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

It's late. I'll do it tomorrow.

Lastest post 2 days ago

I suppose I should wait until daylight to do the job. My new lever shifter came a couple of days ago and tonight the handlebars arrived. Maybe I'll just remove the brake levers, twist shifter, grips, computer and light and then get some sleep. Well, it's stripped down. Maybe I'll just put the bars on and then get to bed. Yes, they look good but they'd look better if I just put the new lever shift...

Read more

Hello bike riders! Newbie here, happy to join. Visited fam during the holidays. Found my old Fuji mountain bike in the attic. Took it back home to use for weekend rides and occasional commuting. It has rigid fork. I prefer to swap it for suspension fork. I want it to be a DIY project. My first bike build in other words. Might get overwhelming at start. So where do I begin? Anyone here has done rig...

Read more

I ruined my expensive dynamo powered front headlamp. This is the kind that adjusts to motion and knows what time of day it is as well as having a built in ability to charge my phone and other electronics. I was ecstatic when I hooked it all up and went out on my first night ride with it through Forest Park in Portland, OR with four other buddies. I was over the moon in the early morning commutes t...

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

I have just acquired a Cervelo Soloist 2006, has the Ultegra 6600 groupset. It was making a clickity grinding sound whenever I'm on the larger 2 or 3 sprockets (doesn't matter which chainring) when I'm pedalling hard and fast. Anyways, took my crank, chain rings, and bottom bracket off to clean, inspect, regrease and retorque. Greased my new pedals and torqued them on. Adjusted my front derailleu...

Read more

New wheels for 1984 Bianchi nuovo

Lastest post 1 week ago

Hi, I posted this on reddit and got the suggestion to come to the experts here instead so here I am I recently had my front wheel of my vintage Bianchi stolen. First I was looking to just replace the front wheel but since the rear wheel is pretty old as well I'm thinking I might just change them both and at the same time size up from 23mm to 25mm for a little extra confort Does anyone have an...

Read more

Hello, My apologies for the simpleness of this question. I have a 1995 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo that I need to replace the front axle on. How do I find what to buy to replace it? It is missing so I cannot look at the existing part for guidance. Thanks!...

Read more

Rear disc brake is rubbing

Lastest post 2 weeks ago

I have a brand new MTB and the rear disc break is already rubbing/squeaking. What are the easiest fixes? Thanks...

Read more

Shimano hubs

Lastest post 2 weeks ago

Hi, bike riders! Can anyone recognize these Shimano hubs as seen on Schwinn Tune bicycle in NYC? Kudos to whoever gets this right! I'll post the answer by the end of the week.   schwinn-hubs-1.jpg (Size: 125.11 KB / Downloads: 38)   schwinn-hubs-2.jpg (Size: 124.7 KB / Downloads: 36)   schwinn-hubs-3.jpg (Size: 167.41 KB / Downloads: 39) ...

Read more

Help! 2018 Diamondback Line

Lastest post 3 weeks ago

I have a 2018 diamondback line 27.5” . I rode it a few times and the crankset makes a popping noise as i pedal most likely due to being 230lbs. Any recommendations on what i could replace the old ones with that would work better with my weight and handle my riding better....

Read more

Shimano ultegra shifting issues.

Lastest post 3 weeks ago

Hey everybody, New to world of cycling, recently my bike started to not shift as smoothly as it was before so I thought I would check to see if the cable was frayed. I detached the RD cable and inspected it, found no issues relubed it and re attached the cable. Since I have done this, my shifter will only click 7 times, and I have a 9 speed so it should click 8. I’ll walk you through what I d...

Read more

Weak disc brake

Lastest post 3 weeks ago

Back disc break on my Orbea commuter got much weaker this week. Front break is strong as always. I dont think that smth special happened, like crash, that damaged the brake. Never worked much on disc brakes. I want to fix this myself but I dont know where to look first and dont want to mess smth up. Where should I start? I have Shimano mech disc brakes....

Read more

Triple front derailleur

Lastest post 3 weeks ago

A couple of years ago I bought a new front derailleur from my LBS. He said it will work for a triple chain ring. I didn't install it right away, and in the meanwhile I stopped dealing with him because of numerous botch jobs. When I put the derailleur on the bike, it won't work on a triple chain ring. I can make it work on the small and middle ring, or the middle and large ring. So I'm stuck with ...

Read more

Chain Cleaning

Lastest post 4 weeks ago

Disclaimer: I am not a professional bicycle mechanic! After reading many procedures/methods for chain cleaning, utilizing many solvents/lubricants and/or water; I have only found one method that actually does the job properly and effectively. I am not here to "poo-poo" other means of accomplishing this goal, just providing what I have found has worked for me without fail. First: "wiping off" a...

Read more

REAR DERAILLEURS

Lastest post 1 month ago

What (if there is any) is the difference between 9, 10, 11 speed rear derailleurs?...

Read more