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DIY bicycle wrenching might sound intimidating, but consider this: Having a few essential bike tools and the skills to perform basic maintenance will not only save you significant cash in the long run, but could also save you from a long walk home if you snap a chain or pop a spoke in the middle of nowhere.
There are a few basic bike tools that every cyclist should own, some aren’t even bike specific (ie: they can be found cheaply at a hardware store). Every cyclist should know how to lube a chain, fix a flat and properly clean a bike. In fact, a cleaned and degreased bike should be first on the list before a tool ever touches it.
The right tools will help you replace a chain, cables and housing, as well as adjust brakes, remove a cassette or straighten misaligned wheels. I suggest pairing this guide with a bicycle maintenance book such as The Big Blue Book of Bicycle Maintenance or the recently updated Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance and, if in doubt, always consult your local bike shop before attempting a hero move that could compromise your bike or result in more repairs.
Learn to repair your bike with this powerful book! Each job is carefully explained in a way that makes sense to a novice mechanic and the experience wrench person. Each repair or maintenance project has easy to follow steps, complete with photographs, examples and helpful tips.
This is the world's best-selling guide to bicycle repair and maintenance. From basic repairs like how to fix a flat tire to advanced overhauls of drivetrains and brakes, Lennard Zinn's clearly illustrated guide makes every bicycle repair and maintenance job easy for everyone.
For instance, I have a riding buddy who tried to pry a crankset off his mountain bike using a crowbar. There’s a reason why Park Tools doesn’t make a blue-handled crowbar.
Bottom line: don’t be that guy. Use these essential bike tools to get the job done instead.
A perfect way to start a bicycle tool collection! A great combination of tools to help a home mechanic clean, adjust, maintain, and do some basic repairs on bike.
This is a set of 36 carefully chosen tools to do basic maintenance and cleaning as well as perform a wide variety of repairs and adjustments on just about any bicycle. A perfect way to start or add to your collection of shop quality bicycle tools.
Contents (jump to)
- 1 Basic and Essential Bike Tools
- 2 Bike Pump
- 3 Hex Keys
- 4 Multi-tool
- 5 Phillips Screwdriver
- 6 Tire Levers
- 7 Flat Repair Kit
- 8 Chain Cleaner Tool
- 9 Optional Bike Tools
- 10 Chain Tool
- 11 Cable Cutters
- 12 Needle Nose Pliers
- 13 Spoke Wrench (spoke key)
- 14 Pedal Wrench
- 15 Metric Wrench
- 16 Cone Wrench
- 17 Chain Checker
- 18 Cleaning Brushes
- 19 Torque Wrench
- 20 Chain Whip and Lock Ring Tool
Bike Repair Stand
Anyone who’s attempted a repair while leaning their bike against a wall or the side of a car will instantly recognize the value of a good bike stand. A bike stand is the foundation of all repairs and even makes cleaning your bike and lubing the chain so much easier. Look for one that has a broad base, is adjustable and clamps to the seat post. Or impress your friends and build your own.
The Park PCS-10 Home Mechanic Stand is one of the bestselling and most reliable stands available. It’s sturdy and securely holds the bike. I like its versatility, with room to easily clamp tubes from 24mm-76mm. A quick release controls the height and this 25-pound-model folds down flat for portability. At $167, I’d suggest this for someone dedicated to more serious wrenching and who needs something sturdy and reliable.
For the occasional repair, the Bikehand Pro Mechanic Bicycle Repair Rack Stand is a good option. It holds a bike securely, but isn’t as durable as the Park PCS-10 and its plastic parts are more susceptible to wear and tear. This stand retails for $90.
You can find a full list of stand options at Amazon.
A workstand is perhaps the most essential tool for anyone working on a bicycle. The Park Tool PCS-10.2 is a basic bike workstand designed and built for the home mechanic, a stable way to hold nearly any bicycle for adjustments, cleaning, and repair.
You need a bike repair stand to take care of swapping tires, lubricating a chain, adjusting the derailleurs, or building a new bike. The bike stand must be good looking, heavy duty, light, foldable, portable, adjustable and good value.
Basic and Essential Bike Tools
If you own a bike, even one that you ride occasionally, these tools are necessary.
Every bike owner needs a standing floor pump as well as a mini bike pump or frame pump to re-inflate a flat tire on the road. There are two types of valve stems, Presta and Schrader. Your best bet is to buy a bike pump that has dual heads for both.
Standing floor pump
My main gripe with floor pumps is that the seal on the pump heads is unreliable and tends to leak air over time. Lezyne has expertly solved this problem with a chuck that threads directly onto the valve. It also delivers twice the airflow per stroke than similar models and is all metal. Style-conscious cyclists will appreciate the slick stainless steel shaft and polished wooden handle. I’ve used the same Lezyne pump consistently for the past six years and have never had a problem. Bicycles already have enough wear items. If you ride regularly, spend a little more initially ($70) for a pump that you won’t have to worry about wearing out.
If you need something less expensive, at around $30, the Nashbar Earl Grey is reliable with a large, easy-to-read pressure gauge. It’s ideal for someone who only rides occasionally. This pump lacks the refinement and ease of use of the Lezyne and its plastic parts give it a cheaper feel.
Looking for more options? We break down what to look for in a pump and share our top picks.
Easily achieve the high pressures required in road bike and other low-volume tire applications. A smaller-diameter allows for high pressures to be achieved with minimal pumping force.
When you’re on the side of the road with a flat you need a pump that’s both reliable and high pressure. Lezyne fills this niche nicely. Their Pressure Drive Hand Pump delivers air with 30% less pumping through an ABS hose. Their screw-on chuck ensures air goes straight into your tire. Available in two sizes, this pump is ideal for road and mountain.
No one likes getting a flat. With the Lezyne Alloy Drive Hand Pump, the hassle of fixing one on the road or trail just got easier. The Alloy Drive is a compact high volume hand pump made of custom CNC machined aluminum for precise and lightweight construction.
Also referred to as Allen Keys or an Allen or Hex wrench, these tools are available in several different lengths and sizes. Some have longer levers. You can cheaply buy the traditional L-shaped key at hardware stores or Park Tools offers hex wrenches with a P-shaped handle for better grip.
Three-way hex keys are also available, which offer three popular sized keys in one tool. These can be difficult to maneuver in tight places (bottle cages, saddles), so I don’t recommend these if you’re looking for one set of hex keys to do it all.
Hex keys don’t need to be bike specific, but be sure to get a tool that’s high enough quality and won’t round out. Consider the tool’s leverage and length for the job.
Ideally you should have Hex keys that range from 1.5 mm-10mm. If you need a basic setup, the fold-up hex wrench should be fine.
Designed with a ball end to access socket cap screws with up to a 25-degree entry angle. Made from heat treated chrome vanadium alloy steel, which is good hardness and torque. Chrome-plated finish is highly resistant to corrosion.
Engineered for utility and durability, Park Tool P-shaped hex wrenches can be found in bike shops around the world. The 8 included metric sizes encompass nearly every size of hex fastener likely to be found on a bicycle.
Park Tool's 3-Way Wrenches are a mainstay of professional bike shops. The iconic Y-shape fits perfectly in the palm of your hand and provides excellent leverage, making them a favorite of mechanics in bike shops worldwide.
The Park Tool AWS-10 is a bicycle-specific folding hex wrench set equally at home in the workshop and on the trail. Compact, yet large enough to provide excellent leverage, the AWS-10 can be used as a shop tool in place of a full-size wrench set, or as a take-along tool for trailside adjustments.
Every cyclist should slip a multi-tool in their pocket before hitting the road. You never know when you’ll have to tighten a bolt on the fly and this cycling Swiss Army Knife will save your butt on many occasions.
For around $14, the Blackburn Heist 10 is a very basic multi-tool that will suit the minimalist or mechanically challenged. It’s laser etched alloy frame tightly holds the tools in place, which include 2-6mm, 8mm and 2.5mm Hex keys, crosshead and flat screwdrivers and a T25 Torx bit.
For something a little more robust, and that offers added insurance on a ride, I love the Topeak Hexus II multi-tool, which includes 16 tools, including a chain tool, spoke wrenches, a chain hook and tire levers. For around $18, you can’t go wrong with this multi-tool.
For 2011 we are back with a redesign of the Toolmanator Series. This series is more lightweight and compact than ever before. Utilizing the latest in hardened tool steel, with serviceable pivots and hard anodized frames, these multi tools will endure multi years of hard use.
The award winning Hexus II multi-tool from Topeak offers 16 pro-quality, hardened steel tools that fold into an ergonomic composite body. Providing a blend of tool selection, low weight, and compact size, the Hexus II features an integrated, full sized CrMo chain tool head compatible with all single and multi-speed bicycle chains.
Most people have a set anyway, but for bikes, a screwdriver is just the tool for adjusting some brakes and derailleur stops. Or you could opt for a set that’s included in a multi-tool.
Tires levers come in various shapes and sizes and are used to remove a tire from the rim in order to change a flat. I like the basic Park Tool variety, but play around and find your favorite. Or, better yet, pick up a set that are already included in a multi-tool.
Strong, smooth, and versatile, Park Tool TL-1.2 Tire Levers are made of a strong lightweight material and feature a redesigned tip for easier entry into just about any bicycle tire, including tubeless systems. The unique design lifts the tire away from the rim and features a spoke hook to use when multiple levers are needed.
Flat Repair Kit
Some patches require glue, others are glueless or require sanding, but having a patch kit is an easy way to save a tube for re-use.
This adhesive tube patch stretches, flexes, twists, and turns right along with the bicycle inner tube. Lightly roughen tube with the included sandpaper, clean, apply patch, and you’re ready to go. Includes six patches and one square of sandpaper.
Chain Cleaner Tool
For cyclists who are serious about keeping their drivetrain in race-ready condition, Finish Line's Pro Chain Cleaner is a valuable piece of equipment that will make this tedious task much easier.
Optional Bike Tools
These tools aren’t necessary for everyday bike tweaks, but will come in handy for performing routine maintenance.
Remove a link or repair a broken chain with a chain tool. You can probably get by with the one provided in a multi-tool.
The Park Tool CT-5 performs like a shop-quality bicycle chain tool, in a lightweight (77g) compact size that easily fits in a saddle bag or mobile mechanic's tool roll.
Used to cut cable and cable housing. This model also has a built-in crimper.
This is a shop quality cutter designed specifically for use on all bicycle cables and housing, including hard-to-cut index housing.
Needle Nose Pliers
Crimping, grasping and cutting can be accomplished with needle nose pliers.
The Stanley Needle Nose Pliers feature long, tempered jaws ideal for bending wires or working with small objects as well as work in tight places. With a forged, chrome-nickel steel construction that meets or exceeds ANSI standards, these needle-nose pliers have a rust-resistant finish and machined jaws for a slip-resistant grip.
Spoke Wrench (spoke key)
A spoke wrench can help true a wheel. Be sure to have one specific to the size of your nipples. Buy the smallest size that fits.
This is the tool for removing even the most stubborn pedals. Choose a pedal wrench with a vinyl handle to keep the wrench from digging into your hand.
Made from Cro-Moly steel for a shop quality pedal wrench made to last. By adding reinforcement around the stressed areas and upgrading the material we can offer a new investment cast pedal wrench that is still the most comfortable on the market.
Used to adjust brakes and derailleurs. Be sure you have 8,9,10 and 11mm.
World famous Park Tool quality wrapped up in a great set of metric combination wrenches. The MW-SET includes 6mm to 15mm 12-point box/open end wrenches. Forged from Chrome Vanadium Steel, chrome plated, meticulously polished, then center dipped in Park Tool blue vinyl for a positive grip.
These are used to tighten the bearings on loose bearing hubs. 13-14mm and 15-16mm cone wrenches are good to keep on hand for adjusting front and rear hubs and some locknuts.
These cone wrenches are designed for the home mechanic or occasional user. They're made of thin steel and are nickel plated and heat treated for long use.
Excessive force is placed on cycling chains, which results in stretch and wear. You may notice the “sharks teeth” begin to appear on a cassette that is being worn unevenly by a stretched chain with worn links. Neglecting a worn chain can in turn prematurely wear expensive drivetrain parts. A chain checker helps you keep tabs on how much life your chain has left.
However, you can save yourself some money, and ensure accuracy, by simply using a ruler. Place a ruler at the center of a chain pin. The other end of the ruler should match up to the center of a pin as well. If not, the chain is worn and should be replaced.
The easiest way to ensure that your shifting is the best and prevent unnecessary wear on the rest of your drivetrain, it also ensures your chain is not excessively worn. This BikeHand ChainChecker Tool is designed and intended to use specifically measuring the state of your chain in relation to the extent of wear it is showing.
This is specially designed to free your bicycle drivetrain from muck and grime. A comfortable handle with a curved, toothed end reaches dirt deep between the gears, and tough nylon bristles clean the derailleur and chain. Saves wear and tear on your chain and cassette
This set includes different brushes to tackle any cleaning job. Great for cleaning bicycles, motorcycles, and automobiles.
A torque wrench is a must for anyone who’s wrenching on carbon fiber, as each bolt must be tightened to a certain specification. Over tightening can crack parts and void warranties.
High-quality torch wrench great for bicycle parts or bolts. All parts were made in major factory with the highest reputation in Taiwan.
Chain Whip and Lock Ring Tool
This tool is used for the installation and removal of pedal, cassette. Two sides of 15mm pedal wrench combines with freewheel turner. Features rubber-wrapped handle grips comfortably.