Mountain Biking and Mountain Bikes for Africa









Mountain Bike Tool and Bicycle Repair Tools

A good set of the right mountain bike tools will make your life a lot easier and keep your bike in good shape. Most entry level and higher spec mountain bikes have become a lot easier to service, with common components across makes and requiring fewer tools. It is not necessary to have a full set of bike tools, but obviously the more you have the more you can do. But with just a few of the most crucial and recommended tools you will be able to do most things on your bike.

Maintaining your own bike is not nearly as complicated as it seems. A good way to learn is to start slowly, gain confidence and build up a set of tools as you progress. If your bike needs a service, consider spending the money buying a couple of tools and then do it yourself.

Mountain Bike Tools

In our bike wash and chain cleaning tool articles we discussed the bike wash tools needed to clean your bike. If you don’t have these then get them because they are the first step to maintaining your bike.

Maintenance work that you will do on your bike the most is changing of tyres and cables, checking and changing a chain, removing and replacing a cassette.

Recommended bike tool list
Floor pump
Allen keys (hex wrench set)
Chain checker
Chain breaker

Cable cutter
Cassette removal tool
Chain whip
Torque wrench

Bike Repair stand



New Bike tools
Many new bikes these days are shipped with all the special tools needed for the cranks, wheels and shocks. For example shimano cranks and mavic wheels are shipped with special tools. Often bike shops don’t pass these tools on to the buyer. So when you buy a new bike insist on the bike tools and all the bits that came with the bike in the box.

Bike Wash Tools
In our bike wash and chain cleaning tool articles we discussed the bike wash tools needed to clean your bike. If you don’t have these then get them because they are the first step to maintaining your bike.

Basic tools – make sure you have these
On most lower spec bikes and some higher spec you will need a simple set of flat and Philips screwdrivers and spanners, sizes 9-17, a pair of pliers and long nose pliers.

Tyre Tools – everyone should have these
A floor pump is a really good idea if you plan to do any work on you bike at all. It makes pumping your tyres up so much easier than a hand pump. Also a good floor pump will have a gauge so you will be able to pump to the correct tyre pressure, and check your tyre pressures. A set of tyre levers will help you remove tyres from a rim, but many people don’t use them and it is possible to do without them. With use of slime and tyre sealant, the patch and kit is not nearly as popular as it used to be, but it still has its place and can be useful.

Allen keys – Your first step to bike maintenance
A set of allen keys, or hex wrench set, is by far the most used and best tool that you can get for your bike. With allen keys you will be able to tighten and loosen your entire braking and gearing system, your stem, handlebar and seat and accessories like bottle cages and pump mounts. The most popular form of the allen key is as part of a multitool, these are nice and compact and always at hand, ideal for riding and travelling with. At home you can get something a bit larger and easier to work with like a set of round head allen keys or ones with handles on.

Chain maintenance tools – will save you big bucks
Maintaining your chain is one of the most important bike maintenance aspects. By changing your chain before it becomes too worn out, you will save the rest of your drive train and only have to replace the chain and not the whole drivetrain. A chain checker is a clever little tool that will allow you to check the condition of your chain. There are many types, the good ones will have an indicator showing the percentage of chain wear, measured as an increase in chain length. When the chain checker reads 75% wear then you need to change it. To remove the chain use a chain breaker. It is best to get a nice sturdy solid tool, don’t skimp here, because the tool needs to be strong and robust to work well and not damage your chain.

Cable cutter – a must have for changing cables
Changing brake and gear cables on a bike is really easy to do. The only special tool that you will need is a cable cutter. This will allow you to make neat clean cuts of the inner cable and the outer cable housings. Using anything else will end up squashing your cables and make fitting a disaster. You need to be comfortable with gear and brake setups before you change a cable though. So although changing the cable is simple, it is the setup afterwards that can be tricky. But once you can do that then changing your own cables will save you time and money.

Cassette removal tools – Very useful when you have it
A cassette removal tool together with a chain whip will allow you to remove your cassette (rear cluster). You may want to remove this so that you can clean it properly, change cassettes or replace a worn cassette. The chain whip is used to hold the cassette, while the cassette removal tool is inserted and loosened with a large spanner (check the size required by the tool). This is a very simple operation, especially removal, however tightening is a bit more critical. A torque wrench will be required to achieve the correct torque and prevent under tightening or over tightening. Torque wrenches can be pricey but they will save you broken or lost parts by making sure that everything is tightened correctly.

Bike Repair Stand – If you are serious then get this
A bike repair stand is probably the best tool you can get once you have started fixing you own bike. It makes everything else easier. It really does make every other bike maintenance job seem a lot simpler and quicker to do. You can do things properly without breaking your back, trying to balance things or working upside down.

Check out our Mountain Bike Maintenance and Repair Guide for the next step in maintaining your bike. Join our mailing list and we will let you know when we update this section

Bike tool links

Park Tool - Recommended bike tool list
BBB bike tools



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