Basic Tools for the Home Mechanic

March 25, 2016

Anytime you head out for a ride, you likely take along a small assortment of compact tools that can get you out of just about any mechanical jam.

But back at the homestead, I’m a big proponent of having a more robust set of tools for keeping your bike in tip-top condition, helping you avoid messy situations out on the road or trail. While tools can be expensive, they’re a great investment that will stand the test of time. If you want to put together a basic set of repair tools that will handle the majority of simple repairs you’ll encounter, here’s a good start.


Work Stand

Suspending your bike off the ground makes a world of difference when taking care of bike business. Yeah, these will easily run you over a hundred bucks, but it will be greatly appreciated. You don’t need anything super fancy. Something similar to the Park Tool PCS-9 will get the job done just fine.


Floor Pump

An absolutely crucial piece of equipment to have around, floor pumps will get you up to your proper tire pressure quickly and often have accurate pressure gauges. Some brands I’m a fan of include SKS and Topeak.


Full-Size Allen Keys and Screwdrivers

There’s no reason you couldn’t use the wrenches and drivers on your compact multi-tool, but to me that’s like using a mini pump at home. Individual, full-sized screwdrivers and Allen keys give you better grip and more leverage. And they’re inexpensively found at any hardware store.


Pedal Wrench

It’s not often you’ll need to pull your pedals off your bike, but it’s not a bad idea to re-grease those threads a few times a year. Pedal wrenches are handy because they give you a lot of leverage, which can help save you some busted knuckles and choice words.


Cassette Tool and Chain Whip

With the right tools, removing and installing a cassette is a breeze. I don’t burn through a ton of cassettes in a season, but sometimes it’s nice to pull it off to give it a thorough cleaning.


Cable and Housing Cutters

Swapping out cables and housing at least once each season will greatly improve your shifting and braking performance. It’s important to have a nice set of cutters for clean cuts on housings and multi-strand wire cables that fray when cut improperly. And most cutters also have some notches to help you crimp down cable ends. Park Tool has a great blog on how to cut cables and housing.


Lubricants and Cleaning Supplies

As I mentioned in my previous post, maintaining a clean bike throughout the season can extend the life of your components. Always have some grease, chain lube, degreaser, and some shop rags lying around. You’ll likely be reaching for these most frequently.



Don’t forget to plaster your tool box with plenty of cycling related stickers! Request free information from Adventure Cycling at any time, and we’ll send along a sticker for your home workshop.


I have no doubt I left something out, so feel free to comment on any additional tools you’d like to see on this list.


TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling’s member services department. It appears once each month, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and offering advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh’s “Fine Tuned” column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.





Olaf Sorenson March 25, 2016, 10:30 AM

You might like to a a chain tool for shortening new chains.

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