Looking to get a few tools together so I can do some of the basics bike maintenance tasks eg changing cassette, chains, chain sets maybe brake pads and cables any tips on a good set of tools to help look after my roads bikes
I prefer to buy tools for specific jobs rather than a full kit. that way I can get high quality tools for the jobs i do frequently and go more down scale or buy used for infrequent or one off jobs. I’ve done stuff with Park tools and super cheap general tools from Harbor Freight. Quality high end tools are important if you are a pro wrenching 8 hours a day, not as important if you are just using them once or twice a year.
But this looks like a decent kit for $50 if you are just getting started. It beats the $700 Park kit!
On thing you should get ASAP is a work stand. It is great for working but also for stuff like swapping wheels, washing your bike or lubing your chain. I use mine weekly for one thing or another. Bikes are so much easier to deal with if the wheels are off the ground.
T handle allen sets are great and necessary, in my opinion. The park tools set is expensive. A bike mechanic friend recommended the Husky brand t handle set from Home Depot. Its great.
I would advocate for picking up a few tools to do the common basic jobs, rather than a large set of tools that you’ll barely use. I’ve been putting together my own maintenance kit over the past year or so and here’s my list of kit (links to the products that I use and am happy with):
Generally good things to have for bike maintenance
- Bike work stand
- T-handle hex set
- Long armed hex keys
- Torx set
- Torque wrench
- Electrical tape
- Screwdriver set
- Fiber grip
- Spare CR2032 batteries
- Rubber gloves
- Heavy duty hand wipes
- Shop towels
Changing tires & tubes
- Bike wash detergent
- Chain cleaner
- 2 sponges (1 for drivetrain, 1 for rest of bike)
- Chain lubricant (for your riding conditions)
- Microfiber towels
- WD-40 (lubricate brake calipers)
- Paint protectant/polish
- Sandpaper (roughen up your brake pads if they get a bit polished up)
All put up on a peg board, it looks like this:
Some will argue that I’ve left off a critical tool, or that something I’ve included is unnecessary. That’s ok, this is my list for taking care of my bike with the tasks I’m comfortable doing. I take my bike in for an annual strip and rebuilt, with all the lubricants and cables replaced. For bigger jobs like replacing bottom brackets or chainrings, I’m ok going to the LBS.
I have these T handle allens which are very high end yet 1/3 the price of the Park set. Park’s specialty tools are often worth paying for but never buy Park’s general tools you can get at the hardware store! https://www.amazon.com/Bondhus-13189-Balldriver-T-handles-2-10mm/dp/B00012Y38M/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1540487812&sr=8-6&keywords=bondhus+allen
i also use these I got at Harbor Freight for $6.99 and they work fine too. https://www.harborfreight.com/13-piece-metric-ball-end-hex-key-set-96416.html
Everything has a place and everything in it’s place I say!
@julianoliver 's setup is looking really awesome! I personally went through this process of buying all of my “bare-minimum” tools recently and here’s what my toolbox looks like.
This is where all my miscellaneous tools live. Not everything is in there right now, but it could include:
- Extra Pedals
- Extra Chain
- Extra power-links
- Extra Nipples/ Extra Spokes
- Extra Bottom Bracket
- Misc. Adapters
- Stan’s Sealant
- Full Hex Key Set
- Full Torx Key Set
- Chain Breaker
- Shock Pump
- Chain Whip
- Cassette Tool
- Cable Cutter
- Diagonal Cutters
- Needle-nose pliers
- Flush ZIp Tie Cutters (non-essential)
- Knipex Pliers (My favorite tool)
- Tire lever
- Razor-blade knife
- Tubeless Valves
- Stans Valve Core Remover
- Patch Kit
- Stans Mini-Bottle (for adding sealant through valve)
- Spoke Wrench (make sure it’s the size of your nipples)
- Bottom Bracket Tool (useful for BB and some centerlock rotors)
- Full Ratchet Set (not strictly necessary for bikes)
- Various Screwdrivers
- Various Picks
My particular toolbox setup uses Kaizen Foam to hold each individual tool. This takes up more room, but keeps everything from shifting in the toolbox and lets you know when you’re missing a tool. And it really satisfies my organizational impulses.
Outside of Toolbox
- Bike Stand
- Floor Pump
- Degreasers/ soaps
- Chain Lubes
Hope this helps!
Not bike specific but I have used this in addition to the usual suspects for a few obscure items on the bike.
Also handy to have for odd jobs when you look at the head of a screw and think WTF is that?!
I wish my tool box was as neat as @Bryce but I have way too much junk in there!!
This (or very similar… my top drawer is split in 1/3rds) is full of bike stuff: https://www.halfords.ie/workshop-tools/storage/tool-chests-cabinets/halfords-5-drawer-top-chest-black
And this is fullish of other stuff with bike stuff slowly taking over: https://www.halfords.ie/workshop-tools/storage/tool-chests-cabinets/halfords-5-drawer-cabinet-black
One thing I did was to buy torque wrenches that matched the ratings I would need. Then buy the relevant 1/4 or 3/8 inch specific adapter required for the job rather that a purpose built tool. So I have torque wrench that I can use to fit pedals, cassette lock rings, button brackets with the right adapter rather than a pedal spanner, a Shimano cassette lock ring wrench and campy lock ring wrench, a hollowtech wrench, an isis wrench etc etc
Reno is cold, dry, and windy: everyone here keeps 5-10 tubes of chapstick or lip balm in odd places in order to survive.
I am too one of those who buys a tool when needs it. Figure usually for less than a bike mechanic would charge I get the job done and the tools to keep doing it again and again.
Guess my tool list is similar to most of the above. My most used tool is a preset 5nm torque handle, 99% of the time has a 4mm Allen head in it.
The one job I haven’t applied this to is wheel building. I do have a good DT Swiss size key and a cheap multi nipple key but only for basic truing after a ding (typically on CX bike).
Did build a jig but always mucked it up one way or another. Trouble is most of my wheels are cheap end machine built so getting them fixed is going to cost similar to the new cost! (Some of these cheap DT wheelsets are very strong, rim spoke count, weigh ~1800g and cost £200 a set. Can’t go wrong for CX but hardly worth cost of truing!)
The chain reaction ‘brand x’ tool kits are good for the home mechanic who doesn’t want to break the bank. I’ve been using a set for over five years now and it’s never failed on the job, damaged anything or broken. I ditched the plastic box and keep my stuff in a proper roller tool chest that I also got from Chain Reaction.
I have a couple of things from park tools I added as I think in this area it is worth paying a bit extra - cable cutters and Allen keys.
In addition, in my tool box I have
Torque wrench - essential for working with carbon
Various screwdrivers and pliers
Chain checking tool
17mm cone spanners
Plus all my bits and bobs, spare parts I have accumulated like cable ends, bar ends, spare B screws etc. It’s all in one place and fully mobile so it can go in the back of the car for races etc
I use the botch method for B.B. and headset installation but should really get a proper tool for that
Extra edit: I also have a socket set but that’s also only used for the botch method of installing hub bearings
Great setup, @julianoliver!
I just started maintaining bikes myself because I didn’t want to pay high prices for a mechanic to do regular tasks.
I was also really frustrated of not being able to start or finish a task because some obscure tool was missing, so I ended up buying a set:
There is also an XL version of that set but it probably has more than you need:
On top of the (small) set, I got a torque wrench, soft mallet, chain checker, quick link pliers, bike stand and grease.
Since I really don’t have a clue, this also helped me a lot:
This is a good, inexpensive starting point. The tool chest isn’t strictly necessary but it’s nice to be able to add additional stuff in there!
It’s good to remember that some tools need to be quality, and some tools are fine if they are more basic. I’ve found that it’s worth spending a few extra coins on the bike stand (as you want something stable for your pride and joy), wire cutters (as frayed wire ends are annoying) and hex wrenches since you use them all the time.
Topeak makes a great cheap tourqe wrench that I recommend to anyone starting out.
First recommendation is a bike stand, I can’t believe how long I went without one rigging up all sorts of ways to work on my bike, makes life soooooooo much easier having one.
I wish my garage was as tidy as those above! Mine seems to be full of lots of old bits I can’t bring myself to throw away yet.
Anyway, I’ve followed the same scheme as @Boombang and have acquired tools as I needed them over and above the normal Allen keys and socket sets.
The two things I wish I’d bought years ago are a bike stand and brake cable cutters, I struggled on for years without these but since I’ve got them it saves so much time and frustration.