Bicycles are amazingly dependable vehicles that need little in the way of maintenance. When properly maintained, they rarely break down while out on rides. Even on the rare occasions when a mechanical failure occurs, they can almost always be repaired with a little know how, in a few minutes, with a few basic tools. This article will explore some of the basic bicycle repair tools every rider should carry with them when out on a ride.
Repair Tool Kit vs Maintenance Tool Kit
Here would be a good time to distinguish between a roadside repair tool kit and a bike maintenance tool kit. Bike maintenance is best done with full sized tools, at home. A repair is what you do when something unexpected happens on your ride, that could keep you from completing your ride. Bicycle repair tools are small, easy to carry versions of the tools you keep at home.
A good, basic, bicycle repair tool kit would include a spare tube, a tire patch kit, tire levers, pump/Co2, and a multi tool. Bicycles are so well engineered these days, it’s surprising how few items are really needed to take care of the unexpected . Still, it can be difficult to find a happy medium between carrying everything you need for roadside breakdowns and not carrying a lot of useless items.
Bicycle Multi Tool
A bike multi tool comes equipped with a variety of individual tools in different sizes. The tools could include Allen wrenches, Torx wrenches, screw drivers, spoke wrenches, a chain tool, all folding neatly into one small, easy to carry package. Think of the multi tool as the Swiss Army Knife of bike repair tools. Know that bike multi tools will almost never have exactly the tools you need on them, and if they do, they will have lots more that you have no use for. Seeing as saddle bags and most hydration packs have limited storage space, it’s worth taking a minute and putting some thought into what you select to take with you on rides.
Tools Needed For Bicycle Repair
The following is a list of items that you will see included in multi tools, and what they are used for. Familiarizing yourself with this list, your bicycle and the type riding you do will help you decide which multi tool you need on your ride.
- 6mm – brake mounting bolts, threadless stems
- 5mm – seat post, saddle, headset, racks, fenders, water bottle mounts, cable anchor bolts, shifter mounts
- 4mm – stem
- 2mm – brake centering
- T-25 – disc brakes rotor bolts
- Chain tool – fixing broken chains
- Spoke wrench – tightening loose spokes
- Small flathead and/or Phillips screwdriver – brake tension adjuster, derailleur limit screws, computer and light mounting brackets
Keep in mind that proper maintenance will make field adjustments and having to deal with “unexpected” breakdowns unnecessary. With this in mind, most basic multi tools will take care of whatever happens on your ride. A good basic tool would include 2, 3, 4, 5, 6mm Allen key wrenches, a Phillips and/or flathead screwdriver, and a T-25 Torx wrench if you have disc brakes. The best part is that these tools are tiny! They add very little weight to your ride, and take up very little space.
The Best Bicycle Tool Kit
What is the best bicycle tool kit? Since these tools are only for emergencies, the best tool kit is the one you remembered to pack and take with you! Bike multi tools are a collection of simple tools, packaged together to be convenient, compact, and easy to carry. Selecting the one that is right for you is an easy process once you know what you’re looking for. Chances are you may never use it on a ride. But, being prepared is always the best way to roll.
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