No one wants to make roadside repairs on their motorcycle, but it sometimes happens. And, no matter how well you maintain your motorcycle, there is always the possibility of something going wrong while on a ride. For example, a friend of mine once dropped her bike while making a u-turn (hey, it happens to all of us once or twice). The fall resulted in a broken shifter lever and she was unprepared; no tools, no spare parts, not even a rubber band or bobby pin. She made it home in third gear, but it was a tough ride. If she had carried an emergency tool kit or some spare parts, she could have had her bike up and running in no time, instead of leaving the ride early.

The problem is, you never really know what kind of repairs might be needed on the road, and you can't carry your entire tool collection with you. Your best bet is to put together a portable tool kit to keep with your bike at all times. A tool kit should consist of a few basic multi-task tools, a few spare parts, and some odds and ends in case you need to jimmy rig something. The size of your kit will depend on what type of bike you ride and how much storage space you have available. If you ride a cruiser with saddle bags, you should have plenty of room for a complete tool kit. On the other hand, if you ride a sport bike with limited storage space under the seat, you are going to have to be more creative when putting together your tool kit.

Some new motorcycles will come with a small kit of tools that are specific to your bike. Usually these tools are not the best quality and are only good for occasional use. Nonetheless, the manufactures tool kit is a good place to build upon. There are also some good motorcycle tool kits on the market at fairly reasonable prices, and those kits may be just right for your situation. Shop around.

If you don't want to spend money on a new fancy tool kid for your motorcycle, you can put together a kit from whatever tools you have around the garage. Below is a list of basic items that you should include in an on-board tool kit.

Some essential tools are:

  • A multi-task tool that includes a good blade and pliers. Some multi-tools are designed to be light weight which is nice when you want to keep your load light.
  • A screwdriver with multiple interchangeable tips. This could even include a few allen screw tips. Make sure you carry the size that fits your bike.
  • If your screwdriver doesn’t already cover it, carry a set of allen wrenches.
  • LED Flashlight
  • A roll of electrical tape
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • An adjustable wrench
  • Zip ties in assorted sizes. I've seen guys do miracle repairs with zip ties.

The more you ride your own motorcycle and the more you ride with friends, you will be able to customize your tool kit to fit just what you need for minor roadside repairs.