If you’re reading this blog then you’re most likely wondering what it is that you need on and off the road to keep your bike happy or perhaps what that thingamajig is for on your multi-tool. Hope this helps.

Look at the pictures of all the things you need. Can you name them?

What & Why
* Hex keys 4mm, 5mm, 6mm: most common bolts on modern bikes.
* Hex keys 1mm, 2mm, 3mm: sometimes needed on certain bikes for brakes and other small bolts.
* Spanners or monkey wrench: for older bikes and some types of brakes.
* Cross-head screwdriver: for accessories like lights, brake tuning and various other parts.
* Chain tool or chain link: for chain replacement and/or cleaning.
* Rubber solution puncture repair kit: for permanent tube repair.
* WD40: thin lubricant for small moving parts like brakes, stiff nuts/bolts, rust prevention, rubbing off rust on chrome or steel.
* Chain oil: medium lubricant for bike chains like Finish Line (the wrong type will be too thin or too sticky and will dirty up or wear out your chain).
* Bike grease: thick lubricant for prevent heavy rusting on seat tubes, springs, bar stems etc.
* Degreaser/washing-up liquid/turps: removes oil and dirt from chain, cogs, frame etc (turps can be affective but is a cheap last resort and can damage your frame).
* Green pan scourer: for rubbing brake residue from wheel rims or de-rusting with WD40.
* Rag: for general wiping down after cleaning, oiling etc
* Bits box: to put in anything that comes off your bike so it doesn’t disappear into grass, stones or drains.
* Small tool box: too keep your precious tools clean and together.

What & Why & How Much
* Multi-tool: a compact and light collection of common hex keys, chain tool, screwdriver etc.
* Good tyre levers: for removing a tyre from a wheel rim (strong, robust ones are needed as the pressures on them can be huge, especially from racing tyres).
* Quick patch: a quick-fix way to patch a punctured tube until you get home.
* Spare inner tube: to directly replace a punctured tube if you don’t have time or a convenient place to repair it.
* Latex gloves: to keep your hands clean if you need to tinker with anything dirty (if you don’t wear gloves, this dirt will go on your hand grips or irritate your hands until you can clean them).
* Rag: for general wiping of parts or hands.
* Seat, bar or frame bag: to keep your small set of on-the-road tools and perhaps an emergency snack handy.

Answers & Tip
Just one more thing. It’s great to support your local bike shops or even to buy used if you can, but if you need to buy a bunch of things together I recommend http://www.wiggle.com, as they have a wide range, product ratings, reviews, good prices and free delivery over $105. Taxes shouldn’t apply under about $400 dollars but don’t hold me to that.



  1. atom

    WD-40 is weird stuff… it’s useful, but really should NOT be used as a lubricant. same goes for CRC, the local version of WD-40.

    in theory, duties apply to imports valued over $300. sometimes ya get lucky, sometimes ya don’t. i think the current system adds a flat “processing fee” in addition to GST.

    the $105 free shipping from wiggle is based on currency conversion and fluctuates. they often have good deals but i always give local retailers the first crack at it. sometimes i’ve been surprised by a better deal locally than i can get online. this is especially true when buying several things at once and negotiating a “package deal”. other times stuff just isn’t available locally. having worked in retail i can also say that things i try on or try out locally i always buy locally. it’s bad karma to try on shoes at a local shop and then buy them online.


  2. You’re missing the one tool that I’d recommend any cyclist buy first: a decent track (floor) pump. Burkes have them starting from around $60 (http://www.burkescycles.co.nz/cat/g560.html). New cyclists might think “hey, I’ve got a portable pump, I can just use that” – but a proper track pump is much faster and easier to use. It’s like the difference between using the hex keys on a multitool versus using a proper set of standalone hex keys, or using the scissors on a swiss army knife versus an actual pair of scissors – yup, it’ll work, but using the dedicated tool is better and faster.

    Even if you’re going to take your bike into the shop for anything that goes wrong, even including a puncture, it’s still worth getting a track pump. Your tyres do lose air very slowly, and you periodically need to top them up – and having the right tool for the job changes it from five minutes of annoyance to a minute and a half of focussed effort.

    +1 on Wiggle.


    1. Yes, what a div! I forgot to include a pump.
      As long as it’s a decent floor pump, I agree. Floor pump for home and hand pump for on the road. If you’re strapped for cash though, I’d say the hand pump comes first.


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