how to stock your race track tool box

Pack A Motorcycle Repair Kit Before Taking Your Bike Off-Road This Summer

Off-roading on a motorcycle can be a lot of fun, but you need to be prepared for a potential breakdown if you're going to take your bike off of the pavement. Off-road riders don't have the luxury of simply calling a tow truck when their motorcycle breaks down. If your motorcycle fails while you're off in the woods, you might need to repair it yourself. Before you head off the pavement on your bike this summer, be sure to pack a motorcycle repair kit. Here are a few of the basic items that should be in it.

Tire Repair Equipment

Unlike cars and trucks, motorcycles don't have space to carry a spare tire. Additionally, as MCN reports, run-flat tires aren't available for bikes yet. The run-flat tires used on cars are too rigid and heavy for motorcycles; they would adversely affect handling.

Therefore, you should carry a tire repair kit on your motorcycle -- especially if you plan on leaving the pavement, which increases the likelihood of getting a flat. You don't need the fanciest kit, just one that has all the essentials. It should include:

  • a rasp that can pull embedded objects out of your tires
  • a few plugs for filling small holes
  • one or two carbon dioxide cartridges so you can secure the plugs once inserted
  • a tool to insert the plugs and carbon dioxide with
  • a tire pressure gauge to make sure you can safely ride on the repaired tire

Chain Repair Supplies

A chain repair kit is the other major item that should be in your breakdown bag. These kits typically come with several different sized pins to accommodate various chain sizes. After receiving your kit, you should check which pin fits your motorcycle's chain. You'll only need to bring that extractor pin, the chain breaker, the adaptor plate, capped rivet and pin anvil. The other pins can be left at home.

Spark Plugs and Socket

In case you blow out a spark plug, you'll want replacement plugs and a socket for inserting them. Your motorcycle will have several different spark plugs, so make sure you have a replacement for each type of plug your bike has.

While you might be able to remove a spark plug with pliers if you're in a pinch, a spark plug socket makes the job much easier, and the socket is small. Go ahead and throw one in your kit with the spark plugs.

Versatile Hand Tools

Anyone who has repaired a motorcycle before knows how helpful basic hand tools are. Both minor and major jobs require screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers. On your bike, though, you don't have room for a bunch of differently sized tools. Instead of packing multiples of each type of tool, select ones that are versatile. Include one:

  • six-in-one screwdriver that has both Phillips and flat-blade attachments
  • adjustable wrench that can be made both small and large
  • pair of needle nose pliers, as these will reach almost anywhere on your bike
  • hex key

Although hex keys aren't adjustable, most of the parts that require a hex key on a motorcycle use the same size key. Thus, you only need to pack one that fits your bike's parts.

The summer is a great time to enjoy off-roading on your motorcycle, but you have to head out prepared for the worst. Even if you keep your bike well-maintained, you never know when you'll get a flat tire or a spark plug will be blown out. Before leaving the pavement and security of an easy tow, be sure to stick a motorcycle repair kit under or behind your bike's seat.