Tech Talk

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

Classic Dirtbike - - Contents - Words and Pics: Tim Brit­ton

We know your bike should be re­li­able be­fore start­ing the event but what hap­pens if there’s an in­ci­dent? That’s when you need your ‘on bike’ tools.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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.

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. 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…

Above: All in place, tucked away nicely and the Allen key is for the seat bolts to ac­cess it all.

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