Once you get into cycling you are going to want to make sure you have the right tools to keep your bike running smoothly and add any upgrades you might buy.
In this guide we’ll take a look at the tools every cyclist needs to pack into their saddle bag to take riding with them, and also what you’ll want in your garage for when you get back from your rides.
Tools to take on your bike rides
If you have a puncture you are going to need a bike pump to inflate your tire once you’ve changed the inner tube. There are loads of options available these days for pumps and mounts that fit alongside water bottles like the one I have.
It’s worth investing a bit of money in a pump so it is sturdy enough. You’re unlikely to need to use it very often (fingers crossed!), but when you do get a puncture you want it to be reliable and sturdy.
Also an essential bit of kit. You could probably get away with just 2 tire leaves, but they are so small and pack away well that I carry four of them. It makes changing an inner tube so much easier.
You want to be able to be able to perform basic mechanical fixes when out on the road so you can at least get home safely without having to call a taxi.
Topeak have a great set of multi tools to choose from, and I have this one in my saddlebag.
It has all the necessary bits like a screwdriver, allen key, chain splitter and also a couple of tire leaves fixed to the sides.
Puncture repair kit
It is best to be prepared. Even if you have two spare inner tubes, you may be unlucky and hit a pothole and ride over some glass. If you can’t find the glass first attempt at changing the inner tube you’ll be out of spares and facing a long walk home.
If you have some self adhesive patches you still have a chance of a repair and a limp home. Considering they take up so little space you might as well carry them.
Really useful for any messy jobs such as changing tires on dirty rides and trying to sort out a chain issue. But also great if you get caught in a deluge of rain or cold snap. Simply wear your latex gloves under your cycling gloves and they’ll help keep your hands really warm.
Bike tools for your workshop
Having a work stand will make your bike maintenance so much easier. Tasks such as washing your bike become so much easier than the alternative of using one hand to hold the hose pipe, one hand to hold the brush, and trying to balance the bike against your knee to get the opposite side!
More complex jobs will save your handlebars and saddle from being the resting point of your bike as you turn it upside down.
Work stands range from really cheap, to ridiculously expensive. The expensive ones are built for commercial use at your local bike shop, so there’s no harm (and I’d recommend) going for the cheaper options for home use.
Get your tires up to the correct pressure with a decent track pump. While the ones you buy and attached to your bike for emergency puncture repairs are decent, you’ll get arm ache pretty quickly trying to get a tire up to 100psi!
As an alternative you could always pop by your local bike shop once a week and top your tires up.
Most things on bikes are either attached or held on with bolts that require an Allen key. So it’s worth while investing in a decent set that aren’t going to round off the bolts on your pride and joy.
It’s really important to check how tightly you should be doing up various components on your bike. Modern materials such as carbon fibre can be manufactured to be really strong in one direction, but not in the other.
Always check. Just because the stem on your old bike was supposed to be tightened to 5nm, doesn’t mean the new one will be the same.
In my view cleaning the chain, cassette, chainring and jockey wheels is the worst part about owning a bike. I have a habit of over oiling my chain (better to be safe than sorry?) and so within a couple of rides my bikes drivetrain is usually a black slimes mess.
Get yourself a proper chain cleaning device and you’ll be wondering why you waited so long to get one. I always thought they were a gimick, but they are amazing.
Fill it up with chain cleaner, fit your chain in and put it together, and spin the pedals around. Changing gears on the front chain rings and back cassette while using the chain cleaner will get the cleaning fluid over all the teeth meaning they’ll come up really clean with just a hose down after.
I have the drivetrain chain cleaner from ParkTool, and use Muc-Off drivetrain cleaner liquid. It starts off a bright yellow colour but certainly isn’t that colour by the end.
You generally don’t need to change your pedals very often, but without a pedal spanner it can become a real faff. Pedal spanner’s are generally thinner, as there isn’t much space between the pedal and the crank arm to get a spanner in. They are also longer to give you better leverage – as it can be tough to remove pedals that have been in for a few years.
So there you have it, that is what’s on my bike, in my saddle bag, and in the garage.
What extra tools do you carry or recommend for your garage at home to keep you bike peddaling smoothly?