Mountain bikes are relatively simple things but there are a few essential accessories and tools that can help to keep your pride and joy in tip-top condition so it won’t let you down when you’re enjoying a ride in the hills.
You don’t need many or even very complex tools to conduct basic maintenance on a mountain bike, but there are a few tools worth investing in, both for carrying with you on a ride and at home.
In this article, we’ll outline:
- Some of the accessories that will keep your bike rolling
- What tools you might want for basic repairs
- How to keep your bike sparkly clean.
Essential bike tools for during your ride
You’ll want a few basic tools to carry out the most common faults (mechanicals). You can carry these tools in a backpack or on the bike with a plethora of options for stashing tools in and on the bike frame.
Punctures are the most common issues so invest in:
- Tubeless repair kit
- Spare inner tube
- Tyre levers
- Minipump/C02 inflator
When buying a spare tube make sure it’s the right size for your bike! One good trick is to buy a 27.5” inner tube as it will be the easiest to fit any of the three current wheel sizes, from 26” to 29” but we’d recommend getting the right size.
You can use CO2 canisters if you’re in a hurry, but you can’t beat a solid minipump because it’ll never run out of gas or let you down in an emergency. If your bike has tubeless tyres invest in a tubeless repair kit; rubbery worms that you push into the hole to stop air and sealant leaking. We would still recommend carrying a spare tube just in case.
A multi-tool is another essential tool and doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Choose one with a combination of Allen, Torx and screwdriver bits that matches all the bolts on your bike, but most mountain bikes do use a set range of bolts.
You can use the multitool at home for setting your bike up, from adjusting handlebar angle and height, fitting pedals to tuning the rear derailleur. On the trail, they can quickly fix a loose bolt or adjust your gears.
Chain breakages are thankfully incredibly rare but can happen, so look at a chain tool, either integrated into your main multitool or separate, and a spare chain link specific to the chain on your bike. Some chains are fixed with a spare link or a pin, make sure you get the right one for your chain.
Other accessories we would advise carrying are:
- a spare derailleur hanger
- some zip ties and/or gaffa tape (a few layers wrapped around your mini pump)
- a spare spoke
- a patch kit
We’d also recommend a small first aid kit in case you have a tumble because it’s not always the bike that lets you down. Other accessories you might want to consider would be a pair of small LED lights, just in case you have to ride in the dark.
The same tools you use on your bike can work at home but you might want to invest in some more heavy duty tools for home, these will make prepping your bike for a ride much easier.
First is a floor or track pump with a pressure gauge. Tyre pressure is very important to get the most out of your mountain bike and setting it up for different trail conditions. A floor pump makes inflation much easier and a pressure gauge lets you accurately set the desired tyre softness.
The tyre pressure chart below can help you understand the best tyre pressure for your ideas.
If you’re using tubeless tyres having a spare bottle of tubeless sealant for when the sealant dries out or needs topping up from punctures is a good idea too.
If you have a hardtail or full suspension bike you’ll definitely want to invest in a shock pump, if one wasn’t supplied with your bike. Getting the suspension pressures is critical to getting the best performance out of your bike and we recommend to follow the manufacturer settings to start out with. Remember to wear your riding kit when you are setting sag as well.
Bike cleaning and lubrication
Mountain bikes can be ridden through all weathers and conditions, and they are incredibly tough and durable. But it pays to spend some time cleaning and ensuring it’s in good mechanical order as it’ll last longer and be less likely to let you down in the middle of the countryside.
Cleaning your bike after a ride is a necessity if you’re riding in mud and dirt, and you can buy dedicated cleaning products that you simply spray over the bike, agitate with a brush or sponge, and then wash off. Simple!
For cleaning the chain and drivetrain look to specific degreasers designed to lift the most stubborn oil and grime from all the moving parts, and once clean use a high-quality chain lube to prevent your bike creaking and maximise the efficiency and longevity of your bike.
There are a multitude of lubes to suit different conditions and weather; a wet lube for wet winter riding to a dry wax lube for dusty summer riding conditions.
These are the most basic accessories and tools you need to ensure you spend more time on the trail riding your mountain bike and less time in the shed tinkering and fixing. As well as investing in these accessories and tools it’s also worth investing in knowing how to use them so make sure you watch or read some tutorials before you embark on your mountain bike ride.
Check out our Best Bike Tool Buying Guide here: