems.
- Tire irons. The most basic of tire tools, if you need to fix a tire, you’ll probably have to take it off the wheel. Enter the tire iron (or tire spoon, as some call it).
- A complete tool kit. You have to take the wheel off the bike before you can deal with the tires, so bring a tool kit. If you don’t have tools already, there are lots of moto-specific tool kits out there that pack nicely and cover the most common bolt sizes. This will also help if you need to work on other parts of the motorcycle, too. Our Tool Roll is a perfect accessory to organize all your tools in, and then store it all inside our TallBag to keep everything dry and dustfree.
- Extra tubes. Another important thing to bring, if you have a puncture with your tube tires then you’ll need to replace the tube. So bring a few extra with you. Even if your tires don’t need tubes, if you’re crafty, these can still save your day if you have a flat!
- MotoPumps. Once you’re done with the flat repair, you’ll need to put air back in your tires. Sure you could bring some CO2 cartridges, but it’s a lot easier to bring a small, compact pump like the MotoPumps to inflate your tires again.
- SnapJack. If you don’t have a center stand, the SnapJack is a clever tool to lift the back tire off the ground. This is especially handy if you need to perform chain maintenance (or even a replacement) on the road, as it lifts the rear tire in the air from the swingarm, opposite the sidestand. It’s small, lightweight, and packs away nicely too.
- Spoke wrench. This should be included in your tool kit for pulling wheels, but is worth mentioning on its own. Don’t underestimate spoke adjustment and wheel truing while on the road.
- Zip ties. Does this really need explaining? No tool kit is complete without zip ties.
- JB Weld (or something similar). Desperate times call for desperate measures. A tire puncture is one thing, but a puncture to an oil pan or engine case is another that can leave you dead in the water. If the hole is small enough, you might get away with patching it with JB Weld or epoxy and it might hold long enough to get you to civilization for a proper repair.
- Spares. Crashing, or even just tipping over, is bound to break parts eventually. One of the worst feelings is having your ride cut short because of a minor part you don’t have a spare for. So bring extra levers. Clutch and brake levers are obvious but don’t forget rear brake and shifters, too. Having a little extra oil is nice in case you do end up using JB Weld to patch a hole. Then there’s spare gas and even a spare chain master link. Because you never know.
This list might seem exhaustive to some and maybe too short for others. Keep in mind that this is on top of the gear list you should bring for yourself!
Packing for a motorcycle trip is all about being as efficient of a packer as you can while including all the equipment you think you’ll need. Clearly, you don’t want your body or your motorcycle ill-equipped for conditions.
Much of the time the most common mechanical problems are relatively easy fixes with the right tools. Experienced pros can fix a tire puncture with their eyes closed and get themselves back on the path in no time.
A hole in an engine case can be a bigger issue of course, but with a bit of luck – and a lot of epoxy! – it still may not mean the end of your ride. It will, however, if you don’t pack the right tools. So, as we said at the top of this story, expect the unexpected and be prepared.