With standardization in the cycling industry, routine maintenance and many basic repairs can be handled with a common multi-tool. But knowing how to maintain your bike or effect those repairs is largely a matter of experience.
Most people get experience in bike repair by facing a broken component on the trail or road. This is not the most desirable way to learn how to fix your bike. (Remember that stomping on your frame won't help it.)
Instead, go riding with experienced riders whenever possible and ask about repairs or watch the experts when repairs are needed. This will give you an idea of which tools are best for the job. You can also take classes in bike repair from REI or your local bike shop. And if you're truly a studious person, a book can expand your knowledge of repair and maintenance.
A multi-tool can handle a surprisingly wide variety of repairs. Its versatility makes it a good value. Make sure your multi-tool has the following:
Also make sure you travel with the following:
For component changes, rebuilds, or larger maintenance issues, it's best to wait until you're ready to tackle the task and then get the right tool for the specific job. A well-equipped home shop can handle almost every repair your bike will need. You may already have some of the following tools in your home, but keep in mind that bicycles use the metric system and your tools may be based on the English system of inches and feet. Some of the tools and accessories you'll accumulate as you gain more repair experience include:
Note: For suspension systems refer to your owner's manual; sometimes these systems use specific customized tools. See our article on Understanding Suspension for more information. If you're a truly self-sufficient home bike mechanic you may also want to include in your shop some professional-level parts and tools:
By REI Staff
Last updated: Mon Mar 04 09:35:56 PST 2013
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