Bikes are not easy to break, they are made from relatively simple components that can perform well for years. Nonetheless, the use of bicycle maintenance tools is the key to ensure that your bike will keep riding smoothly for a long time, and prevent unrepairable damage to the components.
There are some things on a bike that require simple but careful attention, in my experience the most recurring maintenance on a bike will be about pumping tires, dealing with the chain, tightening the brakes and using some lube or grease. If you take care of the small things you’ll make sure that you won’t damage your bike and make your ride more secure, this is especially true for the brakes, which can make a difference in dangerous situations.
What you need
Every cyclist should own at least the very few things to get his bike rolling even after a long time, most of these tools can even be packed on the bike itself giving you the chance of never getting stuck in the middle of your ride. The following list is not in importance order:
–multiple size hex wrench (Allen wrench/Allen key) this is used to drive bits with hexagonal heads, including the once for tightening the brakes regulating the gears and will work for most of the bits present on your bike.
–Torx wrench this tool will apparently replace the hex wrench one day and it’s already useful for many new bike models.
–Hand pump, this item is obviously one of the most basic tools to own, there are many kinds of pumps but the first one to get should be a quality and portable pump that you can mount on your bike or carry in your backpack, and if you want to make your life easier get a good floor pump for your home, this will make pumping a fun job and most of them come with a pressure meter so you can inflate the tires to the perfect point.
–A good multitool, this can save you a lot of space and weight, and will perform many tasks on a bike that will get you riding again, it should include wire cutters, pliers and a screwdriver.
–Tire levers, these are fundamental for when you’ll eventually need to remove your tire, a good pair made of hard plastic shouldn’t damage your wheel while still being a lightweight tool.
–Quick puncture repair kit, another lightweight lifesaver, these little boxes usually include patches for your inner tube a special glue and some sandpaper to make the puncture area smooth enough.
–Chain tool essential to remove your chain in case you’re fixing some part of it or you’re swapping for a new one, this tool will get the job done and there are no replacement for it.
–Chain and cassette lube, sooner or later rust will build up and inevitably you won’t ne able to pedal with the same efficiency, a little of this miracle spray will keep you riding smoothly, just be careful of where you apply it, since it can ruin disk brakes.
–Wrenches this is something that most people already have lying around at home and can perform a variety on jobs on a bike.
A clean bike is a happy bike
Either you ride on the streets or the trails, dirt and dust will get to your bike, the most sensitive areas are the chain and the cassette, as discussed before these require maintenance, but before you spray them with lube, it’s necessary to clean them thoroughly, this can be done with a variety of tools, there are many specific brushes made for this purpose, but if you don’t own one, an old toothbrush can get the job done.
Dirt will build up in all the nooks and crannies of your bike, especially in those areas exposed to debris or mud, that is the lower part of the bike and all around the wheels, and even though a muddy bike still has that that rugged beauty, a clean bike will look even better, but most importantly cleaning your bike will keep it in better shape and in the long run every component will last longer.
The tools listed here are the bare bones for working on a bike, and there are many more needed to perform more technical repair and works, but with these you should at least be able to maintain your bike in good health or in the worst case repair your bike enough to get to the nearest bike shop, in vase you need the help of an expert with specific tools.
Over the years I found myself in many situations where with the essential tools mentioned here, I was able to help myself and others. So ride your bike to your local bike shop and get what you need to keep you riding no matter what.
Please comment with any suggestions about other essentials.
Wishing you a pleasant ride,