12 Essential Bicycle Tools for Home Maintenance and Repair
We list a minimum of essential bicycle tools for home maintenance and repair. Many more can be added as your knowledge base in bike maintenance and repair grows. Click on the items in the list
and it will bring you to my personal recommendations, realizing that there are many other similar tools, some more expensive and some less, that will do the trick. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
- Bicycle Stand
- Long Arm Metric Wrenches
- Screw Driver Set
- Cable Cutters
- Chain Tool
- Long Pedal Wrench
- Torque Wrench
- Tire Levers
- Bicycle Floor Pumps
- Spoke Wrench
- Chain Wear Indicator
- Cassette Brush
Here are my recommendations:
1. Bicycle Stand
- Should I buy a bike stand? Bicycle stands sure makes the job easier. There are many bicycle stands to choose from and I show a few here. Read the reviews on the internet carefully, since some of the cheaper models have many flaws.
- Park Tool PCS-10 Stand ($185) available thru Amazon is the standard with many models. The cost is high but small compared to the cost of the bike. A cheap bike stand will neither hold your bike in place or may result in damage. This is an excellent stand although the cheap plastic pins that allow it to collapse are a weak point and its best NOT to fold it up. Also, when assembling, take care NOT to over tighten the metal screws that fasten into plastic or you will damage the plastic and get a free spinning screw. For these reasons, I give it a 4 out of 5.
- Feedback Sports Pro Elite ($265) is a portable, heavy-duty stand features patented Quick-release Secure-Lock Clamp, with ratchet-action closure and bush-button release. The great quality of this stand is its sturdiness and it's collapsible for storage. But it is costly and there's limited rotation so one has to bend over to work on the front wheel. An excellent stand but because of the cost, I give it a 4 out of 5.
- Spin Doctor makes a collapsible bicycle stand ($89), available through PerformancBike, when folded, takes up no room at all. There have been complains about the plastic used which is fragile can break. The straps to hold the bike on the stand to not seem to hold tightly according to some, and bike may wobble. One must also be gentle in placing the bike on the bicycle stand and making sure it's center. I've broken the plastic cable holders that sit under the bottom bracket by being in a rush!
Because of the cheap strap to hold the bottom bracket in place, the extra care in mounting the bicycle, and the use of cheap plastic, I give this only a 2 out of 5.
- Topeck FlashStand ($39-$45) is adequate for travel although not that sturdy for a home shop, therefore, a 2 out of 5. One need to be careful in placement but is good for quick repairs (I carry one in my care since it fold very small) Available through Amazon.
2. Long Arm Metric Wrenches
- Ever fumble through your bag of hex wrenches looking for the right size hex wrench? Well, Stanley Hex Wrench Set , as well as and a few others brands (also called Allen Wrenches based on first manufacturer of these wrenches) sell them in a nice pack that makes them easy to store and find the right size hex. This is a pack you'll keep at home or in your car trunk to make those adjustments I talk about in "Maintenance Tips." The actual name of these tools are "hex key" wrenches although many still refer to them as "Allen wrenches" since the Allen company was one of the first and most known manufacturers to produce this product.
- The hex key tools shown here are the long arm metric which are much easier to use when working at home or from your car. We'll talk about multi tools to carry in your seat pack next month.
- Some individuals like the "P" handled or "Y" handle hex wrench but I find them difficult to get into tight spaces with a greater chance of over tightening the bolt.
- Cost*: $11.99 thru Amazon and $11.14 from Walmart.
3. Screw Driver Set
- Wiha screw driver set, With Precision Handles is the finest Phillips head screw driver set available. A size to fit any screw on your bike.
- Four piece Phillips head screw driver set (Wiha 26194) - 4 piece phillips head screwdrivers for $15.90.
- A seven piece screw driver set (Wiha 27390) including slotted screw drivers is also available thru Amazon - 7 piece set on sale for $28.95 (number 4 on the list). I personally own this 7 piece set and use it constantly. Worth every cent.
- Product Features:
- Blade high alloy chrome-vanadium-molybdenum tool steel
- Rotating cap for precise turning and control with fingertips
- Precision molded on tapered handle made from high quality plastic, cadmium free
- Tip is precision ground for exact fit, hard chromed finish non-slip surface
- Guaranteed quality made by Wiha
4. Cable Cutters
The Ice Toolz (about $40) will cut both cables, housing and spokes as well as crimp cable tips. You must squeeze firmly with both hands to get the cable housing to cut, but it does it cleanly and quickly. It includes, on the tool, a devise to open the end of the cable housing should it get compressed. Be sure to keep the cardboard back of the package which shows you the parts of the tool to use for various purposes. Note: Using the wrong part (say to cut a spoke) may dull the tool.
Park also makes a cable cutter called Park CN-10 from Performance (about $38) but is not made for housing or spokes. If you already have a cable cutter, buy a Heavy Duty Spoke Cutter made in China from Bicycle Tools($7.75) to cut cable housing (as well as spokes if needed). The cable housing will get compressed in the process. You'll need a dental pick, an old spoke filed to a point at the end, or a small finishing nail to open the end of the housing and make it round to fit the cable.
5. Chain Tool
Because of the amount of bicycle repairs and maintenance I do, I use the high end Park Screw Type Chain tool CT-3.2 ($35) for 5 to 11 speed chains from Amazon. For those of you who desire a less expensive model that will still do the job:
Most Campy 11 speeds require a special tool for chain rivet removal, such as the "The Park Tool CT-4.2 Master Chain Tool" ($60) and the Park Tool Rivet Peening Tool for 11-Speed Chain - CT-11 ($50) for driving in the special Rivet.
At first, I was disappointed in the Bike Mini Portable Chain Extractor ($18) from Amazon. The one I ordered came from China and did NOT FIT ANY SIZE CHAIN. However, I took pliers and bend each side of the U-shaped portion very slightly outward so the roller of the chain (between the plates) now falls neatly in place. The nice thing about this tool is that it has a screw mechanism that screws in on the side opposite the tools handle with pin to hold any size chain in place. Therefore, any size chain will be held in place. Be careful when bending the U-shaped portion. Bend each side just a tad at a time (a slight tug, which you may not actually see any bending may be enough).
6. Long Pedal Wrench
Park PW-3 Pedal Wrench ($26) is worth every penny. Also available from Marty's Reliable Cycle and Cycle Craft as well as Amazon.
- Long vinyl dipped handle to apply plenty of torque for difficult removals
- Made from chrom-moly steel to last
- 9 mm and 9/16 precision openings for common type pedals
7. Torque Wrench
- Includes the torque wrench and 7 bits (3,4,5,6,8,10 mm hex and T25 Torx). The wrench uses a 1/4" drive. Torque values are expressed in Newton Meters (Nm). This Nashbar bike tool is an important addition to any home workshop especially when working with carbon frames and components. Now you can confidently execute assembly and maintenance according to manufacturer specs.
- 1-24 nm torque range is perfect for most bicycle parts.
- Includes a conversion chart, so you always get it right. But what is the correct torque? Always look up your bike specifications (either the manual that came with the bike or On Line), especially for carbon fiber bikes. I will be posting specs for steel and aluminum as well as sources for various carbon fiber bikes over the coming months.
- Park Torque Wrench: If you're into cycle repairs, you may want a torque wrench that will take you above 24 cm. This will allow tightening bottom brackets, crank bolts, and cog lock rings. I suggest the Park Tool TW-6 torque wrench from Excel Sports.
which has a range of 10-60 Newton Meter range (88-530 Inch Pounds).
- Range of 10-60 Newton Meter range (88-530 Inch Pounds).
- Cost: $119.95 and $28.95 for the sockets (sold separately).
- Teckton 1365 3/8-Inch Drive Hex Bit Socket Set, Metric, 10-Piece: ($9.89) Includes 10 sockets that fit 3/8 in torque wrenches. The sockets are metric and will fit most bike parts. Available through Amazon.
- Also see
Torque Ranges and
Newton Meter - Inch Pound Conversion
also Newton Meter-Foot Pound conversion.
8. Tire Levers
- Pedro Tire Levers: These standard tire levers although somewhat wider than most, I have found to be the easiest to use in removing tires off the rim.
Cost*: $3.95 from Excel Sport
- Crank Brother Speedier Tire Lever. It replaces the older "Speed Lever." This lever is light and small with one side to remove the tire from the rim and the other side to reinstall the tire over the rim (especially for those tight fitting tires). It will greatly speed tube/tire changes at home or on the road. See the video from Trisport UK Bicycle puncture repair using the Speedier Lever. Cost*: $5.56 from Amazon
9. Bicycle Floor Pumps
I have worked with a number of floor pumps measure gauge accuracy. Only two of the multiple pumps examined gave consistent readings (realizing that with normal butyl tires loose approximately 1 psi per day). These include the older model of the Hurricane Pump ($35) and the older model of the Wawa Cycle pump (which are not currently available). Interestingly the most commonly used floor pump, Specialized, show very inconsistent gauge reading in our testing laboratory. We have not yet tested the "Joe Blow" Pump from Topeak. Here is a review by Sweethome: Best Bicycle Floor Pumps 2016.
10. Spoke Wrench
Park 4-Side Spoke Wrench ($8.35) available through Amazon. The 4 sided wrench prevents stripping of the spoke nipple and is the best I've used. Be sure to get the correct gauge for your spokes (or buy several gauges to keep on hand).
- 4 sided design prevents stripping the nipple
- Vinyl handle for good grip
- Color coded by gauge.
- Available thru Amazon
11. Chain Wear Indicator
- The Park CC03.2 ($10.69) won't tell you the degree of wear, but rather whether the chain has reached its limits and needs replacement. Because of its low cost, I highly recommend CC-3.2 chain wear (or equivalent type).
- The Park CC-2 ($26.95) give you a precise reading of the amount of chain wear, thus an idea of how long before you need replacement.
- Quickly and accurately determines the wear / stretch of any chain
- Gives you a precise reading
- Mount the pins between two links and check the measurement.
12. Cassette Brush
The Park's Gear Bicycle Cleaning Brush ($4.95) has a unique design. A large comfortable handle with a curved, toothed-end reaches dirt deep between the gears, and tough nylon bristles clean the derailleur and chain. The brush is very durable.
- Works great on brakes or other places where dirt collects.
- Handy size to take along for quick cleaning anywhere and brush made of nylon.
Ten bike workshop tools we wouldn't do without from bikeradar by David Rome, 2014
Eleven Essential tools for the home mechanic> from Performance Bicycle Blog, 2013
Twenty essential bicycle repair tools , from ilovebicycling.com, Lee Agur, 2013