A Guide to Bicycle Tools: Essential Cycling Tools Every Rider Should Get
Keeping your bicycle clean and running smoothly is much easier than you might think. In fact, most seasoned bicycle enthusiasts don’t ever take their prized possessions to a bicycle store for repairs, and instead, do most of the work themselves. Bicycles are relatively simple, and maintaining and cleaning them is just as simple as long as you have the right bicycle tools. But which tools are the right ones? With thousands of different tools available nowadays, and just as many different brands, it can be difficult to not pour your hard-earned money into useless tools and gadgets. For starters, you should only consider what you can’t do without, and slowly build your toolset from there. It may take some trial and error, but that’s what I’m here for! I went through a fair amount of trials and tribulations so that you don’t have to. While you can find tons of information online, especially on YouTube, about how to make the right adjustments and fixes, I’ll help you figure out which tools you should get.
A Chain Scrubber and Gear Cleaning Brush
Some of the most underrated bicycle tools are chain scrubbers and gear cleaning brushes. Your chain and gears will eventually get grimy and dirty from riding, and having a way to remove grime and dirt can go a long way in prolonging their lifespan. Not only that, but they’ll also look better. As a general rule of thumb, you should lubricate and clean the chain every 70-150kms (depending on where and how you ride your bicycle), and scrub it thoroughly every 250-500kms. You can do it more often, of course, as having a clean chain never hurt anybody. Just make sure you lubricate it right afterwards. Gear clean brushes can help you clean the hard-to-reach places of your cassette, and remove grim and dirt build-up from the crank arms, derailleur pulley, and so on. The best thing about these cycle tools is that they’re very affordable and will last a long time.
Combo Wrench Set
Having a combo wrench set ranging 7-17mm can come in handy for a variety of fixes. While adjustable wrenches can do the trick just fine, having open and box-end wrenches of different sizes will allow you to perform work better, faster and reduce the wear on your hardware. Of course, how many wrenches you end up buying will depend on your budget, and unless you don’t plan on becoming a pro, you can get away with getting a medium-duty set from your local hardware store.
While it may seem like overkill for some people, having a dedicated bicycle stand to do repairs on can come in very handy. This is especially true if you ride frequently and enjoy working on your bicycle. In fact, even if all you need to do is wash your bicycle once a week, a bicycle stand will prove to be a valuable addition to your garage. Furthermore, it can help you lubricate your drivetrain, clean it with the scrubber and brush, and so on. There are inexpensive stands, so you don’t have to break your bank on a high-end, fixed stand. Just get a folding one that costs a few dozen bucks.
A chain tool will come in handy every time you decide to put or remove a chain, a link or unstuck a stuck one. In fact, it’s the only way you can perform these tasks. Most people go for a lightweight, compact one they can bring everywhere they drive to avoid getting stranded.
Last but not least, you should get a bicycle pump. Ideally, you should have two – a smaller, portable one you can take wherever you go, and a floor pump to top off your tyres at home. When buying any pump, though, there are a few things to consider. For instance, the type of inner tubes you have. The most basic types are Presta and Schrader. Schrader valves are just like those found on car tyres. They’re typically used on hybrid bicycles, whereas Presta valves are found on most mountain and road bikes. Presta valves are thinner and longer and come with a threaded tip that needs to e opened to inflate the tyre.
Most floor pumps can fit both valve types, and they feature heads that lock onto the valve when inflating so you don’t have to hold the head yourself. They can easily inflate most tyres, regardless of pressure. Additionally, some models come with stable bases you can stand on to support their stability when pumping.
Also, if you venture far outside urban areas, consider getting CO2 inflators. CO2 inflators provide a simple method to inflate your tyres. They do so by utilising CO2 cartridges full of CO2 gas. They’re very lightweight and you can fit them in your pocket or bag. Furthermore, they provide instant inflation to optimal pressure, saving you the inconvenience of carrying a pump.