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What Spare Parts Do You Bring To The Track or Trail?

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With warmer weather and the riding season around the corner for many of us, I wanted to cover a topic that can either make or break an event. Whether you’re competing in a racing series or traveling to the track or trail, let's talk about event preparedness. More specifically, what spare parts should you keep on hand? Plus, what methods do you use to keep your spares organized?

Honestly, I struggled with organization until I started working on this post. I had no method to my madness. Every time an event came up I’d do the same thing; throw a bunch of stuff in a box or the back of my van and head to the event. The sad part is I now realize this was a weakness of mine for quite some time, but didn’t do anything about it! Maybe you can relate?

I finally said enough is enough. I don’t throw my tools in a cardboard box when I go to a race, leaving what I bring to the fate of my memory. So why would I do that with the spare parts I bring?

I started solving this problem by compiling a spreadsheet detailing what spare parts I keep on hand for ice racing and hare scrambles. I realize that each discipline will differ and may have niche parts that should be kept. The goal here is not to definitively define what spares one should keep on hand, but to have a conversation and provide a resource that can be used to help people get set up based on their own needs.

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Once I took inventory of everything I felt I wanted to bring to a race, I went to Menards and went hunting for the perfect organized storage bin/toolbox. Here’s what I ended up with:

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Naturally, once I returned with the toolbox, my list grew and I probably need to go back for a bigger one. I intend to store a copy of the spreadsheet in the tote so I can keep tabs on inventory and know exactly what I have available.

Should I get another bike, this system is easily replicable and my plan is to get another organized toolbox that goes with it.

This system is how I went from being an unorganized “throw it in the van at the last minute” rider to a more relaxed well prepared rider. I’d love to hear how you handle event readiness, what you bring, and how you keep track of it. My hope is that by sharing our strategies we’ll save someone the misfortune of having a bad day at the track or trail. Perhaps I'll even end up with more things I need to add to my list.

-Paul

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+2 on link, rare but happens. I also carry a old visine bottle full of penetrate oil and new bottle of visine for the eyes and spare bolts/nuts

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3 hours ago, seedy said:

Check your bike before you leave home and half of that stuff can stay there.

I have an old riding bud that doesnt do any maintenance until the night before or waits until we are on location. It is exhausting. 

Quality list is quality. 

Edited by uuc328
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+1 on get your bike ready and leave the spares at home.  I bring a spark plug and basic tools only.  Longer rides or weekends I also bring flat changing tools and spare tubes + lube and a few fasteners.

We did have one master link failure but that was because of the first rule (maintain your bike).  My buddy had a brand new bike and the dealer tech adjusted the chain too tight...

15+ years and this plan has worked for me.

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+2 on bike maintenance and checking that all nuts and screws are tight the night before. Only thing I take with me is hex set, 8mm & 10mm socket, air pump, psi gauge, WD40 and cleaning rags. I dont have to drive to long to get in to the track or trail and I'm not at the competitive level so if something brakes I rather fix it in my garage.

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IMO if you have to worry about wheel bearings going bad at the exact moment you're out riding, they probably should have been changed a long time ago, or they weren't installed right to begin with in order for them to fail unexpectedly. Some things not on the list that I bring to races is an extra rear wheel assembly with a completely different type of tire installed. Just in case a dry race with looming rain overhead ends up getting dumped on and the conditions change radically. I also bring a spare set of bar clamp bolts (the bolts that mount the bar clamps to the triple clamps). I've bent these before in crashes and they are good to have on hand if you still need to ride longer. Maybe not spare "parts", but an extra pair of gear (gloves, goggles and jersey primarily) can keep you not feeling miserable if clothing gets saturated.

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90% of that is overkill.  And that is coming from the most OCD person I know...me.  Some of that for a week long trip maybe.  As previously said, a lot of that stuff can be eliminated by routine maintenance.  Sprockets?  Brake pads?  Brake pedal (they bend, don't break).

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90% of that is overkill.  And that is coming from the most OCD person I know...me.  Some of that for a week long trip maybe.  As previously said, a lot of that stuff can be eliminated by routine maintenance.  Sprockets?  Brake pads?  Brake pedal (they bend, don't break).

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22 hours ago, cjjeepercreeper said:

90% of that is overkill.  And that is coming from the most OCD person I know...me.  Some of that for a week long trip maybe.  As previously said, a lot of that stuff can be eliminated by routine maintenance.  Sprockets?  Brake pads?  Brake pedal (they bend, don't break).

I don't think the sprocket is for repair, but more for getting a different feel for different conditions. Notice that he had different sizes. That is getting more into knowing exactly how you want a bike to feel at any given race, than a casual trail ride. If you are packing different sized sprockets though, better have chains that will fit also. 

Edited by trailrydr9

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On 29 March, 2017 at 6:43 PM, Smoking 2's said:

+2 on link, rare but happens. I also carry a old visine bottle full of penetrate oil and new bottle of visine for the eyes and spare bolts/nuts

Hope no one ever confuses these. Jeez that is an awful thought. 

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I completely agree with the commentary on prepping the bike before the event. There is no substitute for making sure it is ready to go. 

Are there things on my list that are overkill, probably, but on the flip side most items don't consume much space so I don't see much down side to squirreling them away in my tote even if the likelihood of using them is minimal. The stuff in the tote stays the same whether going to a one day event or off to a week long destination ride.

What's in the tote ultimately can be the difference between just having a bad outing on the bike, to a completely ruined weekend of riding if the right bits aren't available to make a quick repair. Everyone's situation is different so tailoring my suggestions to individual risk tolerance and application is essential. 

Keep the suggestions and feedback coming!

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Yea, a pre ride check is a substitute for carrying spares.:lol: Cant tell you how many times i've saved myself or friends from not being able to ride due to them not having spares, and me carrying so many - sometimes not even for my bike.

My spare packs are usually built from past fails.  Every time I break something on the trail, two get ordered.  One to replace, one to keep on hand.  I keep the small and most likely to fail items in my trail back, the rest stay at the truck in case I have to limp it back from a bad wreck.

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