Motorcycle EDC

Dailies, How To -

By

__1topshot

Everyday Carry isn’t just an awkward term for the shit you carry in your pockets everywhere you go, it’s a philosophy of preparedness that promotes self reliance and skill over relying on others to help you out when you’re in a bind. It’s a philosophy every HFL staff member believes in and in civilian life it means flashlights and multitools and pocket knives. Something break? You can fix it. Hurt yourself? You can fix that too. Trapped? No you aren’t. On a motorcycle? It’s what you can keep under your seat and safely in your pockets. It’s the stuff you should be carrying with you every time you get on a bike so you’re able to deal with all the surprises life on two wheels can throw at you. It’s being a responsible rider. Here’s how.

If motorcycling is more than just a hobby to you, you’ll need to carry a few things with you at all times. It may seem like a silly pain in the ass or an excuse to geek out over gadgets, but the things on these list will help make your life go smoothly when you run into trouble. First up is light carry. This is the stuff in your jacket, backpack, pants pockets or under the seat every time you get on the bike. Most of the time, you won’t use any of it, but this is small basic stuff that doesn’t cost a lot of money to buy and doesn’t take up a lot of space. Next are luxuries. These are items that you’ll use even less, only in a crash for example, or items that while not exactly necessary, can make life a lot easier. Depending on how much space you have, it may be no big deal to carry all of this stuff at all times as well. Say in a pocket on your backpack or in a little tool roll or tail pack

Light Carry:

Registration, Insurance and License
At some point in your riding career, you will inevitably be stopped by the police. Having your paperwork in order is often the deciding factor in whether you ride away or call a friend because your bike was impounded. Keep it under your seat or in a similarly non-removable portion of your bike so you can’t accidentally forget it. Need to take further steps to keep it try? LokSaks are affordable and extremely effective.

Tire patch kit / Slime

Your tire will pickup nails and you’re never going to get a warning as to when it will happen. It takes five minutes to make a permanent fix that lasts the life of the tire and it costs you almost nothing. Some people warn that riding on a patched tire is dangerous, but those people also own cars and have hundreds of dollars in “new tire” money lying around. Patch it and forget about it.

Of course, tire plugs will do you no good if you have an old bike with stone age tubed wheels or a Paul Smart Ducati. Slime doesn’t always seal instantly or perfectly the way a plug does, but it does work most of the time and it’s way easier than carrying tire levers and spare tubes..

Accurate tire gauge

Confidence is everything on a bike and a questionable tire will destroy that. Carry a tire gauge that you trust so you’ll be able to tell if you’ve got a leak and so you can set the proper tire pressure after you fix that leak. Don’t waste your valuable attention on something like tire pressure when it could be spent on a texting Prius driver. Don’t trust gas station gauges either, they can be off by hundreds of percent due to overuse, abuse and not enough maintenance.

Microfiber Cloth
Birds will shit on you and bugs will wander into your path. A nasty bug hit may cover .0.5% of a car windshield but that same bug will likely block 5-10% of your vision on a bike. If you ride near the ocean, salt spray will cling to your shield and, after a few minutes, you’ll wonder why it’s so foggy out. Carry around a microfiber cloth to clean your shield when these things happen. Spit works great to loosen dead bugs. Also use it to wipe the condensation or rain off your seat. Riding with a frozen wet butt is terrible. Good vision might save your life.

Latex/Nitrile gloves
Patching a tire is dirty. There are adhesives, tools and road grime. A pair of gloves can even save you from minor cuts. If you find yourself fiddling and wrenching on the side of the road, a cheesy pair of nitrile gloves really make things better.

As an added benefit, you can wear them under your gloves as a vapor barrier when it’s wet or cold out. Being able to use your hands to operate your controls is a good thing for all the obvious reasons. Even if your hands are already wet, preventing evaporative cooling and windchill can really help markedly.

Maratac AAA Flashlight

Haven’t upgraded to the latest generation of LED flashlight yet? It’ll change your life. This thing’s brighter than a two D-cell Maglite and fits on your keychain. For reals.

Wes has modified his with 10440 cells to produce something in excess of 200 lumens. You don’t need to do that. In stock form, the 80 lumen max is more than enough to illuminate entire rooms, much less a work area or your bike’s guts. If you carry nothing else, this will at least let you effectively use your bike’s shitty stock tool kit at night, source spent fuses and other tiny, hard-to-see problems as well as find that leak in your tire and countless other things. Seeing is good. Being able to see at night is essential.

The Maratac AAA is lifetime quality, waterproof, will never require a new bulb and can stay on continuously for over two days. It’s just one of those perfect devices, which, for $24, is amazing value. Run it on lithium batteries for maximum brightness and battery shelf life. Put one under your seat, with lithiums, and you’ll be able to pull it out 10 years later and get 100% effectiveness out of it. Swoon.

Leatherman Squirt PS4 Multitool

So Wes is kind of a tool junkie. He has $200 flashlights and $200 multitools and $500 knives. You know what gets the most use out of all of them? This $18 keychain tool.

Equipped with pliers, a kinda crappy little knife, scissors, Phillips and flathead drivers, a bottle opener, a wire cutter and a file, it’s this that comes right out of the pocket and adjusts suspension, cuts zip ties, opens boxes, tightens bolts, takes down entire walls and dismantles vehicles every time. Bigger multitools are sturdier and pack more tools, sure, but will you have them with you ALL the time? Unless you like wearing belt holsters, probably not. This little Leatherman punches way above its weight and makes up for about half the tools in your toolkit. Just this and that flashlight is about all you need for civilian EDC.

CO2 inflator with 3 cartridges
A CO2 inflator is tiny, weighs almost nothing and will save you if you’ve only got 12 psi and are 50 miles from a gas station. Each cartridge is worth about 5psi, so it’s a good call to carry a few. Being able to

Green Loctite

Loctite makes quite a few different products and you’re most likely familiar with the common red Loctite. You apply it to bolts and it stops them from working themselves loose. Green Loctite 640 or 680 is much more permanent. If you’re doing a road-side fix on something that came loose, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t come loose again. Precision, torque and subtlety be damned.

Luxury Carry:

Real tools instead of Leatherman
Wes carries a leatherman, I carry pliers, a knife, 4mm hex to remove bodywork and sometimes suspension adjustment tools like a flat head screw driver, 14 and 19mm sockets and, if it seems like the setup is way off, a rubber hammer and preload tool. On a modern bike, there really isn’t much, if anything, you can fix on the side of the road without spare parts. If you tear up your bodywork crashing, it’s usually better to toss the sharp and jagged remains in the trash than have them flap around and break off on the freeway. You’ll also attract less police attention this way. Now would also be a good time to consider investing in some frame sliders if you haven’t already. If you have a vintage, cafe racer or other carburated, less-reliable bike, think long and hard about what often breaks and what’s likely to break, then put together the bare minimum of what you need to repair that. Remember, you’re on a motorcycle and space is at a premium.

It’s worth it to swap the cheesy stock tool kit out for real tools that won’t bend and break when you really need them.

Shield spray
On long group rides I carry a full-size bottle of quick detailer in my pack. It loosens bugs and makes your shield easier to clean. Riding alone, the full-size bottle is overkill. Carry a tiny spray bottle instead.

Racer’s tape

It’s strong, sticky and holds stuff in place. It’s extremely similar to duct tape, but it comes in a wide assortment of colors and usually leaves no residue behind. From 10 feet away, no one will be able to tell you’ve crashed, cracked, broken and rashed things and taped them back together. Also use it to make temporary repairs to your gear after a slide. If you’re short on space, take the tape off the roll and roll some of it around a pen or itself or an old credit car.

Magic radiator hose tape (if you have a water-cooled bike)

Water-cooled bikes don’t work without water and radiator hoses are easily damaged. Keep some of this tape around and you’ll be one step closer to crashing stress-free. It’s made of a special rubber that that bonds to itself when you wrap it around a busted coolant hose.

Safety wire
Comes in a roll, stronger than zip ties, sharp and fits in places where zip ties won’t. Use your leatherman or pliers to twist and trim after you’re done. If you crash a bike with hard bags, this’ll remount them on the subframe despite broken hinges or whatnot. Safety wire plus racer’s tape is virtually a permanent fix.

JB Weld and change

Put a hole in your stator cover or sump? That’s probably going to cost a few bucks, but if you can score some oil, you can use your mircofiber cloth to clean up the broken parts and JB Weld a nickel, quarter, dime or penny in place to seal things up. A lot of crazy dirtbike people would even consider this to be a permanent fix.

Mechanic’s gloves (instead of latex)

Latex gloves work pretty well, but for a more permanent solution that will protect your hands even better, try these.

Superglue
Use it to seal up your cuts, reassemble that broken switch or stick that tab back on your bodywork. Small, light and infinitely handy.

Bike specific spare parts that always seem to break or fall off
If your bike is always trying to leave you stranded, get one step ahead of it. If you ride an old RD350, carry around a plug wrench, plugs and maybe even a can of carb cleaner. Some dirt bikers even carry a spare cylinder. You don’t need to go that far if you’re just commuting, but you get the idea.

Essentials:

Phone
What if you have absolutely nothing at all and you find yourself with broken bones, bleeding on the side of the road? Use your phone to call friends and 911. It will save your life.

We haven’t included a first aid kit on purpose. If you’re wearing full gear, as you should be, and you still managed to injure yourself, then those injuries are unlikely to be of the kind you can fix yourself.

Cash
Gas stations always accept cash. Keep a $20 stashed in your jacket or on the bike. It will save your ass someday. With most bikes, this is enough for 200 miles or so of fuel. Late at night, that gas station with a broken credit card machine won’t prevent you from getting home.

Passenger pegs
Sportsbikes look great when you yank off the passenger pegs and seat, but those things are incredibly useful. Badger and harass your friends into keeping their passenger accommodations as well, no matter how excruciatingly uncomfortable they are. Motorcyclists will always help each other out and your ability as a motorcyclist to help out is greatly increased when you can transport a passenger, even for a short time and even if it’s really uncomfortable.

I was able to carry Wes 18 miles out of the back country when he crashed and broke his arm because the WR250R had pegs. It wasn’t comfy, it wasn’t cool and we couldn’t go faster than about 10mph, but it sure as hell was a lot better than waiting for him to walk out.

A note on safety
Crashing a bike sucks. Crashing and hurting yourself sucks a lot worse. You’re already wearing safety gear, so don’t dissipate its advantages by taking unnecessary risks. Anything carried on your body, in your pockets or on your back can cause extra injury in a crash. Carrying a multitool, for instance, in your hip pocket could jab a 16oz piece of pointy metal into your flesh and bones in a crash. Put it in a tail pack or under your seat and that won’t be an issue.

EDC is more than a shopping list, it’s a way of thinking. Be prepared for the worst with tools, the knowledge to use them and the mindset to deal with real problems and you’ll find the worst is never really that bad.

What would you add to this list?

For more on Everyday Carry, EDCForums.com is a great resource.

  • Dumptruckfoxtrot

    An emergency rain poncho is tiny and can be slipped into a pocket or bike gut fairly easy. If you live in a place where the weather turns really quickly it can be the difference between doing repairs while soaked in freezing rain or quickly getting back on the road with minimal suffering.

  • http://krtong.com KR Tong

    That drivers license photo is an epic win.

    • Turf

      i was going to ask why he had slash’s drivers license

      • Sean Smith

        Me aged 15, shortly before my first RX-7.

        • http://www.anotherdamndj.com evilbahumut

          First RX-7? How many RX-7s have you owned Sean?

          • Sean Smith

            Four first generations, 2 GSL-SEs, one converted GSL-SE and an 81 GSL. I finally sold the last one back in June. They’re fun, but keeping them running well and fast is just too damn expensive.

            • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

              And here I was thinking the Arai RX-7.

  • Brendan

    Good to see you know where your towel is.

    • Steve

      But most importantly, DON’T PANIC.

  • Ken

    Excellent article.

    I would also recommend trying to use your stock tool kit from the comfort of your own garage at least once. I tightened my chain the other day on my speed triple and decided to use the stock kit just to see how it functions and if there is anything I want to swap out of it…. I will now add some of that radiator tape to it for sure.

    • Brant

      Speed Triple owner here. Have you found anything better to replace the crap spanner for chain adjustment?

      • Ken

        Nope. Just suffered with it so far.

  • NitroPye

    I’ve definitely got to get my Leatherman out of the breast pocket of my jacket.

  • Ray

    Don’t forget to get your AAA upgraded to RV status, they will not do it on the spot when you need it. I learned that the hard way and have the best they have to offer for recreational vehicles.
    I also have a ramp in the bed of my Dakota and soft ties behind the seat.
    I carry a whole host of Snap-On tools, a couple of LED flash lights and a small compressor powered supplied from an outlet under seat direct to the battery and a tire repair kit from Pep Boys in my VFR trunk when I am going anywhere out of cell phone range.
    And water, I always have a few bottles of water. There is nothing worse than riding in 100º heat and not having a way to re-hydrate one’s self.

    • Ken

      “I also have a ramp in the bed of my Dakota and soft ties behind the seat.”

      ….post your # and location! Free HFL AAA? :P

      Yeah, +1 to water on board.

      • Sean Smith

        Probably not free, but Ray is a mechanic.

      • http://www.xenophya.com Xenophya

        I first read at that as ‘+1 on the water board’. I thought blimey you expecting to need to extract some information from an extremist!

    • jason McCrash

      AAA can blow me. I have been a member since 1989 and had to have 3 bike tows in the last 18 months, 2 of them for the same problem which was misdiagnosed by the dealer the first time (voltage regulator on my former Victory Kingpin). I was CANCELLED as a RV Plus member for “excessive use”. No other tows of cars, bikes, anything. No friggin trip ticks or map books, no use of them in the last probably 4 years but they said that it cost them too much to tow a bike 3 times… 2 of which were 12 miles and one of which was on a cross country ride where my rear tire blew out just across the Mississippi from Iowa (nearest dealer with a correct size tire was 45 miles away).
      They said I would still be “allowed” to be a regular member. Fuck you AAA. I’ll pay the $100 or whatever for a tow outta pocket. I also always have a wheel chock and straps in my truck along with my trailer set up for bike hauling so that a friend can go get either to pick me or anyone else up if it is a reasonable distance.
      I’ve done a lot of cross country, middle of f’ing nowhere riding and being prepared is the most important thing. 2 items to consider if you are really going out into BFE are extra fuel and water to drink.
      By the way, did I mention that AAA can suck my balls?

      • Gene

        +100 on this, they did the same to my grandad when he used the service twice in one month, after being a member for something like 40 years. Fuck ‘em.

        FYI, the AMA gives you a free towing service if you sign up with a credit card and give them permission to auto-renew yearly. That and a cute little pin are about the only thing they’re good for. (I’ve not had to use it)

        • jason McCrash

          I’ve thought about the AMA… but then how will I pledge for the Angels when I finally reach that mid-life crisis? LOL (their conditions…. you can’t ever have been an AMA member or been or even applied to be a cop.)

          I need to find some fine print on their towing service before I sign up. I bet the pin is from China.

          • Sean Smith

            It actually is from China. I thought about joining AMA for the towing, but decided that I didn’t want to support them in any way. Those guys sold their racing to DMG and fight to repeal helmet laws. Dicks.

            • HammSammich

              +1

            • Todd

              Hope you’re kidding. The AMA does NOT fight to repeal helmet laws – that’s ABATE. As for the racing, I don’t like DMG, but AMA racing was floundering anyhow before the sale (unless you liked watching Mladin & Spies lap the rest of the field every week). The decision to sell of the racing was motivated by the AMA wanting to focus more on members and motorcyclists rights, which I appreciate.

              And yeah, the towing is a nice benefit too.

          • http://www.karinajean.com karinajean

            there’s better world club, which is auspiciously for treehuggers and prius drivers – but they also have motorcycle roadside assistance packages too, and they are clear: members are entitled to 4 service calls per year. I haven’t had to use it with a bike but they’ve always been really responsive when me and my car have needed them.

  • http://pinkyracer.com pinkyracer

    well, it depends how far from home I am. Sure, I carry my plug & fill kit on road trips, but around town I carry my phone so I can call a friend to either take me home to get my truck or bring me what I need.

    I have the cutest little gerber micra multitool which does come in handy and along with my tiny but reasonably accurate tire pressure gauge fits in my cosmetics bag.

    Where do we find the magic radiator hose tape? My Ducati-riding buddy sure could’ve used some on our 2010 trip to Laguna.

  • Brendan

    Which tire patch kits come with “t” grip tools like that?

  • http://www.tripleclamp.net Sasha Pave

    Great advice! I also like to carry a siphon and tow rope. A KLR once saved my ass by pulling over and giving me some gas from his tank (on the Bay Bridge one night, SF). I’m determined to pay it forward.

  • slash5alive

    Assorted zip ties. I know wire got mentioned but these come in handy too and are non-metallic. A very small tube of contact cleaner or wd-40. A good ax or machate for the zombie apocolypse migt be in order too!

    • jason McCrash

      +1000 on zip ties. They are the duct tape of the new millenium.

  • http://www.xenophya.com Xenophya

    I can’t believe you don’t have a chain split link on your list. I have had two chains go on me. Once when I was a student heading down to London about 300 miles from home (that’s about as far away from home as you can get on our little island). The second time on the boarders with scotland, (about as remote as you can get on our little island). The second time also nearly caused the death of my girlfriend (now my wife). After the chain broke I hitched a lift back to civilisation, well a red telephone box, this is the days before mobile phones. I called my girlfriend who came out in the car with a new chain. By the time she got there it was pitch black and lashing down with rain. There was no light from street lighting or the moon. So I fitted the chain by the car lights. It took for ever as the split link kept popping off. When I finally got it on and was ready to go my girlfriend tried to start the car, but the stater motor wouldn’t turn over, we’d run the battery flat. We were on a very steep hill so no problem we can bump it. I asked her if she had ever bumped a car before, she said yes so I assumed she knew what to do and I would push. I pushed and the car quickly started to gather momentum and roll down the hill at a pace. I shouted now as it rolled away into the dark, the brake lights flickered and then nothing. The car had disappeared into the night rolling away at an increasingly frighting speed. I started to run in the direction it had gone and got more panicked the further I ran. Had I just pushed the love of my life off of the edge of a moutain?! Then I heard a little a clearly frighted voice in blackness calling my name. When I got to her she was in tears walking back up the road. Iasked what had happened. She said “I turned the key but it didn’t go” I said “did you drop clutch when I shouted now” and she looked at me blankly turns out she didn’t know how to bump starts car after all. So I had pushed her off into the night and nothing had happened then she was carereing down a hill in blackness with no idea where e road went and no idea why the brakes werenot working and she couldn’t turn the steering wheel (no eninge no power steering and no servo assisted brakes). She was so terrified by the ordeal she nearly collapsed when I finally reached her.

    • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

      I am glad you edited this to add the word “nearly”. Originally, it read “The second time also caused the death of my girlfriend (now my wife).” Thought you married your dead girlfriend. Compelling story, either way. By the way, is she blonde?

      • Sean Smith

        I added that one for him after it became obvious that no one died.

    • Tony T.

      I think you mean “nearly caused the death.” I thought I was about to read a really, really sad story.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

      Bike maintenance is one of those common sense “taken as a given” type things that no one should really have to mention – but anyway…

      If you regularly carry out maintenance such a cleaning and lubing your drive chain, and you should regularly carry out maintenance such as cleaning and lubing your drive chain – then the whole situation would have been avoided.

      Honestly, keeping a spare chain/master link sounds to me just about the same as giving advice on how to ride with a tyre that is worn down to the carcass. If your chain is prone to breaking, “you’re doing it wrong”.

      Anyway – cool story bro.

      • Nathaniel Salzman

        Just because things shouldn’t happen doesn’t mean they won’t. If maintenance prevented everything, nothing would ever break. You don’t have to carry a whole chain, just enough chain to mend the broken link(s).

        • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

          Seriously…?? Okay, maybe you’re just trying to think of every possible scenario and prepare for them. But I’ve gotta think that if your chain is in such bad shape that a link breaks, and you come out of it without major injuries and significant bike damage then I’d be happy with that and call a tow truck, there’s no way I’d try to repair a bad chain and keep on using it.

          I mean you do realise the possible consequences of a snapped chain? And you would repair a chain and risk those consequences all over again? May work on your CT110 or a ag bike, but alot of people ride R1′s, Gixxers and similar high power motorcycles.

        • Sean Smith

          Hm, nothing has ever broken (crashing is another story) on my 40,000 mile GSX-R that I’ve meticulously maintained since it was new.

          The point is that maintenance does prevent 99.9999% of things breaking. If you buy those really expensive X-ring chains with a riveted master link and keep them lubed, you’ll never have a chain fail.

    • matt

      Then… from across the heath, a small movement. A little flick, barely noticeable from the corner of my view. And another to my right. Were my eyes playing games with me? Clearly my nearly dead deceased girlfriend was so overwrought that she was not perceiving the small movements I now saw all around us. Her attention was secured on the problem at hand as the howl of a wolf peeled through the fog.

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    Yep – keep everything in a secure place where you won’t forget it. But repeat after me, the airbox is not a storage area…

    Also do you reckon those tyre plug kits really work? Maybe I should look into it… But everytime I read something about those “DIY kits” it is never good, seems to always end up in just alot of mess in addition to a (still) flat tyre?

    Good reminder on the JB Weld – used that myself once, rode around with a patched stator cover on my Gixxer for a while when I was waiting for the new parts. Just smells a bit funny when it heats up… but if you’re still riding – who’s complaining!

    Fantastic tips there… I reckon I will need to get one of those little LED flashlights and some LokSaks… Have been thinking of safety wiring my bikes as well, looks like it’d better go ahead and get the supplies.

    • Gene

      Yes, those tire plug kits work, just make sure the string is not 2 years old and dried out. Also the tube of rubber glue you need to slime the plug with is missing from the picture.

      I’ve had to use them about 4 times in 20 years.

      When I get home, I usually pull the tire off and install a real patch from the inside.

      • Sean Smith

        Glue? Ha. I take that out of the package and toss it in a dark corner of the tool box.

        I’ve had those plugs in damn near every tire that’s ever been on any of my bikes and they hold up fine at track days and at warp nine in the canyons. I can’t tell you the number of time I’ve seen the speedo readout 165 with a plus in the tire.

        • Gene

          I’ve had them come out of the back tire on my RZ-350. YMMV.

          Not that any of this matters. I have some rox straps in a ziploc in the back of my SV-650 and that takes care of it’s “cargo” capacity, so I don’t carry any of this except my registration & a cellphone.

          Some of the local Harleys carry pretty much everything except a lathe, but then they probably need it all…

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

      I’ve used a kit like the one pictured there. It worked. I still replaced the tires, though. Call it a mix of paranoia and the fact that those tires had a ridiculous flat spot. (Hooray for Dallas twisties!)

    • HammSammich

      Depends on the size of the rupture, but a plug kit will usually work well, often as a permanent repair. Personally, I would not hesitate to ride on a plug, but would generally prefer to pull the tire off and add a patch inside at the earliest convenience. Of course, this is all irrelevant in my case, since I’m riding on tubed tires.

      • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

        Hmmm… I don’t have any problem when a shop has plugged a tyre for me, in fact I still have a spare plugged rear tyre sitting around that I will use in the future. But that would be the mushroom plug type that is installed from the inside of the tyre. Maybe I’ve gotta look into these DIY plug kits a bit more…

        • HammSammich

          I think some of this is semantic confusion over the terms “patch” and “plug.” When I say a patch, it’s essentially a round rubber disc that is bonded to the interior tire, covering over the puncture hole, whereas the sticky string kit shown above, I would refer to as a Patch. From my days as a tire-monkey years ago, I always considered the best repair method for tubeless tires to plug the hole left by the puncture using the sticky string plugs shown in Sean’s kit above, then to trim the string down on both the exterior and the interior, and apply a proper patch over the area on the interior. Apparently, they are now making, “mushroom plugs” which combine both the functions of a “patch” and a “plug” into one device.

  • jonoabq

    Having fixed many roadside flats over the years I have to include a mini (pocket size) bike pump instead of, or to supplement the quick fills, it’s lighter and never runs out of air. Quick fills are fast but when they are out, you are done. I’m also a big fan of mushroom plug flat kits. If you have to go multiple days on a plug before you can find the right size tire you can at least have it patched from the inside for additional safety. Posi-lock connectors and a mini e-test kit can be a ride saver, they are light and work better than trying to solder in the field…pre-load the connectors with di-electric grease for solid waterproof connections.
    Lighten the load, the next time you tear your bike down make a list of the tools needed, leave the rest at home.

  • Kevin

    While I usually carry all of the above (and a first aid kit), since I started doing a lot of solo riding out of cell phone range, I went out and got a Spot (http://www.findmespot.com/). It’s not cheap but it’s a huge piece of mind if I’m 100 miles from civilization by myself. I probably wouldn’t ride where\like I do if I didn’t know I could press the exit button and get a med-evac.

    • Scott-jay

      Ohyeah, first-aid stuff!
      Often as not, it’s me that needs repair.
      Aspirin/ibuprofen improves my mileage.

  • Harry

    I have tube type tires. Should I attempt to fix a flat or just call a service for a pick-up?

    • ChrisV7C

      Same problem with a V7 Classic – I don’t do too much remote riding, so I am dependent on a pick-up. Would love to have a better solution if someone has suggestions.

    • HammSammich

      You could carry a spare tube and replace it on the side of the road. It’s essentially the same procedure as changing the tube on a bicycle, except that the wheels are much heavier and more difficult to remove. It helps to have a center stand, and be careful not to pinch the tube in the tire bead.

      I carry a spare tube with me on longer rides, along with the tools I need to remove the front and rear wheels. If you haven’t taken your wheels off at home yet, it’s best to practice there first so you know what to expect, rather than learning on the side of the road.

      That having been noted, the one flat that I’ve had was just around town so I relied on the free towing from my insurance…

    • Sean Smith

      Slime. If it seals up, you’re good to go. If not, you’re no worse off than if you’d given up and called for help in the first place.

      • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

        … except that the bike shop or whoever does fix your tyre will end up cursing at you because they have such a slimy mess to clean up? Hahaha :P

        • Sean Smith

          Ha, the only time my bikes ever been in a shop is when I needed to swap the frame, adjust the valves and replace the timing chain. I just didn’t have a place to work, nor all the proper tools.

          Besides, if you use slime in a tube the mess is contained :)

  • Paul

    A voltmeter is really handy; you can get tiny, cheap ones that work really well. And +1 on the bike pump.

    • Nathaniel Salzman

      You can get a long way on a small bulb and two lengths of wire. If you need to test for more than continuity, you’re probably beyond what can be fixed on the side of the road.

  • Devin

    I don’t get the tire patch kit. Is the idea to patch the tire, take three shots of CO2 and then limp to the next gas station at 15 psi? Around town that would work, on the highway between destinations that’s less than good.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      This is everday carry for commuting and general riding, not adventure touring or similar, where you’d obviously need a bit more serious gear. 15psi will get you to a gas station and fit unobtrusively under the seat of even a modern sportsbike.

    • Sean Smith

      You’re never going to be out riding and then suddenly have a tire with 0psi. I usually lose between 2-8psi before I catch a leak and even then, the CO2 is reserved for when I can’t get to a gas station within 10 miles.

      • Devin

        I was imagining a blowout I guess. This is a pretty good idea now that I see how it’s practical.

      • Scott-jay

        “never going to be out riding and then suddenly have a tire with 0 psi”
        Very suddenly my rear tubeless tire was punctured & dead-flat in left-most land of new-to-me Washington DC interstate loop at rush hour. No prior sense of running over anything.
        Don’t think it’s unusual.

  • Steve

    This is where riding a bike with hard bags can come in handy. On any ride that I’m going out of state I carry all of this crap plus some- I never need it all, maybe not even 90% of it on any one trip- but you’d be amazed how much of it you (or an ill-prepared friend) use over time. One thing I’ll add- get a headlamp not a flashlight- in the dark you need both hands usually and not only do flashlights taste like wherever they came out of, drooling all over them is not pleasant either.

  • Artful

    I’ll respectfully disagree about the “punch n pray” tire plug being a permanent fix. I’ve had them last two or three months, but every time I’ve plugged a motorcycle tire with anything short of a glued in mushroom plug the plug material has backed out eventually.

    I’ve gotta get working on my smuggler seat for my Monster. The factory “storage location” doesn’t leave room for a trashy romance novel, let alone actual tools.

    • Sean Smith

      You probably just need to push them in further. When I do them, I usually leave a 2 1/2″ loop hanging inside the tire. As you ride, this will be pressed against the tire carcass with quite a bit of force. After a few heat cycles with pressure, the adhesives bond it pretty permanently to the inside of the tire.

      Another nice thing to know is that even if a rope plug doesn’t immediately seal 100%, riding the bike and heat cycling the tire almost always get it to seal up nicely.

      • Artful

        If I pushed them in any further I’d have to buy them dinner…

        • Sean Smith

          Well, you are going after serious penetration.

          • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

            Oh, the jokes that were made when a friend picked up two nails in a rear tire.

  • Steve

    I am the only one who was disappointed to find this was not an article about how to safely and discretely carry a handgun while riding in full or casual gear, but still have it available for immediate use?

    Useful tip. If you really would prefer to get a warning instead of a ticket when Officer Friendly pulls you over, present you concealed handgun license in addition to your drivers license, insurance, and registration (whether you are carrying or not). In most cases they interpret having a CHL as “solid citizen who passed background checks.” (Most cases. exceptions apply for assholes on both sides of the exchange)

    • Sean Smith

      I’m not even sure you can get one of those in LA without first being a cop. Do you know something I don’t?

      • Steve

        Step 1: move out of CA. Skip NY also.

        Try a civilized state such as Texas where anyone with a clean record and decent aim can get a permit. Or move someplace like AZ where concealed handgun permits come in every box of cracker jacks.

        But seriously, carrying on a bike is problematic. Langlitz is famous for their jackets with the built in gun pocket, but they are super expensive with a long lead time.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          You probably don’t want a gun on your body either. See above note on crashing with a pointy piece of metal attached to you.

          • Steve

            Langlitz puts the gun pocket over the left chest. Seems the least likely place for it to pose a problem. On the hip cowboy style is obviously out. Shoulder holster TV cop style doesn’t work with a properly fitting jacket. Ankle holster seems fine until I fold myself up in the sports bike crouch and my pants hem rides up far enough to show. I have not tried small of back but I am no fan of spinal injuries. So mostly I carry it in my man-bag (murse) which winds up locked in my hard bags where it does me absolutely no good.

        • Sean Smith

          Go buy a Moto Guzzi Stelvio. It’s got a gun compartment built into the tank. Seriously.

        • Kirill

          If you really must carry on a bike and need quick access to it, put it in your tank bag.

    • vegetablecookie

      TRUE! Happened to me a month or so ago. I got a warning for 19mph over. No joke.

  • aristurtle

    A tire plug kit is an emergency fix until you can get a new tire put on. In particular I don’t trust them at all on bias-ply tires. People who say that riding on a patched tire is dangerous are people who recognize that they aren’t in a car and don’t have three other tires to hold them up when one blows out at midnight on the Interstate outside of Frackville, Pennsylvania or some fucking place.

    CO2 cartridges are nearly useless. Three? When your tire is deflated? Try six, minimum. Carry a small bicycle pump instead. Or a small compressor that you connect to the battery, if you think it’s a good idea to run down your battery when you lose tire pressure in the middle of fuckknowswhere.

    A couple of small wrenches are a good idea, too. You’ll know what sizes you need if you’ve been doing your own maintenance, and they shouldn’t take a lot of space. A dozen or so zipties are nice to have as well.

    I personally carry my registration and insurance in a ziplock bag in my jacket pocket, so I’m not fishing around under the seat during a traffic stop, but whatever works.

    LED flashlights are amazing.

    • Kirill

      You don’t run down your battery if you have the engine on. If you’re out of gas and have a flat, you’re probably proper fucked without outside assistance anyway.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    I keep a small Italian under the tail section.

    Aside from that, I carry one of those WD-40 pens. I should really add a few tools and a knife to the stock kit, which includes a socket that fits nothing on the bike.

    • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

      I try to keep a small Italian on the tail section, but my wife would rather not ride on the back, banana seat be damned.

      +1 on the WD-40 pen.

  • tko

    First aid kit.

    • Sean Smith

      Super glue. If you hurt yourself worse than that and you’re wearing a back protector, armor for shoulders, elbows and knees, boots with ankle protection, gloves, full face helmet and abrasion resistant stuff covering all that, you’re going to need a well equipped expert.

  • John

    an approx 4′ cut of flexible hose is invaluable in some areas when gas stations are few and far between. I’ve had to use it multiple times to siphon gas from the occasional good samaritan…

    also, a bit of motor oil or lubricant comes in super handy. I would also say hammer, but we’ve always just used a nice rock from the side of the road to deal with it.

    and yes, definitely cash, especially if you’re venturing abroad!

  • Ben

    I’m really glad this post omitted firearms of any kind. When ever I see the acronym “EDC” on the internet I sigh and prepare to look at pictures of the four assorted sized handguns some kook say he can’t step out the front door without.

    • Myles

      Dude, you never know when a combination of Mexiacans and Chinese Communists are going to take over America. The Patriots that you described above are going to keep us safe.

      http://d3uwin5q170wpc.cloudfront.net/photo/23728_700b.jpg

    • Steve

      4 is overkill (bad pun, sorry). One small 9mm will take care of any situation you cannot avoid or escape (preferred options #1 and 2)

  • kidchampion

    The Cruz Tools multi tools are very helpful and compact. I carry one on my bicycle and one on my motorcycle. Cycle Gear sells knock-off versions for $10.00. http://www.cruztools.com/products/multitools.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

    I need to spend some time carefully looking at my bike, because I’m relatively certain that there’s next to zero storage capacity.

    • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

      I agree with this. The tail section on my bike fits my insurance card, and that is about it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

        Exactly. Removing the main seat takes an allen key and I’d be storing things right on top of the battery – assuming there’s much excess room there.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler
          • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

            Screw you and your fancy bags, Wes!

            I’ll have to get a tailpack like the US-20, as my backpack is frequently filled with work gear. How much a hassle are the Kriega bags to remove/install constantly? I’m not sure I’d want to leave a bag full of equipment on the bike all day at work.

            • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

              Did some reading to answer this for myself. Looks like you only have to do the main fitting to the rear seat once, then it quick disconnects from there. Looks like a perfect solution.

              • boxofbits

                I’m addicted to Kriega kit. The US-20 used in conjunction with the US alloy hook straps is about as hassle-free as luggage can get. Hook on. Hook off.
                http://www.kriega.us/us-bag-alloy-hook-straps/

                • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

                  Boxofbits – I’ve looked at the alloy hooks, but I’m not quite getting what makes them better than the quick disconnect buckles? I get that they hook to the subframe, so that’d be a more secure connection for heavy loads, but is it really faster?

                  I wish they’d include the hooks with the UScombo30 Drypack – then that would be an easy choice. $35 for just the hooks seems a lot. But, like I said, I’m not quite following what makes them worth it. Take me to school!

              • boxofbits

                Ben – I picked up a set of the alloy hooks when I expanded the carrying capacity by adding a pair of US-10s to the 20l pack. The hooks gave greater security and peace of mind when running with heavier loads. Fastening to the subframe rather than just under the seat makes everything feel that much tighter.

                I kept them fitted to the US-20 for solo use and found that once the straps are adjusted for size, a quick squeeze of the pack and a flick of the hook is all that’s required to lock or release the bag. It’s all in the wrist action. As a bonus, you don’t have any loose straps hanging around on the bike when the luggage isn’t in use, which is the case when the standard underseat straps are used. Instead, you have four very discrete loops for the hooks to catch to.

                In short, the hooks make a great product even better.

                At the risk of becoming a Kriega bore, their tank adaptor is pretty neat too…

  • Myles

    Not really something for the kit, but everyone should practice bump starting their bike.

    Once you’ve done it a few times it gets a lot easier. The overall difficulty really depends on the bike (small 4cyl 600 is a lot easier to bump start than a large single, for example) but it always gets easier with practice.

    • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

      I remember having to bump my first bike, a Kawi ex500. That is when I learned that Kawasaki’s “EZ Neutral” “feature” makes it nigh impossible to put the bike in 2nd (easier for bump starting, in my experience) when the motor isn’t running. 1st gear, trying to bump a 500cc inline twin mostly netted me the experience of pushing my moto home the two miles.

      • Myles

        I’ve never understood the whole second gear thing. People have always told me this, but I find it way easier in 1st. Also, doesn’t it logically make sense that 1st is easier? For a given pushed speed, engine speed would be higher (and easier to start?).

        What makes a bike easier to bump start in 2nd?

        *I’ve had to bump start my bike a lot. Ran around with a bad battery for a long time and the only thing labeled “Ducati” I’ve ever owned was the rectifier/regulator. So. Ton of bump starts.

        • HammSammich

          From my own experience, you have lower starting compression when push starting in second…My rear tire has locked-up trying to push start in first gear before.

        • Sean Smith

          I usually use third or fourth to keep the back wheel from locking up.

          • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

            *knocking on wood*

            I havent had to bump the Honda, yet, but I’ll keep this in mind. 2nd works like a champ on my friend’s cursed gs450 project bike.

  • HammSammich

    I keep my registration in a ziploc bag taped under the seat on my Bonnie. Those familiar with the bike know that you have to remove the side cowl with a coin/screwdriver to access the only tool included with the bike (a 5mm hex key) and then use it to remove the two bolts that hold the seat in place. This is a bit of an inconvenience, and the one time I was pulled over going 105 indicated on a 40mph rural road (by a US Marshall in an unmarked SUV that I passed), I explained what I was going to do to get him my registration and he told me not to bother and let me go with a warning.

    Realistically, I’m not sure he could have done much more than detain me and call in a local authority, but I, perhaps falsely, attribute some of this to the inconvenience of waiting for me to disassemble my bike to get to the registration.

    • wascostreet

      I swear the same thing got me out of a jam in NorCal once. My registration and insurance were in a ziploc under my rear seat, which was under the sling of a pair of soft panniers, which themselves were under a creatively-fastened tailpack. My buddy was in a similar situation as well, so I think the cop saw the wait he was in for and just told us to slow the hell down.

      Now the Crook County, OR sheriff who got me last weekend couldn’t have taken more of his sweet time writing up me and my two buddies, so apparently it’s only wasted time if the LEO is left standing around.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

      Hah – nice.
      Maybe I gotta put a single-piece tail fairing on my Gixxer and keep all my license & registration info under there…

      • Sean Smith

        Hehe. One step ahead of you. I’m probably going to add hard bags and a top case with a back-rest as well. It should make it easier to drag my knees with a passenger and also facilitate camping.

        • HammSammich

          Cool. I’d like to see pics of your touring configured GSXR when it’s all done. I’m leaning toward a Speed triple with hard bags and a top case for more enjoyable touring, with some sporty ability.

          • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

            Certainly not as bad ass as a prepared GSXR, but my ‘touring’ Honda F3 uses VFR bars, GIVI three hard case rack (only has side cases in this photo) and GMC dual note horns. Left thumb now wakes Mass Pike coffee-texters right the hell up.

            Obligatory HFL badge on tank.

            • HammSammich

              Thanks! Gorgeous bike, Jesse. I love the large Honda wing badges on the tank.

              *HFL: this might be an article idea…Converting sport bikes for better 2UP touring.

              • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

                You are too kind, Hamm.

                That F3 has 30k miles on it, has been down hard, multiple times, on both sides. There isn’t a non-scraped and cracked piece of plastic on it. The sticker bombing is concealing rear plastics that don’t match the rest of the bike, nor each other.
                She is mechanically sound, and … aesthetically challenged.

  • wascostreet

    My EDC visor cleaning solution is a wad of paper towels in a ziploc with some windex poured in. Tear off a chunk and scrub off the bugs, then use your microfiber cloth or a soft rag to polish the visor.

    • matt

      Winner! That’s a great idea. Making one of those right the hell now.

  • Alex

    Imagine my surprise Wes when the EDC Twitter feed brought me to H4L. http://twitter.com/#!/everyday_carry/status/103895963655090176

    #WIN

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Nice.

  • stephen

    I put 999 wheels on my Ducati paul smart for the reason of not having tubes. Way lighter too, many guys have done it.

  • JVictor75

    Hmmm… well this is what I carry on the bike at all times. I ride a 2002 Kawasaki Mean Streak with Rakaposhi hard bags pretty much year round in Phoenix.

    On Me:
    Scorpion Ventech jacket
    Shoei RF 1000
    Sedici Vented Summer gloves
    Icon SuperDuty 3 boots
    Camelback 100oz
    Wal-Mart Levi’s (I KNOW! I KNOW!)
    Paperwork in the right breast pocket in a sandwich bag (Insurance, Registration)
    Cell Phone in the interior pocket.
    Wallet
    $40 cash

    On the bike:
    – 1 qt 10w40 v-twin motor oil
    – 1 tiny little bottle of Dot 4 brake fluid
    – Surefire G2ZX 2 cell
    – Petzl Taktikka Plus (headlamp)
    – Leatherman Wave
    – CruzTool Multitool
    – CruzTool Mini Ratchet set
    – Tire plug kit (with the cement, lol)
    – Microfiber towel (Yes, I love Hitchhiker’s Guide as well, and the Microfiber packs very small. The one I have is roughly 5′ x 3′ and packs down to the size of a 12 oz can.) You can find them at most outdoors stores – REI, Cabelas, Bass Pro Shops, etc.
    – Can of Spray detailer
    – Microfiber detailing rag
    – A few red shop towels
    – Stowable compact poncho
    – Faceshield (either Clear or Dark Smoke – whichever I’m not wearing at the moment)
    – Small tireguage and treadgauge (measures tread depth)
    – Small 1st Aid Kit (from REI, the “hiking” one.)
    – Jacket Liner (I ride with a Scorpion VenTech in Phoenix. The jacket breathes extremely well but I like to have the liner with me instead of hanging in the closet at home where it’s useless when I need it.)
    - In “winter” months here in Arizona I also pack a set of UnderArmour Cold Gear long handles in basic black and wear a set of Joe Rocket microfiber lined cold weather gauntlet gloves with a Joe Rocket Phoenix 4.0. (Our “winters” get down to about 30-35 Farenheit with rain in Phoenix metro but can get down to single digits in the mountains near Flagstaff with heavy snow.)

    Tools and fluids go in one bag, clothing goes in the other tightly packed in a military waterproofing bag. The Rakaposhi bags are fairly small but do the job and I have room left over for weekend trips. If I need more than that I suppose I’ll start looking in to some sort of tail bag.

    I get a lot of shit from my friends for bringing a all this stuff when we go somewhere. My reply is always the same. “If I don’t bring it, I’ll need it. I don’t bring my wet weather gear, it rains. I don’t bring my cold weather gear, it’s freezing. I’d rather pack all of this shit around and be prepared. Sue me.”

  • Ratlanta

    Remember, if you use Slime, be nice enough to tell the next person who changes your tires.

  • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

    Thanks for the article, i’ll propably add a tire gauge to my kit (wasn’t aware of the accuracy issue).

    One thing i also take is some lead wire (not sure about the name in english). It’s basically what’s in a fuse, but for $3 you can change the equivalent of a million fuses (that’s a generic picture, i chose mine to have the right amps) and it’s flat. I got that in a hardware store.