Home Mechanic: Top 10 Things You Need

Top 10 Things Every at Home Mechanic Needs

I am a firm believer that every cyclist should be able to perform the most basic bike maintenance tasks, even though it takes work away from me.  But in order to perform these tasks, every at home mechanic needs some tools and equipment.  So where you are an at home wrench just looking to keep your bikes running or are working on building the ultimate at home workshop, here are 10 things every at home bike mechanic needs.

Work Stand

There is nothing more cringe worthy than seeing someone flip their bike upside-down in order to work on it (especially if it has hydraulic disc brakes).  A good quality work stand will make working on your bike a million times easier.

There are a number of work stand options on the market for the home mechanic.  If you are primarily working on mountain bikes, a work stand that holds the bike by its seat post is what’s right for you.  If you are ever working on road bikes with strange aero shaped seat posts, than you need a work stand that holds the bike by the front axle and supports the bottom bracket like what pro team mechanics use.

Allen Keys

The tools you will use the most often in your home shop are a set of Allen Keys.  Since you will be using them basically every time you touch a bike, this is no place to skimp.  Pick up a nice set of quality Allen Keys and you will be thankful that you didn’t skimp on this purchase.  I personally like a set with rubber handles similar to the Park Tool P-Handle Hex Wrench Set.

Did you know: Allen Keys are actually called hex wrenches.  Allen Key is actually a name brand and has become the common term for hex wrenches similar to Kleenax and Q-Tip.

Also, more and more bikes have started using torx bolts so a set of torx wrenches is a much have for the at home mechanic.

Torque Wrench

Nothing screams amateur bike mechanic like over tightening a bolt.  A torque wrench will help you avoid over tightening bolts and crushing your delicate and expensive carbon bits.  You can splurge on something fancy or get something simple like the Park Tool ATD-1 Adjustable Torque Driver.

Chain Whip and Cassette Lock Ring Tool

Changing a cassette is a pretty common bit of bike maintenance whether you are freshening up your drivetrain or changing gear rations, so no at home bike shop would be complete without a chain whip and a cassette lock ring tool.

Chain Breaker and Master Link Pliers

Just like changing a cassette, the at home mechanic will likely find himself replacing chains pretty frequently.  A chain breaker is necessary for cutting chains to the proper length while a set of master link pliers will be very handy thanks to the increase in popularity in master/quick links on higher end bikes.

Screw Drivers

Every at home bike mechanic needs a set of screw drivers.  The most popular screw driver for bike maintenance is a Philips #2 since it is the size needed to adjust the limits on your derailleurs.  A Philips #0 is also good to have especially for taking apart components using small screws like shifters.  And a couple sizes of flat head screw drivers can also be very useful.

Cable Cutters

Replacing cables is a regular part of bicycle maintenance and a solid set of cable cutters will help you tidy up the ends of your cables.  Look for a set with an end cap crimper built in to give your end caps that professional look.

Pedal Wrench

While most modern high end pedals have gone away from using wrench flats in order to save weight, a pedal wrench is still an important part of every at home mechanic’s tool box.

Brushes

A clean bike is a happy bike.  And a clean, shinny bike speaks volumes about its owner.  There is no better way to get your bike good and clean than a good set of brushes.  Skip the hose and grab a brush.

Floor Pump

Inflating tires is a daily task for every bike owner so investing a solid and durable pump is a good investment for the home mechanic.  I would recommend looking for something that uses very little plastic ensuring durability.  Also, a head that works with both presta and schrader valves may come in handy.

Bonus: a bottle opener.  Nothing helps an evening of bike maintenance fly by smoothly than a nice, refreshing beverage.

Check out these tool kits from Feedback Sports and Park Tools to get your home work shop started.

These are my top 10 things that every home mechanic needs in his work shop.  While there are many more tools a bike mechanic may need, these 10 things will allow you to perform the majority of basic maintenance tasks that every bike owner should be able to perform.  Expanding your tool collection will allow you to perform more tasks but you can still bring your bike to your local bike shop for those jobs you can’t do at home.