TOOLS AND TIPS: YOUR DIY MAS­TER­CLASS

Australian Mountain Bike - - Contents - MIKE BLEWITT MIKE BLEWITT AND PHIL GALE

Want to know ex­actly what tools you need to build up a dream work­shop? We’ve com­piled a com­pre­hen­sive run-down of all the equip­ment re­quired to com­plete any bike fix quickly and eas­ily.

AT THE HEART OF IT THE BI­CY­CLE IS A SIM­PLE, EF­FI­CIENT MA­CHINE. SO LOOK­ING AF­TER YOUR BIKE DOESN’T NEED TO BE A MINE­FIELD OF HIGHLY SPE­CIALISED SKILLS AND PRO­FES­SIONAL TOOLS. FOR SOME PEO­PLE, THE BUILD­ING AND MAIN­TE­NANCE OF THEIR BIKES IS AS MUCH FUN AS RID­ING THEM.

While a pro­fes­sional me­chanic can make your bike run like a dream, there is no rea­son that ba­sic main­te­nance and ad­just­ments - and a lit­tle bit more - can’t be done at home with the right tools, prac­tice and pa­tience. Here’s a look at set ups to get you started, and tips from some of the best me­chan­ics we know.

Cycling tech writer and tool afi­cionado David Rome says that a tool kit at a min­i­mum needs a set of de­cent length hex keys spread­ing from 1.5 to 10mm, a Phillips #2 screw­driver and a set of torx keys that in­cludes at least T25 and T30. His ad­vice is to pri­ori­tise qual­ity in these most reg­u­larly used items as they’ll out­last cheap op­tions, while also of­ten pre­vent­ing stripped screws. “I be­lieve the Amer­i­can-made hex and torx keys from Bond­hus of­fer the best value for money. For screw­drivers, typ­i­cally the Ger­man or Ja­panese brands have a su­pe­rior fi­fit fit with most de­railleur limit screws.”

For moun­tain bik­ers, adding a shock pump and clean­ing tools (brushes, chain cleaner, etc) is money well spent and will al­low you to pre­vent un­nec­es­sary wear and tear. Once you’ve got those ba­sics down, the rec­om­men­da­tion is to in­vest in a qual­ity work­stand. “It’s hard to look past Park Tool or Feed­back Sports for a good work­stand”, says Rome. A work­stand will trans­form how you can work on a bike, from ad­just­ing gears and brakes, to even just lub­ing a chain with­out hav­ing to bal­ance the bike.

If you’re keen for some more in-depth home me­chan­ics, Rome’s tips for start­ing out are to not buy the cheapest tool kit you can find. In­stead, in­vest in a small but good qual­ity tool kit, or piece to­gether the items you need, as you need them. “There are lots of great op­tions for cycling tools these days, and home me­chan­ics can hardly go wrong with brands such as Park Tool, Pe­dros, Feed­back Sports, PRO, Lezyne and Birz­man,” he says. “A good book, such as Leonard Zinn’s Art of Bike Main­te­nance or Park Tool’s Blue Tool Book can be in­valu­able too, and are cer­tainly more help­ful than a lot of the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided on fo­rums and Youtube.” Rome him­self learnt the ropes read­ing Zinn’s books (there’s one for the road, one for the dirt).

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