Parts to stock

BMW motorcycle spare parts to stock at home.

by Duane Ausherman

This list was compiled by suggestions resulting from my request from readers of Boxerworks.  Some of these parts may not apply to your BMW motorcycle, but to another series.  Your “stock” will vary according to your storage space and level of expertise in mechanical things.

The purpose of this list

This list is for the person who is just entering the world of BMW.  The newbie might want to get started in the right direction for the least investment of time and money.  As one progresses in this hobby, just like the others, one starts to specialize in some direction, or aspect of riding, collecting, restoring, or rebuilding.   Don’t get too serious about this list, just consider it a starting point.

Lubricants for the drive train units, brakes, and forks.  Have the metric measuring containers for the sizes needed.  Buy in bulk and save money.

Crush washers.  They can usually be reused safely, but it is best to replace them.

Two sets of plugs  Run one set for 1000 miles to make sure that they work and then put them aside for spares.  New plugs just might not work and that plays havoc with troubleshooting.  Only use correct plugs.  Bosch and NGK are respected for use in a BMW motorcycle.

Points and condenser.  These get replaced far too often.  A condenser should last 10-20 years while points are generally good for 20 k miles on the /5 and later.  On the /2 model twins, they will last almost forever.

Air filter.  Use quality filters for long life.

Oil filters.  Use quality filters.  Don’t save on this one, except by buying in quantity.

Top end gaskets.  The valve cover gaskets should last for many removals.  Head gaskets usually should be replaced, however, I have many times had to reuse them and none failed.  Cylinder base gaskets are now made of thin metal.  They can be reused many times.

Control cables.  One can expect cables to last for many miles.  Some keep a spare clutch cable mounted almost in place.  Learn to ride it without the clutch.  Throttle cables should be replaced when one has trouble keeping the carbs balanced.  Otherwise, they just don’t break.  Keep a good set on the bike and expect to change them every 10-15 years.  Keep one spare front brake cable.

Spare tubes.  Use quality tubes and keep a spare for each wheel size.  BMW supplied tubes with a high content of natural rubber.  They cost a bit more and are prone to leak a pound or air per week.  However, they aren’t prone to blowouts.

Spare nuts and bolts.  I keep a large variety of spare metric fasteners.

Some wire, terminals, and a tester.  This depends somewhat on your expertise with electrical things.  Keep a good diagram of your model.

Spark plug wires,   Replace them every 5 years or 50 k miles, whichever comes first.  Use good solid copper wire, not the graphite junk so common today.

Ignition coils.  Replace your coils every 15-20 years and you will probably never have an issue with them.

Voltage regulators.  Most now prefer the modern solid state ones available from many car parts stores for cheap.

Fuel line,  Keep enough in stock to replace your whole set.  Carry one line that is the longest used, as it can be cut as needed.  Use the good stuff from your dealer or a VW car place.

Duc tape, tie wraps and baling wire are very useful.

Fuses.  You may need a lot of them to use during troubleshooting.

Carb bowl gaskets and floats.  On the /2, replace the brass floats every 10 years and keep a spare one.  On the /5 and later, keep at least one spare float.  Keep a set of spare gaskets.

Carb diaphragms.  Replace every 5 years and keep a set of spares.  They could last 25 years, but is it worth the chance?

A diode board.

Alternator rotor.  These do fail and there is no rule or warning.  Several vendors are rebuilding them.

Exhaust nut, or set.  The exhaust nuts are well known for seizing on the threads of the heads.  This requires that they are cut off and replaced.


The original tool kit is excellent in quality and usefulness.  They are still available new.

Battery charger.  One really should have a battery charger and they are not expensive.

Electric air pump.  If you have room, one can get a small portable air pump that runs off of your battery.  Better to get a “real” air compressor.

Tire levers.  I know, you are saying, “I am never going to repair a tire.” and that is great.   But, many have learned to do it out of necessity.  Get good tire irons, like the ones in the toolkit, will work, but they are short and require some muscle.

Exhaust nut wrench.  Do not try to remove the exhaust nut without a special wrench made just for this job.

Tire gauge.  You must check the air pressure often and you will need an accurate way to test it.

One should have reference works that are concise, detailed and in sturdy bindings.  These could be aftermarket books, printed off of the Internet, or a CD for your shop computer.  This “library” would include your logbooks for each vehicle that you own.

Keep these in mind for your BMW motorcycle

The thing that fails most frequently is The owner’s brain.
The thing that fails most unexpectedly is The owner’s brain.