By Laura Dosil
Riding a bicycle is famously something that you never forget how to do – perhaps fortuitously so nowadays, with rising costs making the humble road bike a much more feasible travel option than many alternatives today.
As people increasingly turn to two wheels, whether to make the most of new road architecture, minimise their carbon footprint or simply cut down on costs, the issue of bike maintenance once again becomes a prudent matter of public knowledge. Maintaining a bike requires little in the way of experience, but does require a specific set of tools; what should you have at your disposal when thinking about regular bicycle maintenance?
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of bespoke and specialist tools for rigorous bike maintenance, you should first ensure you have the basics. Though common repairs will require specific tools and instruments, almost every repair or maintenance task will also require that you have access to standard equipment.
But what do we mean by this? Principally, we mean screwdrivers, Allen keys and spanners. Screwdrivers have practical utility in adjusting certain brake pads and installing attachments to the handlebar, while Allen keys are more commonly used for fixtures and fittings around the bike (including the handlebar stem clamp).Spanner and socket sets are highly useful for certain wheel and crank fittings.
With particular regard to the latter, there are certain scenarios where you may need a little more ‘oomph’, such as with removing the crank spindle from older and rusted frames; here, an impact wrench can come in handy, alongside a good set of hardwearing hex sockets.
Specialist Tools – Chain
The chain and gears of any bicycle represent the most complex parts of any repair process. The chain itself can be subject to wear and deterioration, which can be difficult to track without a dedicated chain wear gauge.
Removing the chain for servicing is no simple thing either, being a closed loop with pins that cannot be removed conventionally. A chain tool can both remove and replace these pins, allowing you to separate the chain and remove it entirely.
Specialist Tools – Tyres and Wheels
The tyres and wheels on a bicycle can also pose a major challenge to cyclists without having the right tools to hand. For one, emergency puncture kits are a must for handling on-the-road punctures or emergencies where new inner tubes are not available.
Aside from such kits, it would be useful to invest in tyre levers for the safe and effective removal of tyres from the wheel frame. A spoke key can also enable you to ‘true’ your wheel frames, bringing them into alignment and reducing wear or instability. Finally, a good floor pump for your tyres can make bringing them to pressure much easier.
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