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Minimum tools required when out riding?

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Minimum tools required when out riding?

Old 10-27-17, 10:46 PM
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Minimum tools required when out riding?

What’s the minimum set of tools that you could get away with carrying whilst out riding that would cover the most frequent issues you’d encounter?

I’m thinking CO2 cartridge, tyre levers, spare inner tube and a multitool.

When I had my old hybrid I never carried any tools with me over six years and was very luckily that I never got a tyre puncture. However, my luck is bound to run out one day!
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Old 10-27-17, 10:59 PM
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The number of tools I carry depends on how long I'll be out, and how far away from a city I'll get. My "go-fast" road bike rarely carries more than a spare tube, patch kit, and pump. The fixed-gear bike that I use for most of my commuting adds a 15mm wrench for the rear axle nuts to that kit. The rando/touring bike adds 4/5/6mm allen wrenches and a spoke wrench.

Maintain your bikes well, and you'll have fewer incidents requiring tools on rides.
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Old 10-28-17, 03:42 AM
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Carrying a CO2 cartridge isn't enough. What happens when you get multiple flats (or stuff up fixing the one you've had) and run out of CO2? Carry a decent pump and be done with it.

Does your multi-tool fit every bolt on your bike? If you haven't checked, you may find it fit the one that's just come adrift.

If your multi-tool has a chain breaker, carry a master link. Something like the Connex that doesn't need tools is fine, but it's useless if your chain parts and you can't get two blank links to join. If you multi-tool doesn't have a chain breaker, don't bother... though a master link isn't much of a problem to carry.

If you've got disc brakes, carry a spacer to put between the pads... or learn how to spread the pads after you've squeezed the lever with the wheel out.

Of those, the only one that takes up space or weight is the pump but if you dump the CO2 and carry one of Topeak's Morph series, you'll not only be covered, you'll be better off.
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Old 10-28-17, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
Carrying a CO2 cartridge isn't enough. What happens when you get multiple flats (or stuff up fixing the one you've had) and run out of CO2? Carry a decent pump and be done with it.

Does your multi-tool fit every bolt on your bike? If you haven't checked, you may find it fit the one that's just come adrift.

If your multi-tool has a chain breaker, carry a master link. Something like the Connex that doesn't need tools is fine, but it's useless if your chain parts and you can't get two blank links to join. If you multi-tool doesn't have a chain breaker, don't bother... though a master link isn't much of a problem to carry.

If you've got disc brakes, carry a spacer to put between the pads... or learn how to spread the pads after you've squeezed the lever with the wheel out.

Of those, the only one that takes up space or weight is the pump but if you dump the CO2 and carry one of Topeak's Morph series, you'll not only be covered, you'll be better off.
Thanks for your great advice!

I have a Lezyne pressure drive pump which looks great but is very hard to use! I've looked at the Topeak Morph series of pumps and they look great, so I'll probably invest in one of those. I have pad spacers in my garage so I'll carry one with me. My multitool does have a chain breaker but I don't have a master link so I need to get one of those. As for the remaining items I've got spare tubes and disposable gloves.
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Old 10-28-17, 04:44 AM
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My minimum is also my maximum : never patched spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, pump, 4,5,6, allen wrenches, 35 mm film cannister of quarters. All of that in a small saddle bag.
I consider all my rides "training" rides not touring so I'm never more than 50 miles from home or else I might consider more. But thats all I've ever needed, beyond that I'd just call my wife to pick me up and fix any mechanical problem at home.
Btw, I have had more than one flat on a single ride, so that's the reason for the patch kit. I've also used the allen wrenches for saddle and stem adjustments while out riding. I use the quarters for 50 milers for sweet tea and if longer than 50 miles I use the quarters for a coke and peanut butter crackers. As usual ymmv.
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Old 10-28-17, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by taz777 View Post
I have pad spacers in my garage so I'll carry one with me. My multitool does have a chain breaker but I don't have a master link so I need to get one of those. As for the remaining items I've got spare tubes and disposable gloves.
My saddle bag is big enough to squeeze my spare tube in while still in its box - my pad spacer just pushes into the box where it can't get lost pulling things out of the bag and doesn't take up any room.

The gloves are a good idea if you have the space. An alternative is to visit a fast food shop and steal a couple of sachets of hand wipes - these are very good at taking off grease. Either of these is something I need to carry (I tend to use dirt or grass to pretend I've made an effort of cleaning my paws )
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Old 10-28-17, 05:36 AM
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Two camps--1) tools and supplies, or 2) cell phone (in the old days it was a lock and bus fare). I suppose much depends on your repair skill level. And where you ride, of course. (I get out into some lonely desert areas where goat head thorns abound, and one spare and a patch kit will not get you home. Those trips I add a second spare tube.)

Most bike fasteners are 5 and 6 mm hex cap screws and small flat head screws. That's the case with my bike and those are the only tools I carry on day trips. My rims and my tires do not need tire levers so I don't carry those. Just a spare tube, a patch kit, a tire boot, and frame pump.

When I leave town for a while I tape some spare spokes to the chain stays, and add a spoke wrench, chain tool, cassette tool, a better set of allen wrenches, and a shifter cable. If I'm going to be shipping the bike I add a small pedal wrench.

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Old 10-28-17, 05:47 AM
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2 hex keys fit everything on my bike except for a small Philips screwdriver. A spare tube and tire, and a small pump go inside my backpack and in a worst case scenario I have a bike bag that fits in 1 of the water bottle carriers just in case I need to bag up my bike and put it on the train.
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Old 10-28-17, 06:02 AM
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The minimum is a cell phone
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There's no such thing as a routine repair.

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If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

Please respect others by taking the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!
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Old 10-28-17, 06:29 AM
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Cell phone would not help where I live as cell service is poor at best and I live on the WI/IL border an hour from Madison WI and 90 minutes from Chicago IL. I carry a tube, pump, tire levers and my Leatherman tool or my bicycle Swiss Army knife. If riding my single speed I also add a 15 mm wrench. Roger
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Old 10-28-17, 06:58 AM
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Flats happen several times per year so carry what you need to fix them. The need for Allen keys and chain breakers is more like once every 5 years or I can’t remember the last time I needed to make an adjustment if you keep your bike tuned up.
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Old 10-28-17, 07:11 AM
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A mobile phone is a poor option for me. Although I live in a city, who would I ring? My daughter isn't old enough to drive, my son doesn't have a car courtesy of wreck and the cats don't give a stuff... until dinner time.

I'd carefully check all the fastenings for size. My Hillbrick uses two allen keys for everything... except for the locking tab on the Miche saddle clamp which is some stupidly small size and Murphy has ensured that that particular screw is the only one I've ever had to tighten while out on the road (apart from adjusting bike fit of course). The bolts we use sometimes need a different sized key for the same diameter bolt and again, ol' Murphy would ensure that the one that comes loose will be the one you don't have a key for.

I now carry a few zip ties bound together with some electrical tape, just in case. Hey, they weigh nothing and take up no space and by having them, I'm guaranteeing I'll never need them (I hope).

You can certainly go overboard with tools, even with apparently simply beasts like bikes. On the other hand, it's stupid to get stuck with an inoperative vehicle. The worst I've suffered was a chain that decided to self destruct in front of three lanes of on-coming traffic. After I'd cleaned my undies and collected the chain, the kilometre or more walk to the nearest bike shop was plenty of time to ponder why you shouldn't re-use pins on modern chains (I was putting together a Frankenbike on the cheap - didn't work did it).
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Old 10-28-17, 08:01 AM
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I've always carried a pump (Topeak Road Morph G right now, very happy with it), patch kit with good glue, multitool, spare tube, and an 8mm allen wrench that fits the crank bolt. I don't carry levers, they're for wimps. I think my spoke wrench is still in my bag from after my wheel build, but isn't necessary. My phone has taken up residence on my bars even though I still have my old bike computer also.
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Old 10-28-17, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
Cell phone would not help where I live...
Originally Posted by europa View Post
A mobile phone is a poor option for me...
Well, my answer was partly tongue-in-cheek, but the question was the minimum "you" could get a way with. I could get away with a cell phone, and many others could also. I actually carry a tube, CO2 inflator, a multitool and a rag. I really carry the multitool mostly to help others, have not once needed it myself for any kind of day ride.
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There's no such thing as a routine repair.

Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

Please respect others by taking the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!
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Old 10-28-17, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
Well, my answer was partly tongue-in-cheek, but the question was the minimum "you" could get a way with. I could get away with a cell phone, and many others could also. I actually carry a tube, CO2 inflator, a multitool and a rag. I really carry the multitool mostly to help others, have not once needed it myself for any kind of day ride.
Bit like me with my Road Morph pump. It's been used over half a dozen times but only once on my bike
Similarly with my pocket knife - very useful to other people.
On the other hand, I'd rather not be one of those 'other' people
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Old 10-28-17, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
I've always carried a pump (Topeak Road Morph G right now, very happy with it)
I'm just about to order the Topeak Mini Morph. Is the 'G' version (i.e. the one with the gauge) much bulkier and worth the extra? It's only a little more cash and I haven't placed the order yet.
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Old 10-28-17, 11:08 AM
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taz777, I carry much of what has been mentioned; multitool, tube, patch kit, mini pump, tire levers, spare chain link, and a CO2 rig. One item that I carry that has not yet been mentioned is a cotton ball to swab then inside of a tire to see if whatever caused a flat is still present.

Brad
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Old 10-28-17, 11:11 AM
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OTRON Mini Bike Pump - Compact & Portable - Extremely Lightweight - Premium CNC Aluminum - Presta & Schrader Valve Compatible - For Road, Mountain Or BMX Bicycles


https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....L._SL1500_.jpg


Here is the mini pump I purchased. Is there a benefit besides a gauge to a more expensive Topeak product?

Last edited by RowdyTI; 10-28-17 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 10-28-17, 11:14 AM
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A pair of those cheap rubber coated stretch gloves is all I take. Put em on in case the chain drops off. Chain residue can leave nasty marks on skin.
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Old 10-28-17, 01:01 PM
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Bus fare.
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Old 10-28-17, 10:13 PM
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I have a phone, credit card, multitool (allen keys and a few screwdrivers), pump, spare tube, a 3 in 1 spoke wrench, and recently a funny tiny wrench I got that can fit 8 and 10mm.

Seems like a lot but fits in a medium sized saddle bag. So far I have never needed a chain tool but Im sure that will happen tomorrow now. My modern bike really only needs a couple of allen wrenches but the vintage ones need a bit more.
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Old 10-28-17, 11:57 PM
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Just out of interest, has anyone ever had to use their multitool whilst out riding in order to effect an emergency repair?

I can understand that tyre levers, pumps and tubes get used quite regularly, but I’ve been wondering what would need tightening up when riding.
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Old 10-29-17, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by taz777 View Post
Just out of interest, has anyone ever had to use their multitool whilst out riding in order to effect an emergency repair?

I can understand that tyre levers, pumps and tubes get used quite regularly, but Iíve been wondering what would need tightening up when riding.
When commuting I use it at work to set derailleur limits or used the allen key a couple times on various bits.
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Old 10-29-17, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by taz777 View Post
I'm just about to order the Topeak Mini Morph. Is the 'G' version (i.e. the one with the gauge) much bulkier and worth the extra? It's only a little more cash and I haven't placed the order yet.
Having a gauge is definitely worth the extra because you can pump the tyre to the right pressure. Using your fingers to squeeze the tyre is only guessing and being on the side of the road is no reason for guess work if you've got an alternative.
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Old 10-29-17, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by taz777 View Post
Just out of interest, has anyone ever had to use their multitool whilst out riding in order to effect an emergency repair?
I have. Typically for bike fit issues which I guess aren't 'emergency' repairs though it's easy to get home and forget them whereas making the change on the road means you get to test the change while you're hot and make further changes if needed - saddle height, bar angle, stuff like that.
My Hillbrick has a Miche seat post with a funny locking tab on the saddle adjustment that's come loose a couple of times - a quick tighten up and all was well. Considering it stopped doing it after the second time and the first was about a year into the bike's life, I've no idea why it suddenly got all Italian on me.
I've fiddled with and tightened all sorts of things over the years and have proven that unless something is fixed when spotted, you're likely to forget it when you get home (which reminds me, I've a talkative Brooks that needs some oil )

Incidentally, you may not need a full multi-tool. Sometimes, all you need is two or three allen keys, the multi-tool just makes it all a bit more convenient.
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