Top 10 Tools For Your Garage

mtb, tools -

Top 10 Tools For Your Garage

So you have bought a bike, enjoyed riding, spent some time on the trails and realised that it needs a bit of maintenance. Now it is time to get yourself a few basic tools to keep in your garage to help you fix the basics on your bike and have you back on the trail quickly. 

These are my favourite tools that I regularly use to get the basic repairs done, they are quality tools that have lasted any years of use and abuse, and have never let me down. There are plenty of great brands and options out there, but this is a good start to help you make the decision of what you might want to purchase to get started.

1 - Hex Key Set

A good quality set of hex keys will be used every day when working on your bike. The majority of nuts and bolts that need to be adjusted use Metric hex keys, so a set of these will keep you running smoothly. This is a tool worth investing properly in, as the better quality products have a tougher material and tighter tolerance when manufactured, meaning it will fit neater into the bolt and be less likely to cause damage to your bike. While Hex keys come in many shapes and sizes, my personal favourite for most uses are the Kinchrome Ball Point Hex Set. While I do have many different options in the garage I see myself reaching for these more often then not. 

Where to buy - most hardware stores

Price - $50

2 - Tyre Levers

Tyres are one of the best ways to change the performance and comfort of your bike, whether you ride tubeless or with tubes, you will notice dramatic differences in your bike with a simple rubber alteration. However with the age of tubeless tyres have become extremely tight fitting, so a set of plastic levers to help you get the tyre off and back on again is an absolute MUST! I have been using the Pedros tyre levers and cant fault them, and the best part is they come in a range of colours.

Where to buy - Lead Out Sports

Price - $50

3 - Chain breaker

If you are planning to ride your bike a lot and work on it at home, you are sure to want to replace your chain as it starts to wear. In order to get the chain to the correct length for your bike you will need a chain breaker tool, which helps to push the pin that holds the chain together out, and allows you to replace the pin as required. While you don’t need to spend a fortune on this tool it is important to ake sure that you purchase a tool that allows you to work on the correct chain for your bike, so count the gears and make sure the tool works for you! Personally I have been using the Pro Chain Tool for many years and it has always served me well, however with the recent shift to 12sp bikes I am due for an upgrade and still to decide what to purchase.

Where to buy - LBS

Price - $50

4 - Cable Cutters

Quality cutters will help you replace cables, cut cable ties and fix many simple things without any dramas. I have had a set of Park Tool cable cutters for over 10 years and they are still going strong, every cable is cut flush, with no problems at all, and I am guaranteed to get the length I wanted without dramas.

Where to buy - Park Tools

Price - $50

5 - Chain wear tool

Keeping an eye on the wear and tear of your bike will help you know when you need to replace parts and how to best maintain your machine. A chain wear tool measures the length between the links on your chain and helps you understand when your chain is worn. If you are able to replace the chain early, you will be able to use multiple chains on the single cassette. Pedros produce a simple and easy to understand chain tool which works on multiple types of chains and will give you the knowledge of your bikes wear and tear.

Where to buy - Lead Out Sports

Price - $30

6 - Chain whip and Cassette Tool

The next step after changing your chain will be your cassette, whether to give it a better clean or to replace a worn out drivetrain, you will need the correct cassette and chain whip tool for your bike. While I have a few in the garage for different uses, I would normally pick up the Pro Tools pairing, as they are easy to use and comfortable on the hands. Similar to the chain breaker, ensure that this will work for the bike that you have with the right chain fitting and cassette option.

Where to buy - LBS

Price - $80

7 - Multi Tool

If you are working on bikes in your garage to get them working well, you will want to take a multi tool on the trails with you to ensure you can fix small issues on the ride. Rather than looking for the lightest or the tool with the best colour, I always recommend you start by looking for a chain breaker, then look through the attachments offered to make sure they will work on all the parts on your bike. I have a range of Lezyne multi tools for my different bikes, having found they offer the best selection of attachments for the bikes in my garage.

Where to buy - LBS

Price - $60

8 - Pick and Hook set

While this might seem a bit unusual, cleaning the nooks and crannies of a drivetrain can be incredibly challenging. A pick and hook set allows me to get into the small crevices of a derailleur and remove any gunk that is wearing down your precious gears.

Where to buy - Hardware Store

Price - $20

9 - Pump

If you are going to be riding regularly you want to know that your tyres are pumped up to the perfect pressure. A good quality floor pump, or track pump as they are also called, will help you pump up your tyres with ease and check the pressure the be at a perfect level for your riding style. As a bonus, if you are running a tubeless tyre you will want to look for a pump with a high flow option to let you inflate and seat the tyre with ease. I have been using the Specialized MTB Floor Pump for many years now and haven't had any problems, as far as I am concerned that is the perfect way to rate a pump.

Where to buy - Specialized

Price - $75

10 - Chain lubricant

You might not think of this as a tool, but the right chain lubricant (or wax if you are that way inclined) will work wonders on your drivetrain efficiency and longevity. It seems that every brand is offering the ‘fastest’ or ‘longest lasting’ lubricant on the market, however its important to do your own research to see what will be best for you and your riding situation, a great place to start is on the Cycling Tips website where Dave Rome has completed many in depth reviews on lubricant, or even the Zero Friction Cycling website for a range of tests that have been performed. My go to everyday lubricant is Smoove Lube out of South Africa, I have found this to be long lasting in my riding conditions, and is easy to apply. 

Where to buy - Lead Out Sports

Price - $25


Work Stand

While you may be ok doing basic repairs and maintenance on the ground, you will find it a lot easier to fine tune your bike with a workstand. This will lift the bike off the ground and allow you to spleen the wheels freely, as well as holding it stable for the tricky repairs. I have been using a Park Tool stand for many years, however any of the major brand produce a quality product that will last many years to come.

Where to buy - LBS

Price - $150

The most important thing to think about when fitting out your garage is to look at your specific bikes to make sure that the tools you purchase will work with the parts on your bike. As bikes change and develop over the years they are becoming more specific, and the tools are following suit. If you don’t know what will work for your bike then head to your LBS to have a chat to them and find the best options for you.

While we don’t yet sell tools from Rotation Destination, we are happy to give any advice to help you fit out your garage and have your bike riding smoother for longer.