The Best Bike Tool Kits for Making Repairs on the Fly
You’re miles away from home on a bike ride and you get a flat, break a chain, or need to make an adjustment. All not good, but even worse without a bike tool kit on hand. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or a newbie, out for the day or just an hour, a bike tool kit should go with you on every ride. If something goes awry, your ride is over unless you’ve got the right tools to make a repair.
Best Bike Tool Kits
The Expert: I’ve been a competitive Ironman triathlete, road cyclist, and time trialist for more than a decade, so I’m familiar with flat tires, on-the-fly adjustments, and quick fixes. But I’m also all about staying as light as possible, so I carry only what I need. Typically, my DIY kit includes an extra tube, two CO2 cartridges and an inflator, a couple of tire levers, and twenty bucks for food. But depending on the type of bike you’re riding, how long you plan to be out, and how far you’re planning to go, you may want a more substantial kit with more specialty tools. To make sure my recommendations cover a wide range of scenarios, I’ve included different kits for different needs and budgets.
What to Consider When Buying a Bike Tool Kit
While some folks might prefer to buy a seat bag and gradually build their kit over time with the tools they want, others might find it easier—and more affordable—to make a one-time purchase of an off-the-shelf kit. If you fall into the latter group, rest assured there are repair kits for all levels of cyclists, in a range of styles, and to help you accomplish a variety of tasks.
Most basic tool kits will include a multitool with, at minimum, the most common hex wrench sizes (4, 5, and 6mm), a flat-head screwdriver, and maybe a T25 Torx bit (for properly tightening down bolts). Some also come with CO2 cartridges and an inflator head (make sure you choose one that fits your tube style) or a mini pump, two tire levers, and a patch kit. You’re usually on your own with spare tubes, as no one stock kit can accommodate every tube style and size out there.
Make sure your kit is compatible with the type of riding you do. The Topeak Gravel Gear Bag on our list, for example, includes tubeless-tire repair plugs and the Tubi 11 minitool, which is equipped for tubeless-tire repairs. If you want a more substantial kit to keep in your car at the trailhead (or if an extra 2.3 pounds in your pack doesn’t bother you), go with the Fix Manufacturing MTB Field Kit, which includes a mini pump with pressure gauge, a chain breaker, a full-size pedal wrench, degreaser, and more. If you choose to carry only CO2, make sure you know how to use it (practice first); you really get only one shot to do it right. It certainly doesn’t hurt, then, to carry a mini pump as backup—some are designed to attach to your frame, and some are small enough to fit into a jersey pocket or even a seat bag.
Most kits come with a seat bag or pouch to keep all your tools in one place. Some are roomy enough to accommodate additions, such as a spare tube, extra CO2 cartridges, or even a mini pump (just remember that the more you stuff into it, the heavier it will get). Most kits are designed to attach under your saddle or somewhere on your frame. If you really want your kit out of sight, out of mind, consider the Wolf Tooth Components EnCase, which fits discreetly inside the ends of your handlebar. And if somewhere down the road you decide to upgrade your tool kit storage, there are tons of well-designed bike bags to choose from.
How We Chose These Bike Tool Kits
Based on my own experience using bike tool kits, researching bike tool kits online, scouring customer reviews and ratings, and factoring in price and value—in addition to research and input from the Bicycling gear editors—these are my recommendations for the best bike tool kits for any kind of bike or adventure.
Staff, Courtesy of Topeak