Having the right set of tools for the job can make a huge difference when you are working on your bike. Sure it can be easy to take your bike down to the local bike store and get them to sort it out, but more and more commonly riders are doing their own maintenance and servicing at home.
Today we are looking at the essential tools you might want to get if you are looking to do your own work on your bike. To make it easier, we have broken it into three categories: the Entry-Level, Mid-Level and High-Level Mechanic.
The Entry-Level Mechanic:
Meet Kate, Kate loves riding her bike and in between her rides she does small jobs on her bike. She fits and removes basic components like handlebars, stems, pedals, and tyres. She also makes sure her drivetrain is always running smoothly by keeping it well lubricated. Any other job, she will take it to an experienced bike mechanic.
These are Kate’s Essential tools:
- Allen Keys: A good set of Allen keys is essential for any bike mechanic or really any rider. Most of the main components of your bike can be fitted or removed with a set of Allen keys. If you have “one” tool at home, this is the place to start.
- Tyre Levers: Makes fitting and removing even the toughest tyres (wirebeads) a lot easier.
- Floor Pump: No point fitting tyres if you can’t pump them up. Tyre pressure is essential to check before every ride.
- Lubricant: Keep your drivetrain protected and working its best.
The Mid-Level Mechanic
Meet Jacob, Jacob loves everything bikes and does a lot of his own work at home. From basic servicing to building complete bikes from scratch. In addition to the basic jobs, the type of work he tackles on his own includes:
- Brake bleeds.
- More complex component installation and removal such as bottom brackets, headsets, and derailleurs.
- Minor suspension services including token installs.
Even though he does a lot of jobs himself, there are some jobs he still takes to an experienced bike mechanic such as:
- Anything suspension related that isn't a simple re-lube or dust seal change.
- Frame or wheel bearing replacements.
- A full service if he’s feeling lazy. This can be a good idea anyway as it’s sometimes good to get another pair of eyes on things in case you’ve missed something.
These are Jacob’s Essential tools:
- Work Stand: A bench mounted or freestanding work stand makes almost any job easier. Not only can you work at a better work height but you can work on your bike the right way up, so everything make a bit more sense.
- T-handle Allen Keys: Offers better handling than regular Allen keys.
- Bottom Bracket Tools: With all the varying standards, it’s important you have the correct tools to install or remove threaded and pressed bottom brackets.
- Torque Wrench: From the bolts in your stem to your crank bolts, everything on your bike has a recommended torque value, going beyond this might cause damage to your expensive components.
- Quick Link Pliers: A necessary tool for any mechanic who changes a chain often.
- Vernier Calipers: Make sure you measure correctly every time with a set of verniers.
The High-Level Mechanic
Meet Tim, one of the owners of MTBD and our top tier mechanic. A high-level mechanic is essentially someone that isn't going to need the local bike shops services at all, they'll do it all from home. The only exception to this is full rear shock rebuilds that need nitrogen charging. Instead of having his workshop tucked away, the high-level mechanic is likely to have their workshop always set-up, so it's ready to go at any time.
The jobs that a high-level mechanic will tackle includes:
- Suspension servicing.
- Wheel truing, tensioning and building.
- Bearing replacement in frames and hubs.
- Everything inbetween!
These are Tim's Essential tools:
- Wheel Truing Stand: Makes building and maintaining wheels much easier.
- Suspension specific tools and lubes: Seal drivers, foot nut tools, suspension oils and greases, circlip pliers and more – required to do full suspension servicing and replacing suspension internals.
- Brake bleeding tools: Most brands of brakes require different attachments and oils (mineral and DOT).
- Derailleur hanger alignment tool: a bent hanger can often be the cause of poor shifting, an alignment tool makes getting it perfect easy.
- Bearing pullers and press tools: required to fit and remove bearings from frames and hubs.
- A bench vice with a good set of soft jaws: A wonderful addition to any workshop.
There is also an array of specific tools. For instance, if you've got a Reverb dropper post, you'll likely have the bevvy of tools associated with them, same for your specific suspension.
The high-level mechanic will likely have an array of spares from random bolts and circlips through to new chains, brake pads, bearings and cables in stock. So when something goes wrong, they've got the bits there ready to roll to fix it up.
So there you go, everything you need to start working on your bike from home. Whether you want to do some simple jobs, completely tear down and rebuild your bike or somewhere in between, MTB Direct have the tools for it all. Make sure to hit us up on email or chat if you have any questions.