If you want to keep your bike in great condition, you’ll need to buy some tools. It can be confusing to know exactly what tools you need and which you don’t.
To help you equip your workshop, we’ve created a list of top 7 essential bike maintenance tools that you need.
All of these tools will get used at some point, and they make a great basis for starting your home workshop.
They should cover you for all the small problems that will crop up on a new bike, and as time goes on, you can think about adding tool specific to your bike and needs.
Linchamp Ball-end Allen Keys
We picked the Lichamp 18 piece set as they come colored, it is amazing how much you’ll come to rely on those colors to quickly tell you which Allen key you have.
It is also a lot easier to find them if you drop them.
With bikes becoming more and more integrated, you’ll find it harder to get a traditional Allen key into a lot of bolts without risking damaging the bolt heads by accident.
With a ball-ended Allen key, you’ll be able to find a way to tighten your bolts without this risk. Setting up one set of flat mount road disc brakes will make you happy you purchased these Allen keys.
Park Tool Needle Nose Pliers
Needle nose pliers are great if you need to hold a gear cable or a brake cable. They make it so much easier when you’re tightening the anchor bolt down to hold your cable taught that you’ll wonder how you ever managed before. Don’t use them to loosen bolts though.
The Park Tool needle nose pliers also come with various cutting and crimping sections.
You’ll find it easy to fit your cable ends and have a job that looks like it was done by a pro mechanic, pretty much because these are the pliers that your local mechanic will be using.
So think of these as more than a set of pliers, they are also a cable cutter, a crimper, and a third hand.
Topeak Joe Blow Track Pump
You’ll be wanting to try and check your tires around once a week, especially if you commute on the bike.
Adding a little air will be so much easier with a track pump, and you’ll be much more likely to get in the habit of pumping your tires.
The Topeak Joe Blow is about as famous a name as you can get for a track pump. The reason is, it is affordable, and it does the job.
It is also reliable and will not fail like many cheap track pumps. If you get a Joe Blow, you should be looking at years of service, and the price now does not seem so high.
You’ll also definitely want a track pump if you’ve been thinking about converting your bike to tubeless.
There is no way a micropump will help you seat the tires, and the Joe Blow will make this task a little easier.
Feedback Sports Pro Elite Workstand
Working on your bike will become a lot easier if you use a work stand. You won’t accidentally knock your bike over, or be standing there holding the bike, turning your pedals and wishing you had a third arm.
The Feedback Sports Pro Elite work stand is the number one choice of the professionals. Go to any races, and you’ll see these in the majority of workshop pits.
The reason it is a great choice for race mechanics is also why it’s great for you at home. It easily folds down into a small space and can be easily be carried.
It comes with three stabilizing legs, and these mean no matter where you use it, it will be stable. So, you can take your bike out into the garden to work on it on a sunny day.
You can also get a full range of spares, should parts wear out. Given that this takes years in bike shops, you should be looking at decades of service; your worst problem would be if you somehow lost the bright red work stand.
Park Tool Professional Pedal Wrench
The Park Tool Professional pedal wrench offers lots of leverage. It is again another tool that one day will make you very happy you bought it.
Pedals seize, especially if you forgot to grease them. You also have the fact that pedaling your bike tightens your pedals.
For these extra hard pedals, you’ll be standing there swearing at your bike as your pedals refuse to come off.
The longer and comfortable handle on this Park Tool wrench will allow you to put your whole body against the tool and will make removing the offending pedals easier.
A quick tip if you have super stubborn pedals. Make sure that you have the chain on your outer ring. There is every chance that when you loosen the pedals, your momentum will send your hand towards the chainring.
It’ll still hurt with the chain on the chainring, but it’ll be a lot better than having your skin punctured by a lot of dirty and greasy teeth.
Park Tool CC-3 Chain Checker
With the rising number of cogs on rear cassettes, chains have been getting thinner. As this has happened, chain life has decreased. A worn chain will wear out your cassette and chainrings fast.
So, catching the point when you need a new chain is important if you want to save yourself the extra expense of a new cassette or front rings.
The Park Tool CC-3 chain checker is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to check if you need a new chain. You simply have to drop it into your chain and see what the reading is.
If you’re running a 10-speed chain and it shows 0.75% wear you need a new chain, if it is an 11 or 12-speed chain, then you need to replace at 0.5%.
Get into the habit of checking your chain regularly, and you’ll save a load of money.
Atlin Spoke Key
The Atlin spoke key is a simple spoke key that you can keep at home to quickly fix any small out of true problems.
The Atlin tool will work with various nipple diameters so it should fit the spokes on your wheel.
A multi-option spoke tool is a good option if you don’t know the spoke sizes on your bike. It will not take up a lot of space in your toolbox, and one day, you will need it.
I’ve spent way more time in the bike trade than anyone should reasonably want to. In that time I’ve wanted to make cycling jargon and marketing easier to cut through to help people get the bike of their dreams.
When I’m not writing about bikes, I can be seen out bikepacking on single speed bikes or teaching kids how to ride.