There is no worse feeling than being in the middle of nowhere and getting a blowout. Actually, that is not true. There is a worse feeling, and it is the moment straight afterwards when you remember that you didn’t pack your tire irons and spare tube. If you are a new rider, then relax, this will only ever happen to you once because from this moment on, you’ll never leave the house again without your Dirt Bike tools.
Every dirt bike rider knows the importance of packing a well-thought-out, portable, and compact set of dirt bike tools. Whether they’re in your rucksack, strapped to your bike, or in a fanny pack, it doesn’t matter, so long as they’re with you and not in your garage at home. Still, it’s not always easy to decide which tools to take, after all, a dirt bike tool kit needs to be light, and the tools in it need to be reliable and straightforward to use.
If you aim to be competing, then your tools will be in the van. If you plan on driving your trail bike to your weekend ride, then any support vehicle will mean you can carry more tools. In either case, you can afford to be less restrictive regarding weight. The added benefit of having a support vehicle is that as well as your primary tool kit, you can pick and choose your trial, Enduro or adventure tool kit from your main box, and just carry what you need with you.
So, to ensure your days riding goes without a hitch, to endeavor to keep you in the running on race day, we’ve compiled our list of Twelve Essential Tools You Mustn’t Leave Home Without.
When it comes to the quality, always look for chrome-vanadium steel tools – they won’t snap on you, which means they’ll last a lifetime, (or until you lend them to someone).
Here at Motocross Advice, we strongly advise against a pre-made dirt bike tool kit. Ideally, you’ll be making your own bag up from individual tools. That way you avoid any of several drawbacks with pre-made kits, such as the kit lacking the one tool you need, or the poor quality of the tools in the kit, and the kit bag itself having cheap zips/stitching.
By picking and choosing individual items, you can make sure that your tools don’t break, your tool bag doesn’t shred on day one, and that you have that special 8mm spanner that is so important for dirt bikes. Buying a high-quality, universal tool bag will also allow you to pack that extra set of T handle sockets you prefer.
With all that in mind and in no particular order, here are our
Twelve Essential Dirt Bike Tools
- Plug spanner
- T handle set/Allen keys
- Combination Tool
- Ratchet set
- Mole/Vice grips
- Spanners (making sure you have that 8mm in there)
- Pliers (flat and long-nose)
- Wire cutters
- Tire levers
- Spoke key
- Chain Breaker
… and a supplementary list that complements the tools…
- Duck tape
- Cable ties
- Split links
- Spare tube
- CO2, or pump
We have spent a lot of time fixing bikes, servicing, and making emergency repairs in the pit lane, or the green lanes. If you use the list above as a guideline, you can start to build the ultimate, most user-friendly tool kit. To help you avoid the cheap, imported, low-quality products, we are recommending the gear that we would trust to keep us rolling.
Building the Ultimate Dirt Bike Tool Kit
When you’re thinking about tools for your bike, it’s tempting to simply go down the route of the all-in-one kit, and whether you’re adventuring, trail riding or competing, the ‘tool rules’ are the pretty much the same. Like with so many things in life, the all-in-one deal carries some compromise.
A ready indeed made MX tool kit may appear to have all the tools you need but – bear in mind that for this kit to sit at a reasonable price point, corners will have been cut. The tools in a package deal can vary in quality, often being quite poor, and the bag or case itself can be cheap enough to last only a few rides/winters before it rots or disintegrates.
By all means buy one to get you started, to cover yourself, just in case, but from that point, the best thing you can do is start investing in some dedicated, top-notch dirt bike tools (and a durable tool roll, or sturdy tool case, to keep them in). It won’t be the cheapest way to build a kit, but in the long run, you’ll be saving yourself lost riding days, broken tools, and best of all, money. Buy cheap, buy twice.
Of course, it’s not as easy as only buying the most expensive tool for the job, so we have compiled a list of some of our favourite options and paired them up with some great dirt bike tool rolls, and toolboxes. We know that starting out can be expensive, so if you have set your heart on a ready built kit, we have thrown in a couple that will make a good foundation on which you can build.
Best Dirt Bike Tools 2020
1. Motion Pro PBR Chain Breaker
It’ll press, break and rivet 520/525/530 chains, and is compact enough to fit in a tool bag. If your dirt bike chain snaps or is damaged sufficient to require a new link, you will need one of these. Changing a chain link without one is nigh on impossible.
Contains: Chain breaking tool, and a spare pin
Why we chose it: A consistently high-rated brand, this chain breaker is straightforward to use and performs reliably. And it’s excellent for trailside repairs.
2. Motion Pro Ratchet Plug Wrench
Contains:A high quality, hard earing ratchet-style wrench. An extension is available to buy separately.
Why we chose it:This ratchet is both light and flat, which makes it easy to stow. The ratchet gearing is low, so it takes easily.
Be warned – you need an inch plus gap between plug and radiator hose to use this tool. If you don’t, then try our other suggestion…
3. Motion Pro Plug Socket
Contains:A pro-quality Pro Plug Socket constructed from premium materials.
Why we chose it:As well as being a well-designed, durable tool, it also looks the business. The pro-plug is light and coated in a protective black oxide for longevity.
4. Motion Pro Allen T-Handle Four Wrench Set
Contains:4, 5, 6, and 8mm Allen head T-handles.
Why we chose it:Those magic words – chrome vanadium. As well as being made from this incredibly durable steel-chrome composite, these T-handles are coated in nickel-pewter. Also, being ball-ended, you have better access to hard to reach screws. (Effective with up to 25 degrees of tilt).
5. Lezyne Stainless Steel 12 Part Multi-tool
2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm Allen keys
A Phillips screwdriver
A flathead Screwdriver,
A backup chain breaker,
A triple spoke wrench that includes Mavic MTB, 3.22, and 3.45mm wrenches in case you happen to ride a mountain bike too.
Why we chose it:It’s light, being made from forged aluminium, and has been designed to work well while you wear gloves. A multi-tool is a handy addition to any full kit, as it serves as a useful backup system.
6. Cruz Miniset Metric Ratchet
A 48-tooth mini-ratchet with 2″ extension,
8, 10, 12, and 13mm sockets,
4,5, and 6mm Hex keys
No. 2 Phillips screwdriver.
All neatly packed in molded plastic case.
Why we chose it:Again it’s light, coming in at roughly 1 whole pound. That’s less than half a kilo. And it’s ideal when there’s limited space.
7. Motion Pro Tiprolight Wrench Set
Contains:A set of beautifully engineered, super lightweight and yet incredibly durable wrenches. The innovative handle design features milled out slots which contribute to the weight loss.
Why we chose it: Less than 25% the weight of regular steel tools makes this kit ideal for carrying in a dirt bike trail kit. Available as a four-piece set (choose from a 13 or 14mm) in a neat little pouch, or as individual spanners which you can find here.
8. Performance Tool Four Piece Plier Set
6″ long-nose pliers,
7″ flat, or linesman, pliers,
and 6″ slip joint pliers.
Why we chose it: They’re chrome vanadium steel, and they have non-slip molded grips which are easy to use in all weathers or conditions. The ergonomic design makes for a comfortable grip, even when your hands are freezing cold.
9. Performance Tool Three-Piece Locking Plier Set
Contains:5″, 7″ and 10″ locking pliers
Why we chose it: Made from drop-forged steel, they might not be the lightest, but they won’t let go. As this kit contains three sizes, you can leave one in the garage at home, one in the van, and take the smallest ones on the bike. Superb value for money.
10. Motion Pro T6 Combo Tyre Lever Set
Contains: Three sets are simply a lever with an axle nut wrench on one end, while the other has a hex wrench for a rim lock nut. The fourth set has these plus an adapter for 22 and 27mm axle nuts.
Set hex sizes are:
1 x 24mm and 1 x stepped 12/13mm
1 x 27mm and 1 x stepped 12/13mm
1 x 32mm and 1 x stepped 10/12mm, plus 22/27mm adapter
1 x 32mm and 1 x stepped 12/13mm
Why we chose it: Again, they’re light, made from forged T6 aluminium with a hard anodized finish, and coming in at a minuscule 3.5 ounces (less than 100g), they’re an essential part of your dirt bike kit.
11. HP Tools Spoke Wrench Set
A spoke wrench body and eight individual spoke wrench heads:
5.4, 5.6, 5.8, 6, 6.2, 6.4, 6.6, and 6.8 mm.
Why we chose it: While the wrench body is made from lightweight aluminum, the eight different heads are made from forged steel giving a balance of portability, and durability.
12. Performance Tool three Piece 70-lumen Pen Light Set
Contains: Three 70-lumen penlights.
Why we chose it: Who doesn’t like a penlight? And here you’ve got three, which means… Spares. If you have ever got caught out at the wrong end of the day, trying to change a tire, or fix a problem can go from a minor inconvenience to a dire situation. Never underestimate the need for easily accessible, reliable lighting sources. We have used penlights on and off the road to get us home when headlights have failed! (Note: not legal on the road, but better than riding in the dark)!
Unlike many similar penlights, these only take two AAA batteries, yet retain a 6.5-hour runtime. They’re water-resistant and housed in an anodized aluminium case, making them the perfect choice for Enduro, trail and race days all year round.
Best Dirt Bike Tool Rolls/Bags and Boxes 2020
1. Cruztools Roll-up Pouch
Why we chose it: While it rolls out to 16″ in length, it is designed to accept the type of smaller tools required for trail and enduro riders. Ballistic nylon is a trademarked material which denotes longevity, weatherproofing and a degree of abrasion resistance.
2. Cruztools Road Tech Metric Roll Kit
Why we chose it: It’s a useful standard kit as a budget starter if you have to go that route. If you’ve got a BMW and are looking for a budget alternative to the dealer option, this would be an excellent place to look. Naturally, you’d add better tools later.
3. Cruztools Fanny Pack Tool Kit
Why we chose it: For a budget starter kit, this option contains a whopping 21-pieces. Not only that, but the actual inventory is made up of useful items for a dirt bike rider. Use this to get started and upgrade with better tools later.
4. Cruztools DMX2 Fender Mount Dirt Bike Tool Kit
A 22-piece Fender mounting tool kit, which is ideal for riders who prefer to carry less about their person. This kit will strap on to your bike, leaving your waist free of heavy dirt bike tools, and negating the need for a bigger rucksack which other options require.
Why we chose it: As with the other Cruztools all-in-one kits, it’s a great place to start, gradually upgrading the tools. We love the option of fitting tools to the bike, however, be warned – it may not be suitable for aggressive riders who like to hit jumps hard, or for rough trails. Not for use in competitive motorcross riding
5. O’Neal Waist Dirt Bike Tool Bag
Why we chose it: O’neal is a premium dirt bike brand that understands the needs of riders. Flexible storage options and comfortable design make this an excellent choice for those wishing to build their own kit and who are looking for a reliable and durable bag.
6. Fox Racing Deluxe Dirt Bike Tool Pack
Why we chose it: Fox has a pedigree when it comes to all things dirt bike and motorcross. The main storage compartment is big enough for a comprehensive tool kit whatever style of riding you prefer.
7. Klim Scramble Pak
Why we chose it:
Klim is the go-to brand for many riders who like to push the boundaries. The scramble Pak reflects all of the qualities you would expect from Klim. With a water-resistant main compartment, external bottle storage (water or oil, depending on your way of thinking), and heavy-duty zips, as well as extending straps to attach other tools, accessories and items, the Scramble Pak is another premium product. Klim always delivers for riders who demand the best.
8. Thor 2020 Vault Pak
Why we chose it:
Thor is building an excellent reputation in the world of motorcross, we like the fact that this pack is slightly smaller than some rivals, meaning less overall weight when riding long distances.
Probably the best looking 18-pocket Tool Roll on the market.
Why we chose it:
Sometimes you just want to keep it simple. The Carharrt is durable, water-repellant, and fits into a backpack easily. The retro-style finish is made from a durable weave and secured with leather straps. The 600 Denier Polyester with Rain Defender® is an industry-standard level of protection that you will not find on cheap tool rolls.
10. Matrix concepts M31 Dirt Bike Toolbox
Why we chose it:
Having focused on tool rolls and bags, we know that in some cases, a toolbox would also be required for a van or SUV. This affordable and yet highly durable toolbox is big enough to build a pro-level mechanics kit without breaking the bank. Rounded-off corners, ensure no snagging of clothing and vehicle seats. Use this as a base for all your tools, and select your ride kit as you need it.
Of course, you might be the sort of rider who wants to buy the best of the best. For those of you who are planning on competitive racing, or even turning up at your weekend ride with a fully stocked van, gazebo and pit crew, a tool roll is not going to be enough. We couldn’t write a best dirt bike tools article without the dream products for your wish list.
11. Craftsman 450-Piece Mechanics Dirt Bike Tool Set
If the craftsmen 450 is not enough to satisfy the perfectionist in you, then you could go for the ultimate two-wheel tool
12. Park Professional Dirt Bike Tool Kit
If you are prepared to invest this much in your tools, you can always skip forward and stock up the van with everything. Grab a sweet little waist-mounted bag, and cherry-pick what you want for the ride from the back of your support vehicle. You will be everyone’s favourite person down at the track!
Dirt bike Tools In conclusion
Buying your own tools, finding the best ones for a particular job, is the best way to go. It’s not always that easy though, most of us are restricted with our budgets and cashflow.
A decent roll kit is a great way to start, giving you a point from which to begin upgrading. Look for dedicated pieces, primarily made from chrome vanadium, and in cases where weight is a problem, titanium.
Make sure you start building a tool kit as soon as you can, taking note of the tools you use for servicing, tire changes, and engine maintenance. Check your manufacturers guide for the right size tools for the main jobs required. Oil changes, plug changes, chain maintenance and link replacement and spoke tightening will be regular jobs on your list.
Most important of all: Remember, if you buy cheap, you’ll buy twice. Proper tools will last you a lifetime, or even several!
And if you are looking to add a portable air compressor to your list of tools, make sure you read my fresh guide on best portable air compressors.
We will be back with more Motorcross Advice soon – Have fun out there.