What do you carry for spare parts?

#1
Hello! This is my first post. I'm hoping to do my first Saddlesore 1000 soon. To that end, I decided to take a short weekend trip to visit family on my 92' Kawasaki Vulcan 88. This would be the longest trip I have taken in one go thus far at 200 miles. (yea I know chump change for everyone here but I gotta work my way up.) During my trip, I had the rear cylinder exhaust separate from the cylinder head, on a Sunday evening, outside Indianapolis. Sadly all of the Kawasaki dealers were closed on monday and I couldn't get the replacement parts I needed. (I did have AAA to get the bike somewhere but thats another issue).

So, what spare parts do you guys suggest I carry for long distance trips? or how does one handle more serious breakdowns?
 

Ignacio

IBR Finisher
#3
With any older bike like that--you're going to have an increased chance for an unexpected failure and doubt you can pack extras of all the parts one might need. Or if you do carry the more commonly needed parts--I'm sure they're going to be specific to that brand and model of motorcycle.

I do think that after people get their first SaddleSore done--some become seriously bitten by the long-distance bug and find themselves procuring newer motorcycles known as strong LD performers (e.g. the relatively affordable and cheap-to-maintain FJR).

With the exception of a few spare tupperware fasteners and bulbs--I don't carry any spare FJR parts. I do carry a toolkit similar the one suggested in the Archive of Wisdom. The tire plugging and airing portion of the kit has saved me from many closed Mondays of dealers and instead back home at my job.
 

rodneyw71

KLR'er
Premier Member
#4
I carry gorilla tape, zip ties super glue, and a tire repair kit, I am good friends with the shop owner here in town so before any trip he'll do a once over on the bike to make sure I didn't miss anything, so I've been lucky not to have needed any spare parts, (knocking on wood).
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#5
Spare parts? As Ignacio mentions, a couple of bulbs, a fuse or two - and tire repair parts (sticky rope plugs, compressor, glue...). A few common tools, but not that much; after all, best tool to have is a credit card & towing service! :D

Seriously, though, the most important of all tools? The ability to be able to use them in an uncontrolled (read: side of the road) environment.

If you're capable in your garage or carport, that's a good starting point.
 
#6
So, basically, get the bike to a safe place then call a towing service and wait until the bike can be fixed?

I carry tools with me but the lack of parts to make the repairs kept me from using them though my flashlight came in handy. Unfortunately buying a newer and more reliable bike isn't really an option for me financially right now.

I did use AAA but it took an hour and a half of being on hold to find the motorcycle coverage that I paid for and send a truck out. Honestly if the cylinder hadn't been throwing flames onto my leg I would have continued to ride with the exhaust disconnected. It was definitely an adventure and gave me some insight to doing a longer trip. I thought maybe I had missed something in my preparations.
 

rodneyw71

KLR'er
Premier Member
#7
So, basically, get the bike to a safe place then call a towing service and wait until the bike can be fixed?

I carry tools with me but the lack of parts to make the repairs kept me from using them though my flashlight came in handy. Unfortunately buying a newer and more reliable bike isn't really an option for me financially right now.

I did use AAA but it took an hour and a half of being on hold to find the motorcycle coverage that I paid for and send a truck out. Honestly if the cylinder hadn't been throwing flames onto my leg I would have continued to ride with the exhaust disconnected. It was definitely an adventure and gave me some insight to doing a longer trip. I thought maybe I had missed something in my preparations.
If you do a good T-clock and carry enough tools to get you off the road and to a safe place you shouldn't need spare parts on the road, I noticed you live in Illinois, winters coming up so maybe spend the winter replacing cables, give it a good tune up and tighten every bolt.
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#8
So, basically, get the bike to a safe place then call a towing service and wait until the bike can be fixed?

I carry tools with me but the lack of parts to make the repairs kept me from using them though my flashlight came in handy.<...>
Exactly; your safety and the safety of others that may be with you is (obviously) job one.

Dealing with the bike - and why it's made you a (potential) pedestrian is the second job.

A real-life example...I ride a 2006 Goldwing. The headlight bulbs are designed to be removed and replaced by someone with really, really small hands. I had changed bulbs a few months before a two-week long tour. Well, had a lady pull up one day along the ride that told me that one of the bulbs had failed. "Great - 2000 miles from home...", but had previously had the experience to remove & replace the bulb.

I positioned the bike in the motel parking lot so that the morning sun would illuminate the area to get to the bulb, which helped greatly. A 20 minute job; and that included the 15 minute walk to the auto parts store to procure a replacement. The fact that I'd already performed that task made it a lot less stressful being 2000 miles from home.

There will be certain tasks left to the professionals, no doubt. I think Rodney's comments about spending a quality winter doing maintenance tasks as he described and learning about the oddities that your specific bike has (they *all* have them...) might help when spring comes and you're ready for the next challenge on two wheels.

Even if that challenge builds you to the next level - an overnight ride to someplace close by.
 
#9
Something I hadn't mentioned was that I had just finished fixing an oil leak from that cyinder and thus far had ridden it about 2k miles before attempting this trip. Also, the 2 Kawasaki dealers closest to me in Chicago have permanently closed so I do all of my own repairs and maintenance except tire replacement. I know that the part that failed had been inspected when I did the repairs.

Also, I'm one to continue riding until new years even in Chicago winter weather.

In all of my research on preparing for long distance riding I didn't see any mention of parts but plenty of mention to bring tools. I've ridden as a commuter biker for a few years now with this bike and am looking to go on longer rides in the future. This was an eye opening and educational trip for sure.

Thank you for all of your insights. Once I get the bike home I'll likely not attempt my first saddle sore til next season. Until then, I'll continue asking what questions I have and reading others in the hopes of learning something new.
 

kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#10
<...>In all of my research on preparing for long distance riding I didn't see any mention of parts but plenty of mention to bring tools. I've ridden as a commuter biker for a few years now with this bike and am looking to go on longer rides in the future. This was an eye opening and educational trip for sure.

Thank you for all of your insights. Once I get the bike home I'll likely not attempt my first saddle sore til next season. Until then, I'll continue asking what questions I have and reading others in the hopes of learning something new.
The tools that are needed become those that are used to either access a certain areas (under your seat to get access to a bank of relays...) or to be able to do routine things like access to the brakes or wheels.

As you've discovered, there's only so much room on two wheels, no matter what size it happens to be. There's a *lot* of discussion on other forums about things like that. The crew here have a *lot* of experience; many (like myself...) started out on older bikes as a commuter vehicle. It didn't necessarily had to be good enough to achieve 1000 miles in one ride, but it had to be good enough to achieve 1000 miles of getting me back and forth to work for two months.
 

Garry in AZ

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#11
As far as parts go, I carry a few spare bulbs, a selection of fuses, one new spark plug, and an extra key. Some of my bikes carry a few more specialized parts depending on the bike. On my Harleys I carry a spare crankshaft position sensor, and a spare shifter shaft heim joint. On my WR450 I add a couple new master chain links, and occasionally a spare pre-oiled air filter element. On all the chain drive bikes I carry a small can of chain lube.

For tools, I put together a basic toolkit for each one of my bikes like this:
When I do general work on my bike at home, I put all the tools I used for the work aside. Then I either put those tools in a small kit to be carried on the bike, or I buy like size tools for the kit. In this manner, the tools that are carried in the bike are guaranteed to be the ones I need for a roadside repair. Yes, my method does result in me owning 8 or 10 common wrench and socket sizes, and a half dozen of the same screwdrivers, pliers, etc. But I believe a person simply can't own too many tools. You also have to be realistic as to what you're going to actually attempt as a roadside repair. You aren't likely to need a micrometer or a piston ring compressor. But tools to fit the common sized fasteners, and to get both wheels off are always in my bike.

I also carry Gorilla tape, a couple of yards of stainless steel wire, zip ties, tire pressure gauge, several types of flashlights, a sharp knife and a small multi-meter. I also pack a tire plug kit and a battery powered air compressor.
 

cacomly

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#12
I carry a decent set of tools all the time including a plug kit and pump. For the IBR I added my torque wrench because I was doing a wheel swap to get fresh rubber for the start and a spare drive belt as they are not stocked by some dealerships. The belt was my only spare part. I did carry a spare with me when I did a 2 week 9500 mile vacation trip this summer.
 

gorogergo

Premier Member
#13
Typically some zip ties and Gorilla Tape. I have started carrying a tire patch kit, but I haven't needed it.
Prep is way more important than spares. If possible, if I need any work done I like the opportunity to put a few hundred miles on before starting on a long ride. I trust my mechanic, and myself, but it costs no more and allows me to concentrate on other things as leaving nears.
If you ride an older bike, experience and forums will quickly tell you the common fail points. Just don't take the forums too seriously. (Except for this one, of course.)
 

Ignacio

IBR Finisher
#14
So, basically, get the bike to a safe place then call a towing service and wait until the bike can be fixed?
That's odd. I don't see where one single person said that at the time you posted this....so, "No."

Regardless, I'd reread what people posted and you'll see many other suggestions.
 
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#15
You have an awesome motorcycle.

I have a '07 Honda VTX 1300 with 125,000 miles on it so I know age and miles can cause problems. Today's motorcycles are actually pretty reliable and good for longer miles than when I was young. Check with one of the forums for parts that tend to fail around your mileage and replace them. I have done that and so far no surprises except when the VTX fell on me while in Nova Scotia giving me a broken leg. Pride suffered to no end.

For a SS1000 I would not over worry. You really are not that far from home. Your fuel tank, I think, is on the small size so schedule you fuel stops. Don't under estimate the miles left on you tires. I did that once and almost did not make it home, threads were showing. Be sure motorcycle is serviced out (include rear axle which I think you have and radiator) and thoroughly check it out. Change out bulbs, cables, belt/chain if equipped, and battery if over two years old. Don't know how many miles you have but a quart of oil would not hurt. For the carburetors, even for fuel injected, I'd run Chevron Techron concentrated through a tank of fuel before the ride. I carry a few nuts and bolts for such things as clutch handle, front brake handle, and a couple of other things. When riding longer distance and farther from home I would plan for the unexpected in a little more detail.

As far as tools you have a lot of advise above. Know how to use and carry tire plugger kit and compressor if you have tubeless tires. When I caught this disease, as far as tools, I went to Ron Majors' list and modified it to my skills and motorcycle.

I am a big believer in Med Jet Assist, check the box to ship the motorcycle back. It came in handy for me in Nova Scotia. Also SPOT is a good thing to carry.

For Longer Distances:
Parts, if I had a belt drive I'd carry a spare belt/or replace it just before the ride. Same goes for chain drive with sprockets. Also with chain drive the above posts are excellent. Any bolt or nut I have found loose over the miles I carry an extra. Loctite, I consider my friend. I replace my battery every two years although I keep it on a Battery Tender when not riding. I don't want to take a chance on a "no start" out in Nowhere. I change my headlight bulb (Silver Star Ultra) every two years for the same reason. I also carry spare bulbs just so I don't have to waste time going to the parts store. I carry spare cables (the old ones) even though I replace them around 50,000 miles, just in case. I carry a quart of oil on longer rides. A quart won't get me far if serious problem. I have been know, though not usually, to carry a new small sealed container of DOT 4 brake fluid.

I am somewhat capable of making repairs on the road so I may carry more than I will ever need. Can't beat a credit card and cell phone if there is service.

I hope this helps.
 
V

vikingolly

#18
This was an interesting read, given the events and experience over the last few years of IBR riding. (I have two bikes in Australia and two in the USA).
1. As a general guide, carry tools and no spare parts.
2. There was one person who carried a full final-drive for his BMW in one rally - this is plain silly.
3. I have used my tools in EVERY IBR and Butt Lite I have ridden in, so some tools are good.
4. Start with Zip ties (called cable ties in Australia) and Gorilla Tape (we call race tape in Australia) - if you cannot fix a problem with these, then its SERIOUS!
5. Carry the standard tools for your bike - phillips head screw driver, pliers and adjustable spanner (crescent wrench), plus hex (allen keys) or other specialty drivers for your bike - eg BMW's use TORX and I have a collection of the right sizes only. Don't carry any sizes that you don't need. Wasted weight.
6. Many bikes now don't use cables, they are on fly-by-wire - but if yours do, then carry clutch and brake cables if you must.
7. I carry a very small number of screws and bolts that fit my bike and used them. These should fit in a film canister, otherwise you have too many.
8. Yes I carry a couple of micro fuses. Never used them, as my switch unit has a spare connection that would allow me to by-pass the busted fuse.
9. Most important - carry tire plugs, awl and a pump. One day, you will need it. BTW try the pump out first, as they usually draw more power than the ECU will manage, so need to be connected directly to the battery to work. (Learnt this the hardware in Alabama!)
10. Use a battery monitor. Replace your battery every two years anyway
11. Yes, I have a recovery service. And yes, I used it in Butt Lite VIII this year!
12. Remember two things - Rallying is expensive - get used to it. and 2. Excess weight is your enemy - I eventually reduced my weight by two thirds - true

Olaf
 

JAVGuzzi

Premier Member
#19
I have an old St1100 which is pretty reliable, but used parts are cheap off Ebay. So I carry a spare ignition module , just for the heck of it. I also have replaced the sometimes trouble prone OEM fuel pump with an automotive style low pressure submersible pump and I carry a spare ( cheap & small in size ).

I also carry a schematic and small digital meter and am thinking about adding a few relays to my list. One nice thing about carrying spare parts is that if you carry them, you probably will never need to use them ;) .

So besides the above stuff, I also carry the "standard" stuff too - Gorilla tape, electrical tape, fuses, a few bulbs, tool kit, tire plug kit, and small 12 volt air compressor. I had to use the tire plug kit & compressor on my Lower Great Lakes SS1K ride, BTW.
 

Patrick Ford

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#20
Carry enough tools to get into your electrical fuses and a few fuses. Carry tire repair plugs, worms and fresh glue. Know how to use your tire repair kit.
Nothing like breaking out your tire repair kit and finding glue that has hardened. Carry a 12 volt air pump.
Have the tools to remove your tires.
If you have an FJR you need to able to get the front axle out. Take look and you will see the problem. A Craftsman 3/8 drive sparkplug socket used backward will work.
Multiple credit cards.
Good luck and have fun.