Long-distance expedition touring: tools and spare parts?
What tools and spare parts do you folks bring along on long-distance bike tours in foreign countries (ie. backroads of China), where rough roads and the unavailability of replacement parts are givens? I'd love to see your packing/equipment lists. Also, on a number of websites, people have listed "adjustable spanners" as tools to bring - what is this tool? Is it an adjustable monkey wrench?
There are several philosophies on that issue. On my round-the-world trip I carried a spare freewheel, chain, cables, spokes, all bearings, two tires at all times, about 6 innertubes, and a derailer spring. Plus the tools to install all this stuff. I only needed the tires and tubes at an emergency, the other stuff I "cycled" when I replaced parts on a schedule I had set.
My wife (before I ran into her) just carried a how-to book by Rob van der Plas, on how to fix a bike. She figured she could show it to someone or figure things out when the time came.....
I even read a theory by a famous dutch cyclist (Frank van Rijn) that carrying spare parts makes you heavier, therefore more likely to experience trouble....... My goal was not to have any trouble, so I had 48 spoke wheels, and the best components I could find.
Originally Posted by racpat_rtw
Opinions may abound on this topic, so you might have to pick and choose what you feel comfortable with. Here's my opinion:
Seriously, having "all the tools" and "all the spare parts" would do me no good, without knowing how to fix a problem.
I'd guess learn how to true your wheels in the event you broke a spoke. You shouldn't break ANY spokes though-NONE-you should be riding hand built wheels, built by a knowledgeable builder
who understands your needs (weight+loaded weight+potential riding style). But...sticks, or small animals/children could jump into your wheel anyways, or curious locals could accidently knock your loaded rig over. An accident could occur during shipping as well.
Parts needed to true a wheel include (but may not necessarily be limited to): A freewheel remover tool (like this), to effectiveley get to "drive side" spokes. Spare spokes (say 4 of each size-from the person who built your wheels). A descent spoke wrench.
A new rear deraileur & brake cable, these can be trimmed if needed for fronts (borrow a cable cutter from a local-or roll up & tape the unused portion until cutters can be found).
A spare set of "good" brake pads, especially usefull if traveling through country with massive climbs/descents.
Spare cartridge bearings (examples include: pedals, & hubs), provided the parts are "user serviceable". Examples include (but are not limited to) Crank Brothers pedals, Chris King&Phil Wood hubs. Some might suggest a bottom bracket tool&spanner&spare bearings, I'd submit that perhaps this goes too far. None needed if minimal wear prior.
Spare dropouts/deraileur hanger (provided its a steel frame), to be welded while on tour in case of failure (ie: from someone dropping your bikes).
Spare nuts/bolts of all needed lengths (including a spare seatbinder bolt). You should try and have all the bolts on your bike (including racks/fenders) fit the same allen (hex) wrench size, or at most, 2 sizes (ok 3 if you include crankbolts). For allen wrenches, you shouldn't rellie on ones in "multi-tools". These are usually not long enough to provide descent torque when needed-never go "crazy" & brake bolts though. Get one each of "long" ones from a hardwear store (ie Caftsman, or comparable brand tools).
A chain tool, as well as a spare master link, or "Quick link" perhaps a length of 6 links. No need to carry a spare chain, rings or cassette for a 3 month tour-provided drive train wear is minimal prior.
Spare cleats&cleat bolts (if using clipless shoes), again not needed if minimal wear prior*. [*However I do a goodly bit of walking while on tour, and this can accelerate cleat wear-so for a 3 month trip-I'd bring spares. I can usaully get a year out of a set-but better safe.]
I wouldn't bring spare "quick" release skewers. I'd swap them out for really good ones or even better, swap them out for the bolt on type.
A small bottle of chain lube (if synthetic) for your chain+any moving parts (deraileur etc), or a large bottle (if wax) for the chain-as well as a small sythetic for the moving parts.
2 innertubes, patches from 3 kits-with 2 tubes of patch glue. (3) Good tire levers.
Pump (that I'm used to), but not too worn out.
As far as a spare tire-I wouldn't bring one. I would however start with relatively fresh tires that I'm used to (particularly that I can easily mount&dissmount with tire levers).
Various adhesive&tapes. Duct tape, electrical tape, super glue gel, mcnetts seem sealer (for my tent/rainwear-but also handy for panniers), thermarest patches (also can be used for my panniers).
I don't have a need for a spanner, pliers, or cutter-if a need would arrise I'd improvise or borrow one.
This may seem overwhealming, however everything fits into a small ziplock bag!
I also submit that a new bike, or a bike properly maintained (by a knowledgeable professional, aware of the users intent), should have zero mechanical problems for a 2-3 month "rough" tour. Perhaps have it gone over very well at least a month before departure by your trusted mechanic-thus giving you enough time to take it for long (perhaps loaded) rides, making sure everything is nice&adjusted.
The biggest concern I have, is damage in transit to my start (say from baggage)-and even that isn't too large of a worry for me-as I don't even box my bike for flight. I figure, that if something were to happen in transit-there would be some type of shop at my arrival city.
I usually have to bring more than usual since I have a Bike Friday. The wheels are 20 inches, and I can't assume that I'll ride in any country and find the parts I need.
So true! I just got back from a tour in Italy, mostly good roads, but I broke four spokes, probably because of all the weight I was carrying--90% of which was extra parts and tools that I never used. Two things I needed that I didn't bring:
Originally Posted by racpat_rtw
1)chain lube-I had to use olive oil, sunscreen, or anything greasy I could get my hands on
2)you guessed it, spokes.
I prefer proper allen keys to fold up ones.
A leatherman tool with pliers is always useful. I use the small mini version.
If you want to bring and adjustable spanner/wrench then make it a good one. Swedish-made Barcho ones have minimal play in the adjustable bit.
Take the splined tools you need to removing cogs and bottom brackets. Even if you can't use them, a bike shop can.
Using a threadless headset means that you dont need to carry two large thin headset wrenches.
I usually carry some chain lube but if you dont you can always retrieve enough oil from a discarded can at a garage.