15 Must-Have Tools for the Home Mechanic

These problem solvers will help keep your bike running smooth

Gear

Editor’s Note: This article is courtesy of the team at Art’s Cyclery. The original post can be found here.

So you’d like to start working on your bikes at home and are wondering what basic tools you need to be a good home mechanic. Well, whether you’re a racer and need a basic traveling setup, or an aspiring home mechanic, these tools will help keep you rolling. Check out this video from our friends at Art’s Cyclery to learn more.

The most necessary part of any home kit is a good set of Allen wrenches. Getting a full 8- or 10-piece set of individual wrenches is ideal, but depending on your budget, a 10-piece folding Allen set will do.

As a refresher, the most necessary part of any home kit is a good set of Allen wrenches. Getting a full 8- or 10-piece set of individual wrenches is ideal, but depending on your budget, a 10-piece folding Allen set will do.

15 Must-Have Tools

Because grease is used in numerous applications on your bike, getting a good tub of grease is worth its weight in gold. Our favorites include Dumonde Tech’s MR Grease and Buzzy’s Slick Honey for do-it-all grease.

Sooner or later you’ll have to remove your pedals, and trying to do it without a pedal wrench will surely end in frustration and bloody knuckles. Just don’t do it. Grab a pedal wrench. Some pedals can be removed with a 6mm or 8mm Allen wrench instead.

Sooner or later you’ll have to remove your pedals, and trying to do it without a pedal wrench will surely end in frustration and bloody knuckles. Just don’t do it. Grab a pedal wrench. Some pedals can be removed with a 6mm or 8mm Allen wrench instead.

Sooner or later you’ll have to remove your pedals, and trying to do it without a pedal wrench will surely end in frustration and bloody knuckles. Just don’t do it. Grab a pedal wrench. Some pedals can be removed with a 6mm or 8mm Allen wrench instead.

15 Must-Have Tools

Drivetrain maintenance won’t be possible without both a chain whip and the appropriate cassette lockring tool. These enable you to remove the cassette for cleaning or replacement, and to access the freehub for maintenance.

15 Must-Have Tools

To install a new chain, or fix a broken one, a good chain breaker like Park Tool’s CT-3.2 will make it easy. If you’re on a budget, Park Tool’s CT-5C is a good option because it’s light and packable.

15 Must-Have Tools

Although not as frequently used on bikes as standard Allens, the Torx, or star, bolt will come up sooner or later and you’ll need to be prepared for it. Make sure you have a T25 tool at least, and add a T30 to be well stocked.

15 Must-Have Tools

Tires don’t change themselves, so tire levers are a must. Carbon wheel owners beware: Only plastic tire levers are safe for carbon rims.

15 Must-Have Tools

Derailleur limit adjustment screws are usually Phillips head. Other limit screws are often Phillips head as well, so add a Phillips head screwdriver to your kit.

15 Must-Have Tools

Being able to replace your cables and cable housing regularly keeps shifting crisp and accurate, and having cable/housing cutter tool will allow you to do so.

Whether you run tubed or tubeless, your tires always need to be properly inflated, A floor pump that fits your budget is crucial to have.

15 Must-Have Tools

Last and most certainly not least, get a repair stand. You don’t need to go top-of-the-line, but having something that keeps your bike at a comfortable height and is user-friendly will make working on your bike enjoyable. If you’re really on a budget, getting something like Feedback Sport’s RAKK will work too.

For those wanting a more comprehensive toolset, buying the following items will round out your setup:

15 Must-Have Tools

Figure out which bottom bracket your bike or bikes have and get the appropriate bottom bracket cup tools to be used with either a crescent, socket wrench, or bottom bracket tool.

15 Must-Have Tools

A wheel truing stand will make maintaining your wheels a lot easier.

15 Must-Have Tools

However, you don’t absolutely need to have one to keep your wheels straight and round, but you will need a spoke wrench. Get one that’s the correct size for your spoke nipples.

15 Must-Have Tools

Finally, get a small torque wrench—something like CDI’s Adjustable Torque Wrench — to make sure you’re getting all your bolts to spec. This is very important when tightening bolts on carbon frames or components.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Arts Cyclery

This article was originally published on the Art's Cyclery Blog. Art's Cyclery is dedicated to offering free expert advice, how-to videos, and in-depth product reviews on ArtsCyclery.com to help riders make an educated decision when selecting cycling gear.


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  • James says:

    I’d put a torque wrench second to a set of allen keys, and absolutely not optional.

  • GuyOnMTB says:

    As a vehicle mechanic first and a bike mechanic second I’ve learned the hard way about leaving any type of grease open to the environment. Do not put holes in your grease lids for easy use unless your environment is temp controlled. And obviously, this articles photography is being taken in a temp controlled shop.

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