Parts to stock

BMW motorcycle spare parts to stock at home.

by Duane Ausherman

The purpose of this list

This list was compiled from 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.

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 begins 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.

Collect 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.

Store two sets of plugs  Run one set for 1000 miles to ensure they work, and then put them aside for spares.  New plugs might not work, and that plays havoc with troubleshooting.  Only use the 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 suitable for 20k 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, many times I have had to reuse them, and none failed.  Cylinder base gaskets are 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 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 inner tubes with a high content of natural rubber.  They cost a bit more and are prone to leak a pound of 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 diagram of your model.

Spark plug wires,  replace them every five years or 50k miles, whichever comes first.  Use good solid copper wire, not the graphite junk that is 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. On your motorcycle, carry one line that is the longest one used, as it can be cut as needed. Use the good stuff from your dealer or a VW car place.

Duct tape, tie wraps, and baling wire are handy.

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 ten 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 five 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.

Collect an 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 may still be available new.

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

Electric air pump.  If you have room, you can get a small portable air pump that runs off 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.  Getting 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 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.

Updated 30 March 2023