If you’re prepared, you won’t miss a ride
Parts every home mechanic should have
Changing tires, and cleaning and lubing components are standard chores that you should perform regularly to keep your ride in top condition. To do so, you need to have the right parts and products on hand. Even for jobs that you might need your local mechanic to do, it’s a good idea to have the part yourself. Yes, most shops are well stocked. But, let’s say you’ve broken a spoke the day before a big event and aren’t comfortable replacing it. If you have the right type and length of spoke for your deep-section carbon wheel, you can at least take everything to a qualified mechanic for the fix. You avoid the panic of trying to source a potentially hard-to-find part the day before your event. To keep your most prized possession running smoothly and to keep moments of panic at bay, make sure you stock your home workspace with the following items.
Tubes and tires Flats are a common problem. If you are running clinchers, have spare tubes. If you have a tubeless setup, you need sealant and rim tape. With a tubular tire, you’ll need to replace it if you get a slash. Get out the glue and a spare tubular that is pre-stretched with a valve extension installed. Actually, you should have extra valve extensions for your deep wheels, no matter the tire type. Also, with tubulars, sometimes a pesky leak is from a loose or damaged valve core, so have some backups.
Rear derailleur OK, maybe having a new rear mech on hand might be excessive for a home mechanic. If the rear derailleur gets damaged, however, you’ll need it. If you want to save money, your spare could be a lower-cost model. For example, if you’re running a Shimano Dura-ace mech, have a spare 105 part. It will get you on the road. You can always upgrade later.
Rear derailleur hanger I can’t stress having a spare derailleur hanger enough. Derailleur hangers come in myriad shapes and sizes for all the different types of frames out there. Have at least one spare that you know will work on your bike.
Spokes Have the right type and length of spoke for your race wheels. Some high-end wheels will have proprietary spokes. If your hoops have a low spoke count, one broken spoke will make a wheel unrideable. It is also a good idea to have another set of wheels to get you rolling.
Brake and shift cables, and housing Replacing cables will restore smooth brake and shifting action if they’ve started to fray. They can also break or become damaged in a crash. Don’t forget to have some cable end caps and ferrules as well. Shimano and sram cables are interchangeable. Campagnolo is not interchangeable with the two S brands.
If you are running Shimano Di2, have a few spare wires of correct length. The most important are the wires for the rear derailleur and from the shifters to the junction. These are exposed and can get damaged in a crash. Having a spare battery charged and ready to go is a nice-to-have if you have sram etap. You can swap these out easily in an emergency.
Chain Without a chain, you’re going nowhere fast. If it snaps or becomes damaged, it will need to be replaced. At the very least, have a quick link or spare connecting pin. If a couple links are damaged, you can remove them and reconnect if the chain length is sufficient.
Brake pads Make sure to have the correct pads for your carbon rims. If you swap in your aluminum wheels, change the pads, too. Each wheelset should have its own dedicated pads. If you have disc brakes, have one set of pads recommended by the manufacturer for your calipers and rotors. You should have a spare rotor as well. You’ll need two if your bike has different sizes of rotor at the front and rear.
Other items that are good to have You can ride your road bike without handlebar tape or bar-end plugs or your mountain bike without grips if they get damaged, but why would you want to? Bar-end plugs always seem to go missing. If you can, have another pair of shoes and cleats. Keep bolts handly. The most common are M5 Allen head bolts for stems and water-bottle cages. Skewer springs always tend to go flying away. Have a few of those.