9 Essential Tools For Home Cycle Maintenance


(electronic thump) Wanting to work
on your bike at home and keeping it in tip-top
condition is all well and good. But you’re gonna need
the right tools to do so. So here’s nine essential
tools that you need to keep it running smoothly. (hip hop music) Firstly, I can’t recommend enough having a bike work stand to use. Reason being, it supports the
bike well and I do see people occasionally work on their
bikes turned upside-down. Basically, that doesn’t make
sense because nothing’s logical and I’ve seen people
basically join chains together in the wrong places
because they’ve routed it through the ridge really wrong. So, whatever you do, work on
your bike the correct way up, but in a stand. At home, I actually use
a tripod-style stand, so something different to
the one that we’ve got here. Reason I prefer that is
I can work on the bike much quicker, actually, and
I can spin it around and I don’t need something quite
as cumbersome perhaps, as this. There are a huge variety
of work stands available from the top of the range …
one like this to something homemade like I showed you
with an old inner tube. So whatever your budget,
there is something out there for you. And please, do just get one. (hip hop music) So, Allen keys or hex wrenches. These days on bikes, they’re
covered in sockets for them. Years ago, we used to have to
use spanners but these days, really simple with just a few of them. As for the differences between
them, well, you can get multi-ones like this, a basic
key like that, or one there with a plastic hand. The differences are really how often you’re gonna be using them. So something like this with
a plastic handle, it’s a lot more comfortable for day-in, day-out use. What I would advise if
you’ve got the budget for it is actually try to look for something that has like a ball head on it. Reason being, a lot of
bike parts in places where it’s not necessarily that
easy to actually reach so by having something like that, you can still access the socket fine and still be able to undo it. As for sizes, well, you’re
gonna definitely need a four, a five, and a six
millimetre, or most likely anyway. There are a variety of
different sizes available but those are the three most common. Now when you’re gonna have
to buy some, look for, say a two-millimeter all the
way up to a 12-millimeter, or possibly a 10. 12-millimeter, that’s only
used on some free hub bodies. As for what I use and also
what Doddy from GMBM uses, at our home workshops, we
actually use the multi-tool Allen keys a lot. Normally it’s the closest
ones at hand and we’re just working on the bikes pretty quickly. So it’s a simple, easy job. (hip hop music) So Torx keys. These are similar to a hex
key in that they’re six-sided, but that’s basically
where the similarity ends. A Torx key uses more of a
point-style fitting and basically, you can put a bigger torque through it and that’s really important
in the cycle world, where we do use some quite high torques. And when you’re using a
small head, you can actually round off Allen key heads quite
easily whereas a Torx key, it’s not quite so simple to do so. Hence, the likely introduction of them into the cycle industry, where we’ve got all of those small little fittings. It is possible, however, to
actually used an undersized Torx key on one of those sockets. So actually pay a real
good deal of attention when tightening them to
make sure you’re using the right tool size and the
right socket size because you don’t want to start
rounding off anything. That’s never any fun. Of course, if you don’t have
any Torx fittings on your bike, you can ignore everything
I’ve just said, but be aware, it is coming into the
bike world more and more, so it’s likely in the future,
you’re gonna have to give in and you’re gonna need
these Torx tools after all. (hip hop music) The screwdrivers. Make sure you’ve got a couple
of these in your workshop. I always have a flathead one
and also a crosshead one. So you can use them on your
derailleur limit screws. Also on brake callipers to align them. Shoe cleats, that kind of thing. And if not, you can always
use them around the house, can’t you, for a little bit of DIY. (hip hop music) So torque wrenches. These are really important, actually, these days in a home workshop. All of the very best mechanics
that I know, they use torque wrenches day in,
day out on components, and bear in mind that they’re
using exactly the same components day in day out. That means something. It means that they’re not
just fitting and forgetting. They’re actually taking
a lot of care of that and you should, too, because it is
your pride and joy after all. Take, for instance, if
you were to overtighten your handlebar stem, that could crush the steerer tube of the fork and in turn, it could actually break both components. And in the case of this bike, with an integrated bar and stem,
it could break all three. So, please use one. As for sizes, a whole heap of
varieties from this big one down to quite a small one. Sometimes you even get
them free with a bike when you purchase it. How cool is that? Different sizes obviously
is gonna give you a lot more leverage. So this one here can go up
to a lot more than this one or this one, naturally. And this is more suitable for
things like bottom brackets, cassette lock rings, that kind of thing. But if you’re only gonna get
one, make sure you just get a small one like one of these two because that’s gonna be good for your
handlebar stem, seat post, that kind of thing. Final little tip, actually. I always leave my torque
wrench in the resting state, so basically on the dial at zero. Reason being, the spring
then is untensioned and I hope that in the future,
it’s always gonna give me a really accurate reading. Again, I don’t know if there’s
any science behind that but it’s good for my mind. Lastly, stick to the
manufacturer’s torque settings. It is there for a reason. (hip hop music) Pumps and tyre levers. But today, I’m not gonna talk
to you about tyre pressure or anything like that. I’m gonna leave that
up to Simon Richardson. It’s his specialist subject
after gear ratios and chain stay lengths. Exciting stuff, that. We’ve got loads of videos,
anyway, on tyre pressure. But what I am going to
preach to you today about is a floor pump or what
someone retro, like me, still calls a track pump. They do come in a variety of
shapes and sizes but largely all do look the same. Reason why I recommend it
is that it’s much easier and quicker and simpler to
inflate your tyres by using one. You can put your whole body
weight behind it, plus, if it comes with a gauge on
it, you can get that desired tyre pressure as
recommended by our very own Simon Richardson. On the end of the hose, there
is also a head to inflate the valve, obviously. My preferred is one that does both Schrader- and Presta-type valves. So if anyone pops around
who’s got a Schrader valve on their bike, I can
easily pump it up for them. One last bit to look out
for when buying a floor pump is if you’re using
tubeless tyres, try and go for something like this. This actually has a booster chamber in it. So what does that mean? It means you can lock off that chamber, inflate a load of air into it, attach the hose to your valve,
and then release the air out in one swift movement and bang. (pop) That banging noise is gonna be the bead of your tubeless tyre seating in the rim and it’s gonna save you from pumping away with a standard track
pump looking like a maniac and anyone walking by seeing
you look like one too. So tyre levers, they’re
actually really often overlooked and people just go for
something really basic. Maybe you’re not as
particular as me, but I think it’s worth the effort. They come in all different
shapes and sizes. So something like this, a
Topeak shuttle lever is actually a bit longer than a standard lever. You can see one attached to it there. It’s long. It’s stiff. You’re gonna get some
good leverage to remove a tight, stubborn tyre. However, the little lip
there may not fit underneath a really close bead and rim interface. In that case, I actually,
a few years ago, got given some of these Continental
ones as a freebie somewhere. I can’t remember. And they still work really
well because they’re nice and thin and I can put
them beneath those tight beads. There is a bit more flex
in them and at times, I have been worried that this
prized possession of mine I’ve had for years is gonna snap. But so far, so good. Whatever you do, though, just make sure you buy some quality levers
because changing bike tyres is part of cycling. (hip hop music) Pliers and cable cutters. Firstly, pliers. Go for a set of long-nosed ones. That way, you can hold any
gear cables or brake cables in tension whilst tightening
up the clamp bolt. Of course, if you’re
using electronic gears or hydraulic brakes,
you’re not gonna need them for that but still, they’ll
probably come in handy for something or other along the lines. And then, cable cutters. These are so important for a cyclist. I can’t say that enough. People sometimes look at me
like I’m mad when I say that but they really are that important. Reason being, they are specific
for small diameter cables and anything else just won’t
give you a smooth, clean cut. And that’s really important
when you’re cutting brake cables and gear cables,
specifically the end sears, because you want that cable
to be as smooth and flush as possible when you
put it up to a ferrule or inside of the housing of a component. They do last, as well,
for a very long time. The set I’ve got at home
are about 20 years old. So, nearly as old as me. No, in fact, they’re
nowhere near as old as me, but they’re still going strong
because I only ever use them on bike cables. So, make sure you get some. Of course, if you’re using
hydaulic hoses, then, no, you don’t need to worry about that. But in all seriousness,
then you’re gonna need a hydraulic cutter anyway. So, you’re gonna have to get something. (hip hop music) So you’re gonna get to
a point where you need to replace your chain
and also your cassette. But firstly, let’s look at a chain tool. Well, what is it? Well, it basically allows you to split and rejoin your chain. They come in all different
sizes but largely, they do look the same, don’t they? Same sort of shape there. What you buy really does
obviously depend on your budget. However, Campagnolo, they
actually recommend using one of their own chain tools if you’re splitting and
refitting one of their chains. Reason being, the pins on
their chains actually require a lot more force to push out
than other brands of chain. I, at home, I have used my own
old chain tool to remove one, so a non-Campagnolo one, but, basically, stick with Campanolo’s advice. It is there for a reason. So to remove your cassette
you’re gonna need one of these, a chain whip; one of these, an
adjustable spanner; and this, the cassette lock ring tool. So, the cassette lock
ring tools, they come in different shapes to
fit different splines of the cassette lock rings. So, Shimano & Sram, they actually use the same spline fitting,
that’s all well and good. Campagnolo, they use a different fitting. And there’s all sorts of
other old, most of them are no longer used fittings too. But, basically get the
right one for your bike and you’ll be good to go. So how does it work? Well, get your chain whip
and wrap it around about the fourth sprocket down, so
it’s the fourth-largest one on the rear, and then with
your cassette tool, insert that into the lock ring and then
adjust the adjustable spanner to fit and then push downwards
on the adjustable spanner in an anti-clockwise motion
while supplying pressure in a clockwise motion on your chain whip and you’ll see that undo. And then to refit the
cassette, it’s simply a case of lining up the cassette
splines with a free hub body and then locking the cassette lock ring to the desired Newton metres. Of course, using the torque wrench that we already spoke about. (hip hop music) Lastly, the adjustable spanner. Yep, we just spoke about that just now. So you could use that to
tighten up your lock ring if you don’t have a torque
wrench for it, but if you do, just go gentle because
something like this, this is about 12 inches long, you
get quite a bit of leverage behind that and you could
easily strip a lock ring, or worse, your free hub body. Then you’re in trouble. And you’ll have to ask me
at one of my tech clinics what to do. In all seriousness, though,
there are a few different uses for it. Depending on your pedal type,
you could use it instead of a flat 15-millimeter
spanner to release the axle, or maybe also to straighten
up a chain ring if one was to get bent. After all, if its bent, you’re gonna need to replace it anyway, so
with an adjustable spanner, well, you could save yourself
a little bit of money in the short term. But anyway, it’s quite
a cheap took just to get in your workshop, anyway. Now as ever, let me know
your essential tools for home maintenance down
there in the comments. I’ll be reading them and I’ll be seeing what I’ve missed out on at home. I don’t reckon I’ve missed out
on anything at home, though, because wait until you see my garage tour. Yeah, it’s gonna be a long one, that. Now, also remember to
check out the GCN Shop, where you can get goodies like this apron, essential as well for your home workshop. Maybe we should reshoot this video. I could wear it. Also, remember to Like
and Share this video with your friends. And for another great maintenance video, Click just down here.

100 thoughts on “9 Essential Tools For Home Cycle Maintenance

  1. i actually work in a bike shop, where we work with upside down workstands and its just soo much better…you can just apply more force (if needed) and you can sit while working on the bikes. I prefer working upside down and for me it is the "correct" way.

  2. A set of utility picks. Good for snagging cables on internally routed cables and opening up cable housing ends after cutting.

  3. Great video as usual. One tool that i use in my home work shop that I can't be with out is my derailleur hanger straightener. Awesome to by Park Tool.

  4. I can do whatever maintenance I need to do on my bike (including taking it apart and rebuilding it completely) without a bike stand, so why bother?

  5. Jon – your presenting style has improved so dramatically over the past weeks! Keep up the hard work, you're doing a fantastic job.

  6. In terms of the spring in the torque wrench, I've always been taught that a spring will not wear out under (normal) load. Going from varying tensions over time is what wears out a spring.

  7. just for the record i believe most Shimano derailleurs actually use JIS screws and not phillips, or at least this is true of the older ones. JIS and phillips look quite a lot a like, but using the correct driver reduces the chances of stripping out the head. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_screw_drives#JIS_B_1012
    .
    I'm lucky enough to have an 18" breaker bar and 1" socket, which is what i use on cassette lock rings, and freewheels. With a 6 point socket i'm much much less likely to slip and mess up my knuckles or round off my lock ring tool.

  8. Stupid question, but what is a hydraulic cutter mentioned at the end of the cable cutter bit? Do you need a special tool, or would a regular cable cutter work? I ask because I'm thinking of upgrading my cable disc brakes to hydraulic ones.

  9. Torque wrenches always stump me when it comes to what you do when you're not using it. My torque wrench says to leave it at 2nm when not using it.

  10. In a pinch a turbo trainer can replace a bike stand.

    As for Tyre levers, I went for a nice big pair for home use, then alden design's carbon fiber levers in the bike. They're light, thin, and super rigid for $15!

  11. Inner tubes to hang your bike are so yesterday. Rip out your Kevlar or carbon fibre beads from your worn out tyres and use those. Most underrated tools I own are a chain split link splitter and a brake alignment tool. Never used cable cutters; I rely on my dremel. Also deep cleaning of chain is performed with a steam cleaner followed by immediate lubrication on the still warm and dry chain.

  12. for some reason before watching the video, I assumed I have all the things you mentioned. Good job for me!

  13. Excellent video, i also use 1000 grams digital scale for weighting crank arms or other things (spokes, bolts, pedals…)

  14. A smartphone for taking pictures of things before you take them apart, to be sure you reassemble them properly.  Possibly also some photos during the disassembly if needed.

  15. A rubber mallet to help knock things loose, especially steered tubes from the wedge in the headset when disassembling and removing your fork.

  16. Thanks man it's a good list. I learnt it the hard way by collecting them piece by piece upon need.
    I use chain holder often to prevent extra cleaning caused by dangling chain.
    Not tool but good to have are alot of rags/kitchen towel and newspaper/mat/things to cover the floor if it's not a designated workshop.

  17. A hammer is a must also my chain pliers. So easy to install and remove chains with quick links. Can’t go without one! Great video Jon!

  18. Digital tire pressure gauge. My 20 year old floor pump has a gauge, but I trust the dedicated gauge more and can use it separate from the pump.

  19. Holy crap, that tire pump looks like it could put out enough volume to start a jet engine! Old toothbrushes are a mainstay in my tool list, great for those hard-to-reach places on components before removing or disassembling.

  20. Great video. My only complaint is that you used the adjustable spanner the wrong way :/ they even have an arrow that indicates the direction.

  21. the continental tire levers never worked for me. Bought a conti saddlebag with an inner tube and i got 2 levers with that pack. One broke completely off when changing my Gp 4000. The second one broek halfway, so i still changed the tube, bt had to throw away both of them. And no, the tire wasn't sitting particularly tight. I use schwalbe ones, thoguh they flex sometimes a bto too much, but nothing ever happend

  22. My maintenance regime: wash, lube, ride, tentatively approach mysterious two-wheeled object with torque wrench etc, fiddle around, take bike to shop to repair damage done. Once took the rear derailleur off for a "service". The look I got from the LBS when I turned up with a bike and a collection of pieces taught me where my strengths lay.

  23. Bike stand…best Maintenance item recently acquired…. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016PNHLXO/ref=od_aui_detailpages00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 , well built and solid

  24. I'd really suggest for you to get a wrench plier with parallel jaws instead of a adjustable spanner. A small and big one and you can basically do anything! Been working with bikes for a few years and haven't used an adjustable spanner since I was introduced to the plier wrench.

    http://s3files.core77.com/blog/images/663955_58507_66989_KoHNcIfU2.jpg

  25. It's a valuable video that convinced me to finally buy cable cutters 🙂

    I have one request regarding screwdrivers: JIS Standard!. Shimano uses Japanese style screws according to JIS (indicated by the small dot on the head of the screw). Normal Phillips drivers seem to do the work, but skip often. I got myself a JIS screwdriver specially for my bike works and the difference is immense (no skipping of the driver). Can You tackle this topic in the future (i might send you a JIS driver for tests ;))?

  26. Whats the one thing you always take to the bike shop? I never true/tension wheels, nearly everything else i do myself, sometimes a full recable on a bike with internal routing, no ones got time for that surely.

  27. I work on my bike upside down, if one can't figure things out, just because orientation, just sit down and think. This is the way of the cheap. ('cuz the tools took all the money)

  28. Is that a pizza cutter on the wall? I mean, a bottle opener I understand, but a pizza cutter!! Hope you have a supply of nitrile gloves so your mitts are clean when the deliveroo guy arrives! 😋

  29. Certainly is science behind winding off a torque wrench after use. If left in a state of tension the readings will drift over time, causing it to require more adjustment when calibrated. Most home users will never send a wrench for calibration so it’s even more important to wind off the wrench when you’ve finished with it.

  30. The last time I tried to simply clean my bike, I got dirt into the freehub which left a nasty-sound grind every time the wheel spun freely. This was just with a bucket, soapy water and sponge – no hose or pressure cleaner. Now I'm too paranoid to do any maintenance at all for fear of wreaking something else.

  31. To avoid stripping bolts, go for quality hex tools like PB Swiss Tools, don't go cheap cause the manufacturing tolerances is what you're paying for. And a high quality hex tool will last you a loooong time

  32. The most important tool I have is my brain. Lots of research, watch videos, etc. before I try anything so I know what I’m getting into, what tools I need, and when I should let my LBS mechanic handle the job. The best part is that this tool is free and saves me time, hassle, and money in the long run.

  33. The last time/ first time I had to cut outers I only had an anglegrinder at hand. you don't need cablecutters lol
    Had to try a few times to get a perfect cut though.

  34. A good pick set can come in handy for lifting bearing seals for cleaning and also opening up freshly cut cables.

  35. Very good video. The essential tools brought a question to mind and hopefully you can answer or do a brief show on the topic. So getting a new bike is not always an option but upgrades can be. Can an old Dura Ace 9 speed be converted to a modern 11 speed using the same wheels and derailer (limiting cassette to 28 of course). Can this be done by just replacing the hub and cassette? Is a new shifter required? If yes can the new cassette be used with old crankset? Visa versa if the a new crankset is used and an older cassette be used? just curious. Tinkering in the garage.

  36. Half a dozen reusuable cable ties are also essential when removing and especially fitting new tyres. The cable ties are vital in keeping the tyre beads inside the wheel well. Done properly you shouldn't need to use tyre levers as the tyre should just pop over the wheel rim and eliminating the risk of pinching inner tubes

  37. I recommend some cheap makeup removal wipes so you can quickly clean your hands or have some good mechanic gloves. Also a chair to sit on when working on the bike to save your back.

  38. a cheater bar (remove stuck pedals)….cable/zip ties (keeps stuff together)…double sides tape (speed/cadance senor fitting before making sercure)….insulation tape and tipp ex (mark seat post hight ect)….paper clip (to open cable housing, cheap)

  39. Those Park Tool torque wrenches straight up have “always store at zero torque setting” in the instruction manual. They also sell the ATD-1 torque wrench that has several preset torques, comes with several different bits, clicks through, and fits into the saddle bag easily. Very useful if you need to tune your saddle position etc.

  40. A small portable bike repair tool can fix it.
    https://imaginegoodbuy.com/collections/sports-entertaintment/products/portable-steel-multifunction-bicycle-tool-maintenance-ferramenta-bike-repair-tool-wrench-11-in-1-pro-road-mtb-cycling-bike-tools

  41. A bike stand cost me $200 and thought “will i use it? OMG i used it a ton! Worth every penny! A socket set of allen and torx bits is better 1/4” drive and you can get much better leverage and save your hands. And can’t stress enough TORQUE WRENCH!!! is vital

  42. I like a good long pedal wrench myself, as I often change between road and mountain bike pedals on my cross bike. I’d spend the money on the pro level tools straight off for pedals, chain whip, cassette and bottom bracket. Leverage makes your life easy. Don’t get cheap ones first. I bought a small torque wrench recently and the large one will be on my Christmas list!

  43. You also need sets of open ended wrenches 7mm-19 mm because we all know how wal mart specials are built. Youre not always going to work on carbon fiber road bikes mate,

  44. It is also useful from time to time, to check the calibration of your torque wrenches. They may also need calibrating out of the box.

  45. Not to mention the trusty bit of wood to rest against a stubborn part that requires a good wallop with a hammer. Old school but works a treat!

  46. You definitely need a kettle. Any maintenance job is better done with the lubrication of a cup of tea inside you. Apart from that, I think you have all bases covered.

  47. You definitly forgot the most useful tool : the pizza slicer that hangs behind you Jon, 10cm above the top tube of the Canyon 😉

  48. My bike work stand is the cane I used after breaking my back. I wedge it under a planter box on the garden wall of my terrace and the hook of the cane supports my bike seat perfectly – although not terribly stable when I'm trying to turn the pedals and shift at the same time. Nonetheless, just another advantage of breaking my back!

  49. I hate those Conti levers, I've snapped the ends off two or three of them. Maybe I'm doing it wrong but when a tyre is stubborn, that's how it is. I can't change how tight the bead is. So they're bad from my experience. I much prefer thinner (horizontally), thicker (vertically) levers with a nice strong scoop on the end. Those have always worked in my experience and I have never broken a single one. Only the Conti ones which have weak ends.

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