If there’s one subject where the maxim “buy quality, buy once” applies, it has to be the essential bike repair tools. Good tools are durable, work better, and are less likely to damage the parts where they are employed. Hence, if you are worried about their price tags, think of the tools as a one-time investment, not a cost.
You might say: but my bike is different from my friend’s. You are right but what we will present to you are the tools that are common to most bikes. Here you will get tools that are imperative to changing flat tires, setting up handlebars, changing the saddle position, adjusting gears and bikes, and changing the chain. Nothing specific, only general but essential bike repair tools.
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Bike Repair Stand
One of the most important yet the most underrated, bike repair stands to give you a strong foundation to work on your bike. They come in different shapes. Some of them are mounted to a wall, base, or floor whereas others are portable. If you use them while working on your bike, bike repair stands will keep you steady and allow you to reach all sides of the bike with ease.
Even if your tires don’t go flat or lose them as often as old bike tires, a good quality floor pump is essential. When choosing one, make sure it accepts both Schrader and Presta valves. Also, get a pump that comes with a gauge to let you know whether or not your tire requires further air.
To demonstrate their importance, your bike has a handsome list of parts that are begging for screwdrivers. For example, around the front and rear derailleurs, brake levers, holding the cage of a water bottle are some areas where screwdrivers are a must-have.
Look for a multi-tipped screwdriver because it swaps easily from Flat to Philips. Also, if you want an example, go for Philips (cross-head) No. 0, 1, and 2.
Ask a pro and he might tell you to go for Allen/Hex wrenches. Still, there is nothing wrong in the good/old adjustable wrench. Apart from keeping all sizes of nuts and bolts in their place, a good quality adjustable wrench would enable you to get the rotor back in its shape after it has bent.
Plastic Tire levers
If you want to get stubborn tires on/off with ease, tire levers are necessary. They are lightweight and small and are enough for most tires. Also, go for “plastic” tire levers because their metal counterparts could either damage the rim or pinch the tubes. At the same time, I won’t advise plastic levers that are too thin because (you guessed it) they won’t last long.
This might be the age of electronic and wireless drivetrains and hydraulic brakes but cable pullers still hold the sway when it comes to derailleur and brake systems. They allow you to take the excess slack out of cable system before locking the whole system in place. Also, it has one no-brainer use: tightening the zip ties.
Allen Wrench Set
Whether you want to adjust your derailleurs, change the brake or shift cables, or want to replace the worn-out chain, the Allen wrench set is a must-have. Similarly, it can also help you in removing the cassette, dislocating the pedals, and replacing the bottom bracket.
Whether you want to hold a nut, bolt, pull the cotter pins, cut wires, or straighten pedals and levers, there is nothing quite like a good quality plier. When you go out shopping for them, make sure to get “long nose pliers” in a set of three. Believe me, they would provide you good value.
If you are an owner of a bike that has hydraulic brakes – which offers electronic shifting, cable pullers will be of no value to you. That said, most bike riders do not fall into this category. Thus, if you belong to the latter category, adjusting and fitting gear and brake cables will become a cinch once you use the cable puller. Also, if you want to tense up the clamp bolt, the cable puller will make your task much easier by holding the cable in its place.
Ball-end Allen Keys
It doesn’t matter which type of bike you own, Allen Keys are a must-have. Ball-end Allen Keys enable you to turn the bolt from its angle, hence speeding up the whole process. They are more versatile than other keys because, apart from being harder, they have the ability to work at a tight angle. Similarly, due to their accuracy, they won’t even mesh the bolts that are going to be tightened with them.
If you own a bike and don’t want to go to the mechanic every other week, you need to have some bike repairing tools in your arsenal. While they won’t make you totally independent of the mechanic, these essential bike repairing tools would make sure that your visits to the mechanic get few and far between.