Technical feature: Tolling up

Taking a critical look at the tools you carry is a worthwhile exercise.

Words and Pics: Tim Britton

This little feature is probably one for trials and enduro riders rather than MXers, as there’s little chance to fix an MX bike at the side of the track.

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The modern way for carrying kit is to use a backpack of some sort but there are those of us who aren’t so keen on such things and prefer to use a small toolbox secreted on the bike.

I know that a bigger backpack will have more room for more kit but if your bike is that unreliable then perhaps an hour or two more in the workshop would be a good idea.

The whole point of carrying a few tools is to correct the odd incident that happens during an event and it isn’t a quantifiable thing that you must carry this and not that.

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For donkey’s years riders were advised to prepare for every eventuality in classic events such as the SSDT but this advice often missed the point.

Tools all packed and ready to fit under the seat. There will be somewhere on your bike that will have room for something similar.
There’s nothing magical about holding the toolbox on, some rubber bands cut from an old inner tube will be ideal, cable ties won’t be though.
These tools don’t fit in the bag but slip into the rubber bands and are secure enough outside the bag.

The point being ‘what is actually feasible to repair out on the course?’

My suggestion is take a critical look at your bike and your own mechanical ability then make your plans from there. In a typical event for me there is the possibility of some damage from rocks in sections, maybe a puncture or, as happened in an enduro recently, submerging the bike in a river.

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So, after many years of hauling all sorts of stuff around I came to the conclusion that I may need to remove either wheel to fix a puncture, remove the carb to drain water out, change a spark plug or a chain split link. Anything after that, well tough luck.

A few nuts and bolts are useful, more in case one is dropped and can’t be found than anything else.
My spark plug and rear wheel removal kit. The Allen key is a good Tommy bar and also fits the brake torque arm.
An emergency screwdriver, the bit is from a battery gun, a small socket connects the Allen key to it and the Allen key fits the bash plate bolts.
See? All assembled. It works too, if it hadn’t I’d have had to think again, so it’s best to check in the workshop.
A plastic carburettor feed banjo and filter plus a float spindle and needle with a pilot jet weigh very little.

Once this realisation dawned on me the obvious next step was to reduce the number of tools needed to accomplish these tasks.

This is where the thought comes in as there are some things that can’t be altered – a spark plug for instance needs a certain size box spanner to remove it but there’s no reason why a wheelnut can’t be made to the same hexagonal shape.

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On my BSA the rim locks need a 13mm spanner to undo them, a few strokes with a file and the 5/16in carburettor nuts also need a 13mm spanner.

A wheel spindle clamp bolt was modified from an M10 Allen bolt so the same Allen key fits it, the tank bolt and is a Tommy bar for the plug and wheel spanner.

Cutting the ring end off a combination 13mm spanner allows it to be used as a tyre lever too… and it goes on.

Carry a couple of links, make certain they fit the chain too. First time in a long time I knocked a link off in a section recently.
A cable adjuster is worth having just in case, this is a light alloy one and when apart it takes up almost no room .
Puncture repairs, spanner loosens rim locks and holds the tyre bead, tyre lever does the tough work and a self-adhesive patch holds enough to get you back to base.
A small tyre inflator from a mountain bike will blow the tyre up and is small enough to tuck away on the bike.

A few rubber bands hold the kit under the seat, an inflator from a mountain bike will blow up a tyre – okay it’s a long job but it is quicker than pushing…

Why do it?

Even though few trials courses these days are super long, it’s still not nice to push a bike for any distance if having a few tools can fettle the problem on the spot.

Same for enduro riders, probably more so as their courses tend to be longer and it is better to finish an event under your own power.

Difficulty: 1/5

Some tools, a workbench, a bit of creative thinking, time, coffee.

Tool dealers, spares suppliers for your bike.

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