Working on your bike usually derives two responses; it fills you with dread or it presents you with an irresistible challenge! Whatever your reaction having the right tool for the job is critical for the successful completion and also helps to make sure that you don’t end up damaging your prized possession. So we offer our take on the Top 10 tools you should have at home…just in case you’re faced with either fear or fun!
- Hex Wrenches; you’ll end up using these more than any other tool, invest in a metric set and you’ll be good for anything from brake blocks to pedals! Getting a set that has “ball ends” will help with those awkward jobs too!
- Track Pump; most will work with Presta and Schrader valves. A big gauge is a bonus…especially for those of us with failing eyesight! Some newer pumps can also be used as a “compressor” to seat tubeless tires.
- Tire Levers; we’ve mentioned these before as something to keep in your saddle bag but having them in your tool box too means you won’t have to ransack your bike when you’re changing tires. Pedro’s are unbreakable! We also used Levers from Silca or Snēk
- Torque Wrench; don’t leave tightening up bolts to guess work, critical items like your bars and stem need to be tightened just right to avoid coming loose on a ride or being over-tightened to failure. One point to note, don’t use the Torque Wrench to loosen bolts.
- Chain Whip and Cassette Lock Tool; OK this is twofer, but one without the other is pretty useless, you’ll need the pair to remove a cassette and the Cassette Lock tool to actually tighten the cassette down on the free-hub when you are replacing it
- Lubricants; we mentioned Chain Lube last week, others to consider are Anti Seize Compound, Grease, Carbon Grip Compound and so on! Overwhelmed? Get some general purpose bike grease, this is good place to start
- Pedal Wrench; having leverage is a good thing when it comes to removing pedals, and a nice stiff pedal wrench is well worth having. It’s not something you will use every day but when you do you will need a good one!
- Torx Keys; 10, 15 and 25 are most common sizes and these are becoming more and more prevalent on SRAM, Campagnolo and FSA equipped bikes
- Chain Tool, to be honest you’ll only need this if you are using a chain that does not use Master (or “Quick” Links i.e. KMC, SRAM), if you are using a Master Link Chain get a pair of Master Link Pliers
- Bike Stand; ok, so it’s not a tool but it makes it so much easier than working on your bike when it’s leaning against the wall, or worse, upside down. Can also be used when washing the bike!
Bonus items that you may already have; rags, latex gloves, flathead and phillips screwdrivers, scissors, cable ties and a tool box. All of the above should be available through your local bike shop or online.
Do you need to spend a fortune, no, but it is worth investing in these tools to avoid having to replace them when poorer quality tools wear out.