important: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.

How to Choose Basic Bike Repair Tools

An overview of the tools needed to perform basic maintenance and minor repairs at home.

Video updates

  • 00:30 - You can also use a car bike rack to hold up your bike!

Today we’ll learn about some tools that every home repair shop should have in order to perform basic adjustment and maintenance procedures. I’ll cover more advanced tools in a future tutorial.

Repair Stand

The most important tool in any home shop is a repair stand. Park Tools makes an economy stand called the PCS-9 that will do the job, but if you’re going to be working on bikes regularly I’d recommend the PCS-4 because of the superior clamping system. If you’re not ready to invest you can always hang your bike from the ceiling, and for minor adjustments you can also use a bike display stand to keep your rear wheel off the ground. If you’re adventurous you can always build your own stand.

Cleaning Supplies

For basic cleaning you should have some cleaning solvent and a supply of rags. I find the Park gear cleaning brush extra handy for cleaning grime out of your sprockets and chain.

Lubricants

You should have 3 basic types of lubrication: chain oil, light oil and waterproof grease. See the video on choosing the right lubricants.

Screwdrivers

Both flathead and phillips (+) screwdrivers are essential.

Pliers

For pliers you should have a good set of wire cutters for trimming inner cable ends. The 4th hand tool is also invaluable for adjusting brake and derailleur tension and attaching zip-ties. If you plan on replacing cable housings, a proper cable cutter makes a clean cut every time.

Hex Wrenches

Most of the components on modern bikes are fastened using 4mm, 5mm or 6mm allen bolts. One of my favorite tools is the Park triple hex wrench, which includes all three basic sizes. I also find it useful to have a set of long allen keys on hand, as they include some extra sizes like an 8mm for crank bolts, and a ball-end that makes it easy to quickly spin long bolts.

Wrenches

For wrenches, most components are between the sizes of 8mm to 17mm, so having a good set of open-end wrenches is a must. It’s also a good idea to have a couple of adjustable wrenches on hand for odd jobs, but I recommend using the proper size whenever possible as adjustable wrenches often slip and can damage your bolts.

Wrenches for Pedals, Headsets & Hubs

A 15mm pedal wrench is necessary for tightening or replacing pedals. They come with a long handle which helps loosen pedals that are often very tight. If you have an older threaded headset you should have either a 32mm or 36mm headset wrench for making adjustments. A set of 13&15mm cone wrenches are also often needed to adjust your front and rear hubs.

Tire & Tube Tools

For tire repairs you’ll need a set of plastic tire levers. Never use a screwdriver or metal tool to pry off your tires as you’ll run the risk of pinching your tube or damaging your rim. For installing very tight tires I recommend the Kool Stop tire jack, which makes it really easy to pull them on. Of course every home mechanic should also have an air pump, tire guage and if you have presta valves, a presta valve adapter.

Wheel Tools

The last thing you should have are some basic wheel truing tools. Spoke wrenches come in 3 common sizes which you can get individually, or as a combination tool like the one from Park. You can usually make minor wheel adjustments on your bike using your brake pads as a guide, but if you want to be more precise you’ll need a truing stand. Park makes a great economy stand called the TS-8, but if you’re looking for a shop-quality stand that will last a lifetime, it’s worth investing in the TS-2. Once you’ve invested in these tools, you’ll be ready to tune up your bike and take care of minor repairs yourself!

Related Links

Categories

Discuss this topic in the Bicycle Repairs and Mechanics Forum

I just registered here to ask for help. I have this bike; https://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/BikeSpecs.aspx?item=91408 Which I rescued from the trash. I know how to do the basics, like changing a tube or tire, but I don't have a lot of experience replacing parts, or doing much bike maintenance in general. To be honest, I'm not a hardcore cyclist. To me, the bike is mostly just a way to get pla...

Read more

Shimano's gearbox patent

Lastest post 3 days ago

So I read about Shimano filing a patent for bicycle gearbox both for MTB and road bikes. What are your thoughts about it? They must be serious about it and definitely have the R&D capacity compared to the existing bicycle gearbox manufacturers. Looks like an ebike motor. I've always been (and probably will be) a derailleur boy though. https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/ac/c6/46/60b59...

Read more

Homemade chain oils?

Lastest post 6 days ago

Has anyone had any luck with homemade chain oil? im looking for some recipes, a lot include motor oil and mineral spirits any good?...

Read more

WD40 is not the best

Lastest post 6 days ago

There is a product used in major tool rooms I have been in as an engineer for 34 years. It is called Kroil. I think you would have to get it off the web though, but believe me it is the BEST I have seen..... Penetrating-Lubricating Oils Loosens Frozen Metal Parts! ... Nothing Works Like Kroil Kroil - An industry proven penetrating oil that has no equal. Used by 480 of the Fortune 500 companies! ...

Read more

Chain wear to 0.75 too fast

Lastest post 2 weeks ago

Hi, got a fresh new KMC chain back in August for urban commuter bike. Have lubed it twice during this time, and weekly I cover around 30 miles on the bicycle. Measured chain wear yesterday ... it's worn already until the 0,75 mark. Isn't this too early for a chain to be done??...

Read more

I've read other threads and lots of info online, and I'm still stuck. My son is unable to shift the gears on his new 6-gear bike. We tried adjusting the derailer to release some tension and tinkered with adjustments here and there, and nothing seems to be working. Is there anything that we can do? I really want him to be able to shift his own gears. Going uphill today we had to stop several t...

Read more

Inner Tube Issue

Lastest post 1 month ago

In the spring I installed a new Fenix 26 x 1.90/2.125 inner tube on my year old mountain bike front wheel. It has been fine all summer until my last ride this fall. The following day after my ride both front and rear tires were flat. I thought that they might have lost air due to the cooler temperatures. But that was not the case. The tubes had failed. The tubes were inflated to the recommended 50...

Read more

Broken spoke - what to do?

Lastest post 1 month ago

Had an accident on the way home today. Luckily no one got hurt except for my bike. Front wheel now has one broken spoke. Can I still save it somehow? Or do I need to get a new spoke and are they sold one by one just like that? Or better to visit local bike repair?   broken-spoke.jpeg (Size: 162.16 KB / Downloads: 60) ...

Read more

Nexus hubs

Lastest post 1 month ago

Hi. I don't get why would you choose nexus hub over the classic derailleur shifters? Isn't it much pain when the hub brakes? Or am I just too used to the derailleurs and shifting .. #justasking...

Read more

Hello, bike riders! Our community member Gabriel has shared his unpleasant experience with Deore T610 brake levers: "After 2 years of very limited use ... I'm still trying to understand why is there so many holes in such a critical place" Can anyone help by explaining the reasoning for such lever design and what might be the cause of the particular break (material quality, usage, design flaw). ...

Read more

Dented top tube on a steel frame

Lastest post 1 month ago

Hello! I was forwarded here from from Reddit, where I asked around about this dent I caused. So long story short, I dropped this frame by accident on a sharp corner and it caused a smallish dent. I've been told that this is no concern on a steel frame, but I'd like to be 100% certain, if possible. Edit: added the picture...   IMG_05102019_215231_(1080_x_1080_pixel).jpg (Size: 181.86 ...

Read more

Double butted frame

Lastest post 2 months ago

Ciao. I have been looking at road bikes and most of them (unlike my Giordano) have double butted frame. Can anyone explain what are the advantages or characteristics of such bicycle frame? Like an elderly would explain it to a child ...

Read more

Bike pedal nut spins in place

Lastest post 2 months ago

Hi All, Got a new Trek MTB and attempted to change the pedals. Unscrew the drive side pedal easily by turning anti-clockwise; all good there. This is where my noob mistake happen... Did the same by turning the left side pedal the same way (anti-clockwise) and over crank it such that the bolt is now just spinning clockwise and anti-clockwise without coming off. It's not loose.. just spinning in ...

Read more

Schwinn 3rd Avenue 700C hybrid

Lastest post 2 months ago

The bike, new, was $199 from an Amazon dealer, and it came with a load of great reviews and very few negative ones. That should be a warning to anyone looking for a new bike; the shills are out there. If anyone buys one with the idea of putting it together and going for a ride, they would be disappointed. Walmart bikes are better. Seriously! I knew that it would need some work because you do...

Read more

Oil can spouts

Lastest post 2 months ago

Years ago, oil cans had long spouts. Even the throw away cans had long spouts, but makers started putting little nubby spouts on the cans which makes it hard to get into some places such as my bike derailleurs. To oil those I have to pour oil onto a screwdriver blade and let it run down. The cans of '3 in 1' oil I used as a kid, on my bike, had a long spout. So after digging around I found cans w...

Read more

Post your own question in the forum