A good cyclist is a prepared cyclist. Whether you’re a pro or a novice, it is important to have a robust bike repair kit for any snags you might encounter along the way.
At Ride DNA, we are committed to making cycling safer and more enjoyable. So, whether you are cycling for recreation or transportation, we want you to be prepared. A lot can come up when you are on the road – flat tires, loose parts, and other unforeseen mishaps. It is vital to have the proper tools to get yourself out of a sticky situation if you are miles away from home and perhaps even stranded on the side of a rural road.
Below, we’ll go over essential items for what to take with you on a bike ride. Of course, you do not have to carry every item we suggest in your bag. Many cyclists prefer to pack lightly when out on a ride. This is totally understandable. No one wants a ton of extra weight holding them back. But this list is a good point of reference to build off of when selecting what items to include in your personal bike repair kit.
1) Spare Tube and Patch Kit
Flat tires happen, but there’s certainly never a convenient time for one to occur. Don’t leave yourself high and dry. Read up on how to fix a flat and be prepared with the tools to fix it. A spare tube and patch kit can be a lifesaver when you’re in a bind. Patch kits will include adhesive materials to patch up holes or tears. These small patches are best for punctures. If you have a large tear in your tire, use the spare tube for the repair job.
2) Tire Levers
Another helpful aid in repairing a flat tire is a tire lever. They help to pry a tire off the rim. Since road bike tires fit so snugly to the rim, they are usually more helpful for this type of bike as opposed to a mountain bike tire which is a bit easier to remove with your hands. There are methods to remove a road bike tire from the rim without a lever, but this tool will speed up the process drastically.
3) Bike Pump
Once you patch a flat tire, you will likely need to fill it back up. Generally, a mini bike pump won’t fit in your under-seat bag, but specialized portable pumps come equipped to easily attach to the frame of your bike. Most mini pumps attach directly to the tire valve while others may include a short hose for added ease of use. CO2 inflators are another option that can speed up the process, but keep in mind that they require a disposable cartridge to function.
Screwdrivers are an essential tool for bike repair. Depending on the bike you own, you’ll need a Phillips or flathead for many of the issues that you may run into. Screwdrivers can be used to adjust brakes, derailleurs, cargo racks, and more. You can discern which screwdriver you would like to carry based on your bike and which mechanisms you are most concerned will potentially need adjustments along the way.
5) Hex Wrench Set
A hex wrench or Allen key is used to secure bolts and screws with hexagonal sockets. They can be helpful for adjusting parts in tight places. Your set should include hex wrenches ranging from 1.5 mm to 8 mm (dependent upon your bike’s bolts). You could also opt to include a three-way hex wrench in your bike repair kit. This type of hex wrench is easier to handle and can be extremely helpful when tightening loose bolts.
One way to simplify your kit is to invest in a multi-tool that can handle a variety of repair needs. A multi-tool should include several types of wrenches, a Phillips screwdriver, a flathead screwdriver, and a chain tool. Some may have additional tools such as tire levers as well. With so many mechanisms in one tidy package, a multi-tool will cut down on the weight and overall bulk of your repair kit.
7) Lube, Grease, and Cleaning Supplies
Bikes require proper lubrication to run smoothly. It is not as important to have lube and grease on hand for short rides and commutes, but if you are planning a multi-day trip or you’ll be on a dusty trail, it’s a good idea to keep these in your bike repair kit. Clean and grease up your chain, pulleys, pivots, and other components before they become too dirty. This will help prevent issues down the line.
8) Spare Parts
Finally, spare parts can also be a helpful addition to your bike repair kit. If you’re heading off on a long-distance ride, it would be in your best interest to bring along important parts in case they wear out along the way. Some good spare parts to keep handy are brake and derailleur cables, chain links, spokes, nuts, and bolts.
Build Out Your Personalized Repair Kit
A lot of the items we suggested are dependent upon the type of bike riding you are doing. Commuting vs mountain biking are completely different worlds. Think about what you need.
At the end of the day, you can take or leave any of the items listed above based on your personal preferences and needs. If you’re simply going on a casual bike ride around town, you likely won’t need to be prepared to lube your chains somewhere along the way. But it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep a multitool on deck just in case!
On the other hand, if you’re planning a long, intense ride you should expect the unexpected. Take this as a helpful starting point in building out a repair kit you feel will best serve you on your next ride!