Bike Prep

I am a firm believer in good preparation, especially when it comes to meeting potential mechanical issues. Flat tires, chain tension adjustments, electrical or wiring problems, and things getting busted up from riding off-road are all situations that must be anticipated. Utilizing backroads and trails, while avoiding major cities, adds a layer of potential complication should any mechanical issues arise. Help is not always just around the corner.

I am a long-time member of AAA, who have come through for me as far from home as Carmacks in Yukon, Canada. Well worth the investment. However, AAA’s roadside assistance doesn’t cover motorcycles. So, I decided to join the AMA as a precaution, to avoid costly towing bills. Between the AMA roadside assistance and my insurance coverage, I should be okay in the event of a mechanical catastrophe.

But for the small stuff, it’s a good idea to have a set of tools on hand. After going through the Triumph onboard toolkit, it became quickly apparent that it is nowhere near sufficient. So I dug through my toolbox, made a list of things I might need, and put together a more comprehensive set.

Triumph toolkit

Triumph toolkit, with an extra box wrench, needle-nose pliers, and Givi rack tool.

I added a small Vise-Grip pliers, a needle-nose pliers, chain breaker, channel-lock, zip ties, wire (for reattaching and securing stuff), electrical tape, tire irons, tube patches, gasket sealant, threadlocker, a small clamp, and a few other miscellaneous goodies. Not pictured below are the tubes of JB-Weld, spare spark plug and fuses, 12-volt air pump, oil filter, or the front axle tool I made by securing a piece of a 17mm hex wrench to a 3/8″-drive socket of the same size. I will also be carrying a spare front tube, because the front (I think) is more likely to be damaged off-road, and in a pinch, the front tube can be used in the rear tire. The rear tube, however, will not fit the front wheel at all.

More tools

Extra tools to complement the Triumph kit.

To carry all of these tools and goodies, I fit what I was able under the seat, and put the rest into a Tool Tube attached to the inside of the Givi rack. This is a great addition to the bike, and frees up valuable space in the side cases for other gear. The cap serves as a keeper for nuts and other small bits while work is in progress.

02_07

The Tool Tube is a nice way to carry tools without sacrificing regular luggage space.

I’m sure this is not the most well-planned tool kit, but I feel pretty good about it as a starting point. Hopefully, everything will always work perfectly, and I’ll never even need to open it… yeah, right.

Once the tentative tool kit was assembled, I turned my focus to the bike itself. I changed the oil, lubed and adjusted the chain, checked all of the lights, looked over the brakes, and checked a bunch of nuts and bolts for tightness. The bike is ready, and I am ready. Unfortunately, the weather is not. This winter and spring are among the most miserable in recent memory.

Chain cleaning

Taking care of the chain.

Looking forward to hitting the road in a week or two! Until then, I’ll be sitting here with Lunchbox, making big plans. She would love to ride with me, I’m sure, but someone has to stay behind and guard the house.

02_06

Oh well. She makes a better drinking buddy than a riding partner, anyways.

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