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

cable loose from gear handle shifter

Lastest post 12 hours ago

Hi, I'm new here. Just need some help right now for my grandson's Shocker 20 bike. The cable holder has come loose at the gripper handle and having trouble getting it back in. Any suggestions or where to get another 7 speed shifter for his bike? Thanks a lot. Sorry for not filling in any other "newbe" message, I'm currently baby sitting my other grandchild . That probably explains it all. 2...

Read more

Also if you guys know the code for the bearings and bearing size, I have a shimano 105 crank   B735B1FC-9997-4A08-9590-3B4A5798E21D.jpeg (Size: 79.89 KB / Downloads: 9) ...

Read more

I need to know what bottom bracket I have but I can fin a number or code on it to read it. Any experts in here, this is my first post.   006BA1F3-FE4D-4D22-85F0-095E72284B3D.jpeg (Size: 46.12 KB / Downloads: 12) ...

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

Horrendous noises when pedalling

Lastest post 21 hours ago

I have just started hearing horrendous noises when pedalling my 7 week old Trek Powerfly 4 ebike. The sound is worse than clicking and clunking and I can’t tell exactly where it is coming from. So have uploaded a video here: https://youtu.be/G3X2tLHk4Bk. Has anyone had similar or know what if could be? I’ve not heard these types of noises before....

Read more

  varsity.jpg (Size: 152.97 KB / Downloads: 66)   varsity2.jpg (Size: 77.64 KB / Downloads: 67) Hi. This is my first post. I have a 1962 Varsity that I've enjoyed riding since I was 10. I'm in my 60's now and just want to putz around the neighborhood. In order to make the bike more comfortable I put a super big seat on it and 12" high handlebars. It's my Lazy-Boy on whe...

Read more

Hello everyone. After many winter rides, my 29er MTB began to throw out creaking sounds last week. It's nothing too loud, just a gentle yet annoying creak that happens on every other stroke but not constantly. Could it simply be the case of pedals (I have clipless Shimano MTB pedals) being "tired" and not the bottom bracket? Where should I look first?...

Read more

  IMG-0104.JPG (Size: 69.13 KB / Downloads: 14) Hi I was in the process of putting upright handle bars on an old mountain bike frame.. ( help take the pinching out of my neck when i ride) I noticed a small hairline crack in the headset (i guess that is what they are called ?) I am only looking for something i can go out and ride simple flat probably paved trails.. to keep my c...

Read more

Hey guys I was recommended to post here to see if I could get any additional opinions. Would be great if you guys could help me out. Images: https://imgur.com/a/HvH98By I bought a second-hand carbon bike that looked mostly fine on inspection but when I took it apart to put in the car I noticed that the carbon around the dropouts might've been cracked? This is my first time seeing these 'enclos...

Read more

Hi... I bought 2 second hand wheels for my Gary Fisher bike.. The rear wheel came with a new 8 speed cassette marked... Shimano Hypergluide HG. After reading the spec. list of the bike it lists the chain as Shimano CN-IG51, 1/2 x 3/32" ..and the front gear chain as SR XCC-150 42/34/24 crank.. The original cassette was SRAM PG830 11-32 8spd My question ...is the new cassette OK with the original c...

Read more

  PXL_20210328_103831698.jpg (Size: 41.2 KB / Downloads: 26) Hi, I need a new seat post clamp for my canyon? These are proving difficult to get, does anyone know we're to purchase a replacement. I have attached pictures. Thanks Matt...

Read more

I adjusted my front gear according to materials I read and watched on the Internet. Hanging the bike off the ground, fd works alright and shifting was seamless. Now I take a ride, flat ground, shifting front gear was good. Downhill was also perfectly alright with changing gear. When I went uphill even on a gentle slope, gear won't upshift; downshift was alright. I am on a triple chainring. When g...

Read more

Freehub body change compatibility

Lastest post 1 month ago

I have a single speed kona unit with a formula dc52 hub (only single speed drive) and was wondering if anyone knew what freehub bodies were compatible so I can switch is to more then just a single. I would prefer not to have to buy a whole new wheel or rebuilding with a new hub. Thanks...

Read more

Hi Guys, I would appreciate some advice on choosing the right chain for a new singlespeed freewheel 16T. I have a Campagnolo crankset that is 1/8" and use Izumi chain of the same width. I'm currently on Sturmey Archer 17T 1/8" freewheel but I'd like to upgrade to 16T. All the quality 16T freewheels I found are made for 3/32" chains for example Box Buzz. Halo Clickster can supposedly accept 3/32 o...

Read more

Chain for specialized rockhopper

Lastest post 1 month ago

Hello, Ive just had my over 30 year old rockhopper serviced and its as good as new. Almost! Repair shop - where i bought it 6 years ago and have been great servicing it - say the chain is very worn and will be almost impossible to replace. Its a six speed. Would this be true? I'm not grumbling as its been a great bike but at the same time seems a shame to ditch it for want of a chain. Appreciate a...

Read more