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!

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