My tool kit philosophy is a balance between minimal but prepared. It follows the KISS & and the 6x Ps approach: Keep It Simple Stupid & Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance! I have enough tools do basic repairs and servicing, by the roadside if necessary. I’m not a mechanic and if I’m honest my mechanical knowledge and skills are as minimal as my tool kit… However, lots of bikers and other travellers are knowledgeable and competent with a wrench. I’m planning for the scenario where I meet a lifesaving mechanic, who may be void of tools, but nevertheless WILL be able to get me back on the road should I break down, with the tools that I carry.
So here is my basic tool kit, miscellaneous kit and puncture repair kit. The bulk of my tools I keep in the Touratech locking toolbox that is fitted to the BMW Enduro Bash plate. The miscellaneous kit, which is more expendable goes in the Wolfman Enduro Fender bag. Whilst the Puncture kit lives in the Touratech Zega interior lid bag.
- Medium adjustable wrench
- Drive ratchet
- Medium adjustable mole grips
- Combination spanners
- Screwdriver handle:
- Long extension
- Short extension
- Small needle nose pliers
- Allen (hex) keys
- Telescopic magnetic picker-upper
- Ratchet adaptors
- Torx Bits
- Hex (allen) bits
- Screwdriver bits
- 16mm deep socket for spark plugs
- Spark plug puller
- Peice of hose pipe (not shown but used for changing the plugs)
- Stanley multitool (not in the picture as it lives in the tank bag)
- Precision screwdriver
- Cyalume (light stick)
- Heavy duty large cable ties
- Small & meium cable ties
- JB Weld
- Small glue sticks
- Coat hanger wire
- Craft knife
- Blue Locktite
- Pencil wrapped with electrical tape & lots of gaffer tape
- Bag of assorted nuts, bolts & washers (I’ve cut the amount down the just a few)
- Bag of assorted O-rings
- Assorted fuses, terminals, connectors and some thin copper wire (I’ve cut the amount of terminals, just one set now).
- Black silicone sealer
- White Lithium Grease
- Hacksaw blade
- Original Sump plug (I don’t know why I put this in – now gone)
- Upper shock bolt (not really or me as I have the Ohlins and Indy kit, it was for others but now dumped)
- Ohlins rear shock spanner
I’ve also added a file (minus the bulky wooden handle) to this kit, which I found I needed in Siberia when I stripped some threads on my rear axle and which consequently needed to filed down.
- 6 links of spare DID chain
- 1 x rivet master link
- 2 x split/clip master link
- Terra-X chain breaker/riveter tool with spare pins
- ADV air compressor
- HD tubes front & rear
- Combination tyre levers & spanner (front & rear)
- Mechanics gloves
- Talcum powder & electrical& gaffer tape(rim tape)
- Hand pump
- 2 x rims savers (I don’t bother with these, they’re a PITA)
- 2 x CO2 cannisters
- Pressure gauge
- Abrasive paper
- Spoke spanner
- Valve adaptor
- Razor blade
- 4 x vale cores
- Valve core removal tool
- Vulcanising cement
- Buffer/Stitcher combo tool (invaluable for repairing tubes)
- Sliding T-bar, E12 socket & T45 torx socket (these tools mean I don’t need to open my tool kit)
- Bead buddy (makes things so much easier)
- Valve stem puller (this makes the most frustrating part a doddle)
- Valve stem nuts (I’m always dropping and losing these)
I don’t carry these unless I’m on a long trip and I know the serviceable parts are not going to be readily available, In this case Mongolia and Siberia. I’m not carrying oil because it’s heavy, takes up valuable space and is generally and readily available almost anywhere, even if its not my usual facypants fully synthetic 10w40 oil. The only oil I carry is a spare 1L of whatever I have in the engine just to top up if, and when required.
- 2 x K&N oil filters and copper sump washers
- 2x sets of EBC/HH sintered brake pads front and rear (the rear do tend to wear twice as fast as the front)
- 1 x set of NGK iridium spark plugs (2)
- 1 x main halogen headlight bulb
- UNI foam air filter and UNI foam snorkel pre-filters.
I’ll be putting the plugs under the top panel and the bulb in the front fairing so they’re out the way.
I’m not carrying too many spare parts as the F800GS is very reliable and weak areas have either been upgraded with better quality parts or have been checked and maintained. For example its common to carry spare levers, but I have bark busters hand guards, which will protect the levers. In a bind I could use the mole grips as a make-shiff lever. Likewise, some people carry spare cables for the clutch and accelerator… instead, I have decided to carry a cable repair kit which is much smaller. It’s usually the inner cable that breaks and not the outer sheath, so why carry the whole thing? The OEM chain is laughable so its replaced with a good quality chain and backed up with a repair kit. The rear shock is ok but the upper shock bolt has been known to fail under heavy use. So as I will be putting my bike under considerable stress I ugraded the shock to an Ohlins and reinforced the weak link with an Indy Kit. (I carry the upper shock bolt as a back-up). The sump plug requires a huge 24mm socket… this was replaced with an after market part that uses a 10mm hex instead but the old sump plug comes along as a spare in case I strip the threads on the replacement.
It could be argued thae the single biggest area of potential catastrophic failure is in the alleged poor quality bearings, especially wheel bearings and rear in particular. Mine have been good and I check them regularly. Perhaps the previous owner (now 20k miles ago) upgraded them. Nevertheless, I have a full set of bearings and dust caps just in case they go, which is more likely under the conditions I’ll meet. In addition, the race bearings are also considered weak points, and mine have required tightening recently, but I have a ful set of upper and lower head bearings and dust caps if they do require replacing. There are other areas of potential failure such as the fuel pump controller and ring antenna failure. Both can be overcome with replacement parts, which can be very expensive, or with inexpensive workarounds like a fuel pump bypass cable. However, I have decided not to prioritise this risk as the FPC failure, although common on the R1200, is virtually non-existent on the F800GS. Moreover, I have heard of fuel pumps being used from cars when in a jam. The same thinking is applied to the ring antenna problem, although a show stopper if it occurs, it is very rare and quite expensive to buy a new one just to carry-along as a spare.
There’s no point in worrying about every potential failure or planning for every possible eventuality, it’s not practical and is not desirable. Most things can be fixed anywhere, especially with the highly resourceful and very skilled people of Mongolia and Siberia. If it can’t be fixed it can be trucked to somewhere that can or trucked back to Europe for the AA to recover it home. More importantly, and it has been said before by many more seasoned travellers, not least of whom is Ted Simon, author of ‘Jupiters Travels‘, who said that breaking down is actually the start of the adventure… I can only imagine this to be very true. It must throw the traveller head first into the experience and him or her at the mercy and kindness of the very people and places whom I am ‘out there’ to meet and experience, much more so than if I hadn’t broken down. This is a very pleasing way of thinking and is a desirable philosophy to take.
I’m not really carrying all that much kit, especially compared to some noobie moto adventurers but what I am carrying is well designed: it being light and packing very small. None of my luggage is full, there is plenty of room for swelling… but what I did realise fairly quickly is that these items are the heaviest of all the thinks I am carrying and I would need to rethink where to load themon the bike if I wanted to avoid a cracked rear subframe. So I decided to move this heavier stuff, forward. Much was already up front, like the tools and miscellaneous kit, but I was going to put all the spares and repairs in the Touratech Zega exterior lid bags, instead I will load these bits in the tank panniers.