Modular MTB Tool Kit | Essential Tools For Mountain Bike Maintenance

Modular MTB Tool Kit | Essential Tools For Mountain Bike Maintenance

– Looking after a mountain
bike is really important. In order to do that, you’re
going to need some tools. Now tools can be very expensive and of course we’ve got
a huge array of tools at our disposal here to show
you how to use them all. But you need to start somewhere. So, today I’m going to
break it down for you and we’re going to make
a modular tool kit. That’s going to be the
base of tools that you need to get started working on your bike. Some of these are going
to be suitable for use in your home workshop and
some for out on the trail. So before we get started
looking at the individual tools we’re going to break it down
into a few little sub-categories. Now you got classic workshop spector. Stuff like this, right. You’re not going to really
take these out on the trail with you for doing maintenance. These are for doing bigger jobs at home. You need to identify the sort of jobs that you’re comfortable
doing before you go spending money on the tools. Because it could be
unnecessary to start with. Then you get trail tools. For example, this is a Topeak Alien, it’s actually got 31 tools on it. It’s a crazy sized tool. You can do actually most
things to be fair, with this. Although, as your skills
develop as a mechanic, you’re going to need more specific tools that are easier to use in
different spaces on the bike. But to get started with, you could arguably
start with a trail tool, and of course that can
stay in your riding bag or you can use it in your garage at home. And then the final choice of course is a dedicated workshop toolkit. Now you can buy these
from Park, from Topeak, from X Tools, there’s a whole
number of different brands that offer different levels of toolkit. They come in their own case
with a number of tools. Now these are really good value for money but quite often they’ll
come with a lot of tools that you might not
necessarily need on your bike. For example, cone spanners
and things like that. That suggests you’re going to
be doing more advanced stuff like adjusting the cones
on your wheel axles and things like that. So, take a little step back for a minute and we’re going to look
at the bare minimum to get going. And of course as your skills develop as you start looking after
more things on your bike, you can add things to your toolkit. Both home and on the trail. Now, first things first,
you’re going to need a set of Allen keys. Now most mountain bikes are
covered in Allen key bolts to do almost any job on your bike, you’re going to need a set of Allen keys. Now how you get started is up to you. There’s a few different
ways you can do this. Of course this workshop star Allen key set they’re very expensive, in comparison to buying
a multi-tool equivalent. Now this is actually,
probably about 20 years old. Just to show you by comparison, I’ve had this for a long time. That’s what they look like now. So it’s quite dated but still, it shows that buying a good motor tool is worth it because all of
the edges are nice and sharp. And the thing that I love
about a multi-tool like this, this is dedicated Allen key set. I use this in the workshop
at home and I keep it in the back of the
car sometimes as well. And I can use this on the trail. So it actually represents
great value for money. A dedicated trail star tool
however is a lot more compact, and although it has more tools on it, they’re not quite as good
for working on your bike in a home environment. They’re more a case of being
able to nip up a bolt or two if something comes loose
while you’re out in the trail. I do recommend getting some
kind of trail motor tool. However, it’s not going to be
used that much as it daily. If you just want to save some
money in the first instance, get yourself something like this. This has a six, it has a five, four, three two, two and a half. It has all the essentials on
there to look after your bike. And in addition to that, you will need an eight millimeter Allen key. Just get a single one,
you don’t need to get a whole big set of these things. Those two items will be able
to look after most things. They’re small enough to
take on the trail with you and they’re good enough to
work home on a daily basis. Saves yourself a bit of
money and then in time, you can add to your home kit and you can add to your trail kit. And next up is, if you can afford it, a trail multi- tool. Now I recommend trying
to keep one of these in your riding bag or on
your bike for example. I have a bottle case that
actually houses this tool on my particular bike here, this is a Topeak ninja tool. Now the great thing about these is they’re always on your bike
or they’re always in your bag. So in the eventuality that
something comes loose, could be a disk rotor bolt, it could be your saddle clamp, literally anything, you can
take care of it on the trail. You don’t need to fret about taking your Allen keys from home out. Again you need to be able to afford this in addition to a home or
a more portable multi-set of Allen keys. So you do need to factor that in. If you’re going to get one of these, make sure it has a chain tool on it. One of my recommendations
in building your first modular toolkit, is to have a chain tool. But a chain tool is a very specific tool that you’re not going to
need to use that often. So you can actually save
yourself a bit of money by getting a trail tool
that has a chain tool on it. It’s good enough for
occasional use at home and it’s going to get you out a bother when you’re on the trail. This one is very minimal, it’s got just about
what you need on there. Like I say, it’s going to
get you out of trouble. It’s definitely worth trying
to put some money aside to get one to keep with your riding gear. Next up tyre levers. You’re going to get a
puncture at some point. You will need to take your tire off. Now some tires you can take off by hand, others you’re going to need a tyre lever. Get yourself three and
get yourself sort of the plastic nylon type because
they’re much harder to break. Try and avoid the Mesa ones at all costs because it can damage
the rims on your bike and it can also damage your tires. I say get three because, one will normally do it. Sometimes you need two
with a stubborn tire and you’re going to lose one. So get three and you’re safeguarded. Next up is the Torx T25. Now, although not that
common around the whole bike you always see it in the
form of disc rotor bolts. Now of course this is slightly different to using an Allen key. Very similar although
you’ll notice some people might call it the star key
or something like that. It’s called a Torx head basically. Now it might be sensible to get yourself a multi-tool that’s got a load of them. But in reality, you’re probably
only ever going to need the Torx T25 on your bike. Some brakes do have slightly
different sized ones. On formula brakes for example
have a lot of different ones. But my top tip to get
started is check the kit that came with your bike, it’s quite likely that it
might have one of these little Allen keys in. Now these are known as a bit more like a throw away Allen key, they’re harder to use
because they’re much smaller but you’ve got the all
important T25 on there. You get these with various
different brakes as well if you bought your brakes after market and they will suffice for the time being. Just be careful when you’re
using them with your disk rotor because the size of them, if you slip you can take
the skin off your knuckles. So if you can afford it, get yourself a dedicated one. But you can get away with
one of these to start with. If your bike does happen to
have a lot more options on there then save yourself the
hassle in the long run and get yourself the multi-tool with it. Because once you buy one of these, you’ll never need another one. Now getting yourself a spare master link that is the right
compatibility for your chain, I think is an absolute essential. Because you will be unfortunate enough to snap a chain at some point. And if that happens out in the trail, you will use your trail tool to get that broken link out of the way. And then the most sensible thing to do is get one of those master links and tape it onto one of your hoses
near the handle bars there. If you stay using your bike
and it happens on the trail, you’ve got it there to fix it. If it happens at home, you’re obviously going to
be working on your bike. So it’s always where it needs to be. Now in this case I got
a 12 speed one to suit the 12 speed Shimano chain. It’s taped on. You can obviously get eight, nine, 10, 11 and 12 speed options. Get yourself a couple. Keep one in your riding bag, keep one in your bike, keep one at home. Wherever you need to but definitely it will save you, if you’re biking at some point, if you keep one in your
controls in your bars. Next up is another absolute essential, is a pump of some description. Now the best option of
course would be to have a mini pump to keep with your
bike and your riding gear and to have a floor pump for home. Of course this is double expense. You can’t take the floor pump with you, so the best way to start is by having a compact pump, you can take with you. This one is excessively small but it’s a double action. That means it pumps on both the compression and the rebound. So basically you get in the
double inflation action. It works really well. I can get mountain bike
tires up to a high pressure quite comfortably without
too much exertion. Works great, it’s got
a little protective cap to keep mud from entering there, if I store it on the bike. And it’s good enough
to use at home as well. Of course in time, you
want to be upgraded into a floor sized pump because
they’re much easier, much faster to use. And the fact it just takes
all the hassle out of it. If you’re going to do that. I definitely recommend
checking out the tubeless compatible options. They have a charging
chamber built onto the pump. The reason for that is you can
inflate the charge in chamber and you can release all
of the air in a single hit to inflate your tubeless tires. So at some point you’re
probably going to want to upgrade to tubeless. However, there is another option. If you’ve already perhaps
if you’ve been given a floor standing pump
and it doesn’t have one of those chambers, you could invest in one of these. So this is essentially
just the canister bit, you pump the air into
here and using this lever you release it in a single hit. Just like the ones they built on the pumps but this is great if
you already have a pump. Or in my case, you can
use it with a mini pump. You can pump this out with a mini pump and you can use this to
dump the air straight into your tires. It also makes a good portable option if you’re going on a
bike all day for example. Or to keep in the back of your car if you’re out on the
trails, stuff like that. A decent mini pump is
going to get you going. And of course in time you’re
going to want to upgrade to more usable stuff, on a daily basis. Especially if you start sharpening
and changing your tires. A mini pump becomes hard
work when you’re doing that. But for initial inflation
and topping off on air, absolutely fine. Next up is something
to keep your tools in. A cheap tool box, something like this old Stanley one. Don’t actually know where
this one came from but it’s a pretty good offering. Nice and cheap. It’s got compartments
so you can keep cables and bolts and other bits
and pieces in there. And it’ll keep all of
these tools in one place. You’re not going to lose your stuff. That’s great for storage at home, perhaps in your shed or in your garage. It also it means, if you’re
going on a bike holiday with your mates or something like that, you can take the whole
selection with you in the car. Again all of this stuff
would fit inside one of those and of course you still got
the bare minimum options you can take with you on your ride. The whole point is, it’s a modular system so you can use this in different ways. And you can adapt to it. There’s loads of different
options for tool boxes out there. You might feel like you don’t
want something like this. You might feel like you
want to just keep it inside a riding bag, that’s absolutely fine. Now this is where things get
a little bit more specialist, although I would say this
is really valuable to get. It’s a cassette tool and a chain whip. A reason for that is
they’re two of the most consumable parts of the
bike, the chain and cassette. They’re going to wear out constantly. If you’re having to pay
labor charges at bike shops, all the time to change these. Really it’s a very simple
job that you can do at home. By all means, support your
bike shop with servicing and other stuff but this
really is a five minute job to change a chain and cassette. You get one of these tools, you might question the
cost of them to start with. But you’ll never need another one, they’re the same basically. So get yourself one of those. And to use the tool obviously
you’re going to need a chain whip to hold
the cassette in place. The tool under is a lock ring on there. Now you got a couple of options here. If you already have a vise at home, perhaps your parents or your dad has a vise in the garage. You can actually just put that in the vise and sit the wheel on it. So you won’t need any additional tools. Failing that, you’ll need
an adjustable spanner. Something big like this is
something ideal to do the job. Or perhaps you’ve already got something lying around the place like a set of locking pliers or something like that. Actually that’s all you need. But they are the two key
parts to changing your chain and cassette, along with
a all important chain tool that’s on your trailer tool already. Next up is a valve core remover. Now the valve core is the part the runs on the inside of the valve. Now when you’re pumping up your tires, on occasion you’re going to damage that. In some sort that’s going
to happen inside the trail. If that gets damaged you’re
going to lose your air pressure. So you do need to be able
to change that component. A new component itself,
that is the valve core and it goes on the inside of the valve. This is side by side for
you so you can see that. Now if you have hold any tubes, it’s worth going through
these and removing the valve cores before you recycle the tubes. It does mean, they will come in handy and you keep those in
your tool box as a spare. To remove those you will
need a valve core remover. It’s quite a simple tool, it just allows you to unscrew the valve and doubly makes it really
easy to top tire seal it up. If you’re going to convert to tubeless. A little tip for you, is when you upgrade to tubeless valves, when you get a tubeless kit. Look for some tubeless
valves that actually have a valve core remover
built into the valve cap. Super useful and given the fact that it’s quite an occasional tool. It’s the easiest and cheapest option because you’re buying two for one there. However, as we always
say here at Champion Tec, the correct tool is the
best one for the job. And as you start working
on your bike more, it’s going to make life easier. But choose a valve that has
got a valve core remover built into it to start with. And finally, the last tool, and in fact it’s a really,
really important tool, is a set of cable cutters. Now I was actually resistant
to buying a set of these myself when I first started out. What I used to do is
change the cable myself. You go and buy a cable for a
few quid from the bike shop, change it, set the gears
up and I’d coil it up basically there. Because I couldn’t cut it at
home with a pair of pliers because you end up sort of
splintering the cable there. Then you’d have to go to the body shop and buy them like, make them a cup of tea or buy them some biscuits or something to get them to cut it. It worked out, it’s much
easier just to get myself a set of cable cutters. And I recommend you do the same. Don’t buy cheap ones. Get yourself some decent cutters and never use them for
another job except for cutting the inner and outer cables on the bike. Keep them as they are and they’ll last you a couple of decades at least. I’ve still got my original set at home and they’re only just starting
to go a little bit bad now. After probably, 20, 25 years of use. That’s pretty good value
for money if you ask me. And it does mean, you’re able to perform a real good routine maintenance job without outside help. You will need to change your cables on your bike fairly frequently. More so if you live in a wet climate like we do here in Europe. So there we go, that is the bare bones of a modular toolkit. Something that’s going to help
you work on your bike at home. Keep you going when
you’re out on the trail and just deal with day to day stuff. Of course as your skills
progress as a bike mechanic, you’re naturally going to
want to get better tools and more specific tools for the job. But that’s where it starts. You don’t need a lot of tools. And if you absolutely needed to and the worst case,
you can do it with just a single trail multi-tool. Although, like I said at
the beginning of the video they do make it a big
harder to work on specific parts of the bike. If you can, just try and
work on something like this. Working on your bike is fun
and it keeps it in good order and saves you money at the end of the day. It’s not a bad thing. But thanks for hanging around. Don’t forget to subscribe
and all the usual stuff. See you soon, ta-ta.

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About the Author: John Markowski


  1. Working on your own bike saves you money while you're spending them on expensive parts. Which brings me to the conclusion that the biggest money saver is not doing mountain biking at all. 😅
    It's not about the money, I guess. 😄

  2. Hey guys here's a #askgmbntech for you. When I am pumping up my presta valve in the past I have been pumping and the head of the pump jerks around a bit causing the tip of the valve bending then breaking off leading to it leaking air.
    Any ideas how I can stop this from happening thanks doddy.

  3. These are good, but I'd say the floor pump should be the first thing to buy. Checking your tyres is something you check nearly every ride. Ones with a pressure gauge can be as little as $20 AUD, so bugger all really.

    Also I think I've had my Park Tool chain whip for 20 years

  4. Awesome video – I remember asking for something like this not so long ago – looking forward for the next one in the series, for people that are sitting somewhere between home-mechanic and on-the-road – maybe some tips on how to save weight or how to organise the gear 😊

  5. I would add masterlink pliers, caue those 12-speed links and almost imposible to open without a propper tool. Great vid as always Doddy 😀

  6. Does anyone make a little box/bag to fasten down where a water bottle mount is- I don’t use a water bottle!! Another simple reminder— Having tools with you and the knowledge to use them, can come in handy when someone ELSE has a problem on the trail to which you can be a DECENT person and help them out 😀

  7. What about bb tool that can also be used on center lock discs? Also can grease and oil be considered as tools? What about them?

  8. Sram brakes need a T10 for bleed screws and pad retaining pin, so essential if have sram brakes….their torx key u held up has T10 and T25

  9. U usually get a valve core remover of some sort with all tubeless valves, sometimes a little plastic one with a square hole (expect many chuck this away as not sure what its for)

  10. Only time I use my chain tool is when my buddies break their 12 speed weak narrow chains. I use 9 speed SRAM Cross Step, virtually impossible to break. That's why I recommend against 11 and 12 speed systems.

  11. #AskGMBNTech – I'd like to see a proper video on changing cassettes, using cassette shims (I never knew these even existed until I removed my cassette to replace it), and aligning the cassette & crank sprocket for proper chainline. My question for you: I've just removed a SRAM 11-speed cassette (11-42) to replace it with a Box Components Box 2 11-speed 11-46 cassette. With the new cassette mounted I can't get the rear derailleur over far enough to the largest cog. The limit screw is completely backed off but the derailleur has reached it's physical limit of movement. It appears to me that the cassette needs shimmed over closer to the chainstay (further away from the hub). I'm afraid by adding shims the cassette locking won't bite on enough threads. What is the proper way to handle this?

  12. If your going to buy tools I would recommend not buying anything made by Park Tools, that is not a bicycle specific tool. There's already tons of high quality tools out there that are inexpensive and manufactured by BIG TOOL COMPANIES . There are however some tools that are made by Park Tools that are bicycle specific that you will absolutely need to acquire. Your really going to need a quality set of metric hex t handles in size 2-10, buy the BONDHUS 13389 they are made in the USA and have a lifetime warranty.

  13. As one of my most used tools. I highly recommend as an upgrade a bike specific mini ratchet with bits. I find myself using this tool almost every single time I work on my bike whether it's at home or on the trail. It would be a very good upgrade from the basics. I like the Pro Bike Tool mini ratchet myself but the Topeak would be just as good.

  14. Great tips video Doddy.
    Fortunately for me being a HGV Trailer fitter (mechanic) I have most of the required tools although I am going to get some specific dedicated bike tools.
    Cool stuff #GMBNTech 👊 🤘

  15. Haha, I used my cable cutters to cut an electric wire one time… turns out it was still hot and 240V. Needless to say it was a massive spark that ended up melting the cutters…

  16. Tools for home are sometimes different to what you want for MTB work… if you are working on your kid's bikes, you will have cones, schrader valves, and conventional bolts… so a socket set or ratcheting spanners are useful… same if your partner has a simple conventional bike… less high tech fasteners, and more old school nuts and bolts… I know that I have some tools that are need to keep 25 year old bikes running that I would not find a use for on a modern MTB…
    One thing that I think is important, because any other tool would be a disaster, is a spoke spanner…

  17. Talking about trail tool.. I have one that has allenkeys from 1mm all the way to 8mm… Has chain breaker.. flat head… Torx T25.. screwdriver and spoke key.. cost me £5 and works amazing…

  18. My wheel axles have cones?? And they can be adjusted???
    Who knew?
    An old, dull screwdriver and a ball-peen hammer have been good enough so far!!

  19. I stay away from bike branded tools if possible. They cost more than getting an equivalent tool. I get bondhus hex/torx. For screwdrivers, pliers, etc these are common and need not be park.

  20. I only need my Bosch mini ratchet kit and a can of puncture-stop. The mini ratchet kit from Bosch is smaller and cheaper then most folding multitools:)

  21. Very good idea putting this vlog together. I live in a flat and store my bike in the spare room and have a lack of space so good to know the minimum tools needed. I have tin snips for cutting thin sheets of metal, would that work ok on cable cutting?

  22. For pumps, I would recommend one of the 'mini floor' pumps. Much smaller than a proper track pump, but they usually have a little fold-out foot and a better handle which makes it easier to get up to pressure, and they'll fit in a riding pack. Something like the Lezyne Micro Floor Drive.

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