Saturday, June 13, 2015

Basic tool list for beginners

If you have a bike and are beginning to think about acquiring tools, here is a list of things for a start, in order of practical use:

On the RoadAt Home
pump, set of hex wrenches, adj wrench, 
tire levers, patch kit
floor pump, screwdrivers,
chain breaker tool
travel pump, patch kit, tire levers, hex wrenches, adj wrench

floor pump, screwdrivers, chain breaker

  1. pump- A travel pump and a floor pump if you can afford both - checking your tires often will decrease the time/money you spend on flats and damaged wheels
  2. tire levers- the most basic of repairs is fixing a flat (and get an adjustable wrench, if you need one to get the wheel off
  3. patch kit for tube punctures
  4. screwdrivers- one phillips head, one straight (maybe the multi-tipped kind with the magnetic bits)
  5. Allen/hex wrenches- a set sized for bikes
  6. chain breaker tool (allows you to remove or resize your chain)

A tiny bit more advanced:
  1. spoke wrench
  2. bike stand or wall mount to get your bike up to a height you can work on it
Intermediate skills with a big pay off:

Watch the garbage and pull a bike wheel out of the trash.
  • Truing a wheel: You can set the wheel in between two work surfaces, so it spins freely.  Play with tightening and loosening spokes so you can get the feel of it.  If you break a spoke while riding, being able to adjust the tension of the ones around the broken spoke may enable you to get home under your own power.

Ask your bike shop for an old chain.

  • There is an art to removing a link and it is easiest to practice when you aren't stressed on the side of a road with traffic right next to you. Practice pushing a pin (rivet) almost all the way out, then pressing it back in, then pressing it out again ever so slightly to relieve the pressure and make it swivel on the pin (rivet) easily.
When I provide SAG on a bike ride, the two most common problems people face are flats and chains falling off. With the tools listed at the top, you can help yourself get going again.

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