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I started riding street bikes in 1972. After a series of increasingly faster UJM's I got a Harley in 1976. Figured I'd better slow down a bit before I killed myself.

I had always been a hot rod guy and worked on my own stuff but didn't really know anything about Harley's. I was in the Army at the time and one of my Sargents had a beautiful Pan head chopper. He taught me how to adjust the valves, carb, change oil, check primary chain and all the basic maintenance stuff.

As the years progressed I became a pretty good wrench and have built many custom bikes (some for pretty famous folks and some have been in magazines) and still have a chopper now (in addition to the GL1500).

So anyway, back in my early days of riding I could only afford older bikes (HD's) and they always needed a lot of work (not that the new ones didn't back then!). I always carried tools with me and some spare parts (points, plugs, clutch cable, etc).

When I rode with the club I was the "fix it on the side of the road" guy. Most guys could fix their own stuff back then but some couldn't. If you wanted a custom bike you had to build it yourself or with the help of others. There weren't many custom shops around and the dealer network was notorious for being a-holes and not wanting to work on customs. Thinking back, it may had something to do with the kind of guys that rode customs!

Anyway, I was up in Julian this past weekend.it is an old mining town and is a big bike destination. My sister was in town so we did the tourist thing. It's mostly clothing / nick knack shops so I got bored quickly and noticed a guy and girl getting on a newer (2007) Street Glide. He was trying to start it and it would fire but then die. As we walked by I asked the wife if I should offer to help. She said go ahead and they would continue to shop.

So the guy had only the basic HD tool kit which didn't have much in it. I checked the plugs for spark and throttle body for fuel. Both were okay but spark was week. I cleaned the plugs, reseated the wires and it fired up. I'm thinking he may have an ignition module problem but couldn't do much more with it. As I walked down the street they rode by and seemed fine.

Anyway, it got me thinking about technology and its benefits. HD's have come a long way but when they break now they are harder to fix on the side of the road. Mos riders have no clue how to fix them.

When I was young and arrogant the "rice" guys would ask me why I don't wave to them. I would respond by saying that I really didn't have anything in common with them. I was a wrench kind of guys and they were just into going fast.

Now the HD guys are just into looking cool and I'm into just enjoying life so I wave at everyone!

I wonder how many Wingers work on their own bikes? Mine has never broken down (other than the trans fork thing requiring and engine swap!) but I'm carrying tools with me. I'm planning on some long distance rides and am thinking about extra parts.

What are the most common parts to go out? Alternator, water pump, electronics?

What spare parts do you guys carry on long trips?
 

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I make sure I have all the spare fuses in place in the fuse box cover, carry a basic bailing wire & bubble gum kit (10,12,14 17mm open end wrenches,spark plug socket, a variety of allen wrenches, hand crank flashlight, channel lock plier) plus a small compressor and tire plug kit.
 

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I work on ALL my vehicles.So far, I have done everything on everything I have owned since 1964.Still carry to many tools on the bikes.
 

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I carry a tool kit comprised of Every tool needed to disassemble the bike on the side of the road... Which I test by regularly using it during routine maintenance, to verify I have all the right sizes.

Also carry spare alternator, fuel pump, water pump, relays, brake cable, several tire repair kits, aux air pump.

And I've used pretty much ALL of that stuff, either working on my broke bike or others!
 
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