A look at our tool kit
Everyone who has ever ridden a bicycle, knows that at some point mechanical issues are bound to happen. Disaster usually strikes at the moments you least expect it. I remember well, as a little kid cycling to school and walking back because of a puncture. Luckily my father was always there to help me out. But when you’re cycling in absolute remoteness there’s no-one to fix it for you but yourself.
A well-thought tool kit can be a true lifesaver. Figuring out what the necessary tools are can be a difficult task. So here’s a detailed overview of the tools that will help solve most of your issues on the fly during your around the world cycling trip or bikepacking adventure in the back country.
The essentials in our toolkit
The heart of anyone’s tool kit should be a multi tool. A slipping seat post or loose bolts caused by bumpy trails can easily be fixed. I’m also carrying good quality Allen keys which are useable when working at an angle. Nifty when I need to tighten bolts that are hard to reach with the multi tool.
A spoke wrench is a tool that stays inside your tool kit most of the time, but it’s essential to true a wheel. With the Hollowtech II tool you can’t remove the bottom bracket bearings, but at least you’re allowed to clean them once a while. Like the spoke wrench it weighs close to nothing. The cassette locking tool won’t let you do the whole job; taking the cassette off. But as experienced in Tajikistan, there’s always a motor repair shop somewhere with a wrench and an iron pipe to wrap your chain around to do the rest. We can use the tool too for our centerlock disc rotors.
Most of the issues we’ve had, had something to do with the drivetrain. So the connector tool and chain breaker are extremely handy. We maintain our chains with a regular clean and always apply chain lube. Want to make sure you will get that screw or bolt undone if you need to? Anti seize lube is the answer.
|Allen keys||Swiss Tools|
|Hollowtech II tool||Shimano|
|Cassette lockring tool||Park Tool FR-5.2G|
|Missing link connector||Park Tool MLP 1.2|
|Chain breaker||Park Tool CT-5|
|Anti seize lubricant||Cyclus|
Pumped up tires
A good quality pump is essential in every tool kit. Together with tire levers and patches they make the golden tire repair triangle. Personally I like the oversized tire levers because they make the job much easier. We carry the pre-glued self-adhesive tube patches for the inner tubes and the tire boots to repair a cut or worn tire sidewall. Two spare inner tubes complete the tire repair part of the tool kit.
You can count us lucky, because on the whole trip we’ve had exactly zero punctures.
|Patch kit||Park Tool GP-2|
|Tire boots||Park Tool TB-2|
What spare parts to carry
If you’re on a longer bicycle trip, it’s advisable to bring some spare parts. Every bicycle has its own unique parts and bolts, but in general you need the items mentioned in the table.
A snapping gear cable and a few mountain passes ahead of you can put you in a bit of a pickle. Spare cables can be stashed inside your handlebar. (Thanks for the tip Sam [http://adventuresbycycle.com]!)
Especially if you’re riding with disc brakes it’s wise to bring an extra set of brake pads. There are hundreds of different kinds on the market, so chances of you finding the exact ones you need in Uzbekistan are pretty slim.
Missing links are a must to fix a snapped chain. We’re also carrying extra spokes and nipples. Keep in mind that the spoke length of your front and rear wheel (drivetrain side and non-drivetrain side) can vary. Might be useful to label them, so you know which one is which. So far we haven’t had to use the spare spokes. Only a whole new rear wheel but that’s a different story. Bolts and nuts can be helpful to replace lost ones.
|Spokes & nipples||Sapim|
|Bolts & nuts||Standard|
Extra in the toolkit
It’s always a good idea to bring a few items like zip ties and tape to fix stuff that tools can’t. Zip ties are useful in many situations. Please buy quality zip ties. We bought cheap ones somewhere in Central Asia, but they kept on snapping.
Gorilla tape is probably the best tape out there for repairing holes in bikepacking bags or fixing tires if you don’t bring tire boots. Our bungee cords and straps are mostly used for strapping the bicycles on the roof of a bus or a taxi.
|Straps||Sea To Summit|
I’m aware that our tool kit isn’t the lightest one, but it’s pretty bombproof. Besides, it gives me a comfortable feeling of being able to fix most mechanicals myself. Every situation and each bicycle is different, so you might need to add some items for your own tool kit. And my final two additions to be ready for anything on a longer journey; if you’re riding with clipless pedals, bring a spare cleat and bolt (super rare). And bring a derailleur hanger just in case.
If there’s anything you would add, change or remove from our tool kit, leave a comment. We’re always looking to improve!
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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.
Maybe have to consider substituting another cassette removal tool for Park Tool FR-5.2G. not sure how you can use it without a spanner missing from your tools.
This is lighter and used without a spanner (and relatively cheap) – unior 1669/4. Just bear in mind how to use it because if the cassette is too tight, improper use of the unior (the instructions are wrong) might lead to breaking the derailleur hanger.
Check here – at least that is my experience with a broken der. hanger
the link has an English+non-English text
Thanks for the reply Ognyan. I know that tool and also know someone who snapped his derailleur hanger with it. We take the risk not bringing a spanner and hope there’s a place nearby with one if we really need it :D.
Have you ever used the pre-glued self adhesive tube patches? I can never get them to stick on for more than 5 mins before the leak re-occurs. Much better to bring unglued patches and a tube of glue.
Hi Ken, I agree that patches and a tube of glue work better. In case of emergency we’re also carrying glue.
I have tried the glue less patches and have had bad experiences with them. They are good enough to get me home but every day or 2 your tires will need to be pumped back up. I would add a derailleur jockey wheel and bolt, chainring bolt, brake wire, a few double ended ferrules so you can join different pieces of shift/brake housing if just a few inches in the middle of a section goes bad, park tire boot, 10″×10″ (25x25cm) of sturdy fabric for mending tents, bags, tires…, cone wrenches if using cup and cone hubs, 2+! patch kits (with glue), assorted sandpaper 60, 100, 200, up to 1000+ (in addition to repairs also is effective at maintaining the cutting edges of your cutting tools), 2x hose clamps. I would also add a small sewing kit with assorted needles and a few kinds of thread. Needle and thread + a park tire boot, fabric boot on top of that and gorilla duct tape on top of that is a real repair for torn tires that will probably last the life of the tire. I’ve repaired shoes, tires, bags, tents, sleeping bags, clothes… with simple needle and thread and it holds up. I like to go over my bikes so that they keep repeating the same kinds of nuts and bolts. It reduces the number of tools needed but makes servicing my bike an enjoyable snap as I can just grab a 5mm hex and Phillips screwdriver and do most of the wrenching with those 2 tools. Before leaving loctite is your friend.
Hi Mike, thank you for your elaborate comment about tools. It is always interesting to see what other people bring. It seems like your tool kit is suitable for almost any type of repair on the go. Personally we like to go a little lighter and we’re aware that we’re dependable of help in some situations. Couldn’t agree more about the multitool – allen keys comparison. Separate allen keys are so much more user-friendly.