You can wreck, crunch, munch or smash a dirt bike or ATV and more often than not continue riding without much difficulty. You can also grind away on the ride of your life only to encounter one troublesome problem after another.
Usually though a day of riding results in something gone wrong whether a result of crash or ill-timed wear and tear. Routine maintenance prevents lots of mechanical issues but you can't stop every possible failure or breakdown that comes with operating a motorcycle designed for riding extremes.
Outside a blown engine or other catastrophic failure on-the-go repairs and adjustments extend your riding day and often prevent further complications from arising. But you need the right tools. And you need the right tools in-hand.
Unless you have the semi, dragging along the multi-layered tool box on wheels that houses everything makes little sense. Don't bother. Instead, get a versatile tool box you carry or really strip it down by filling a gear bag with all the tools necessary to address possible circumstances while riding the track or trails. So what tools should I bring? You have the obvious, like T-handles, and of course experience offers some direction after not having that one tool a few years ago that kept you from riding the rest of the day. Then you have a handful of tools you might never think of bringing along.
So, we have compiled a list of tools (along with links) we recommend you bring on every riding day which address straightforward issues and mostly uncomplicated repairs that don't require the necessary range and scope a garage provides.
As stated earlier the obvious and perhaps the most important. Without T-handles, good luck removing most parts. A ratchet and socket set or wrench set also works just as well, however, it doesn't compare to the user friendliness of a similar sized T-handle. Whatever floats your boat or keeps your dirt bike or ATV in one piece but bring along a well-rounded T-handle or ratchet set.
Second to T-handles, what you can't remove with T-handles likely uses an Allen wrench. A set of T-handles and Allen wrenches removes much of the outer shell and gets you access to most of the primary parts.
The T-handle set quickly removes and installs nuts and bolts however unlike the routine tightening jobs around the house, spinning until hand tight doesn't work on a dirt bike or quad. A torque wrench enables you to fasten nuts and bolts to factory spec rather than guessing which usually results in overtightening or under tightening. Manufacturers spend lots of time and money on research and development to figure out exact torque measurements that allow these machines to properly operate at a high level.
Perhaps the most abused tool in the garage and for good reason. Screwdrivers when used as directed remove screws, something most other tools cannot do. When not used as directed screwdrivers offer leverage in various situations, work as a puncture and act as a scraper. Screwdrivers also confidently accept the abuse given when someone blows a gasket. Grab a flathead for the suspension adjusters and a Phillips for everything else that helps keep your dirt bike or ATV together.
Because your fingers haven't even a modicum of the gripping strength pliers supply.
Air Pump and Pressure Gauge
You check the air pressure at home and then again where you plan on riding. Any changes need addressing and if you lack an air pump you can't fill the tires. Many air pumps have an attached gauge which eliminates the need for two separate tools but either way you need both to ensure the correct tire pressure.
Tire Removal Tools
If anything were to happen most people probably wager their money on a flat tire. The odds double when riding trails. Unless you ride some type of mousse system the chances of a flat tire outweigh just about any other malfunction or bike failure. The good news it's an easy fix. The bad news is without the correct tools it's an impossible fix. You absolutely need a tire iron or spoon set and tossing in a bead buddy ups your efficiency rating. Most sold come in small packages and easily fit inside a tool box or gear bag leaving room for...
Tap and Die Set
Just one stripped bolt can end your riding day. ONE BOLT. A tap and die set allows you to rethread any stripped bolt hole in a matter of minutes to ensure proper fitting and torque settings.
Spark Plug Wrench
A spark plug wrench offers the most effective means to removing a defective spark plug and installing the replacement. Your fingers can't get anywhere near it and most T-handles fit too awkwardly for a solid grasp. A spark plug wrench makes any remove and replace job a three minute operation.
Most riders use the spoke wrench as part of the pre-ride tightening check thus it's not entirely necessary to bring along on ride day. However, if you plan multiple Motos or expect several hour long rides with a break in between or a 3-day excursion throw one of these in your box. Spoke wrenches take up little space, add very little weight and eventually having it available proves dividends.
Another hand-sized tool that takes little room is the chain breaker. While not too common, chains snap when in use - never at home while sitting idle in the garage - even sometimes relatively new chains. Things happen. A new chain comes longer than necessary and a chain breaker offers the only way to cut it to size.
Combined, these tools take up two, maybe three drawers on a lightweight tool box and won't prevent the inclusion of your riding gear if you use a gear bag. Most days you probably won't need any of them but when a tumble or other malfunction occurs these tools cover most jobs that otherwise would end your day.
So what parts should stock your tool box? Check out "Stock Your Portable Tool Box With These Dirt Bike or ATV Parts."