I know there are hundreds of postings on what to carry on motorcycle rides and this posting is just one more opinion. My concept is to keep it simple (and light) but carry what you must. My joke to friends is "if you got your cell phone and a credit card that is all you need"... but of course I add a few items to that list.
1 - Windshield cleaner, micro cloths and regular shop rag (in fairing pocket).
2 - Multi tool.
3 - Flash light.
4 - Torx tools.
5 - Plug kit and air compressor.
6 - A couple of straps in case I have to strap something on the bike.
7 - Zip ties.
8 - Pocket knife and a micro multi tool.
I need to add a couple of notes at this time. I'm older now... maybe wiser... when I was very young my list included bungee cords and chain lube... and none of the items listed above. Point #2 - I recently added the items in #5 above. I purchased a new bike less than two years ago and got a flat at 612 miles. I had not even gotten home yet. It happened on the way home from the dealer. I had two more flats before the 3,000 mile mark. Just bad luck. I now have 23,000 miles on the bike without any more flats (I know I shouldn't have said that... knocking on wood...).
These items are in addition to my normal riding gear including rain gear. I got light and heavy rain gear. That also includes rain covers for the seat and tankbag.
I'm not recommending any particular product but I'll include photos of some of the items that I use.
This is the tire plug kit and compressor that I carry. I used it to plug the last flat that I got and rode the bike for a few hundred miles without any problems. The plug kit is in the tail section of my bike (R1200RT). Compressor is in a saddle bag. Update: I now carry the compressor in the tail section also. I now have both items with me at all times. I moved things around and still have plenty of room left over in the tail section.
I like these Torx wrenches (Star Pro). At home I have the 3/8 inch drive types but I almost always use these to work on the bike. They are handy and pack small. I carry them in the existing tool pouch under the seat. Note: I'm currently riding a BMW motorcycle that uses mostly Torx fasteners. I did not have this tool set on my Honda.
I used to carry the Leatherman 300 but found it a bit heavy for carrying in a tank bag. I found the flashlight and Leatherman Fuse on sale at Academy for I think $25.88 for both items. The flashlight is very good. It's the Leatherman Monarch 400. It shoots a beam of light a long ways thus not the best type for road side repairs where a flood type is best but great for campground or search type use. These I now carry in the fairing pocket.
Update 07/23/2012 - I am adding another flashlight to my touring package. I purchased a FourSevens Quark Pro QP2L-X flashlight. The Leatherman 400 is rated at 45 Lumens for 1 hour on one AA battery. The Quark runs on 2 CR123A batteries and has 8 operating modes - moonlight, low, medium, high, max, strobe, SOS, and beacon. Moonlight is 0.3 lumens and runs for 25 days! The other settings for regular light functions are 3.0 (5 days), 65 (11 hours), 160 (4 hours), and 360 (1.7 hours). This is a much better flashlight for long term use (for example camping). FYI: There is also a MiniX that is about half the size and uses only 1 CR123A battery.
I also ordered a Preon 1 from the same company to use as an EDC. That unit uses a single AAA battery.
|FourSevens Quark Flashlight|
|Leatherman and SOG Aegis|
I always carry these on the road and whenever I'm in casual wear. I have a few knives that I use but the SOG Aegis (about $70) is one of my favorites. I now carry the Leatherman Micra (about $20) also because I have used it so much recently. Not just for bike stuff but everyday stuff. Matter of fact someone borrowed it a few days ago to install batteries in their kid's Christmas toys. My tool box was out in the garage but the Micra did the job.
Update 2012/11/17 - Why the SOG Aegis? It's large enough to get most cutting jobs done yet not so large not to fit in any size pocket. The blade opens very easily and only one hand is require to open the blade. By the way, you can also lock the blade in the closed position if you want. It's very light for the size of the knife. I think it is 3.1 oz. The lock blade mechanism is very solid. The clip is located very high so that when you have the knife in your pocket very little of it shows. BTW, this is a tip up only carry. That is not a problem with me - I prefer tip up carry. The clip can be switched to the other side so that it becomes a left hand carry.
I probably forgot an item or two but these are the main items I carry. Like I said, the older I get the more items I carry. And I still want to add a few items like siphon tube, jumper cables, more tools, trail mix, etc. At any rate, this is my list - some carry more, others carry less. This past summer I met a guy riding from South America to the USA, then Canada, and finally Alaska. Not sure of all that he had on board but we did learn that he had two helmets and a final drive for his GS.
I'm still considering two items that I've never carried before - a small siphon hose and jumper cables (motorcycle type of course). I would go with the siphon hose before the cables. One of the guys that I often ride with carries jumper cables which he once used to help start another bike. Both of these items sure are handy when you need them.