Bike Repair Essentials
Keeping your bike in tip-top shape isn’t as difficult as you might think. And with the right tools at your disposal, you can easily maintain your two-wheeled friend throughout the year without ever having to visit a bicycle repair shop. Here are just a few items to help keep your bike in great condition and avoid costly repairs further down the line.
1. Chain checker
Your bike chain will stretch over time and degrade in accordance with the amount and type of riding you put it through, so it’s a good idea to invest in a chain checker to determine just how worn it actually is. Simply put the chain on the big ring and pull it away from the teeth – if you can see daylight between the teeth of the chainring and the chain itself, it may be time to get a new one. A chain checker helps make this decision more straightforward.
Park Tools Chain Checker
2. Track pump
It’s also a sensible idea to have a track pump on hand to keep your tyres fully inflated and, subsequently, more reliable. The inner tube on your tyres will leak air rapidly and lose shape, making it more difficult for the rider to turn effectively – under-inflated tyres also make punctures more likely, which can be a costly problem. Check your tyre pressure as often as possible and keep them pumped up.
Vandorm Legend Track Pump
3. Brush set
Invest in a good quality brush set to help keep your bike clean at all times. You’d be surprised how much dirt can become lodged in the chain and other moving parts after just a few journeys, and while a cloth is good for cleaning the body of the bike, a brush is much more effective at hitting those hard- to-reach places, such as the jockey wheel cages and front mech.
4. Torque wrench
A torque wrench is vital if you own a bike that’s composed primarily of carbon parts, such as the handlebars and stem. Over-tightening a bolt can seriously damage the carbon parts of any bike – a torque wrench will stop you from going one turn too far and cracking a component. The temptation to tighten a bolt until it’s totally unmovable is one the best of us can succumb to, so get yourself a good torque wrench and avoid it altogether.
5. Cleaning sprays
Keeping your bike clean is a constant battle, especially if you’re taking it down the side of a mountain or along a muddy forest trail. And while a bucket of warm, soapy water and a sponge goes a long way, they won’t achieve the best possible results. Start off with a water repellent spray to combat rust, then think about re-greasers and silicon sprays to further reinforce your bike. Do all you can to keep your ride clean and rust/grease free.
Fenwicks Bike Cleaner
6. Allen key set
It’s hard to beat an Allen key set for flexibility. Every cyclist should have one at their disposal, whether it’s at home in the garage or along for the ride. Keys that are 4, 5 and 6mm in length are crucial for adjusting your bike. Longer keys will give you more reach, while the shorter arms provide extra torque. Again, invest in a quality item that won’t bend or snap under too much strain.
7. Cable cutters
Keeping the cables on your bike up to scratch by replacing them regularly can have a profound impact on the effectiveness of your gears and brakes. If cables become too stretched, they can cause brakes to malfunction and gears to miss their mark – you definitely don’t want this to happen when you’re moving at high speed or need to stop suddenly. Your bike cables will wear out after numerous cycles in wet conditions, and longer-distance rides will shorten their lifespan further. Cable cutters are a must if you’re to successfully cut your cables in a way that leaves the ends neat rather than frayed, as they would be if you used a knife. You’ll need a neatly-trimmed end to your cable if you’re to slot a cable stop onto it.
So there you have it – a short and sweet list of useful items any cyclist will need to keep their bike in top condition. Invest wisely!