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Old 07-30-09, 12:36 PM   #1
phoenix
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Tools, what do you carry for touring?

I知 curious as to what some of you experienced cyclotourers carry tool wise for basic repairs on the road or trail.

I知 touring from Oregon down to the Bay Area and these are pretty much the tools I plan on carrying. I知 not bringing to many tools, just the basics for simple repairs since we won稚 be too far from any cities during the tour.

Multi tool
Spoke wrench
Pliers?
tire levers
spare tubes
patch kit
zip ties
electrical or duct tape (wrapped around something so as not to carry a whole roll)
couple of toe straps
brake/shifter cable (probably un-necessary)?
knife
I also have rope for camping needs

There is your topic, discuss.....
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Old 07-30-09, 02:05 PM   #2
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tyre boot
A good camping multi-tool will have pliers and knife.
Make sure your bike multi-tool has a chaintool (that you have used).
Don't forget
Tyre boot
spare chain power-link
one or 2 rack bolts (replace short waterbottle bolts with long rackbolts and carry short bolts as spare.
I would take the brake and shifter cables inners.
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Old 07-30-09, 02:12 PM   #3
rodar y rodar
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Always on all of my bikes:
Pump, individual Allen wrenches (sizes vary according to bike), one tube, two tire levers, master link

Additional for touring:
another tube, patch kit, chain tool, chain lube, rag (usually an old sock) spoke wrench, itsy bitsy 4" Channel Lock pliers, 6" adjustable wrench, small screwdriver, duct tape, electrical tape, assortment of plastic cable ties, film can with assorted screws

All my tours are short duration, though some are fairly remote. If I had a tendency to break spokes, I`d probably carry extras as well as a cassette *******- since I don`t break them, I don`t worry about it. I also carry rope (clothes line type) and a small pen knife, but I don`t consider those items to be "maintenance" stuff, so they go elsewhere in my gear.

Last edited by rodar y rodar; 07-30-09 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 07-30-09, 02:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
I知 not bringing to many tools, just the basics for simple repairs since we won稚 be too far from any cities during the tour.
How far is "too far"? I live in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, yet on weekend rides I'm often miles from decent cell phone coverage and 20+ miles from the nearest bike shop. It wouldn't surprise me if there are areas of the Oregon and northern California coast that are even more remote. Think about how far you're willing to push your bike, or how long you'd want to wait for someone willing to give you+bike a lift and adjust your tools/spares accordingly...

In addition to the tools you mention, consider taking the following:

- a pump
- a chain tool, if your multi-tool doesn't have one
- two or more master links that will fit your chain (e.g. SRAM PowerLock)
- a FiberFix spoke kit, assuming your wheels are compatible
- a spare derailleur hanger, if your bike has a replaceable hanger
- a spare tire
- Chain lube
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Old 07-30-09, 03:03 PM   #5
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Every bike I have is equipped with:
Pump
Patch kit
Park MT-1 multitool
Chaintool
Tire levers

If that bike regularly gets ridden over 50 miles, add:
2 spare tubes
CO2 inflator (as backup to the pump)
Spoke wrench
Presta to Schrader adapter (in case both Pump and CO2 fail)
Zip Ties
Spare batteries for all lights
Master Link
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Old 07-30-09, 04:01 PM   #6
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yip all of the above as the man said ,better to be looking at them,than looking for them.
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Old 07-30-09, 07:58 PM   #7
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I carry a spare tire. I understand that for many people, a boot is sufficient. Not for me. I've seen tires damaged beyond the capability of a boot to get rolling again.

I tour on 700x37c tires. The spare I carry is a lightweight folding 700x28c. It will get me to the next real town and probably even get me home. It doesn't take up much space in the bottom of my pannier.

Try to imagine what it would be like pushing a loaded touring bike with a severely damaged flat tire. You won't be walking it along, guiding it with one hand on the stem.
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Old 07-30-09, 08:48 PM   #8
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Figure out the most likely things to go wrong, and make sure you're equiped for that. In order of decreasing likelihood, I think the following things might go wrong:

1. Flat (hole in tube)
2. Loose bolt.
3. Broken spoke on drive side of rear wheel.
4. Broken derailleur cable.
5. Cut in tire.
6. Broken spoke elsewhere.
7. Broken brake cable.
8 Broken chain.
9. Bent derailleur hanger.
10. Broken rack.

Then figure the weight required to deal with each of these problems. Something low down on the list with a significant weight penalty is just a risk I'm willing to take. For me, a spare tire fits into this category. If my tire is unrepairable, I'll hitchhike.

At a minimum, take enough deal with five or six flats and the loose bolt. Because it adds so little weight, it seems prudent to take enough for broken cables also. Taking a FiberFix spoke allow you to do a temporary repair for broken spokes. If you will always be within a few days of a bike shop, you can take some real spokes as well (in case the bike shop doesn't have the right ones). If you won't be within a few days of a bike shop, take something to remove the rear cassette (a Stein Hypercracker or equivalent). A boot is cheap and lightweight way to deal with minor tire cuts. Dealing with more serious cuts would require a spare tire--if you're careful what you ride over and aren't way out in the boonies, you can get away without the tire. A chain tool, a couple of master links and a few spare links will allow you to deal with a chain break (although I've never had a chain break).

I don't see that you would likely need pliers, wrenches or screwdrivers, but maybe others have needed them for something. Duct and electrical tape is useful for many purposes, including possibly the odd bike repair.
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Old 07-30-09, 09:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I carry a spare tire. I understand that for many people, a boot is sufficient. Not for me. I've seen tires damaged beyond the capability of a boot to get rolling again.
I had this happen just a week or two ago... The sidewall of my tire decided to separate from the bead! No way to fix that with a tube and a boot. Duct tape wrapped completely around the rim and tire might have allowed me to hobble back to civilization, but I was out for a weekend ride and didn't have any. Walked 1.5 miles toward cell phone coverage before getting a ride. Still 10-15 miles from a bike shop, so I called a buddy for a ride.

Needless to say, I've given up on the idea of touring without a spare tire...
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Old 07-30-09, 09:48 PM   #10
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Duct tape makes a great tire boot, as do dollar bills. Replace your cables, tires and tubes before you go and the chance of a truly catastrophic failure becomes nearly zero, although spare tubes and a patch kit are still a good idea. Fiberfix spokes will fix a broken spoke on either side of either wheel. If your tubes have Presta valves, a Presta to Schrader adapter will let you top off the tire at any gas station.

True your wheels and check spoke tension with a tensiometer before you go and you will greatly reduce the chance of spoke breakage.
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Old 07-30-09, 09:52 PM   #11
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I carry all of the stuff mentioned.

Cables
Brake pads
Cable caps
Lockring Driver
Chain lube
Cleats
Extra nuts & bolts
Loctite
Multitool
Patch kit
Pliers, needlenose
Power links
Spokes & spoke wrench
Tape, duct
Sleeping pad repair kit
Tire boot
Zip / cable ties

Spare tire (needed on two tours)
Tubes (2)
Pump

A small pair of needlenose pliers is necessary to dig out radial tire wires from a flattened tire. If I can't find the reason a tire flatted I will use the spare tire and hunt again for the culprit after I'm in camp.

Wrenches and screw drivers should be part of your multitool.

BTW, Shimano pins do not work with SRAM chains. You've got to use a second power link to join up a broken chain. (I've not had a chain break either)
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Old 07-30-09, 10:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
A chain tool, a couple of master links and a few spare links will allow you to deal with a chain break (although I've never had a chain break).
I've never had a chain break, but I have managed to twist a link by mashing up hills with an improperly adjust rear derailleur and also by crashing the bike. Didn't put the bike out of commission, but it did cause the chain to jump back and forth across the cassette every time the bent link came around...

Quote:
I don't see that you would likely need pliers, wrenches or screwdrivers, but maybe others have needed them for something.
Screwdrivers are useful for adjusting derailleur limit screws; the ones on your multi-tool are probably good enough. Needle nose pliers have a number of uses: pulling broken spokes out of your cassette before installing a FiberFix spoke, removing a dropped chain that's gotten itself wedged between frame and crank, pulling cables tight, bending or straightening small pieces of metal, etc. Wrenches might be useful for tightening pedals or working on older threaded headsets.
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Old 07-30-09, 11:35 PM   #13
rodar y rodar
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I`ve never broken a chain either, but I have lost the little plates from Powerlinks before. I frequently remove my chain for derailer maintenance as well as to clean the chain itself and I`ve been known to let the RD pull it from my hands and sling one of the plates off into the wild blue yonder. And there`s always the slight possibility of a broken chain- $6 and a couple grams is worth the insurance in my book.
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Old 07-30-09, 11:43 PM   #14
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- You kook at the bike and ask yourself what tool is required for every slot or ring, or allen bolt, and put them all in your virtual pile. Doesn't mater what the next guy uses, your bike is particular, and you will be better off to the extent you are able to keep your mechanicals as simple as possible, make repair a factor when it comes to choosing parts for your bike. No point in carrying some slick little tool that has a bunch of keys for parts not on your bike, or for parts it can't handle even if you had them. For instance a pocket knife sized 8mm allen key is undersized for cranks.

- Now chuck out any tools for parts you don't know how to repair anyway, won't learn how to repair before you go, or couldn't figure out how to repair if you were desperate enough.

- Now chuck out any tools that service stuff you couldn't realistically adress on the road. Can you really carry all the tools required, in the size required to service your BB? How great is the risk you will need to? Etc...

- Then look at the rest of the tools and chuck out any for repairs that seem extremely unlikely or not critical. For instance I can hand tighten my the headset on a threaded fork, while driving the bike, I don't need to carry the headset tools.

- Now make sure you are carrying any stuff you need to break down the bike, if you will be shipping the bike.

At the end of the day, the tools I end up with are a few small allen keys, a few small cone wrenches, chain tool, tire stuff, and a pedal wrench if shipping. Fits almost in the palm of my hand. With my last bike I put a lot of efort into outfitting it so almos anything could be fixed with Allen keys, and used as many parts that were bombproof as possible.
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Old 07-31-09, 08:40 AM   #15
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Peterpan has a good system. I'll add that you can look over the bike with an eye toward minimizing tools needed, too. I swapped out several old hex-headed bolts holding my yoke cable carriers, fenders and racks for ones I can remove with a 4mm Allen wrench that I already carry for other bolts, so that I could leave the easily-misplaced 8mm combination wrench at home.
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Old 07-31-09, 10:30 AM   #16
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It's good to be prepared, but if you carry something to deal with every possible problem, you'll be carrying a ton of weight. I carry what I need to deal with the more likely breakdowns, and will hitchhike to a bike shop if something really freakish happens. To prevent breakdowns, I make sure all the parts that might break are checked out before a tour and replaced if necessary.

I don't carry a spare tire or boot. I've never torn a tire, though I've ridden with someone who has. I tour on new or almost-new tires. If I'm planning a tour and have tires that are starting to show their ages (oxidization, balding) I'll buy new before the tour.

I've never needed pliers. There were times it would have been nice to have them, but not mandatory. I don't carry a Leatherman.

I only carry one spare tube. I carry a patch kit. I've had a stem tear on a tube and I couldn't patch it. But the odds of that happening on both tubes are pretty small. I put the spare tube on and ditched the ruined one. If I had gotten a flat on that tube, I would have patched it. If I had gotten another un-fixable hole in that one I would have hitchhiked. As it was, there was a bike shop a day and a half down the road and I bought a new spare tube.

I have broken spokes. It was on a mail-order bike. It made it from Seattle to the California border, but after that they started to break with regularity. Since that tour I've paid special attention to my rear wheels. I've bought excellent quality stuff and had them tensioned by a good mechanic before leaving, and I haven't broken any more. Still, I'm paranoid. So I carry spare spokes, a cassette tool, and those kevlar emergency spokes. If I broke a spoke I'm not sure what I would do: replace it along the roadside with a real spoke, or install one of the kevlar ones and ride to the campground to do the real repair. Anyway, the kevlar spokes weigh almost nothing, the real spokes not much more, and the cassette tool (Hypercracker from Harris Cyclery) is pretty light and it works.

Here's my list:
  • multi-tool with an Allen wrench big enough for my crankbolts and one small enough for the cantilever brake adjustment screws, a spoke wrench, and a chain tool.
  • plastic tire irons
  • spare tube
  • patch kit
  • Topeak Road Morph frame pump
  • blue Loctite
  • spare bolts for racks (2)
  • a few zip ties
  • one spare brake cable and one spare derailleur cable. I've never needed one but they're really light so why not. Maybe someone I meet will need one. I tinker with my bikes so much that my cables rarely get old before I replace them.
  • spare spokes (mounted in brazeons on my LHT's left chainstay)
  • kevlar emergency spokes
  • Hypercracker cassette tool

Last edited by BigBlueToe; 08-01-09 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 08-01-09, 09:10 PM   #17
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this might have been mentioned already, but +1 for wrapping your duct tape around a water bottle. this way you don't have to worry about the weight of an entire roll. just 4 or 5 wraps around the bottle will probably be enough. i think i wrapped mine maybe ten times (nice and thick) and it's still there months later.
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Old 08-01-09, 09:15 PM   #18
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The Stein Hypercracker is a great little tool and I've used mine once, and it worked really well.

BigBlueToe said everything I wanted to, so a big +1 to that.

Duct tape and a bit of bailing wire or flexible metal strapping can fix a ton of things near permanently.
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Old 08-01-09, 10:39 PM   #19
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I don't quite understand taking Loctite. Why not just put the Loctite on your bolts before you leave home?

Maybe I'll have to rethink the spare tire. But I haven't had a tire get cut so bad that I couldn't get home in the last 30,000 miles, so I'm not sure why it would in the next few thousand, especially if I start out with tough, new tires. Maybe I just don't appreciate how much debris is on the Kentucky roads.
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Old 08-02-09, 12:42 PM   #20
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I don't quite understand taking Loctite. Why not just put the Loctite on your bolts before you leave home?
I guess this is one of those residual things from something that happened to me in the past. I've had rack bolts vibrate loose a couple of times. It's a real pain if you don't have a spare bolt. If you do, you put it in and ride on down the road, feeling pretty good about yourself. However, to prevent it vibrating loose again, you put on Loctite (which you had the foresight to bring.)

I guess you're probably right. Since I've been putting Loctite on my rack bolts every time, I don't remember if one has ever vibrated loose. Maybe I should leave the Loctite at home. In the meantime, it's really light.
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Old 08-02-09, 02:43 PM   #21
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crazy glue gel makes a decent substitute for blue loctite - plus it has many more applications
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Old 08-02-09, 03:49 PM   #22
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Nice lists.

I had my wheels drilled for the wider schraeder valve stems and use an insert so I still use presta tubes. Handy in case I blew through all my tubes, and only happened to find schraeder ones.
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