Besides of the choice of the perfect motorcycle to travel the world with, there is probably no subject that is as hotly debated among adventure motorcyclists as the spare parts and tools to carry. And let’s be honest: Of course you can’t bring everything that could theoretically break. After a year on the road, however, I now found the perfect balance for me between necessary and unnecessary things (be careful when reading my list though and consider that my Triumph Tiger 800 was a quite new motorcycle when I started and due to this doesn’t need so much maintenance overall. If you travel with an older bike you need to get familiar with it’s weak points and carry your spares accordingly)
I can’t say this often enough: In my opinion, there is nearly nothing more important to bring on a long distance trip than spare tubes. I don’t want to be rude but I am really sick of all those specialists saying things like: “Why do I need spare tubes, my tires are tubeless and easy to repair with a seal.” Believe me, they are not. During my trip I have twice given my spare tubes to motorcyclists in need who both thought they could rely on their tubeless tires and the allegedly easy repair – but if you are somewhere in Tajikistan or Myanmar when your tire decides to rip open, the hole in your tire is too big to be stuffed by a seal and there are neither tires for your motorbike, nor spare tubes in your size, then you are in trouble. No matter if you ride tubeless or with a tube: If you go on a long journey, take spare tubes and don’t rely on stumbling across people like me who carry some. Period.
Clutch and front brake levers
If you drive offroad then you eventually will fall with your motorcycle at one point. And even the best hand protectors sometimes can’t protect your levers anymore if you fall at a higher speed. This scenario doesn’t seem very unlikely to me, so I carry both levers.
Brake Pads front and rear
The need to carry brake pads depends on the countries you are traveling. Here in America (whether South America, Central America or North America) I could have planned the wear of my brakes from my experience so that I could have got new ones at all the Triumph dealerships along the way and didn’t need to bring any. In Central Asia and some other parts of the world, however, there is no dealer where new brake pads are available. In my opinion brake pads don’t take a lot of space and it gives me a good feeling to know that I can maintain my brakes even without heading to a dealer.
Slime air compressor
The mini-air compressor is one of my favorite tools. Yes, it takes a little more space than a manometer and a mini-hand pump. But have you ever tried to inflate a tire with those? I did, and it sucked. When I saw the mini air compressors that other travelers took with them I immediately wanted one of those. The good thing about the slime is that it measures the air pressure the same time it inflates the tire so you don’t have to deal with two devices
They don’t take up much space and if necessary they are quickly at hand so it’s not wrong to carry them – but I never used them so far.
Spare clutch discs
Carrying spare clutch discs is a much discussed issue. In my opinion it’s a good idea to bring some if you go on a trip of more than 30,000 km – especially when driving a lot offroad or in cities like Delhi in India or La Paz in Bolivia that challenge every clutch. In my experience even the dealerships of motorcycle brands normally don’t have clutch discs (and seals!) in stock – so expect to wait a few days to two weeks to get some new ones. If you are in countries where you don’t have this time due to visas or guided tours that you have to follow, I would rather play safe and bring spare clutch discs. A burnt clutch rarely happens on an easy accessible normal road, but just when you need it the least in the most remote mud. I btw as well carry a spare clutch cable – never needed it so far.
all fitting keys for my motorcycle, matching nuts for taking the front and rear tires off, chain lube, cable ties, straps, ducktape, spark plugs, pliers, oil, spare gas canisters
Life hacks for your toolbox
Life hack 1
Getting a tire back on the rim is much easier if you use some dish soap – or just shower gel or shampoo that you probably carry anyways (if not you are a dirty rat!).
Life hack 2 (for the ladies!!!)
If it’s dirty, sandy or muddy, fixing your broken bike can be a even bigger challenge. It’s very helpful to bring some wet pads so that you can keep the main things clean and don’t get dirt where it doesn’t belong or even could harm your motorcycle. Instead of wet pads I just carry my make-up-remover wipes – I never thought that I would ever see some guys asking me if they can borrow some of those.
Things I threw away
In the beginning I carried one bottle of cooling water and one with oil. Pretty quick I exchanged the cooling water for another oil bottle. I always carry lots of drinking water anyways so worst case I could use that until I find the next place to buy proper cooling water.
I don’t know what I was thinking, but in the beginning I carried some bulbs. But if I am honest I didn’t even realize that one of my headlight bulbs was not working anymore for weeks, due to only riding during daylight (and often my headlights are so dirty anyways, that I hardly can judge if they are working or not). In most countries of the world you are the only one anyways who has a vehicle with a working blinker – or who really uses it.
Spare No Gos
There is one thing I really don’t understand. How the hell can you carry spare tires? They are huge and when riding offroad I watched many motorcyclists having problems with strapping their tires to the motorcycle again and again. Tires last about 6.000-15.000 kilometers – I guess you will be able to find some spare tires in that range. There are very few places like central Asia where you will have trouble to do so – with a bit of research you will know in advance and can send or order tires from home. I delivered mine to Tajikistan with DHL before I took off from Germany – when I arrived my tires were already waiting for me and I didn’t have to carry them for one meter.