Now that we have an impressive list of what could go wrong, there are some decisions to make. Which tools to take with you depends on how likely you think you are to need them, and how likely you think you are to attempt the repair.
Before we begin that process, let’s discuss fasteners. The screws, bolts, and nuts that hold a motorcycle together come in two measurement systems and several drive types. The measurement systems are SAE or fractional and Metric. SAE fasteners have sizes like 1/4″ and 11/32″. Metric fasteners are measured in millimeters – M5x10 – 5mm diameter, 10mm long. The drive type refers to the tool used to drive it into the structure. Common drives are Allen (inside six-sided), Hex (outside six-sided), Torx (star), Phillips (cross), and flat. Torx, Phillips, and flat are numbered from small to large. Wrenches for hex and square bolts and nuts come in box (a closed loop) and open-end. Most motorcycles end up with a completely ridiculous assortment of these, making the toolkit easy to overbuild.
The decision about which repairs you might do is important, and goes back to our first tool – ourselves. There are two other tools that never go out of style and should never be looked down on – your cell phone or other comm device, and money, whether plastic or paper. All of this tool talk sounds great until you have to do it for real, and if resources permit you to send it out and that’s what you want to do, go for it! Do not let use of modern conveniences throw any shade on your adventure. We’re not all MacGuyver, and we don’t need to be.
The first stop on any repair often involves fairing removal, so we’ll start there. My Super Sherpa requires 8mm and 10mm hex sockets, my F650GS requires T25 drivers. Know your bike – some require only one tool, others can require three or four. I recommend using a drive bit with a medium-size ratchet for this to avoid fatigue. The ratchet and extension can be used for many different drive bits, helping to reduce weight. I’ll keep track of the tools, using my F650GS as an example. I now have a 3/8″ ratchet, a 3/8″ 6″ extension, and a T25 bit.
Job number two is that darn battery. Once you get to the battery, you will usually need a pair of 10mm open-end wrenches and a #2 Phillips screwdriver to release the battery cables. Double check during annual battery maintenance to make sure you know what choose for this job. Added – one Phillips stubby, one 10mm combination wrench.
Now, we are into the meat of roadside repairs, the alignment issues. Look over your moto and note what hardware is used to attach the bars and the bar-mounted switchgear. Smaller Phillips screws are common here, along with 8mm bolts. Check to see how the levers are attached – are they riveted on or mounted with a bolt? Same for your crash bars and luggage racks – identify the fasteners, select the drive bits required. You may already have them selected from your fairing removal step. Let’s assume for a minute that you don’t need to remove these parts, just massage them back into position – what will you need? A short tyre iron (about 10″) will work wonders as a pry bar. Brake and shifter levers can often be bent back to useful positions this way, too. I’ve also used a ratchet strap to do this, but it’s slightly more dangerous if something breaks. Bonus – you now have a tyre iron in your kit. Added – 10mm, 11mm, 13mm sockets, 5mm, 6mm Allen bits, T20, T30, T45 bits, 10″ tyre iron.