To successfully maintain a bicycle, you will need a selection of relevant tools. The most important tools are all mentioned below and are available at a sensible price. There are many online guides available to show you how to make minor adjustments to your bicycle to keep it safe each and every time you ride. If you are in any doubt, then we would always recommend taking your bike to a qualified mechanic. Many of the tools below are available from a selection of brands. The most popular are Park Tools, Pedro's, Uniour and Birzman. All of these offer great quality at great prices.
- A chain splitter enables you to easily remove a chain from your bike by splitting the links in the chain. This is often done when replacing a work chain, and then the tool is used to re-join the new chain at the correct length.
- Cycle specific pedal spanners are usually thin in profile (to fit between the crank and the pedal space) 15mm spanners. They usually are long to give you more leverage for removing or tightening your pedals.
- This is an essential tool which is used to remove the lock ring which holds your cassette to the freehub body of your rear wheel. There are different types available, the most common being Shimano fit or Campagnolo fit. Cassette tools are used in conjunction with a Chain Whip.
- A chain whip is used in conjunction with a cassette tool to remove a rear cassette. The Chain Whip locks onto the teeth of the cassette so it can be used almost like a spanner with the grip and leverage gained from using it.
- Tyre levers are used to prise the tyre from the rim of a bicycle when repairing a flat or changing a tyre. They are usually made of metal or plastic, and come in packs of 3. There are also longer, heavy duty tyre levers available, used for thicker downhill type tyres.
- These are a super item to have in your tool kit if you are a cyclist. They can be used to cut gear and brake inner and outer cables and will give you a clean neat cut. Essential for replacing cables and cutting new ones to size. Most cable cutters will have a section to enable you to fit ferrules and crimp cable ends neatly on to the end of cables to prevent fraying.
Chain Wear Indicator
- This can be used to monitor the wear on your chain and help you to decide when your chain is worn and ready to be replaced before it may snap if over used.
- A crank puller enables you to remove threaded cranks easily from your bike without damaging the crank or the bottom bracket. The outer section threads into the crank and is locked in place, then the middle section can be wound in to prise the crank from the bottom bracket. Commonly used when replacing chain rings, bottom brackets or for cleaning and re-greasing purposes.
Bottom Bracket Tool
- There are a number of different types of bottom bracket tool, and the type you will need depends upon the type of bottom bracket you have (e.g. internal cartridge with a square taper axle or octalink axle, or external fitting). The tool is essential to remove a bottom bracket safely so that nothing is damaged. A common use for the tool is to remove your bottom bracket and re grease it then re install and lock up with the tool, this can help prevent creaking and also prevent water ingress into your frame.
- There are many multi tools on the market, and these are really handy to carry with you when you are out riding. Common handy features are built in allen keys, tyre levers, chain splitter and spanners or spoke keys. Such tools are deigned to be compact and light helping you to get home in an emergency or make minor adjustments to your set up whilst out riding. For major repairs and routine maintenance, we would recommend specific tools for each job you are attempting, as a multi tool may not be up to the job.
- Many high end bikes now have delicate parts which must not be over tightened. An example may be carbon handle bar stems. A bike specific torq wrench will enable you to accurately set the level of torq you need for a part and stop you stripping the threads or over tightening and causing stress to parts which could lead to failure. On higher end road or mountain bikes such a tool really is essential.
- Allen key sets are really handy as most bolts on bikes are allen key fitted. There are a few different types, such as pocket 'fold up' allen key sets or more specific T–Bar Allen key sets which offer more comfort and leverage.
- A spoke key can be used to tighten spoke nipples on a wheel and therefore may be used to true a wheel if it has had a knock. There are a number of different size spoke keys available for different sized nipples. Most spoke keys are multi fit so have a few different sizes all on one tool, however higher end spoke keys come sized and are built for more durability.