Tools for Gravel rides and tools for MTB adventure

Interesting tech tip article reblog: check out their site if gravel riding is your thing

From a very early age, I equated bicycles with freedom. With the aid of my two-wheeled companion, I was free to explore the seemingly endless collection of trails and dirt roads that were so plentiful in my youth. At the same time, that freedom instilled in me the importance of self-sufficiency. I learned firsthand that something as simple as a flat tire often meant a verylong walk home. It didn’t take me long to figure out that carrying even the barest of necessities could eliminate those unplanned walks home.

As an adult, I’m surprised at how often I encounter stranded riders who are carrying no tools or spares. While they may have cell phones, their mechanical issues can usually be fixed in less time than it takes for them to be rescued by a friend or partner–if they had the necessary equipment. I’m not advocating that riders should be able to overhaul a cup-and-cone bottom bracket in the field, but carrying even a bare bones repair kit can mean the difference between riding and walking home.

After several years of fine tuning and experimentation, I’ve found that having two separate repair kits works best for me. I use a smaller kit for road and gravel riding, and have a second, larger setup for mountain and adventure-type riding. While each kit is a compromise of weight and size, I’ve never had to abandon a ride because I wasn’t carrying the necessary tools or spares. Having tools without knowing how to use them won’t do you much good, though. If you’re not sure how to fix a flat or adjust your bike’s brakes or derailleurs, see if your local bike shop offers maintenance classes or clinics.

Road / Gravel

Even though road and gravel makes up the majority of my riding, mechanical issues are few and far between. Problems are usually limited to the occasional puncture, or the need to make a minor adjustment. My road/gravel kit reflects those needs, and it gets tossed into whatever panniers or pack that I happen to be using at the time.

road_gravel_kit-min-624x477

  • Hold Fast canvas tool bag
  • 700×28-32 inner tube with Presta valve (brand varies)
  • Pedro’s tire levers
  • Blackburn Grid 13 multi-tool
  • Lezyne Pressure Drive pump
  • Bontrager tubeless tire sealant
  • Prestacycle mini ratchet with 8 mm and 10 mm sockets
  • Tubeless Presta valve and Presta adapter
  • CO2 cartridge and Lezyne Trigger Drive inflator

While the majority this kit’s contents are old favorites, the Blackburn multi-tool is a relatively new addition. Thanks to the Grid 13’s extensive set of features, it actually replaces several individual tools. The sturdy, all-in-one design is definitely more convenient, and reduces the likelihood of losing one of the smaller wrenches on the road or trail.

Thanks to tubeless tire technology, I experience very few punctures. Tubeless sealant tends to dry out quickly here in arid Colorado, so I do carry a small bottle of sealant in case a tire needs topping off. The inner tube is backup in the event of a slashed sidewall (or if a puncture is too large for sealant). Although not shown in the photo, I wrap my tubes in repurposed Tyvek shipping envelopes, which can be used as emergency tire boots.

MTB / Adventure

Looking at all this gear, you might get the impression that mountain biking or adventure riding is a lot harder on equipment than road or gravel riding. The truth is, most of what I carry in this kit is for fixing other people’s bikes on group rides (or helping stranded solo riders). Some folks might argue that being a rolling bike shop discourages other people from being self-reliant, but I don’t mind lending a helping hand when it’s needed.mtb_gravel_kit-min-624x452

  • CamelBak tool wrap (included with their Skyline 10L hydration pack)
  • 27.5×2.25 inner tube with Presta valve (brand varies)
  • Pedro’s tire levers
  • Topeak Mini 9 multi-tool
  • Lezyne Alloy Drive pump
  • Bontrager tubeless tire sealant
  • Tubeless valve and valve core tool
  • CO2 cartridge and Silca EOLO III inflator
  • Wippermann Connex chain tool and quick link

Most of the above items are what you’d find in a mountain biker’s or adventure rider’s hydration pack. The 27.5″ tube can be used in 26″ or 29″ wheels in a pinch, and the Presta valve is also compatible with Schraeder-drilled rims. Wippermann’s Connex chain tool may not be the smallest or lightest, but it’s one of the most reliable and it comes with a reusable quick link. Why carry a multi-tool and Fix It Sticks? The multi-tool is fine for most adjustments or repairs, but sometimes you need a little extra leverage for components such as single-bolt seatposts or crankarms.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve fine tuned these repair kits to reflect my particular needs and conditions. Think of these lists as suggestions or starting points, but don’t hesitate to add–or remove–items that will make your bike more reliable–and ultimately–more enjoyable.

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