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Thread: Touring Tools

  1. #1
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    Touring Tools

    Hey everyone,
    New to touring, doing my first small tour up to Toronto in August, curious what types of bike tools everyone recommends having in case of emergencies on the journey?

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    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Only the tools you know how to use. I carry a utility knife, string, cable ties, duct tape, spoke wrench, needle nose pliers, allen wrenches, chain tool, patch kit, tire levers, temp fiber spoke. If you're components are mechanically sound and your wheels strong and true, very unlikely to have any significant problems, especially touring on paved roads. Significant problem? Hitch a ride to a bicycle shop.
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    1. Look hard at your bike and gear.
    2. Make a list of things that can go wrong that you could fix.
    3. Make a list of the tools needed to do those tasks.
    4. Find a tool or tools that can most efficiently do those tasks.
    4a. Determine if anything can easily be replaced to eliminate excess tools (such as replacing Hex head bolts with Allen bolts, so you need only carry one kind of wrench)
    5. Shop for a multitool that accomplishes some or most of what you can do for the bike.

    Short answer for ME is a Park multitool with a chain breaker a tire lever and a spoke wrench, plus a patch kit, and separate 3, 4 & 5 mm Allen wrenches, a CO2 inflator head and 2 CO2 cartridges (these are for use in case my pump fails, not the opposite) and a Topeak Mtn Morph pump.

    Your mileage may and should vary.

  4. #4
    Bike touring webrarian
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    On my last tour, my front tire got gashed, causing the tube to blow out. Luckily, I carry tire boots (plastic rectangles with stickem on one side), which I hadn't used before, for just this problem.

    I was able to ride another 200 miles on the booted tire without having to replace it!

    I agree with both of the other responders: make sure you know how to use the tools you bring.

    For me, I bring multitool (Allen wrenches, chain breaker, screwdrivers), Leatherman Juice (knife, screwdrivers, scissors, pliers, can opener), metal tire levers, tire boots, patch kit, hypercracker (lock ring remover), spokes, fiberfix temp spoke, spoke wrench, S&S coupler/pedal wrench.

    I also carry a replacement bolt for every one I have on my bike (I did this after breaking the seat clamp bolt), a few extra chain links, and chain pins.

    For more discussion on this topic, this page has 5 links about tools to take on a bike tour.

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  5. #5
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by truman View Post
    1. Look hard at your bike and gear.
    2. Make a list of things that can go wrong that you could fix.
    3. Make a list of the tools needed to do those tasks.
    4. Find a tool or tools that can most efficiently do those tasks.
    4a. Determine if anything can easily be replaced to eliminate excess tools (such as replacing Hex head bolts with Allen bolts, so you need only carry one kind of wrench)
    5. Shop for a multitool that accomplishes some or most of what you can do for the bike.

    Short answer for ME is a Park multitool with a chain breaker a tire lever and a spoke wrench, plus a patch kit, and separate 3, 4 & 5 mm Allen wrenches, a CO2 inflator head and 2 CO2 cartridges (these are for use in case my pump fails, not the opposite) and a Topeak Mtn Morph pump.

    Your mileage may and should vary.
    Your advice is good as far as it goes but I'd suggest looking at the bike with an eye to reducing the number of tools you have to carry before the ride. Upgrade equipment to modern stuff where you can. For example, replace a threaded headset with a threadless (if possible). Replace square taper cranks with external bottom bracket cranks (XT trekking cranks are very cheap...$125). Replace cone and cup hubs with cassette bearing hubs. Although I still carry this tool kit while touring



    Some of the stuff I carry now is really unnecessary. (To be fair so of that tool kit is for off-road riding too.) A lot of my touring bike equipment can be fixed with a 5mm allen wrench. Add a patch kit, tire levers and a Leatherman P2 minitool and I'm ready to go.
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    Next time you go to the doctor or dentist, ask for a bunch of disposable gloves. If you need to fix anything on the trail, you will probably be a mess when you are done. I also carry some paper towels in a plastic bag in my tool kit.

    You will not be in Outer Mongolia, bring what is appropriate.

    Last trip, I brought:
    - multi-tool that had almost everything (Alien II - Topeak).
    - smaller multitool that is handy in the handlebar bag for 80 percent of what I would need.
    - cassette removal tool and the adjustable wrench that goes on it, but left the heavy and large chainwhip at home thinking that if I needed to use it, I would destroy a nylon camping strap instead of carrying the heavy chainwhip.
    - I have two rack bolts that my multi-tool can't reach, allen wrench for those two bolts.
    - spoke wrench.
    - smallest vice grip.
    - tire pump.
    - tire pressure gauge.
    - tubes and a spare tire. Also carry tyvek from shipping envelopes to serve as emergency tire boot.
    - tire levers.
    - spare spokes.
    - spare bolts and nuts.
    - whipping cord, it is waxed polyester and I can lash almost anything together with that. (Sold at marine stores.)
    - tiny container of oil.
    - rear brake and rear derailleur cables.
    - small roll of electrical tape.
    - tools that I always carry for camping, such as swiss army knife, leatherman wave or similar kershaw pliers, tools to rebuild my stove or fix a tentpole.

    Did not bring:
    - cone wrenches or anything to rebuild a hub.
    - bottom bracket wrench.
    - crank removal tool with 8mm allen wrench. (I can't remember, I might have brought it only because I recently changed a chainring and wanted to be able to fix anything that I recently worked on?)
    - tool for chainring nuts.
    - cable cutters.
    - other spares, the sky is the limit.

    If I was going to Outer Mongolia, I would bring a lot more including a spare pump.
    Last edited by LHT in Madison; 06-30-10 at 03:37 PM. Reason: correction

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    ". Look hard at your bike and gear.
    2. Make a list of things that can go wrong that you could fix.
    3. Make a list of the tools needed to do those tasks.
    4. Find a tool or tools that can most efficiently do those tasks.
    4a. Determine if anything can easily be replaced to eliminate excess tools (such as replacing Hex head bolts with Allen bolts, so you need only carry one kind of wrench)
    5. Shop for a multitool that accomplishes some or most of what you can do for the bike.

    Your advice is good as far as it goes but I'd suggest looking at the bike with an eye to reducing the number of tools you have to carry before the ride. Upgrade equipment to modern stuff where you can. For example, replace a threaded headset with a threadless (if possible). Replace square taper cranks with external bottom bracket cranks (XT trekking cranks are very cheap...$125). Replace cone and cup hubs with cassette bearing hubs. Although I still carry this tool kit while touring"

    Looks a lot like my list from a while back, that is what I do. 4a is what you are refering to. Every choice
    on the bike should partly revolve around making it easy to repair with as few allen keys as possible.

    The biggest tool I have carried was a pedal wrench of medium serious design since the train I was using for my return trip required I remove the pedals.

  8. #8
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Cyccommute's photo has one of the most important tools for touring, a roll of duct tape. So useful for so many bike, camp or personal uses, don't leave home without it.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Replace square taper cranks with external bottom bracket cranks (XT trekking cranks are very cheap...$125).
    Excuse my ignorance, what makes an external BB less tool dependent? I've always used square tapered bbs, except on my mountain bike and I haven't had to mess with it yet. I don't usually carry a bb tool when touring

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    The only tool I carry that has not already been mentioned is needle-nose vise-grips. I rarely use them, but when I have had a need having them made up for the weight in spades.

  11. #11
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    I carry a Parks MTB 3 Rescue multi tool, an adjustable wrench, Leatherman multi tool, patch kit, couple of spare tubes, few chain links, small roll duct tape and a couple pair of nitrile gloves (prefer them over latex). This covers tours up to around 500 miles, after that, and depending on where I am headed I will add additional items. When I did transcontinental I carried a spare tire (good thing too). With today's folding tires it is a lot easier to carry a spare than with the old wire bead style, but we made those work by folding them in a figure 8 and lashing them to the rack struts.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post

    The biggest tool I have carried was a pedal wrench of medium serious design since the train I was using for my return trip required I remove the pedals.
    I used Amtrak too. I got around this by using pedals that I could install/remove with the 8mm Allen wrench on my multitool.

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pasopia View Post
    Excuse my ignorance, what makes an external BB less tool dependent? I've always used square tapered bbs, except on my mountain bike and I haven't had to mess with it yet. I don't usually carry a bb tool when touring
    You have to have a 14mm socket or an 8mm allen wrench and some serious torque to properly tighten a square taper crank (or ISIS for that matter). You'll likely not be able to remove the crank if you need to, either.

    External bottom bracket cranks like the Shimano XT require a 5 mm allen to tighten the nondrive side onto the spindle. If you need to remove the crank to service the bearings, it's a simple procedure. Look at the left side crank in the picture below.



    Loosen the bolts and the crank comes right out. It's very simple and quite elegant.
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    Senior Member pasopia's Avatar
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    Oh, ok that make sense, thanks. Square tapered stuff has been so reliable for me I've never felt the need to switch it out. I don't bring a crank puller or a BB tool on tour. Maybe I'll look into an external bb system if my sugino xd crankset ever dies.

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    A lot of my tours are in fairly remote country, (no bike shops etc.) so I carry a pretty complete kit, all fitting in one multi-pocketed bag.(except the spare spokes which I tape to a carrier post)
    - tire pump, gauge, extra valve stem adapter, 3 tubes, 3 boots, patching kit
    - 2 honed tire removal levers
    - spare chain, chain oil, chain cleaner & brush
    - spare spokes, spoke wrench
    - deraileur & brake cables
    - cassette removal tool (use vice grips instead of carrying heavy chainwhip)
    - allan & topeak wrenches
    - 1 reg. vice grips, 1 needle-nose vice grips, 1 water pump plyers
    - reg. wrenches to fit all nuts etc. including removing pedals
    - leatherman multi tool
    - quality duct tape, electric tape, spare cord, wire
    - disposable gloves, hand cleaner, rag
    - toilet paper!

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    Could someone help narrow this down to the very basics of what you would take on a 500 mile tour?

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    Quote Originally Posted by k9power View Post
    Could someone help narrow this down to the very basics of what you would take on a 500 mile tour?
    Less is best.
    2 spare tubes
    Tire Levers if you need them for your tires.
    Tire boot
    Patch kit
    spoke wrench
    3 spare spokes
    Chain tool
    Spare Master link.
    Frame pump
    Hex Wrench Set
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    reduce

    I just finished my 1st attempt at racing the Tour Divide, about 1000 miles in 7 days.

    my tool kit was/is
    Park Chain tool
    extra quick link
    hand pump
    1 tube
    patch kit
    allen wrenches (only the ones that I actually need)
    1 small swiss army knife (the smallest one they make)

    I use stan's latex sealant to convert a set of WTB Vulpines to tubeless
    when/if there is a puncture, it simply self seals

    other tours if done, are not nearly as remote as the Tour Divide route.
    its really easy to simply reduce

    however...
    last year, touring Portland to Ventura, I met a guy carrying a floor pump!

  19. #19
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    To k9power that wanted a list for 500 miles - that was what I listed above in post number 6.

    I worked in a bike shop and built up my touring bikes from frame and fork. Maybe that is why my list is a bit more extensive than some others, I keep my bikes tuned and running smooth, thus I frequently use these tools. For example, that is also why there is a second minimalist multi-tool handy in the handlebar bag whereas the other tools are in the bottom of a pannier, I want the small one handy so I can easily get to it if I notice a loose bolt or want to make a minor adjustment.

    I left a lot of stuff off of my list that others included, such as brake pads because if my pads are so worn that they might not last 500 miles, I replace them right away. But, spare cables are on the list because I really do not want to go up and down hills if my rear derailleur is stuck in one gear. In 500 miles, I won't bother cleaning the chain, thus no cleaner. One thing that I should have mentioned in post 6 above, if you do not regularly check your cleat bolts for tightness, bring a spare cleat bolt.

    Think about how bad a day you will have if you have to walk 20 miles, then think about what might happen to cause that, then think about what to bring to fix it.

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