Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What's missing from my tool kit? 3 things

There is no use being didactic about what you should carry in your Royal Enfield motorcycle tool kit. Your choices, like mine, will tell you more about your psychology than the motorcycle's likely ills.

For instance, I make room for the 11/32nds screwdriver socket wrench because it is ideal for setting the timing on a test run. That's an infrequent job, and usually done on a special outing, so it would be easy to keep the tool in my garage and pull it out only when needed. But the fact is that I don't want to bother having to look for it, so I keep it in the Bullet's tool kit because I'm lazy!

The number of cloths and wipes I've squirreled away on the Bullet is loony. Every roadside repair is likely to be a greasy mess, but carrying eight rags and towels is just eating up room.

And why am I carrying the tire prying irons if I don't have a spare inner tube or even a patching kit? (For that matter, I also don't have a tire pump to re-inflate a repaired tube.) The reason is simple: the pry bars came with my tool kit from the factory and, sentimentally, I like to keep the original tools together.

This applies to the factory-supplied tube wrenches I carry. They're fairly crude, and the one that fits the spark plug is a sloppy fit. I prefer to baby my spark plug with a socket that caresses it with a foam insert. But my foam filled socket is kept in my garage, where it will be of no use roadside.

It's silly of me to not carry any screwdrivers. True, the Leatherman tool on my belt provides them, but the folding nature of the tool means they are somewhat weak; they could never be used to pry anything apart. Also, it's awkward getting the tool into small places to use them.

The "missing tool" most complained about in the factory kit is the lack of any wrench or socket big enough to remove the big rear axle snub nut . I don't have any wrench in my garage that will do the job and yet fit into the Bullet's tool boxes -- a seeming dilemma. My excuse for not worrying about this is that I don't think I will ever need that tool roadside.

Why? Because the Bullet's Quick Detach rear wheel can be removed without loosening the snub nut. Remove the castellated nut (a factory wrench does fit that) and "pull" out the axle. The wheel now comes off and you can stand on the tire sidewalls to get it off the rim and pull out the inner tube for repair or replacement.

Thing is, you probably are going to have to "gently" hammer on the axle to get it out; and I don't carry a hammer. If I had a wrench big enough to remove the axle snub nut, I suppose I could use it as a hammer!

The biggest waste of space in my tool kit is the tiny jar of motor oil (it's actually a 35mm film container). That little oil will never "top up" a Bullet seriously low on oil. If a bit of oil is needed for lubrication, I could always get it off the dipstick.

I used to carry my spare inner tube, but I didn't like the way it had to fold and pinch to fit into the tool box.

The biggest shortcoming in my kit is pointed out in the comment by StL Stadtroller (see previous item). I have no electrical repair tape or tape of any kind for that matter.

The comment from Chris Bartlett notes that he carries a flashlight. That is an awfully important item on a dark night. For the moment, I'm going to say that the miniature flashlight on my keyring will suffice.

So, the "Three Things" I most need to add to my tool kit, in my opinion:

  • Screwdrivers.

  • Electrical tape.

  • Tire inflator/patcher.


  1. Anonymous3/11/2009

    Some meters of simple steel wire to fix or to hold together for what ever has lost its bolt.

  2. Nice article tool kit very necessary for riding because problem can be create any where and any time.

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