TOOLS AND TIPS: YOUR DIY MASTERCLASS
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).