Basic Bike Maintenance Tools1 of 7
Before you get wrenching, pick up a few high-quality, bike-specific tools. Start with: a torque wrench, standard and Philips head screw drivers, a hex wrench set, a biodegradable chain degreaser and chain lubricant. Also, you might want some latex gloves to keep your hands grease-free while doing maintenance.
Swap Brake Pads2 of 7
Do you have a set of fancy race wheels that need carbon-specific brake pads? Swapping bike brake pads is super easy: Use a screwdriver or a hex wrench to back out (but not remove) the retention bolt, slide the pad out, swap it with the desired pad and then fasten the bolt back against the pad.
Pro Tip: Brake pads are side-specific, so look for the "L" and "R" on the respective pads before installing.
Snug Loose Fasteners3 of 7
Adjusting lose fasteners, like seat binder bolts or cockpit parts, is just part of being a bike owner. And owning a torque wrench is being a responsible bike owner—it's a must have tool for anyone doing bike maintenance at home. The numbers printed on your bike components correspond to their specific maximum torque specifications. Follow them. They are manufacturers' gospel.
True a Wheel4 of 7
Clean and Lube Your Bike Chain5 of 7
One of the best things you can do for your bike is keep your drivetrain clean. Remember, they should be shiny, not black. How often you clean them depends on how you ride—if in the rain, you may need to clean it more frequently; if indoors on the trainer, less frequently. We recommend environmentally friendly chain degreaser and chain lubricant.
Pro Tip: Use an old shoelace, with degreaser on it, to floss between cogs on your cassette and ensure you get all the nooks and crannies.
Know When to Take It In6 of 7
Although we encourage you to do your own bike maintenance, there are still a few repairs we think are best left to professional bike mechanics, such as maintaining anything with bearings—like your bike's headset, bottom bracket or hub bearings. These adjustments usually require specific tools and experience in how to use them. Also, any shifting issues—unless you already know how to adjust your derailleurs—are best left to the pros.
Photo/Umberto Brayj, Flickr