In a time when many of us are confined within the walls of our own homes, many cyclists are spending their extra time repairing and tinkering with their bikes. We now have a little more time on our hands to dial in our shifting, straighten crooked handlebars, and replace worn-out grips. While at home, it's also a great time to expand and improve your home shop. Most riders have the essential tools required to perform routine maintenance on their bikes, but when it comes to bike tools, there is always a new or better tool you could use. In this article we explore certain tools, equipment, and storage solutions that can really take your home shop to the next level.
Most riders already have the essential tools needed for routine bike maintenance. If you are new to biking and haven't accumulated a collection of tools, a Tool Kit is a great way to start your mechanic journey. A tool kit includes all the essentials you need to keep your bike rolling.
OUR FAVORITE TOOL KITS:
The items listed below are a couple of our favorite tools that not all riders may have. They tend to work well in specific situations where a unique tool is required to get the job done.
DISC TRUING TOOL - A disc brake rotor is a wide piece of perfectly straight metal, or at least it's supposed to be. Because of its long and skinny design, disc rotors are prone to bending which causes them to rub against your brake pads. A rotor truing tool allows you to straighten your bent rotor and eliminate that annoying rubbing/squeaking sound.
BRAKE ALIGNMENT TOOL - It can sometimes be difficult to align your disc rotor perfectly within your brake pads, especially if your rotor is slightly bent. A brake alignment tool makes this process much easier. The tool features a simple design where two metal prongs slide between your disc rotor and brake pads, giving them perfect spacing. Tighten your brake caliper bolts with the tool still installed and then remove it once the bolts are tightened.
TORQUE WRENCH - With more and more carbon fiber frames and components being available in the market, the importance of a Torque Wrench has never been higher. Over-tightening carbon components can result in failure of the carbon. This can lead to dangerous crashes if the failure is not noticed. A torque wrench allows you to tighten your components tight enough so they don't move, but not too tight that they break. This tool is highly recommended for anyone with carbon on their bike.
HYDRAULIC HOSE CUTTER - If you've ever had to route and bleed a hydraulic brake, you know how important this tool is. A hydraulic hose cutter is the only tool that can give you a perfectly straight cut through hydraulic hose. This perfect cut ensures the barb and olive that enter the brake line holds a secure fit. This secure fit ensures that your brake performance is not hindered.
The next step in improving your home shop is acquiring some reliable equipment. A lot of bike maintenance can be done decently without the following items, but not in a very effective way and definitely not in a professional way. These items don't only improve the efficiency of your bike work, but also make it much easier. Bring your home repair area into the realm of a professional mechanic setup. Some of these items may have high price tags, but the benefit they deliver is second to none.
BIKE REPAIR STAND - Working on your bike is much easier with a Bike Repair Stand. It keeps your bike steady, it allows you to easily access the underside of your bike, and it raises your bike up to a higher level that is easier to access.
TRUING STAND - If you are the type of rider who goes through rear wheels fast. It would be very smart to learn how to build and true wheels. In order to build and true wheels effectively, you need a truing stand. Complete wheels are expensive, but luckily building up a new rim on an existing hub is much cheaper.
SHOP APRON - People may say it looks lame, but a shop apron is every bike mechanic's favorite piece of clothing. Aprons don't only protect your regular clothes from getting dirt and grease on them, they also contain pockets to help you store multiple tools while you are working on your bike. Once you try one on, you will never work on your bike again without it.
FLOOR/BENCH MATS - Laying a mat down is a quick and easy way to save your floor from dirt and grease. It also helps relieve your feet when standing for an extended period of time during bike repair. Some companies also make bench/table mats which contain small channels to help keep small bolts and parts organized during bike maintenance.
It happens to all of us, you start working on your bike and 30 minutes later tools are sprawled out all over the place. The "technique" riders use to store their tools varies from person to person. Some enjoy the luxury of a tool chest, some have their tools hanging on a pegboard, and many have their tools randomly thrown into a bag. There truly is no right or wrong way to store your tools, but we'd like to share some ideas on how to help those tools stay better organized. Proper storage and organization is the key to having a professional-level home shop.
SMALL PARTS STORAGE - A bike is essentially a bunch of large parts being held together by small parts. Unfortunately for us home mechanics, those smaller parts love to run away, hide, or fall to the floor and somehow disappear. Keeping your small parts in check is essential in maintaining a clean and organized home shop. Our un-biased favorite item on the list below is the magnetic parts bowl. This bowl is a great place to store small nuts and bolts during bike repair and its magnetic bottom makes sure those bolts don't run away from you. When you are finished with your repair work, sealed containers are a great way to ensure that all your small parts don't become lost parts.
BIKE STORAGE - When you are finished working on your bike, you need a good way to store it. It's easy to lean your bike against a wall or lay it flat on the floor, but if you are looking to save a little space or reduce the number of tire marks on your white wall, check out some of our favorite Bike Storage Solutions.
WALL MOUNTED BIKE STAND:
FLOOR BIKE RACK:
TWO BIKE STORAGE RACK:
When it comes down to it, working on your bike should be a fun experience. You are taking the steps necessary to ensure your favorite bike is operating at its finest level. Some bike projects can take a decent amount of time, so we decided to share some things that we have done to make our own shops at home a little more rad!
MONITOR SCREEN - A TV screen or computer monitor is a huge upgrade to your home shop. Enjoy easy entertainment while you work on your bike. Watch replays of World Cup DH races, enjoy some of your favorite mountain bike movies, or watch your favorite Will Ferrell comedy.
SPEAKERS - It's easy to get into a rhythm when working on a bike, especially if you have some tunes playing around you. Speakers also allow you to listen to your favorite podcast while you work on your favorite bike. Speakers will easily increase the "Rad" factor of your home shop.
BIKE REPAIR BOOK - If you want to become a master mechanic, there is no better reference guide than Park Tool's Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair. It is the perfect final touch for your home shop.
MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR GUIDES - Next time you are wrenching on your bike, check out some of our blog posts about bike maintenance and repair.
If you need further guidance in finding the perfect upgrades for your home shop, please reach out to one of our expert Gear Advisors. They can help you navigate the various options and match them to your budget and preferences. You can contact our Gear Advisors by phone, email, or chat.
Gear Advisor Hours: Mon-Fri: 7:30am to 7pm, Sat-Sun: 9am to 5pm (PST)