Whether you’re just going down a couple of blocks or going on a cross-country trip, you must be covered in case of a sudden, unplanned mechanical issue.

That’s why having a well-equipped motorcycle tool kit is a real helping hand when you need it.

But it also helps to know the most essential tools that should go inside your toolkit.

In this blog post, you’ll discover:

  • What the difference between a tool kit and a toolbox is
  • What to put in your motorcycle toolkit (specifically, 8 essential items + 2 bonus ones)

Tool Kit vs. Toolbox – Is There Even A Difference?

On the surface, a tool kit and a toolbox have one thing in common – they both store tools. But that’s where the similarities end.

It’s not practical to haul a huge toolbox around wherever you go – but in case you break down, you want to be covered so you can hopefully get the bike home again. 

That’s why a toolkit only carries the most essential tools and other items you’ll need for the most essential repairs on the spot.

This saves you from going home and getting your toolbox – something which is not always possible, depending on where you are. 

But that’s no reason to dispose of your toolbox altogether (much less the tools you keep inside it). 

It’s also not uncommon that the tools that are inside most pre-made toolkits are of worse quality than the tools you keep in your toolbox. 

In that sense, think of a tool kit like a basic first aid kit – it will help take care of small cuts and bruises, but it’s not a replacement for a doctor.

8 Absolutely Essential Items Any Motorcycle Tool Kit Must Have (And Why)

#1: Spanner set

image of spanner set lined up in order of size

Image by Tom from Pixabay

It might be basic, but you could write a laundry list of all the repairs you can do with a single spanner.

To name a few, a spanner can do everything from:

  • Adjusting a side mirror
  • Removing and installing a clutch cable
  • Tightening dull spokes

The only thing you must remember about spanners is to include a variety of sizes inside your toolkit. 

Spanners are non-adjustable, and nuts and bolts come in different sizes, so there’s no “one size fits all.”

Curious to find out more about Spanners (and socket wrenches – a similar tool)?

Then feel free to check out the full Tool Tutorial about them.

#2: Screwdriver set

Another tool that is as basic as it is essential is the screwdriver set. With it, you can:

  • Adjust headlight alignment 
  • Install a phone handlebar mount (not crucial, but still an excellent example of a task that requires a screwdriver)
  • Remove a broken fairing

#3: Tire repair kit

image of tire repair kit

No matter how well-maintained your tires are, a flat tire can occur anytime. And when they do, you’ll be grateful for your tire repair kit.

A typical tire repair kit usually consists of the following:

  • Tire plugs: used to seal the puncture
  • Insertion tool: used to insert the tire plug
  • Rubber cement – applied to the tire plug before you insert it into the punctured area

One last thing to note about tire repair kits – this is a temporary, quick fix. So, in other words, you’re not meant to ride on the tire for too long after you’ve patched the hole.

As soon as possible, ensure that the tire is changed by yourself or a tire repair shop.

#4: 1x spare spark plug

image of spark plug

No, this is not a tool, but remember that the toolkit is NOT all about tools. 

And a spare spark plug is one such item. If, for some reason, one of your spark plugs needs to be replaced unexpectedly, you’ve got one in your toolkit ready to go.

#5: Spark plug socket and socket wrench

It’s great to keep a spark plug in your kit, but how will you remove the old one? With your hands?

No way – that’s what the spark plug socket is for. With it, removing the spark plug is as easy as using a regular socket wrench.

#6: A handful of spare fuses

image of fuses

These things may be small, but without them, your electrical system would have no protection from potentially damaging electrical surges. 

Of course, if a fuse should blow, it means that a part of your electrical system won’t work anymore. 

So just like the spark plug, having a handful of spare fuses in your toolkit is essential in case you need to replace one (or even several) fuses.

But unlike the spark plug, it’s not enough to carry one spare fuse. Not every electrical circuit has the same current – a 15 Amp fuse is no replacement for a 20 Amp circuit. 

You can’t tell which fuse is going to blow – therefore, your toolkit needs to have at least one of every fuse color.

Confused about fuse color coding? Read more about what they mean here.

#7: Pliers

image of needle nose pliers

Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

Just like a spark plug socket removes a spark plug, a pair of pliers (especially needle-nose pliers, like the one in the image above) are essential when you remove a burnt fuse from your fusebox. 

But pliers can be used for more than just removing old, worn-out fuses. Some examples include:

  • Cutting off zip ties 
  • Bending a misaligned or crooked lever back into place
  • Removing coolant hose clamps (try doing it by hand, and you’ll see what I mean)

#8: Allen key/Hex key set

image of set of allen keys

Image by Ralph from Pixabay

This list began with a basic tool and will end with one, specifically, the Allen key (AKA “hex key”) set. 

Many of the tasks you can do with an Allen key are identical to those you can do with a screwdriver. As a reminder, these tasks include:

  • Adjusting headlight alignment 
  • Installing a phone handlebar mount
  • Removing a broken fairing

2 Additional Tool Kit Items To Consider Including

These 8 items above will get you out of the most challenging situations and handle the most unexpected repairs. 

But depending on what type of bike you’ve got, there are other things you might want to include.

Chain-breaking tool (for chain-driven motorcycles)

If you’re riding around on a shaft-driven BMW or a scooter with a CVT transmission, this tool isn’t really “essential.” 

But if you have a motorcycle with chain drive, a chain-breaking tool deserves to be a part of your toolkit.

If, at some point, your chain should pop loose and you need to repair or replace it, you’ll need something that can remove or separate the old chain.

And above anything, once you’ve assembled a new chain, you’ll need something to drive the new chain pin into the chain link. 

That’s where a chain-breaking tool comes in handy.

Cable ties/zip ties

image of zip ties in a wide assortment of colors

Do you need to secure a writing harness or mount something temporarily? Then some zip ties (AKA cable ties) are just the ticket. 

Again, just like the tire repair kit, using a cable tie is often a short-term solution when you’re in a pinch. 

So don’t ride around with a zip-tied body fairing for months. Once you get the chance, get the problem looked at properly.