Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Gear Talk: GTS Touring Tool Roll

My prized tool roll from CORSette 2014. Thanks, Nikki!

Who doesn't like a peek into someone else's tool roll?

After many miles, I think I've dialed in a field kit arrangement that's portable and can handle all the regular maintenance jobs on the GTS, and then some.

If I empty out the glovebox, topcase, and underseat, these are pretty much all the items I carry for the GTS for touring and general preparedness. The only things missing are a tiny collapsible silicone funnel like this or this and some spare oil (they're oily and live in a ziplock separate from my tools), and a roll of clear Gorilla tape (useful for a bike with plastic parts).

Items #3-16 live in the glovebox. #2 is at the bottom of the under seat storage. #1 is usually kicking around the topcase or with spare parts, depending on whether I'm carrying sidebags (hence dry bag).

All the things.

Let's get into more detail:
  1. Red bag for variator tools. They are separate because their shape is awkward for a roll, and mostly for CVT jobs. More below.
  2. Main tool roll. More below.
  3. Plastic container the perfect size for holding a spare exhaust bushing, and extra O-rings for oil changes. A short piece of PVC pipe and some tape also works, whatever protects your graphite bushing from being crushed.
  4. Self fusing silicone tape. This stuff is handy for so many things, it'll work like electrical tape, or just make whatever you wrap anti-slip and water resistant.
  5. Velcro strap roll. Double-sided, reusable, cut to length. Use to hold your brake lever closed for working solo, attach small things to bike, etc.
  6. Mini hand pump.
  7. Worm style tubeless tire repair kit and factory suspension adjuster. These live behind the plastic cover where Piaggio factory tools usually go. I ditched the cheap screwdriver and seem to have lost the spark plug wrench, but the suspension adjuster stays.
  8. More comfortable reamer. Not sure where this came from, haven't had to test.
  9. Slime keychain digital tire gauge. Good for tight spaces.
  10. Altoids tin of odds and ends. More detail below.
  11. Brass wire brush.
  12. Small bottle of Seafoam fuel stabilizer.
  13. Motul hand cleaner. This stuff is the shit.
  14. Spark plug in fancy spark plug container. Honestly, this was from when my plug kept falling out, and is not really necessary to carry for a GTS.
  15. Swiss+Tech 6-in-1 key ring multitool. A gift, it ended up being useful for little adjustments when I don't want to pull out the full tool roll. Also, it's tiny.
  16. 3 oz. can of WD-40. Yes, they come that small.

Now to explode the tool roll:


  1. 16mm spark plug wrench with universal joint. I must've lost the factory original, which isn't as nice but is lighter.
  2. Sockets in sizes: 24mm, 19mm, 17mm, 14mm, 13mm, 10mm, deep 8mm, 8mm.
  3. Drive adapters: 3/8 to 1/2 inch, 1/2 to 3/8 inch, 3/8 to 1/4 inch, 1/4 to 3/8 inch.
  4. 1/4 inch drive 6 inch Extension Bar.
  5. 3/8-inch drive Extendable Ratchet.
  6. Dual 1/4-inch and hex bit drive Mini Ratchet.
  7. 1/4 inch drive to hex bit adapter, Torx bit sizes: T40, T30, T25, T20 (nicked from this set), Flat bit sizes: #1, #2, Philips bit sizes: #1, #2.
  8. Hex bit sizes: 8mm, 6mm, 5mm, 4mm, 2.5mm (plucked from this Metric Hex Driver Bit Set).
  9. 10mm Mini Combination Wrench. Better than adjustable for little spaces, also so cute.
  10. 8mm Mini Combination Wrench. See above.
  11. Lobtex 150mm Lightweight Adjustable Wrench. High precision and lightweight, I've replaced all my full size wrenches with this one for travel. And it has a lobster on it!
  12. 6-in-1 screwdriver.
  13. 6 inch long #2 Philips power drill bit.
  14. Pliers. Cheap.
  15. Strap style Oil Filter Wrench (it works ok, and packs small).
  16. Telescoping magnet. The smaller the better. I see now they make bendable ones?!
  17. A hook from Harbor Freight's Mini Pick and Hook set (I love that store).
  18. A tiny file, round on one side flat on the other.
  19. Spare fuses, cotter pins, speed clips, odds and ends, and zip ties in various sizes.
  20. Tool roll to hold it all, from CORSette Vintage Smallframe race 2014.

I've painted a blue stripe on most of my tools with leftover Serenity Blue automotive paint, in case of working in a shared garage.

Total weight: 4 lbs 3.2 oz.

I only have one large 3/8-inch drive extendable ratchet, and one 1/4-inch drive mini ratchet. It's entirely for space and weight savings, and the mini-ratchet is useful for small spaces on the bike. With drive adapters and the extension bar, you should be able to swap for everything in between. For a fixed-location garage, I'd get fullsize everything.

Onward to red bag, my variator and clutch tools:


  1. Clutch Tool and Buzzetti Variator Holder, which you can also get from this set for GTS.
  2. ACDelco 3/8-inch drive Digital Torque Adapter.
  3. Some shop rags, mostly to keep things from clanging around.
  4. Scraps of sandpaper.

For tubes of things and odds and ends, the Altoids tin:


  1. Tape measure.
  2. Red Loctite.
  3. Blue Loctite.
  4. Anti-seize.
  5. Stubby pencil (you'd be surprised when this and the tape measure come in handy).
  6. Superglue, individual use tubes.
  7. Dielectric grease packet.

For spare Vespa parts, I carry:

  1. Exhaust gasket (at least one!).
  2. Oil filter and O-ring for drain bolt.
  3. Drive belt (used one wth 4.5k on it).
  4. Speedo cable (I like to be able to count mileage between gas tanks).
  5. Spark plug in a little caddy.

Miscellaneous not pictured:

  1. Clear Gorilla tape (good for bikes with plastic parts).
  2. Duct tape (kept rolled on my bar end weight).
  3. Aluminum foil (for making funnels, wrapping your leftover burrito, or expressing yourself in sculpture).
  4. Small collapsible silicone funnel and spare 5W-40 container.

Things I borrow:

  1. A soft mallet, like rubber or brass. Sometimes your boot works.
  2. Deep 13mm, for torquing rear shocks to spec.
  3. Deep 15mm, for main swingarm bolt. There's no reason to drop an engine on the road.
  4. Steering Head Bearing Nut tool. For torquing castle nut to spec after dropping fork.
  5. Grease, though I have been known to carry a dollop in a snack size ziplock bag.

Examples of which tools for which jobs

Pit Stop Seattle. May 4 - 8, 2017.
Keeping the sidewalk oil change classy.

Engine oil change:
  1. 3/8-inch drive Extendable ratchet. Want that extra length for torque.
  2. 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch adapter.
  3. 24mm socket (oil drain plug).
  4. Oil filter strap wrench, or the butt end of an adjustable wrench for the slotted type filter. There are tons of oil filter removers available, this just happens to be one that packs down small.
  5. Collapsible silicone funnel like this or this. As long as the small opening fits in the oil opening.
  6. Pliers.
  7. Aluminum foil.
  8. A baking pan I bought from Daiso for $1.50.

Hub oil change:
  1. 3/8-inch drive Extendable ratchet.
  2. 3/8 to 1/4 inch drive adapter.
  3. 6 inch extension bar. The 1/4 inch drive bar is slender enough to reach around the brake disc, otherwise you need a wobble head.
  4. 1/4-inch drive to hex bit adapter.
  5. 6mm hex bit.
  6. The tiniest funnel (Harbor Freight sells a set for $1, I took the tiniest one), or a syringe if you have one.
  7. Empty bottle with top cut off an angle, for catching oil.

Headlight change:
  1. 6-inch #2 Philips power bit. This slender bit is exclusively for reaching that annoying middle screw under the headlight. I picked mine up at a flea market for cheap, and it goes in either my 6-in-1 screwdriver or Mini ratchet.
  2. 6-in-1 screwdriver, for the rest of the screws.
  3. Mini ratchet.
  4. 2.5mm hex bit, to remove brake reservoir covers. I think the new GTSes have integrated covers, so you won't need this anymore.
  5. Lobtex lightweight adjustable wrench to remove the mirrors, 17mm open wrench if you have fullsize option.

Belt/Clutch/Variator change:
  1. Variator and Clutch tools for GTS.
  2. 6-inch #2 Philips power bit (air filter box removal).
  3. Mini 1/4 inch drive ratchet.
  4. 8mm deep socket (belt cover).
  5. 3/8-inch drive Extendable ratchet (you will want to extend this to torque).
  6. 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch adapter.
  7. 1/2-inch to 3/8-inch adapter.
  8. Digital Torque Adapter.
  9. 19mm socket.
  10. Sandpaper.
  11. Blue Loctite.

Removing muffler (for bushing replacement or rear tire change):
  1. 3/8-inch drive Extendable ratchet.
  2. 3/8 to 1/4 inch drive adapter.
  3. 6 inch 1/4-inch drive extension bar.
  4. 1/4 inch to hex bit drive adapter.
  5. T40 Torx bit.
  6. 13mm or 17mm socket, depending on your model.

Front tire change:
  1. 3/8-inch drive Extendable ratchet.
  2. 3/8 to 1/4 inch drive adapter.
  3. 1/4 inch to hex bit drive adapter.
  4. 6mm hex bit.

Rear tire change:
  1. All the above to remove the muffler.
  2. All the above for a front tire change.
  3. 24mm socket.
  4. 19mm socket.
  5. 17mm socket (undo the shock from the plate).
  6. Pliers.
  7. Cotter pin.
  8. Someone with a tubeless tire mounting machine because fuck wrestling with tire irons. Subsequently, I don't carry tire irons.

Speedo cable replacement:
  1. 8mm mini wrench (undo the cable by the wheel).
  2. The rest of the things to remove headset.

There's a lot of swapping between adapters, but the above arrangement should cover typical wear and tear on a GTS with minimal weight. For less frequent work, I try to borrow a garage. For instance...

Bleed brakes:
  1. 14mm socket (for front brake banjo bolt).
  2. 8mm mini wrench (bleeder valve).
  3. A tube and container, borrow these (though I could carry a short length of tube).

Rear shock replacement:
  1. 5mm hex bit socket (3/8 inch drive). This is to remove the grab rail and plastic dust cover.
  2. 13mm deep socket, if you care about torquing to spec. Otherwise, use the Lobtex adjustable, or a ratcheting 13mm wrench if you have it.
  3. 13mm wrench. Borrow this.
  4. 17mm wrench. Borrow this.

Front shock replacement:
  1. 13mm socket for upper nuts.
  2. 6mm hex bit for lower bolts.
  3. 6-inch extension bar.
  4. Ratchets.

Fork bearings:
  1. All the things to remove the headset.
  2. 8mm allen bit.
  3. Steering head bearing tool. Borrow this.
  4. Torque wrench.

The list goes on. Someone once told me, as long as oil and coolant is in it and they don't mix, it'll run forever.

As always, if you have any thoughts or suggestions for tools, please let me know in the comments!


  1. Very good idea of painting lines or dots on your tools. I’m definitely copying that. Not just to identify tools in a shared setting but also identifying what goes with the bike. With a Ural, you end up with a lot more tools and on any long-ish trip, you end up using all most of them. I also bring a lot of electrical system items for both repair and debugging.

  2. This list coming from someone who has ridden a lot on the Vespa is awesome. I have not done major cross country riding on the Vespa yet. I work on my vespa on the sidewalk in Brooklyn. I am guessing you have done major repairs by the side of the road. I have been following your posts for a while. Just love your generosity in sharing your knowledge and tales from those trips. I live vicariously through them...

  3. That is an amazing kit, particularly the digital torque adapter. As you describe the tools for the various jobs, I know that you have personally tackled each one successfully. This post is invaluable for anyone undertaking touring on a Vespa.

  4. Great article! Thanks for sharing I added some thoughts on Hand cleaner sometime ago