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  1. #1
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    Tool kit for cross-continent tour

    So I'm putting together my tool kit for my upcoming San Diego - Boston tour, and this what I've got so far:

    - Spare Tire
    - 3 Thorn-resistant Tubes
    - 2 Spare spokes
    - Spare cyclocomputer batteries
    - This Thing
    - 2 spare chain links
    - Tube patch kit
    - CO2 pump and Topeak Morph pump

    What else is anything do you think I need? I'll admit I have no idea what a "box wrench" is and I have no idea what I'd use them for on a bike.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    I think you just about have it. e went from Newport, Oregon to Boston on about the same tool kit. Some times three tire levers are really handy for tough to change tires ( yoour kit only has 2). I would add a sponge, chain lube, dish detergent (if you are not already carrying some), and a couple pairs of rubber or nitrile gloves. A dedicated small rag is nice, but napkins or paper towels can be picked up along the way. The sponge and detergent are to clean up your bike. Use a softdrink cup (found in most trash bins) or cut the top off a Gatoraid bottle to use as a mini bucket for soapy water. Use you water bottle to rinse it off. The gloves (which can be resupplied at most Subway stores, if you ask) are great for handling the chain while fixing flats on rear wheels or cleaning. Depending on the way most newer bikes are set up, a box wrench is only useful to tighten fender bolts.

    I like a clean bike and also check the rack mouning bolts every few days.

    You might want to try taking off one of your tires, especially if you have not tried it with your tires. Some tires are really hard to mount. We had 13 flats on two bike in 3650 miles.

    Best wishes on your ride!

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    Fiberfix spoke (or 2) instead of regular spokes so you can replace a broken drive-side spoke w/o removing the cassette. You can ride on the fiberfix long enough to get to a bike shop for a real repair. Make sure the multi-tool has a spoke wrench that fits your nipples.

    Brake pads.

    One brake cable.

    A couple of zip-ties and a small roll of duct tape.

    Forget the CO2 pump on a tour - you're going to need a pump good enough to top off your tires every couple of days anyway. Topeak Road Morph is great.
    ...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Fiberfix spoke (or 2) instead of regular spokes so you can replace a broken drive-side spoke w/o removing the cassette. You can ride on the fiberfix long enough to get to a bike shop for a real repair. Make sure the multi-tool has a spoke wrench that fits your nipples.

    Brake pads.

    One brake cable.

    A couple of zip-ties and a small roll of duct tape.

    Forget the CO2 pump on a tour - you're going to need a pump good enough to top off your tires every couple of days anyway. Topeak Road Morph is great.
    Wow, I'd had no idea breaking a spoke on the cassette side of the rear wheel was such a PITA. The Fiberfix thingy looks great, thanks.

    What's the brake cable for? Is replacing a broken brake cable really something you can do on the road?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agentbolt View Post
    Wow, I'd had no idea breaking a spoke on the cassette side of the rear wheel was such a PITA. The Fiberfix thingy looks great, thanks.

    What's the brake cable for? Is replacing a broken brake cable really something you can do on the road?
    Sure, brake cable replacement is easy.

    Basically, the tool kit is to take care of required regular maintenance (air, chain lube) and failures so catastrophic you can't ride to the next bike shop - brakes, spokes, tires. some things, like shifting, can wait for the next shop. other things are just so rare they don't warrant carrying replacement parts - like a broken crank or stem.

    The other thing is, don't bother carrying anything you don't know how to use. Read a book or take a maintenance clinic from a local bike shop if you can. Just a little prep will go a long way towards road side repairs. Learn to adjust your rear derailleur, your brake cables and pads, do a good job changing a tire, and maybe skim a description of how to true a wheel. That's about all I can do, and so far it's been enough, with a little patience and a few tools, to keep me rolling.
    ...

  6. #6
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    I'd put new tires on the bike and leave the spare tire at home. It's unlikely that you'll totally blow out a quality tire. If a tire did split, line it with duct tape and ride to a bike shop and buy a new one. I'd only carry a spare tire if you're in "the outback". The same goes for new cables and brake pads - put them on before you leave. Don't carry stuff that you "might need". Save the weight/space for things that you will use.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Every item involves a usefulness vs. weight (vs. money) decision.

    I watched a guy struggle with a cut tire so I bought a spare tire at the next opportunity. However, in all my years of riding I've never had a tire fail. After that tour I ditched the spare tire and I just make sure I start a tour with really good tires.

    I've had broken spoke troubles, so in addition to the fiberfix spokes (which are light) I also carry two real spokes and a cassette removing tool from Harris Cyclery.

    I usually only carry one spare tube and a patch kit.

    I carry a spare brake and derailleur cable because they're both really light and relatively cheap. I've never needed to replace one on the road.

    I'd put a new battery in my computer before I left and not worry. They last a long time.

    I say leave the CO2 thing if you have a pump. I agree, the Road Morph is excellent.

    Make sure your multitool has Allen wrenches that fit all the important bolts. I've had rack bolts that were smaller than my smallest wrench. I brought a separate small wrench. And make sure you have Loctite on your rack bolts. (I bring Loctite for on-the-road repairs, because a tube is small and light.) Also, make sure you have a wrench that can tighten your crank bolts. I've had cranks loosen.

  8. #8
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    i'd drop the 'thornproof' and just go with two spare regular tubes. thornproofs pack huge and heavy for what they are.

    definitely bring chainlube. I also recommend a few feet of bailing wire for potential rack repairs, and a small sewing kit for your gear.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Add my vote to all the above (brake pads, zip ties, duct tape, two regular tubes, ditch the CO2, etc.)

    And also to the good advice: If you don't know how to fix it, don't bother bringing spares.

    But this begs the corollary: Learn how to fix it.

    Your route is close to 4000 miles. Just a guess, but I'd say you have a 99.9% chance of something on the bike needing tweaking/repair in that distance. Shift cables seem to last me T-500 miles (where T=total length of the tour). I've met cyclists who were laid up for the lack of a missing 5mm bolt from a rack mount. Or a handlebar bag that keeps falling off. And of course, we've all seen broken spokes.

    These are low-level mechanical issues that any handy person can prepare for, even if you can't predict. The major ones -- like a broken crank, or a trashed wheel -- are not, and for those you'll be at the mercy of helpful strangers and distant bike shops.

    IMO, I wouldn't depend on distant mechanics for low-level stuff, especially on a 4000-mile tour where you might be 200 miles from a shop. But that means learning how to fix 'em first. Learn how to change a brake or shifter cable, or brake pads, or a spoke. Otherwise, it makes little sense to carry them.

    I'd add a multi-purpose knife/pliers (e.g., Leatherman), it's the kind of tool you might end up using every day. E.g., lots of flat tires are from shattered steel belts, and you need a pliers to pull the shred out of the tire. Carry a few spare 5mm bolts (and other sizes your bike needs). The extra chain links probably aren't needed, but definitely learn how to use a chain tool (you can just shorten the chain a link or two till the next shop). Learn the basics on how to true a wheel and tighten spokes -- otherwise, even the Fiber Fix won't do you much good. Carry a small bottle of chain lube, and use it. Shoe-Goo is one of the most used items in my tool kit; it fixes anything (broken mirror, map case, small holes in clothing, cladding on worn panniers, even shoes). On the ride, at least once a week go over your bike and check/tighten every nut and bolt.

    Like BigBlueToe says, everything's a trade-off, you can be super-prepared at the expense of too much weight. But everything listed in this thread will only add a few ounces, and chances are you'll avoid the time and expense of outside help.

    -- Mark

  10. #10
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    I always carry a spare tire. I've seen mangled tires caused by running over something that would cause you to walk if the only thing you had was a boot. Imagine walking a fully loaded bike with a flat tire. It won't be a casual walk with one hand guiding the bike by the stem.

    I ride 700x38c touring tires, but I pack a lightweight 700x28c kevlar-bead folding tire for a spare. It will easily get me to a place with a replacement tire or even finish the tour by mounting it on the front wheel.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by xyzzy834 View Post
    I always carry a spare tire. I've seen mangled tires caused by running over something that would cause you to walk if the only thing you had was a boot. Imagine walking a fully loaded bike with a flat tire. It won't be a casual walk with one hand guiding the bike by the stem.

    I ride 700x38c touring tires, but I pack a lightweight 700x28c kevlar-bead folding tire for a spare. It will easily get me to a place with a replacement tire or even finish the tour by mounting it on the front wheel.
    Same here - I've used my spare tire (folding) twice for me and once for a guy I was riding with. I use the folder until I get to a bike shop where I can buy a tire I like - so far just a couple of days. For that guy I loaned it to, it would have been a really crummy place to be stranded with a 4" ragged-edged gash in his tire. Not many cars to even hitchhike.
    ...

  12. #12
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I don't bring a multitool, I bring real tools. That said, this looks like a good toolkit.

    What kind of tires are you running? Make certain the included tire levers are good - cheap ones will snap in half, particularly with touring tires.

    Another vote to skip the CO2.

    Needlenose pliers are one of the more useful tools I carry with me. They're useful for so many things it's not funny.

    I've had a sidewall puncture on tour. I was able to limp to a bike shop by using the power-bar wrapper trick, but having a spare tire would have saved me some trouble. I'll have a spare tire on my next tour longer than a few days.
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    Don't forget spare 5mm bolts and some loctite. Loaded racks and rough roads can jiggle all sorts of things loose. Electrical tape is also great all around. If you have any nuts on your bike, you might want to carry a pocket sized crescent wrench. A small container (film canister) of grease could be a good idea too as well as the lube which you will definitely need if it rains. Lastly, I carry two handkerchiefs, one for cooking, one for bicycle maintenance. And I would ditch the CO2 cartridges.

    The only other tool I have ever needed to use was a chainsaw file for when my last spare tube blew out at the valve stem. The town I was in (I was lucky to be in any town at all) only had a small hardware store that carried Schraeder valve tubes so I had to pick up a $3 file and enlarge the valve hole on my rims.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bktourer1's Avatar
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    I carry a $5 version of a Leatherman tool along with everthing else

  15. #15
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    Agent,
    Good question. I would ditch the CO2, spokes, spare batteries, thorn-resistant tubes, and cables. I always carry a spare folding tire and have had to use it after a big sidewall slice caused by trash on the road. I carry three spare tubes and a couple of patch kits combined into one patch kit box. Discard some of the extraneous stuff from each. I do carry a few fasteners to replace any that I might lose. I always find a use for a length of small line as well. I carry one multitool and have learned to carry a small pair of pliers, the suggestions for a small leatherman would work. The wires that get embeded in tires can be more easily removed with pliers of some kind.
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  16. #16
    Neil_B
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    Some zip ties and perhaps some duct tape wrapped around a pencil.

  17. #17
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    Keep the spare tire and CO2.
    Might need some lights.
    Easy to get caught in the dark.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Some zip ties and perhaps some duct tape wrapped around a pencil.
    +10^6. I also find velcro to be useful. Extra nuts and bolts take up almost no room, and can be a life-saver.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agentbolt View Post
    So I'm putting together my tool kit for my upcoming San Diego - Boston tour, and this what I've got so far:

    - Spare Tire
    - 3 Thorn-resistant Tubes
    - 2 Spare spokes
    - Spare cyclocomputer batteries
    - This Thing
    - 2 spare chain links
    - Tube patch kit
    - CO2 pump and Topeak Morph pump

    What else is anything do you think I need? I'll admit I have no idea what a "box wrench" is and I have no idea what I'd use them for on a bike.
    For tool kits, I'd go with this over the wedge. There are times when you need slimmer profiles to your tools and individual allen wrenches are better for that. I would not, however, carry my tube scuffer up against my cement...not if you wanted to use it anyway

    Somethings you don't need...coming from a guy who carries this around

    ...CO2, spare chainlinks (get some spare master links), computer battery, spare tire, spare cables, and thorn proof tubes. Most of that stuff you can purchase along the way and if you do have problems, be prepared to improvise. All you need is something to get you to the next town.

    Add a Leatherman Squirt P4 to the kit also (and maybe a S4). The little pliers (and scissors) are indispensable.

    Edit: If you can, convert everything on the bike to the point where you need the fewest tools possible. External bearing cranksets from Shimano...Damn them!...require an allen key to remove. Threadless headset can be assembled, disassembled and adjusted with an allen key. Phil Wood FS hubs can be completely disassembled with two 5 mm allen wrenches (makes fixing spokes a breeze). It may not be cheap to convert but in the long run, you'll have to spend less on tools. You won't have to carry as much either
    Last edited by cyccommute; 05-29-09 at 08:49 AM.
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  20. #20
    imi
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    In a fix I have "bent" a spoke into place on the casssette side... not recommended but works

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by imi View Post
    In a fix I have "bent" a spoke into place on the casssette side... not recommended but works
    I put a hook in the broken spoke and cinched it down tight to the hub with a few loops of paracord and then tightened it in at the nipple. It held for a few days until I could fix it proper.

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    Great answers everyone! Just a few questions:

    #1. I will leave my CO2 pump at home. You guys were pretty clearly on that.

    #2. Why would I bring Locktite? If I put locktite on the bolts for my fenders/rack or whatever, I'd never be able to to get it back out, would I?

    #3. So for a wrench that can tighten my crank bolts, what kind do you recommend? A crescent wrench? and you're referring to the bolts that hold my chainwheels together, right?

    #4. A couple of people said bring 5mm bolts. What do those bolts usually go on? Any other very common size bolts I should bring?

  23. #23
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agentbolt View Post

    #2. Why would I bring Locktite? If I put locktite on the bolts for my fenders/rack or whatever, I'd never be able to to get it back out, would I?
    There is "friendly" loctite, and "evil" loctite.

    I believe the blue loctite is low torque threadlock, ie can be used with handtools to loosen after the part has set.

    I recall red loctite being a no no to use on parts, unless you plan on using a torch/powertools.

    -For a US tour I wouldn't bother bringing any along, just threadloc as needed before your trip. Should you need more (unlikely), you could buy along the way.

    I brought a teeny tiny bottle of the blue along on my year tour. Used it once along the way.
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  24. #24
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agentbolt View Post
    #2. Why would I bring Locktite? If I put locktite on the bolts for my fenders/rack or whatever, I'd never be able to to get it back out, would I?

    #3. So for a wrench that can tighten my crank bolts, what kind do you recommend? A crescent wrench? and you're referring to the bolts that hold my chainwheels together, right?

    #4. A couple of people said bring 5mm bolts. What do those bolts usually go on? Any other very common size bolts I should bring?
    2. If you are going to use locktite, use it at home before you go. Get the blue stuff. No need to carry it with you.

    3. Convert your crank bolts to allen heads if you haven't already. Then all you have to carry is an 8 mm allen wrench. Most multitools have some kind of adapter from the 6 mm allen to make it an 8mm allen.

    4. Carry a few of whatever size bolts your racks take. Water bottle cages take the same. Most are 4mm but a 10-32 will also work. You'll be able to find a 10-32 in Ordway, CO but I doubt you'd find a 4mm screw there
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    4. Carry a few of whatever size bolts your racks take. Water bottle cages take the same. Most are 4mm but a 10-32 will also work. You'll be able to find a 10-32 in Ordway, CO but I doubt you'd find a 4mm screw there
    Where does one find these bolts? HW stores (loew's, strosnyder) don't carry them. Online anywhere?

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