10 Bicycle Tools You Should Own
Before you head off toward the path of self-sufficiency, you'll need the right equipment—and a little patience finding the right maintenance video on the Global Cycling Network—to get you started. Check out our list of 10 tools that you can't do without.
Chain ToolTopeak, $18 1 of 11
Most cyclists carry spare tubes and tire levers on their rides, but not everyone carries a chain tool.
What you'll need it for: Replacing your chain when it's worn or when removing a single link to repair a broken chain on the road.
Torx KeysPark Tool, $20 2 of 11
More and more bike makers are using Torx bolts for assembly. The most common sizes are the T10, T25 and the T30.
What you'll need it for: Adjustment on some stems and seatpost clamps (T25), chainring bolts (T30) and hydraulic brakes (T10).
Cable CuttersSpin Doctor, $26 3 of 11
If you've had your bike long enough, you'll eventually need to replace the cables and housing to keep it shifting properly. Cable cutters will help you do the job cleanly and correctly.
What you'll need it for: Clean cuts on brake and shifting cables, crimping cable end caps, and for reforming housing ends and housing ferrules.
Chain CheckerPedros, $16 4 of 11
Just like dirt and grime, a worn chain can ruin many of the parts in your bicycle's drivetrain. The problem is knowing when to replace it, which can be difficult even for the trained eye.
What you'll need it for: Chain checkers gauge exactly how much life is left in your chain. The price of a chain checker is $16, that's bargain compared to the $80 you'll spend replacing a chain prematurely or the $200 on a worn chain that's eaten up your rear cassette..
Chain WhipLezyne, $29 5 of 11
Changing your cassette to match the terrain can give your performance boost. But every time you go on a hilly ride, you don't want to have to take your wheel to the mechanic to have him switch your 11-25 to your 11-28. It's an easy job that requires a few tools.
What you'll need it for: A chain whip holds your cassette in place as you loosen the cassette bolt (they both spin in the same direction).
Tip: Make sure to buy one with a sturdy handle, as cheaper versions tend to break easily.
Cassette Lock RingPedros, $13 6 of 11
The other two tools you'll need to finish taking off and reinstalling your cassette are a wrench and a cassette lock ring. Before you purchase the lock ring, make sure to buy the right one for your drivetrain—Shimano/SRAM and Campagnolo parts require a slightly different version.
What you'll need it for: Loosening and tightening the cassette onto the freehub.
Multi-toolLezyne, $49.99 7 of 11
Anything can happen while you're out on the road. A loose bolt on your bottle cage or a screw that needs to be tightened on your shoe buckle are a few small repairs you'll need to be ready for. Luckily, today's multi-tools have you covered for almost any repair you might need to make.
What you'll need it for: For tightening hex, Torx, Phillips, and flathead bolts you'll need a well-rounded multi-tool. Most good multi-tools are also equipped with a chain tool and a spoke wrench—tools you might not think about until a disaster has struck.
Spoke WrenchPark Tool, $8 8 of 11
Spoke nipples come in different shapes and sizes, so you might need to purchase a few different types if you have multiple wheelsets. A loose spoke is pretty easy to fix if you have the tool on hand; it'll save you from paying the bike mechanic for an hour's worth of labor on a job that only take about five minutes.
What you'll need it for: Replacing or tightening a spoke on your wheel.
Torque WrenchRitchey, $29 9 of 11
If you've got carbon parts on your bike, you'll need a torque wrench to tighten your bolts to the manufacturer's specifications. The torque wrench can keep you from causing a crack in your expensive carbon parts from over tightening. Several torque wrenches on the market come with bits that will fit various sizes of hex and Torx bolts.
What you'll need it for: Tightening bolts and installing carbon parts such as handlebars, stems, seatposts and saddles with carbon rails.
Mini PumpTopeak, $34.99 10 of 11
CO2 cartridges are nice, but what happens when you put on the valve incorrectly and all of your air leaks out in two or three seconds? A mini pump can save you when you're stranded, even if it's hard to get more than 50 psi in your road inner tube with most models. Some air is definitely better than none.
What you'll need it for: Fixing flats roadside.