R1200GS Tool Kit Information


Last updated: 31-Jan-2011

What tools do you need?

I made the following list by trying to adjust/remove/install everything I'd be likely to do to my R1200GS along side the road, or in a campsite or motel parking lot. If you have these tools, you'll be pretty well covered:

Note: If you don't have the BMW hand guards, then you don't need the T55. You can use the 8mm socket in place of the E10 for the handlebar mount bolts, and if you replace the E8 pinchbolt holding the shift lever on with a hex or Allen head bolt, then you don't need the E8. You can use a 1/4" SAE socket or box end wrench in place of the E-8 -- it fits perfectly! See below.

The stock R1200GS toolkit(s)

The original production run bikes came with a fairly complete toolkit, which was described in the owner's manual. Later build bikes came with a smaller toolkit, and I believe the owner's manual no longer mentions what should be in it. There is a rumor out of Germany that future R1200GS'es won't have a toolkit at all!

My owners manual, page 111, lists:


. Andy Tobin (aka Tobers) provided the above photo of the "original" stock R1200GS toolkit. The drawing to the left is from the owner's manual. This toolkit can still be ordered (P/N 71 11 7 683 716) from your BMW dealer for about $53US.


The "new" R1200GS toolkit (photo by alecmuffett).

To rectify the situation with the new toolkit, buy yourself a set of Torx sockets. You should already have enough metric tools to take care of the few bolts/nuts that aren't Torx (most are either very large, or are Allen head bolts).

The "new" kit includes an oil-filler cap removal tool (the black gizmo with the keyring in the photo above). The original kit uses the 17mm socket (19mm on the outside) for the same purpose. I made my own oil-filler cap tool.

My personal R1200GS toolkit


My personal toolkit in its present form is shown above. It includes enough tools to do most roadside repairs and routine maintenance tasks, including removing both wheels. I made a couple custom tools, and changed a couple things on the bike to minimize the set of tools required.

Here's what's in my kit:

And these two are in my tailbag: I also have a set of spares (oil filter, wire, cable ties, duct tape, misc. nuts and bolts, a tube of Plastic Steel, etc.), which I keep in a saddlebag. I'll do a Webpage documenting that Real Soon Now...

I don't carry the BMW shock adjustment tool, as I have Wilbers shocks and don't need it. More information about custom tools appears below...


And here's how it packs, in a tool wrap I believe I bought some years ago from Bob's BMW. I think it's a Kathy's Sport tool pouch, about $22. My toolkit weighs about 5 pounds. I use a better tire repair kit than came with the bike, and carry a home-made tire pump which I cut down from a inexpensive emergency auto pump, added a combo DIN/cigarette lighter plug, and fit into a Rubbermaid food storage container. I also carry an Al Jesse R12GS oil filter wrench, and a home-made oil filler cap wrench.

Getting rid of the Torx E8 and E10

To deal with the handlebar mounts, and the shifter, you normally need Torx E10 and E8 sockets, respectively. The E-series Torx are not generally available, though I found a set a local auto parts store. You can use a standard 8mm socket for the handlebar bolts, so that's one less tool you need in your kit. I built a custom mount for my GPS, and in doing so I replaced the Torx handlebar bolts with hardened 12mm hex-head bolts.

BTW -- you can remove the E-8 Torx bolt in the shift lever with an 1/4" SAE socket or box end wrench. Either 6 or 12-point.


To get rid of the necessity for the E8, I changed the bolt on the shift lever (shown by the red arrow above). That's two odd tools I now no longer need.


A 6x25mm bolt works fine -- I used a stainless steel Allen head bolt (shown by the green arrow above). It seems odd to me that BMW would put a fastener on the shift lever for which they don't provide a tool in the standard toolkit.

My home-made tools


To deal with the 22mm front axle, I made the two tools shown above. The one I painted green is a pair of 22mm and 19mm nuts braized together. I bought a cheap 19mm box-end wrench at a pawn shop (for 25 cents) and cut one end off. That works with the green tool to provide a means to remove and reinstall the front axle.

The other tool is similar, but for it I welded a cut-down 3/8" socket to a 22mm bolt head. I got a little carried away with the amperage setting on my TIG welder, but even though it isn't pretty, it's strong! It's the one I carry now, instead of the green one. For about $21, Motion Pro makes a very nice version of this tool called the T-6 Hex Axle Tool. Rick Sterry reports that in the UK there's a similar tool available for £9.99 called a Spindle Key front spindle socket.

The real problem with the front axle, and the hardened T40 rear wheel mounting bolts, is that you can't really get either one torqued properly with a 3/8" drive socket wrench. I've measured it, and I can do about 30 ft-lbs (41 Nm) with the fairly short rachet handle I've got in my toolkit. However, the front axle requires 37 ft-lbs (50 Nm) and the rear wheel bolts require 44 ft-lbs (60 Nm). That means that I can't get those two things properly torqued with my toolkit, so I have to do my best, and make sure I get a torque wrench on them as soon as I get to "civilization".


Here's the R1200GS front axle, with the "green" tool in place. With a 19mm wrench, or the 8" Crescent wrench, it can be removed or reinstalled (assuming the pinch-bolt below it is loosened first, of course).


And the 3/8" drive socket-wrench version of the same tool (the one I carry in my toolkit).

A neat trick with epoxy

Tools-36.jpg   Tools-40.jpg

I picked 19mm above because it's the same size needed to remove the oil filler cap. The red gizmo in the leftmost photo above is an inexpensive faucet handle from the hardware store, with a thin 19mm nut epoxied to it. It makes a small and neat oil filler cap wrench! I keep mine in a side pocket of my tail bag (which I always have mounted on the rear of the bike), along with my air pressure gauge, garage door opener, flashlight, pen, etc.

Someone (I wish I could remember who) suggested another neat trick to me. Epoxy a thin 19mm nut to the bottom of your spare oil filters, then all you need to remove or install a new filter is a 19mm wrench. If you do that, you can even use a new filter (with nut epoxy'd on) to remove the oil filler cap, then use the 19mm wrench (or the 8" Crescent) to remove and replace the filter. After the oil has drained out of the old filter, and I've refilled the oil in the engine, you can use the old filter to tighten the oil filler cap.

Oil Filter Wrenches

JesseWrench3.jpg   NippyWrench.jpg

The R1200GS uses an odd 12-fluted oil filter, and finding a wrench that fits it can be difficult. The two above work perfectly. The one on the left is about $35US from Al Jesse Luggage Systems, and the one on the right is about £9 ($15US) from Nippy Norman's in the U.K.

Spark Plug Cap Puller

PlugPuller2.jpg   PlugPuller1.jpg

The photos above show the updated BMW shop tool for pulling the spark plug caps. This is a much better and rugged tool than the little plastic gizmo that came with some of the early release bikes. It's marked on top with: 12 3 560/561 -- CE 03/05 -- Made in Germany.   I bought one of these from BMW of Santa Cruz County for $37US.

Promach Dual Tool


T. Wesley found this neat tool from Promach: The DualTool is 1 1/4 inches in diameter by 1 1/2 inches long and weighs just 1.8 oz (about 50 grams). The outside tool is for spark plug cap removal, and the inside part fits the R12GS front axle for wheel removal. It has a 22mm hex that will fit the R1200, K1200S, K1200R, and K1200GT front axles. and has a 19mm hex on the other end for socket or wrench use. The 19mm on the other end will fit a F800GS' axle. It has a 3/8 inch square drive on each end, designed to fit your ratchet or torque wrench. Very clever.

A Good Idea™

If you build up a custom toolkit like I did (yours will likely differ a bit), make a point of using it, and only it, every time you work on the bike. Avoid the temptation to use the roll-out toolchest in the garage. If you do that, then you'll quickly discover the few important tools you don't have in your on-bike toolkit, and can add them to it. Better to figure it out in your garage, than on the shoulder of some deserted mountain road at midnight, in the rain, 100 miles from the nearest open gas station...

A customizable list of tools

Some years ago, I whipped up a Webpage to create lists of tools for a custom toolkit. They are customizable, and I provide three versions as starting points:

A spiffy toolkit for $40US

Ride West BMW in Seattle, Washington, USA sells the kit shown in the photos below for about $40. I have one (thanks to my friend Steve who lives in Seattle).


The brand is Proxxon and it's only a little bit larger in footprint than the stock toolkit (25 x 14 x 4 cm), but it has *way* more stuff in it. And it weighs a little less than 3 pounds.


You could make it a couple ounces lighter by leaving out the 4mm thru 7mm sockets, and the 9mm socket. Here's what it contains:

There's also some space underneath the plastic tray that holds all the tools in place. You could easily stuff a bunch of spare nuts and bolts, wire, cable ties, etc. there and still close and latch the lid.


If you have any suggestions for improving (or correcting) this page, please email me and I'll update it.

Dave Lapin wrote: One little thing I've found useful is the tire inflation nipple that goes on the pneumatic hose end. Numerous times I've stopped at a gas station to put air in my tires where they had an air hose, but no inflator tip. It is such a small part that it's easy to carry one as a back-up.


Thanks to the following people who provided information to make this page better, more accurate, and more informative: Andy Tobin (aka Tobers), Joel White (aka el_cabong), Steve Powers (aka spowers), and a few other folks whose names I've forgotten...

Copyright © 2005-2007, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.