So you’ve decided to make minor repairs to your bike yourself? Now wondering how to choose a mini-tool? Don’t be too shy! You are on the right track.
Every self-respecting cyclist should be able to deal with at least minor problems plaguing his or her iron horse one-on-one. You never know what might happen on the road and where the nearest bike shop will be. This is why you need to buy small handy tools to repair your bike.
When it comes to bike maintenance and repair in the field, the first thing you need is a multitool, spokeshaves, and a spoke wrench. Of course, sometimes there is a need for more serious repairs, but that could be a topic for a whole dozen of articles. Let’s just try to figure out how to choose a multi-tool, what to pay attention to when buying tire levers and spoke wrenches, and what little things to consider when choosing bicycle tools for home use.
Multi-tool, also known as utility knife, is a set of the most necessary tools combined together. In it you will find a set of hex keys, screwdrivers, a knife, and other tools necessary for repair.
When choosing a multi-tool you should pay attention to the available sizes of hexes: for minimally sensible repair you will need 4, 6 and 8 mm. For repair and adjustment of disk brakes, a star (Torx) key T25 or T30 is used – it can also sometimes be a part of a multi-tool kit.
Of course, you should not forget about the possibility of having tire levers and a chain tool included there. Yet, whilst it is very convenient to have all possible tools at hand in one place, the more items are included in the multi-tool the more expensive it gets. When buying yourself a multi-tool, rely primarily on your skills and needs. Sometimes it is easier to get an ordinary one with a minimum set of tools, then add some things separately.
An important thing in choosing a multi-tool is its weight. Some models can weigh about 4 ounces, while the weight of others will reach 11 ounces.
A spoke wrench is the simplest device in its design. In order to learn how to use a spoke wrench, it is enough to understand the structure of a bicycle rim and to know what the spoke tension is. When it comes to choosing spoke wrenches, you need to pay attention to the material and the availability of the necessary sizes for the valves.
A chain tool shall be absolutely essential for you because the bicycle chain is one of the bicycle parts most prone to wear and tear, and it is the one that most often fails, tending to do so in the most inopportune places and moments. With the help of a chain tool, you shall be able to easily remove the damaged link. Prices for such a tool may vary depending on the brand, quality of material, and weight. A simple but quality Birzman DamselFly Universal chain tool is one of the best options.
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Tire levers, just like a set of patches, should always be with you – ready to help your bike. Those who haven’t dragged their bike home for 10 miles may not understand why having tire levers together with a set of camera patches is so necessary, but everything, as they say, comes with experience.
When choosing tire levers, it is worth remembering that their quality directly affects the speed of the disassembly process. Also, pay due attention to the material that they are made of. The ideal option in terms of price/quality ratio here will be strong plastic, preferably from a reliable, well-known manufacturer.
Now that you have this list, you know which tools are needed to prevent the most unexpected breakdowns from taking you by surprise. The only remaining question is where to put all these things. Some prefer to carry tools in a backpack, some use the pocket of the bicycle jersey. But, frankly, you should just use a seat bag.
Alternatively, you can just rent a bike if you don’t need it constantly. A good bike rental in NYC is not something too difficult to find. It’s also quite simple in any other big city. Your own or rented, a bike is always fun to ride!