Bike tools and bike maintenance for too long have been a mystery to me, despite having owned several mountain bikes over the years.
I have traveled on them for months on end, I have ridden local trails – destroyed a couple of frames and far too many rims, but I always managed to avoid anything but the most basic bike maintenance tasks.
Getting-by on what I knew was just enough to keep the bike mobile until I could find a trained bike mechanic.
That changed a couple of years ago when we moved house, the new house came with a large garage, giving me enough space to set up a dedicated area to maintain my bikes – after one training course, a couple of toolkits…
Now I have a reasonable collection of useful bike tools, a stand, and enough “know-how” to do most bike repairs.
Over the last 2 year’s I have bought and trashed several cheap toolkits.
I have reached the stage now that I won’t buy cheap, but I seldom buy top end either…
I find the mid-range bike tools I buy online are giving me great service [not perfect but] for the money spent they work great.
The best money I have spent so far was on these Bike Repair Videos without them all the bike tools in the world would be useless to me, I went from a hesitant DIY bike fixer to “I can’t wait to get into it” type of bike fixer.
When you buy the cheaper toolkits you need to allow for a few casualties amongst the individual tools not all of the bike tools will live up to your expectations.
Some will bend, some will break?
When this happens just replace the individual tool with a good quality branded tool that will last the distance.
This is how I built up a reliable selection of bike tools without spending a fortune.
The tools I always have trouble with I end up replacing…
Cheap chain breakers are just not made to work? especially the ones found in survival toolkits, not much can be done about it.
My advice is to look for a quality used chain breaker tool now – before the cheap one breaks.
I’ve had the spanners that bend and the ones that break.
Normally they fail when I’m removing seized pedals.
Now I always apply grease to the thread before I install a new pedal – no problems removing them later even with cheap spanners!
If a cheap spanner breaks or fails I suggest you replace it with a quality brand like Park Tools.
Plastic Tire Levers
No surprises here, if you see a plastic tire lever in your new toolkit – replace it, don’t wait for it to break – or be sure to buy a toolkit with aluminum tire levers – to avoid the hassle.
Not all cheap toolkits are rubbish you will find a few good tools in every kit, so my strategy is sound – buy more than one toolkit and over time replace tools that fail or the tools you use most often with good quality branded bike tools.
You will eventually put together a full selection of useful bike tools that give good service, without paying ridiculous money for them.