5 Essential Tools You Need To Work On Your Mountain Bike

5 Essential Tools You Need To Work On Your Mountain Bike


– No matter what level of
mountain bike rider you are, you’re gonna need to do some sort of basic maintenance on your bike. Even if it’s just cleaning
it and running an Allen key over it to make sure it’s safe. Now of course you’re gonna
need some tools to do that and we recommend that you
star with a very basic set up and of course as your
maintenance skills develop over the years, you’re gonna
start adding tools to that. So with that in mind, here are our five main suggestions for what you should have. (dramatic music) So first up lets talk
pumps, and I say pumps because you’re gonna
need some options here. SO to start with you’re
gonna need a single pump. For pumping up your tyres,
for repairing punctures all that sort of stuff. Now if you’re on a budget
and you can only afford a single pump, what I would recommend is a portable aort of pump that is usable, you can take with you and
you can also use it at home. Now there are a lot of mini
pumps available on the market but some of them are designed purely for getting you back on the trail
again when you’re riding and they’re not the best
for pumping up a tyre with. But you can get a lot of halfway houses, like this option here
which is kind of like using a mini floor
pump, works really well, it’s got a pressure gauge on it but it is quite happy to use this at home. So it actually represents
really good value for money and later on you might
want to consider upgrading and getting yourself a
substantial floor pump which you will have for a long time. So when you’re looking for your first pump for the portable option,
there’s three things that you need to kind of factor in. Now firstly there’s the
type of valve that it could be used with, now most
pumps do have some sort of system for changing so you can use them with Presta which is high pressure or Schrader which is also
known as a car valve. Now there are more
intelligent options out there that you literally can
just put straight onto any valve, click in
place and they will work. So just factor that in mind
when you’re looking for them. Second thing you need to near
in mind in the ergonomics and the sort of functionality,
the size of that pump. The smaller the pump is,
the harder work it is to be able to pump your tyres up, the bigger it is, the less portable it is so make sure you factor those things in. Now I said to you a
minute ago that I really like this and the reason
for that is the fact it’s got a handle that comes out the side, when you’re using a traditional style pump in this sort of fashion, it’s actually not the most natural position
to use it as a pump. So this is effectively a
mini floor standing pump so you use it in the same fashion, you’ve got a foot stand,
literally put your foot on that, the handle comes out
just like on a track pump and use your hand. Bit more of a natural position to be in when you’re pumping up the tyre. Make sure you factor that in. And of course the final
thing is your budget. Now with any tools I would
say buy the best tools you can because only a rich man buys cheap tools, because you’re going to
have to keep replacing those things in time, if you buys something good that’s got good warranty,
I’m not talking about top of the range here, just
something that’s good quality with some aluminium and
some plastic construction, see how flimsy it is, see how tough it is. Just make sure you look at those things before you spend your money. So your next option with
pumps is a floor standing pump often referred to as a track pump. Now these sort of pumps
are substantially bigger than your regular mini
pumps or compact pumps. They’re very easy to use,
very quick to inflate your tyres and if you
get a good quality one it will last you a long time. Now my first track pump, I actually had it for over 20 years and I only got rid of it a couple of years ago, it
was an ancient SKS one, it had a cast iron base and the only thing I ever changed in it was
the chuck and the hose and everything was good as gold, finally given up the ghost. And I’ve got one of these now. Now when you’re buying a track pump, I would actually recommend
you save up longer and get yourself a
better pump than just get the cheapest one you
can because it’s quite a heavy duty item,
they’re subject to a lot of leverage the way you use them, you’re going to pull it apart, break it if you have a cheap plastic offering. Now you can buys some really good value basic track pumps but again I really would save up money a bit longer. Something to factor in with track pumps, as other ones is the hose length on them,
make sure it suits you, some are really short and a bit of a pain. How well they stand up on the floor, I can’t stand the flimsy
ones that just topple over all the time, make sure it’s got a nice sturdy base on there. All the pumps you get these days will have a valve option that will do both tyres, the car valve
and the high pressure valve. And this particular one has
basically a mini compressor built into it, now that is
for seating tubeless tyres and this has become my new replacement and I’m hoping this will be going perhaps another 10 years. It’s a good solid piece of kit and as I emphasise, it really is worth saving up a bit longer,
making do with your mini pump or your compact pump until you can afford
to get a high end pump that’s gonna last you a long time. Now the final type of
pump you’re gonna need to add to your collection will
be some kind of shock pump. That is if your have a
suspension fork or shock on your bike that is air sprung. Now most shocks and forks
these days do come with a shock in a packet but
perhaps you bought your bike secondhand or you just
simply don’t have one. If you add one of these
sort of shock pumps to you list of things, it means you can be self sufficient in setting your bike up and whenever you want
to change those settings you’re free to do that. Pretty simple affairs,
high pressure, very small. So next up is Allen keys,
also known as hex wrenches. And all the other small
tools that you need on your bike like the
torques, T25 and even just a crosshead screwdriver. So depending on how much budget you have, you’re gonna need a set of Allen keys and you’re gonna need to
consider whether you wanna just use them at home
or you wanna take them out on the trail with you. So lets just say you’re on a budget. Your best option in which case is to get yourself a
decent, compact multi tool. That’s got most of those
Allen keys on there. This particular one has
everything from a two mil up to an eight millimetre Allen key. It’s also got a torques, T25 and it’s got a chain tool on there,
that’s a really good bit of kit to have. Of course the big Allen key
on here, the eight millimetre is not that useful, it’s
more in case of emergencies for tightening up the
eight mil pedal bolt. So I would definitely
recommend getting yourself a quality eight millimetre
Allen key on the side. Now the other option is to
get some quality Allen keys or a set for home. Now I would always recommend
getting those with a ball end. The reason for that is
there are some tucked away bolts on a bike and at
some point you’re gonna find them a bit hard to get into and you can slip and
you can damage the head of the bolt very easily. With these you’ve got
two options, you’ve got the regular head and you’ve
got the ball ended head. Which allows you to get into
those hard to find angles. Now Allen keys you can get
some very cheap budget ones and they’ll work very
well but just bear in mind the softer keys you get which are often the cheaper material
ones, over time the edges do sort of round on them a little bit and they won’t be sharp
and fit your bolt heads. So they can damage your bolt heads. I’m not suggesting the first Allen key set you buy is a really high end one, just pay attention to
the condition of them when you’re using them
and replace as necessary. If you’d rather have
something a bit more compact with home, you can get these
sort of multi tool sets. This one’s a torques set but they do these for Allen keys as well. Very useful to have them all in one place, especially if you’re
limited, say if you live in a flat or a small
home and you need to sort of make sure you’ve got
a very compact set up. You can also take these out on the trail quite happily, they’re nice and small but you’re still better off with a smaller specialist tool that’s
got everything on there. So the final thing is just to remind you that when you’re buying
your Allen key set, you can also buy these individually and just get the ones that
you need for your bike. Now the four, five and six
millimetre are the most common. The eight millimetre,
that’s predominantly the one that you use these days for crank bolts and also holding the pedals
so you will need that. But also have a look
at your particular bike and look at things like
the break lever clamp bolts and stuff and also like if
you’ve got lock on grips, sometimes it’s a two
and a half millimetre, sometimes it’s a three. Just have a look at what
you have on your bike and just make sure you’ve got those. And the other thing I’m putting this in with Allen keys is a torques T25. Now this the sort of
starry looking bolt head and you use those predominantly
on your disc rotor bolts. So sometimes you can get
four millimetre Allen bolts that fit in there but the
common industry standard tends to be the T25. They’re also increasing in popularity in other areas of the
bike so get one of those and you’ll be able to sort that out. Part of the nature of mountain
biking is getting dirty, your bike is gonna get covered
in mud, muck, dust and grime. So you need to be able to look after that, clean it, lubricate it and make sure that everything is functioning well. So to start off with, you
don’t need a fancy hose or anything, just a simple
bucket and some cleaning brushes. As far as cleaning brushes go, you can get specific bike ones or you can do what I do and just use a generic car cleaning brush. Just get it from your
sort of automotive stores. Okay for cleaning the bike itself, on top of water, you’re
gonna want some sort of cleaning solution. Now some people I’ve seen
using washing up liquid and whilst it does get everything clean, it can be a bit corrosive because it’s got salt on it so I probably
wouldn’t recommend using that anywhere near a bike. Car shampoo is very
cheap, again I probably wouldn’t recommend using
it anywhere near a bike because it has got waxes and stuff in it that can be damaging to your brakes. So if you do insist on using that, just keep it very clear
of your disc brakes because you’re gonna regret that. You can’t beat a proper cleaner though, they’re formulated
specifically so they won’t damage your brakes, they’ll
cut through all that grease and grime on your
chain and it’ll give you a good finish on the bike. Now they can be expensive
but it’s up to you to be sparing in how you use it. Now the best recommendation
would be clean your bike while it’s still wet and muddy because that way you
can get most of it off straight away and you only
need to do a little bit of elbow grease with a bit
of a spray and a brush. Final rinse down and give your bike a lubricate and it’ll be good. If you’re riding a trail centre, more than likely they’re
gonna have a hose pipe there or a jet wash, so as soon
as you finish riding, before you go and get all dressed up and go for a cup of
tea, get your bike clean while it’s still wet because that stuff will come straight off,
what you’ll need to do then is get a rag with some
water displacer on it, wipe it around the frame
to get rid of any smears and stuff, put some through
your drive chain to make sure there’s no water just
held in there and then you’re good to go. Now for home you’ll need
some sort of water displacer, whether it’s WD40 or
another brand it won’t, really good stuff to
have just to make sure you drive all that water
out, it’s got a lubricant in there so it’s gonna
help resist corrosion. You’ll need some sort
of generic lubricant, don’t need to go over the
top if you’re on a budget, you can have a generic spray lube as you get more detail
for your bike maintenance you might start looking
at things like specific chain lube, that means wet
lubes, dry lubes, wax lubes stuff like that but an
all round lube is all you actually need. Finally the last thing you need is a generic workshop grease. You’ll need this for keeping water away from bearings and other parts of the bike. For assembling things
like putting new pedals onto your bike, for the seat post junction into the frame, anywhere like that, you need some grease. Buy it once, it’s very
sparing the way you use it so it’s well worth having. So you’re gonna need
some sort of chain tool for rejoining a chain
and splitting a chain. Now I do recommend when
you buy a multi tool for putting in your riding
pack or if this is your main toolkit, make sure
that it has a decent chain tool on it. When I say a decent chain
tool what I mean by that is one with two sets of
jaws, you can use that jaw for splitting and joining a chain and a secondary set of jaws can help you remove a stiff link if you’re
unlucky enough to have one. Now you might not think
that you’re gonna need to have a chain splitter at all these days because you get those master
links for rejoining chains but at some point you will snap a chain and when you do that you’re very likely to damage some links in which
case you’re gonna need to split that bit of the chain, remove it, then rejoin your chain. So if you’re gonna have
a home set up as well, I would definitely recommend
having a dedicated chain tool. They’re a lot bigger,
they’re a lot easier to use, there’s more leverage on the handles and it’s one of those
tools that you buy once and you’ll pretty much have this for life. This particular one
you’ve got a replaceable pin driver on it and
it actually comes with a couple in the box as well so
this should see you through. And the final two things
that you probably wanna have in your collection are
some kind of master links so these are the links
that rejoin a chain. They’re great to keep in your riding bag but equally as good to
keep at home to get you back on the trail again. Now just make sure when you buy these they suit the bike you have whether that’s nine speed, 10 speed,
11 speed or 12 speed. Nice and cheap, get two or three of these and just keep them. A final think with the chain
is checking if it’s worn or not and if it’s stretched. Now you can get a variety
of different chain checkers on the market. This one’s a little bit more advanced. But there’s a more basic
one that just slots straight into the chain
and it can tell you how far along in chain stretch it is. If you replace your chain
before it’s worn out this is gonna be more beneficial to you and save you money in the long run because your cassette and the
sprockets on the chain ring they’re gonna last a lot longer. So just monitor your
chain wear and it will save you money in the long run. A basic chain tool doesn’t
cost a lot of money and once you’ve got one
it will be compatible with any chain you’re likely to have. And finally is one thing
that you probably think you don’t need is a set of cable cutters. So you’ll need this if
you’re changing your brake inner cables or your gear inner cables or if you’re lucky enough
to have a dropper post on your bike, more than
likely that will have an inner cable as well operating that. Now you can cut these cables with a set of conventional cutters
but more than likely you will end up fraying that cable, in which case it’s gonna
split and you’ll end up having to replace it sooner than later. Buy a set of good cable cutters, you only need to buy these
once if you look after them. Don’t be tempted to cut
anything else with them, some people I’ve seen
cut spokes and all sorts and that just sort of
damages the end of these. Keep it nice and sharp and
you’ll keep these forever. Cool so that’s the sort
of five groups of tools that everyone should
have in their tool kit. As I emphasised at the
beginning, as your maintenance becomes a bit more
comfortable and you venture on to more things, you’re
gonna need to expand your tool kit. And we’re gonna look at the
things you need to do that in the next video. If you wanna see a couple more
really cool helpful videos, click down here for three
ways to fix a chain. So that deals with out
on the trail, how you rejoin your chain when it’s
damaged and it’s snapped. If you wanna see the latest tech show where I answer all your
tech related questions, click down here. As always, click on
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