Cycling - Gear/Equipment

Cycling Basics: Fix Up Your Bicycle with Bike Tools at Home

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Disasters happen; sometimes outdoor and sometimes even while you are at home. Well, we aren’t talking about you, it’s about your beloved bestie, your bike that has made your cycling ever-so-delightful and thrilling. Maintenance of a cycle is easy as it seems but for some complicated problems, you have to rely on the basic bicycle tools. Don’t cringe, these tools are all made for DIY tricks at home and they are not costly or inaccessible at all. Bump into a bike shop or a hardware shop and select the tools as per your need and choice.

Now, as much as we love buying new tools for our bestie, keeping them accordingly inside a toolbox is mandatory. The essential bike tools are prone to get rusted and once they catch rust, it gets difficult and nearly impossible to use. You can make adjustments and modify the bike repair tools and hence, you don’t need to take your bike to the doctor (mechanic we mean) every time there is a problem. It saves both your hard-earned money and time.

Essential Bike Tools

There should never be an excuse of you being not a skilled mechanic, as a cycling enthusiast, it is essential that you know how to clean the grease of a bike, fix a flat tire, lube or fix a chain and so on.

Let's now have a look at the essential bike tools to carry –

  • Bike Repair Stand

Leaning your bike against the wall while repairing makes it more difficult. The bike can fall down losing balance and even you might feel a backache while adjusting the parts. So the best is to get a Bike Repair Stand that makes the cleanup process or repairing the parts viable.

toolkit for bike maintenance
Bike repair stand.(Source)

The work stand holds the bike off the floor and holds it according to your position. After all, it gets really irritating while on the trail you are looking for a place to lean the bike.

What to check: Broad Base, adjustable stands, and clamps to the seat post

  • Bike Pump

Inflated tires are very regular in cycling. Hence, a standing floor pump, as well as a mini bike pump, should be in your bike tool kit. Presta and Schrader are the two types of valve stems and here your best option is to buy is bike pump having dual heads for both.

Standing Floor pumps tend to leak air over time, according to many speed fix tool reviews and hence, it is more reliable to carry a mini pump. The CNC-Machined barrel and accurate dial gauge make it an ideal tool for outdoor.

Livingit Tip:
Re-inflate the tires every 3-4 days to avoid damage to tires and tubes. Set the gauge of the Mini pump to high volume to ensure quick filling of tires.

Read: Best Mini Bike Pumps for Mountain and Road Bicycles!

  • Tire Levers

To remove a tire from the rim when you have a flat tire, a Tire Lever is the best bike repair kit. It is also handy when you need to install the tire.

toolkit for bike maintenance
Tire Lever(Source)

Livingit Tip:
Devise two sets, have one at home and carry the other one outdoor. Buy the one with flat blade and rigid plastic build-up.

  • Flat Repair Kit

There is no need of discarding a tube while you can reuse it. Flat Repair Kits comes handy in this case. Carry a patch kit while you go out cycling. Some patches need glue, some don’t while some need sanding –choose accordingly.

Read: How to Prevent and Deal with Bike Flat Tires

Multi-Tool

To be prepared for any problems you might incur along the biking trail, you need to include in your bike tool kit a Multi tool like a Swiss Army Knife. There are many Multi-tools available with convenient numbers of Hex Keys and Torx Keys, Spoke Wrenches, Chain Tools, and Screwdriver. These are necessary tools for everyday bike hazards according to Bicycle toolkit reviews by professional cyclists.

  • Hex Keys

Allen Keys, Hex Wrench, Hex Keys are all the same and they come in various sizes. Be it the traditional L-Shaped Hex Wrench or the Park tool Hex Wrenches with P-Shaped handle for easy grip or the multi-utility Three-way Hex Keys with three popular sized keys in one bike tool kit set, you have a plethora of choices to choose from.

best bike repair kit
L-Shaped Hex Wrench(Source)

What to check: Quality, leverage, and length according to the job. For a basic setup, fold-up hex wrench is perfect, while for a more pro-kit you can use the Hex Keys ranging from 1.5mm-10mm.

  • Torque Wrench

For a carbon fiber frame, fork or seat post, you need a maximum torque allowance. But at the same time, exceeding the recommended torque will also damage the carbons of the seatbelt clamps, derailleur clams and so on. Under-tightening, on the other hand, can cause the stem, handlebars or seat post to slip or move while you are biking. Torque Wrench is among those bike tools that help you safely install the parts of the bicycle.

Livingit Tip:
Buy the set of T-10, T-25, T-30 that will serve in any purpose.

  • Four-Way Screwdriver

For efficiency and multitasking, get a four-way screwdriver with steel tips that won’t round off or damage the hardware.

Phillips Screwdriver is the best bike repair kit to adjust the brakes or derailleur stops. The multi-tool devices as mentioned above consists of a set of screwdrivers that you can opt for, or get a separate one from bike shops or online.

  • Cassette Lockring Tool and Guide Pins

Cassette tools are needed to adjust and clean the lock ring on your cassette. Chain Whip and Lock Rings are there to replace or remove the cassette. It simply wraps around the cassette and stops the freehub from spinning while you adjust the lock ring.

bike tool kit set
Cassette Lockring Tool(Source)

What to check: Buy a Lock Ring Tool with a guiding pin.

  • Chain Cleaner

Do you find it hard to remove those grease marks from your hands each time you engage in the cleanup process? Well, Chain Scrubber and Gear Clean Brush come in aid of cleaning the bike chain tool. Chain Scrubbers are the best way to remove that built-up dirt from the chains.

bike repair tools
Chain Scrubber and Gear Clean Brush(Source)

Gear Clean Brushes remove the built-up dirt from derailleur pulleys and crank arms. One end of the brush gets inside the cogs of your cassette while the other end removes dirt.

Know about: Cycling Gear: Compact Crankset!

Livingit Tip:
Clean the chains every 100 miles and brush them every 300-400 miles.

  • Grease and Chain Lubricants

To have a smooth ride, you need to grease up your stem bolts, derailleur fixing bolts, pedal spindles, cleat screws and so on. Stuck bolts and rounded out bolt heads are the last thing you would want on the trail. Don’t mix up grease and Lube. Grease is for bolts and alloy seat post while the lubes are strictly for chains.

Read: When to Replace a Bike Chain?

Penetrating Oils will help you clean the rusts and corrupted stains. Thread locker should be applied to the threads of the fasteners such as screws and bolts to avoid corrosion and leakage.

Livingit Tip:
Lube the chains every 100 miles for a smoother ride.

  • Combination Wrench Set (7mm-17mm)

Do you need to take the fenders off your baby? Combination Wrench Sets are the best bike tools you can think of.

  1. Open Ended Metric Wrench: To adjust Brakes and Derailleurs, you need 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 3/8”, 10mm, 7/16”, 11mm, 12mm, ½”, 13mm, 9/16”, 5/8” wrenches.
  2. Cone Wrench: To tighten the bearings on loose bearing hubs, you need to include in your bike tool kit list 13mm, 14mm, 15mm, 16mm, 17mm, 18mm and 19mm wrenches that will help to adjust the front and rear hubs and also the locknuts.
  3. Pedal Wrench: To install or remove the pedals, you need a 15mm Pedal Wrench that is thicker than a cone wrench but longer to provide you a better leverage point. However, if your pedals have Hex Socket on the end of the spindle, an 8mm Hex Wrench will work just fine. The Pedal Wrench will allow you access the axle and hold it still while you rotate the cranks to tighten or loosen. Don’t apply too much force, or you end up banging your knuckles.
  4. Socket Wrench: Just to be on safe side with bicycle tools, including 8mm, 9mm, 10mm socket wrenches on your kit.
  5. 3-way Wrenches: The Y-Shaped wrenches are a combination of hex wrenches and socket wrenches that make the work of hex key and hex-head bolts easy. To loosen up a stuck hardware, these wrenches are the best according to speed fix tool reviews.
bike tool kit list
Pedal Wrench(Source)

A 4mm, 5mm, 6mm and a 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm hex wrench and an 8mm, 9mm, 10mm socket wrench will be a perfect choice.

Livingit Tip:
Get a medium-duty wrench set from a hardware store if you are not going pro. Choose a Pedal Wrench with Vinyl handle to keep the wrench from digging into your hand.

  • Needle Nose Locking Pliers

Crimping, grasping and cutting can be made easy with Needle Nose Pliers. To adjust the spacing of jaws, you need to push the lever to the two sides of the handles apart.

  • Pitch Gauge, Cow Magnet, and Scribe

Pitch Gauge will help you check the thread types while replacing something. The scribe is used to mark things, clean out crud and check for rusts on the headset, bottom bracket etc. The cow magnet is one of the best bike tools to remove and replace ball bearings from the coat of grease.

These are the essential tools to include in your toolkit for bike maintenance. Let us now take a look at the Optional Tools that too can come handy in case of an emergency and also for routine maintenance of your bestie.

  • Optional Bike Tools

Chain Tool

To remove or replace a chain, install a new one, remove a link or free a stuck one, bike chain tool is the best option as this is a small and lightweight tool, hence, very convenient to carry while you set out biking. The multi-tool sets provide a chain tool in it, you can opt for that.

Livingit Tip:
As the chains are getting expensive, it is better to stick to an 11-speed chain tool that works on 8, 9, 10-speed chains but not vice versa. It will save you from buying a new one if you upgrade your bike or get a new one.

Cable Cutter

Do you cut the housing cables and the bike cables with old wire cutters? You must have experienced frayed ends on those cables and decided to discard them. Crushed cables also trigger a downward spiral of your performance. Well, the bike-specific cable cutters are made so that you can cut the cables and housing without damaging their ends.

Spoke Wrench

Spoke wrench or Spoke Key will help you adjust the tension in the spokes of a bicycle wheel. Buy the smallest size accordingly. It is also called ‘nipple wrench’ as the size is almost the same of that. SW-0, SW-1, SW-2 is the best choice.

Sharpened Spoke

Sharpen the end of a broken spoke and bend a loop, on the other hand, to carry it on the pegboard. This tool helps in opening a liner of cable housing or poking dirt out of cogset.

Chain Checker

This is another bike chain tool that will help you determine the quality of your bike chain. Excessive force on the chains results in uneven ‘shark teeth’ on the cassettes by a stretched chain with worn out links. Neglect this and you will end up damaging the other drivetrain parts. Again, don’t discard the one that still has miles in its lifetime.

essential bike tools to carry
Chain Checker(Source)

Use a ruler to ensure accuracy and saving of time. Place it at the center of the chain pin while the other end of the ruler should match up to the center of the pin as well. If it doesn’t, it is time to get rid of that chain.

Also, know the uses of the following:

  1. Electrical Tape – Useful for sealing the ducts.
  2. Adjustable Wrench – Useful for taking off the fenders.
  3. Compact Scissors –To open a package, trim the handlebar, cut the zip ties or snipping the bar tape, scissors are a must.
  4. Hammer –A hammer with a rubber end works best to give the bike tools accurate shape. Deter from banging hard on your bestie!

Also, read Effective Tips for Troubleshooting your Bicycle!

Summing Up

Are you still at a loss for what to buy? Well, the best way to start is to buy a whole toolkit that has all the essential tools and some of the optional tools discussed above. Investing in reasonable tools will save your hard earned money and time both in the long run. Moreover, it is better to learn to fix the simple glitches of your bike rather than taking it to the mechanic every time you face a problem and spend a great amount of cash. Be self-sufficient and have a great biking ahead.

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