Motorcycle tools inventory

With under four months to go before the Alaska trip, I am now into my active to-do schedule from a custom calendar I created to start making sure everything is ready to go.  Each week for the next 14, I have things that need to be accomplished.  Today’s project was to ensure that all the tools I want to take are gathered together, checked, cleaned, and placed on the bike.  Most of these things I carry normally, but it is always a good idea to make sure that rust or any damages are not affecting them by doing an annual inspection.

First, a list of the tools that I carry:

  • Complete Craftsman 3/8″ socket set, with normal sockets, torx, star, allen, screwdriver, extensions, and other related items
  • Craftsman screwdriver ratchet, along with 30 bits of different shapes
  • Small folding hex (in SAE and metric) and allen wrenches
  • Windzone multi-tool and pouch (came with my Windzone EK1-HD tool set, which I pillaged to make my custom tool set)
  • 2 normal length and 2 micro sized screwdrivers (and a large thick screwdriver for prying, etc)
  • 2 different sized spark plug wrenches and a spark plug gap tool
  • Small flashlight (I have three others stored elsewhere on Harley)
  • Large adjustable wrench
  • Vise-grips, one small on large
  • Needle-nose pliers with side cutters
  • Small portable 3/8 & 1/4″ socket wrench
  • 4 combination wrenches matching the bolts needs on my Ultra (except for axle)
  • Slime air compressor, cabling to work off bike’s cigarette lighter, or the battery tender plug
  • Tire plugger kit
  • EMGO motorcycle jumper cables
  • Extra shift linkage (have helped 3 other people on the road carrying an extra one of these)
  • Gorilla tape, electrical tape, tie-wraps (not all pictured below)
  • Mini-fuses ranging from 1A to 40A, several extra 40A maxi-fuses (wait to you blow one of these out in the middle of nowhere…they cost under $5 each, and almost nobody ever carries an extra)…I carry these in my tour pak though.
All laid out…takes a lot of room on the bike as is
As we all know, all motorcycles have very little storage space.  Most of us ride with, or buy bags to hold things and strap them all over our bikes (saddlebags, panniers, tour packs, windshield bag, fork bag, etc).  The more we ride and journey, the quicker we learn to start finding way to consolidate everything into smaller packages.  We start trimming things off the bike that are redundant, or find creative ways to store everything we wish to bring.  Here’s how all of the above go into bags on my bike:

The four bags that are shown are made by a company called Innovative Storage Solutions.  They made custom bags for Harley’s that allow people to use every inch of available space to carry things on their trips.  These bags are custom made to fit the molding at the bottom of a Harley hard-shell saddlebag.  You see, Harley’s have a saddlebag support running under the bag itself, and the bag is molded to straddle this support.  The problem with this is the support runs the length of the bag, and is right in the middle.  As the saddlebag is packed, a lot of wasted space sits on each side of the molding.  Most people carry a tool roll bag of some kind, and this takes up valuable space.

To utilize all of this wasted space, I bought these four bags from Innovative Storage Solutions.  The cost was $59.95 plus shipping for the four-piece set (they call it their In the Bag set).  I had put off buying these for a while due to the high cost, but eventually purchased them to find a better way to carry my tools.  Every since I have had these, I have much appreciated them.  It gave back a ton of room in one saddlebag…enough to carry my leather coat and leather chaps in the same amount of regained space.  That is saying a lot about how practical these expensive, but very well made bags with length-long zippers, work for the bike.  If interested, you can find this product and other space savers on their website at http://www.storagepouches.com.

To explain a little bit better about the molding at the bottom of the saddlebag, I took a picture:
The raised channel in the middle is for the saddlebag support
This “raised hump” running through the bag is over 1/2″ tall.  When you but something in the bottom of the saddlebag, it tends to rest on the hump and all the space underneath is wasted.  Using the “In the Bag” bag kit I purchased,, in which two bags go into each saddlebag and are designed to use all the non-humped space, this is what it looks like with the tool bags at the bottom now:
Look ma, no wasted space!
Nice and even at the bottom.  With the tire repair items and jumper cables at the new bottom, this is how it appears:
Tons of space left now
The other side saddlebag
The kicker to all of this is that 3 of the four bags still have tons of room left in them.  Extra spark plugs, more sockets, emergency money, lotion, emergency medical supplies, or whatever else can easily be stored.  I carry a first aid roll that I prefer to keep at the top of the saddlebag for emergencies, and will cover the contents of that in a future posting.

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