what Spares for a trip

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Nov 20, 2009
Bit premature whilst winter is still upon us but I was wondering what spares/tools you would take / consider taking with you on a week long trip.

One of those compact exhaust nut tools that Colorado Norton Works have are a good idea. They take a 3/8" drive. 7/16', 1/2" (x2), 9/16", 5/8" open end/ring spanners, plug spanner, plugs, 1/2" drive ratchet with 15/16" socket (rear and front axle).
From experience, I carry a small magnetic tank bag with tools and spares. Fullauto's list of tools is good. I would add some electrical tape, spare bulbs, cable ties, a bit of electrical wire and a few connectors, spark plugs, a small pliers, a small straight bladed screwdriver (e.g for adjusting mixture screws, removing headlamp shell and tail lamp lens). If you think small, you can fit most of what you need into half-size tank bag or similar. The times I have needed tools/spares have been to adjust the chain, replace a blown bulb and tie up a centre stand when one of the bolts fell off :oops: The cable ties got me home. On longer trips I carry a can of tyre inflator and some chain lube.
Rabscallion said:
Bit premature whilst winter is still upon us but I was wondering what spares/tools you would take / consider taking with you on a week long trip.


Hi Rob,

Maybe also ad spare fuses, chain master link. If your cables are not in good shape, no need to carry spares...depends on your confidence in the condition of your machine. Tire repair kit or better yet a spare tube and a means to inflate a tire is a good idea. I don't recommend putting a tool kit in a tank bag...vibration and general bouncing could put dents in the tank.
Interesting about spare fuses. In '82 on a week long ride I kept blowing fuses and ran through all of them. Trusty swiss army knife with sissors was able to cut a fuse from a discarded aluminum pull tab - you won't find those on the side of the road anymore.
I still have the factory supplied tools in my side cover, supplimented with a jack knife, a small adjustable wrench and some fuses. Tie wraps and electrical tape, and a couple of Allen keys too. On long trips I'll pack a small DVM and a bright LED flashlight in my luggage. I also like to keep clean rags handy for wiping condensation or rain off the seat.

I don't go anywhere without my exhaust collar wrench. They've come loose too many times.

As far as actual spares, a clutch cable and throttle cable are recommended. Light bulbs I can get at any gas station, so I don't bother. Some people pack an extra "hairpin" spring for the gearbox, it's replaceable on the roadside if necessary and if it breaks you ain't going anywhere (I found out the hard way last Summer). An extra exhaust crush washer and carb bowl gasket don't take up much room.

With points ignition I packed a spare contact set. With a Boyer I packed a spare pickup coil assembly, pretested and marked with a scribe for easy installation. With my new TriSpark I haven't acquired a spare yet but I will.
dpmellish said:
Layshaft bearing!!!!!!!!! HAHA!!!!!

Not necessary if you've already replaced it with a good one. :wink:

And I wouldn't leave home unless I'd already replaced it!

1. Credit card
2. Cell phone

In truth, I've fixed the broken wire in the Boyer pick up plate with some plain wire wrapped around the holes in the plate. It got me 300+ miles home.
Used my finger once to plug one of the Amals that lost a drain plug. I had to move the left plug to the right so I could use my finger on the left carb and thottle with the right hand. Good argument for twin carbs.
I think I picked up a couple of HP as well with that one...
Ron L said:
A cell phone and the INOA members list.

Hey, that's my line!

The one time I did get stranded with a dead motorcycle (my now-sold KLR650) of course I was out of cell range so the cell phone was of no use.

On a more reliable bike, such as a well-sorted Norton, I don't feel I need the cell phone. I figure if my Norton can get me through the Million Dollar Highway ride at the rally this year (and it did), it can handle anything. That was supposed to be a "three hour tour" but turned into an all-day slogfest through the worst weather I've ever encountered. But the bike never missed a beat!

debby said:
But the bike never missed a beat!


A testament to doing your maintenance in the workshop and not on the roadside! Vertigo's tip for fixing a broken wire on the Boyer pick-up plate is a good get-you-home tip. I prefer to travel with a few essential spares and tools, and they also come in handy to fix other peoples' bikes!

Credit Cards
Cash because depending are where you're going you may be out of coverage and there's no better way to flag down passersby in pickups than with a Jackson. The one time I did it, they wouldn't take it so I dropped on the floor. Some people get a towing service. There are a few for motorcycles but they are pretty limited in where they will go and how far they'll haul you. AAA, AMA and some others. It boils down to how much you've gotta be back on time. The only things that have stranded me, always in the middle of nowhere, have been electrical and since the things you'd need to cobble together a limp home system are small, they would be on my list. A pair of jumpers with alligators on the ends so you can bypass everything to power up your ignition. Fix he Boyer pickup leads on the stator in the comfort of your garage beforehand. The wires break under the ziptie from being shook by the iso mounted engine. You can't see it and it's intermittent. Avoid resistor caps like the plague. Carry extra plugs and that would be about it. I've known people that carry an extra Boyer ignition box and a spare coil, but whatever toasted your coil would probably do it again and the Boyers are pretty reliable after they've burned in.
Oh yeah, and run the ignition off a relay. The harness, switches and buttons then only have to carry next to no current to power the ignition, which they do admirably, most of the time.
I'm with Debby and Ron. In my youth I did a lot of roadside fixes. Now, at sixty-five, those days are over. That's what emergency towing insurance is for, if I can't get someone to fetch the trailer. I do tremble at the thought of breaking down with my motorhome. Maybe that's why it spends so much time in the backyard.
I always carry a cellphone, whether I'm riding British, Italian, or German. Knock on wood, but I've yet to need to use it. It's just good insurance and helps curb the paranoia. Although you bring up a good point, Debby. If I needed to use it, my luck is I'd be in a no-service area!
Boyer ignition systems can be cantankerous, especially the wire terminations. If so equipped I'd carry some spare wire, connectors and something to join the two together.

Also a multimeter may be helpful.

But my biggest concern is how to fix a flat; it's a breeze with tubeless tires, not so with tubes. Perhaps you could pull the tube part way out of the tire and patch it, but it would be a pain in the ass, especially on the side of the road, at midnight, and in the rain.

The March 1971 edition of Cycle World suggested packing the following parts and tools:
1. Owner’s manual and basic tool kit that came with the motorcycle
2. A pair of vise-grip pliers
3. Wire cutters and spare electrical wire
4. Bailing wire
5. A can of compressed air for tire inflation
6. A valve stem puller, tire pressure gauge and tube repair kit.
7. Tubes of Permatex
8. An emery file and feeler gauges for plugs points and tappets
9. A set of spark plugs
10. A set of points and condenser
11. A spare master link for the drive chain
12. A headlamp and taillight bulb
13. Two fuses
14. A few spare nuts and bolts, 1/2” to 3/8”
15. A throttle and clutch cable
16. An inner tube
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