Unless you are a serious racer with a semi that hous- es a garage on wheels, you probably don’t take the
tools that you use in your garage at home to the track
or trailhead. Most of us have a separate, more-portable,
essentials-only toolbox that we take with us when we go
What goes in that toolbox depends on the rider; however, if your idea of a track box is a junky little collection
of tools that came with a bike you bought in 1979, complete with rounded and roached screwdrivers and the
perfect selection of sockets (assuming you want to work
on a Maico), you might want to rethink your strategy.
Of course, you don’t want to put your best tools in your
track box, either. Maybe being magazine guys makes us
a little more cautious, but we don’t put many professional tools in our track box—maybe Craftsman or Motion
Pro tools, but no Mac or Snap-On products. We want
to make sure we have what we need to salvage a day
of riding in an emergency, but we don’t want to carry
expensive tools that may get permanently “borrowed”
or cart around a portable box as heavy as the anchor on
So, here’s what we include in our track box—and what
we recommend you include in yours.
Perhaps you are organized enough to prep your bike, put
on all of your gear and have someone help you check the
sag before you leave home (that’s how we do it). Even so,
you will most likely need to adjust the sag at the track
at some point, so you need the right tools to accomplish
the task. We love the Race Tech sag tool (not shown) for
loosening the shock lock collars to adjust preload. Pro
tool companies make plastic-handled drifts with replaceable brass punch tips. These are very cool—and one of the
exceptions to our no-professional-tools rule.
DIRT BIKE HOW-TO
Set up a track toolbox
Every toolbox needs a tire gauge. Even if your bike is fully
prepped and ready to ride, you should recheck your tires at
the altitude and temperature where you will be riding, as any
change in elevation will affect air pressure. Make sure your
gauge is working properly by checking it against a few others.
The dial gauge shown here reads 4 pounds high at low pressure. No doubt it was used to check a tire with too much pressure and was damaged.
Ideally you will only be let-
ting air out of your tires, but
odds are, you will need to
add air at some point. You can use
a CO2 cartridge or even a bicycle
pump, but we generally use a 12-volt
compressor that plugs into the power
source of our hauler. You can find
these little compressors for under $20,
but a little more money will get you
one that can inflate your car tires in a
pinch too. Our favorite costs about $60
at Orchard Supply Hardware.