#1 A tool kit is essential if you are getting into long distance riding.
#2 Don’t be tempted to buy cheap tools as you will regret it when you need them the most.
#3 Take a note of all the tools you use in a light bike servicing as those are the tools you will need to carry with you at a minimum.
#4 Learning how to change a tire is a really handy skill to have before you have to do it for real.
#5 Make sure that the tool bag you purchase is really tough and can easily handle anything you can throw at it.
#6 Beware of pre-built tool kits as the quality may be substandard.
#7 You can carry your tool kit either strapped to your fender or as a fanny pack, the choice is yours.
If you are riding on a motocross circuit and break down, tools are easy to get to.
As long as you have tools with you in the car then you can roll your bike back to your camp and get to work.
But riding long distance is a completely different story.
Riding for hours or days on a track means that if you have a breakdown and you aren’t carrying tools, then you probably will be in serious shit.
And the walk back to camp without your bike may take a while.
The better option is to carry a dirt bike tool kit with you containing all the essential tools and parts to keep you moving.
In this article I will be writing about how to build your ultimate dirt bike tool kit and the many important factors that you need to consider.
I will also be including some tips on how to carry your pack with you and some other tips I have learnt along the way from many breakdowns I’ve had in the middle of nowhere.
The Dirt Bike Tool Kit Essentials>>
To figure out the essential tools needed to pack with you on a ride, make a note of all the tools you use when you do a service on your bike.
Go thru and change the spark plug, change a tire, take off the plastics and change a clutch lever.
Do all the checking and maintenance things you would normally do around your bike.
When you are doing your service, stick some electrical tape around each tool that you use. This will label the tools you need to put into your riding tool kit.
If you are buying tools for the first time, don’t be tempted to get cheap tools from your local bargain store. Why, they will snap under pressure.
Good tools have been built with the hardest metals and have been tempered to make them even harder.
Go for chrome vanadium steel tools. It is the hardest steel in the tool industry, they contain a lifetime guarantee and will not let you down, ever.
Good tools last so long that you will eventually be able to pass them along to your grand kids.
My Dirt Bike Tool Kit>>
Here is a list I made ages ago and it still works for me every time. I may add to it, but the main tools in this list are a must for me.
One size does NOT fit all! European tools can be different from Japanese tools. Make sure you get familiar with the tools that fit your bike and pack your tool bag accordingly.
Spare spark plug.
Spark plug wrench to change plugs over. This tool by Enduro Engineering is both a spark plug wrench and an axle wrench all in one!
A screw driver set with changeable heads for both different sizes in flat and diamond head screws. This T handle set from Tusk has both screwdriver heads and various hex sockets that suit most dirt bikes (which are also essential).
Motor and Chain
A few wrenches that fit your bikes bolt and nut sizes.
A set of hex keys.
Medium size pliers. I like to take needle nose pliers to get to hard to reach places.
A couple of chain joining links.
Wheels and Tires
A spoke tightening wrench. I really like the Fasst Spoke Torque Wrench. It provides the exact torque needed every time for each spoke.
A heavy duty tube. You can use a tube on both the back and front wheel.
A valve removal tool. Check out these valve removal tools that are also aluminium valve stem caps!
A tube patching kit if you get a puncture.
C02 inflator kit. This tool shoots CO2 gas into your tube and inflates the tire instantly. They don’t take up much room in the kit and they are an essential item for pumping up your tires.
It really pays to learn how to change the inner tube in a tire. If you are planning big riding days it pays to practice in your garage first before doing it for real. Take a look at my guide to changing a dirt bike tire here.
A small selection of nuts/washers and bolts that fit your bike.
Spare nuts and bolts that fit your bike are really useful to have in your garage and over time you will build up a good selection of them.
If you need to get a hold of some quickly, I recommend buying a bolt kit.
Good moto stores will sell bolt kits made up of the most popular nuts, bolts, washers and bushes specifically for your model of bike.
Just let them know the make and model of your bike and they should have a kit ready for you to send out.
Metal putty. This stuff can save you if you get a hole in your engine or damage your sump plug. If you lose all your engine oil, all the tools in the world won’t save you, but this stuff will plug the hole and get you back to base.
A roll of mechanics wire.
A spare clutch lever. If you don’t have unbreakable levers or hand guards on your bike then bringing a spare clutch lever is crucial. Levers snap really easily in a crash and without your clutch, you are walking home.
A pair of latex gloves. A carry a pair of gloves with me just in case the weather gets really cold. I slip them on under my riding gloves and they keep my hands warm. Freezing hands become unbearable after riding in really cold weather so latex gloves save me from freezing my hands off.
A clean rag. Sounds simple but a clean rag is invaluable out on a ride. It can be used for cleaning your goggles, wiping sweat off your face or for maintenance work. It can also be used for toilet paper if you are really desperate. A rag is super useful to have.
Anytime you can find a way to combine tools together to save weight and space is always a good idea. For example, some tire levers contain a wrench socket on each end of the tool, which will save you from bringing 2 extra socket wrenches. As long as they’re great quality, combination tools are a really good idea for dirt bike riding.
Pre-built Dirt Bike Tool Kits>>
I know there are various all in one tool packs that are out there for sale.
Although pre-built tool kits are an okay idea, there are a few dangers with doing it this way.
Firstly, the tool kit probably won’t have all the tools you need in the kit. And as usual, it’s the tool that you don’t have packed that ends up being the very tool you need on the day you breakdown!
Secondly, pre-made tool kits are made up of a bag that is fully kitted out and neatly assembled in a compact way.
This means that if you need to add tools to the kit, there probably won’t be much room to do that.
The third problem I see is that pre-made tool kits are made ‘cost effective’.
This means that the tools sometimes aren’t the best and sub-standard tools will snap under too much pressure.
Also, the bag that contains the tools probably won’t be of the best quality and you may find that the straps tear apart and the zippers break.
This leads me to my next point –
The tool bag has to be tough..really tough. It needs to take a real thrashing and be 100% okay.
You have to be able to ride the equivalent of a motocross circuit, jumps, stutters and all with the bag remaining completely intact.
This means that the materials and stitching need to be the best and the zippers need to be heavy duty.
If your tool bag is poorly made, it will eventually tear apart on a ride and your tools will be lost.
Also, try to get a bag that is waterproof so your tool pack doesn’t turn into a sponge in wet weather. You don’t want your tools to rust so a waterproof bag is a good idea.
If you are having trouble with finding a waterproof bag, cover your bag with a waterproofing spray. This stops the water from absorbing into the material, saving your tools from rust.
How to Carry Your Tool Kit>>
There are a few ways to carry your tools with you and it all comes down to personal preference.
What I would recommend here is that you want to have your tool kit fastened down in some way. A loose tool kit in your back pack is annoying and will destabilize your balance so make sure you strap it down.
1. Fender Pack
A fender pack is a tool bag that is fixed to the front or rear fender of your dirt bike. These are great if you don’t want to carry any extra weight on your body.
With a fender pack, you need to look for very high quality. I have found that a lot of packs fall apart or slip off after only a couple of rides.
As usual there is a lot of shit products on the market.
I would recommend the Wolfman Enduro Tool bag. I’ve used it a few times now and it’s really good. Its made out of tough materials and there is plenty of room for all my gear.
What I really like about the Wolfman is that it has a rock solid harness. The plate bolts to the rear fender. The bag is then not only strapped on securely but it also sits on a bed of velcro. The velcro is a great idea because it stops the bag from coming loose. A really great design in my opinion.
It also fits another tool roll! If you need it.
Here is a video that demonstrates the harnessing system and the tool roll –
Wolfman make one for the front fender as well if you need both.
Here is the link to the Wolfman Tool Roll if you wanted to get that as well.
2. Fanny Pack
Some riders swear by their fanny pack tool kits and it is a fast and convenient option.
Some wear them to the front while others wear them to the back.
Personally, I don’t like the extra weight on my body but it just comes down to personal preference really.
I have talked to a few riders who wear them and they have told me that they don’t even notice they are wearing them.
Do you have experience with a really great tool bag? What problems have you experienced with tool kits? Have I missed a tool in my list? Let me know in the below comments and please don’t forget to share this article with your friends.
Intro photo courtesy of @trailboundco