In this article I’m going to try and give you my top 5 best tools for bicycle repairs.
Considering the fact my newest bike is already over a decade old and I prefer to restore bikes from the previous millennium this is going to be a distinctly personal list.
Overview of bicycle repair tools
I’ve used all tools listed here within the context a bicycle restoration project. Obviously some are used (far) more than others. But if they’ve been used, they made it on the list.
I decided to basically add every tool I could think of within a number of categories.
Specialty Tools for tools that are made for doing something on a bike. General Shop Tools for tools with a more allround purpose. Polishing Tools for everything having to do with polising. And Cleaning & Lubrication Tools for everything having to do with cleaning and lubrication obviously.
I was surprised at the amount of tools and products I use.
I have to admit that restoring a bike isn’t exactly the same as repairing. In my case restoring a bike always include repairing.
And I try to be true to the bike’s origin, looking up its specifications and trying to make it as periodic-correct as I possibly can. Restoring also has to do with the cosmetic aspect of bikes. Especially the polishing section is used in this regard.
Replacing a worn chain and cassette can be considered more standard bike repair tasks.
|Cable and Housing Cutter CN-10||Park Tool||Brakes||€43.99|
|Freewheel Remover – Suntour® Two-Notch FR-2||Park Tool||Cassette||€10.15|
|Cassette Lockring Tool with 5mm Guide Pin FR-5.2G||Park Tool||Cassette||€9.44|
|Sprocket Remover / Chain Whip SR-2.3||Park Tool||Cassette||€31.94|
|Chain Checker CC-3.2||Park Tool||Chain||€9.49|
|Chain Tool CT-3.2||Park Tool||Chain||€28.99|
|Bottom Bracket Tool – 6-Notch BBT-4||Park Tool||Crank & Bottom Bracket||€12.19|
|Bottom Bracket Tool – 9-Notch BBT-9 44mm OD||Park Tool||Crank & Bottom Bracket||€27.99|
|Bottom Bracket Tool – 20-Spline BBT-32||Park Tool||Crank & Bottom Bracket||€14.99|
|Crank Bolt Wrench CCW-5||Park Tool||Crank & Bottom Bracket||€13.75|
|Chainring Nut Wrench CNW-2||Park Tool||Crank & Bottom Bracket||€5.99|
|Compact Universal Crank Puller CWP-7||Park Tool||Crank & Bottom Bracket||€15.99|
|Crank and Bottom Bracket Wrench HCW-4||Park Tool||Crank & Bottom Bracket||€17.49|
|Bottom Bracket Lockring Wrench HCW-5||Park Tool||Crank & Bottom Bracket||€17.28|
|Adjustable Cup Wrench HCW-11||Park Tool||Crank & Bottom Bracket||€16.77|
|15MM Shop Cone Wrench SCW-15||Park Tool||Hub & Axle||€8.03|
|15mm Pedal Wrench 831||Padre||Pedal|
General Shop Tools
|12-Inch Adjustable Wrench PAW-12||Park Tool||€26.49|
|GorillaGrip 7-piece Fold-up Hex Tool, 2-8mm||Bondhus|
|Hex Tool Set with Clip 1.5mm – 10mm||Gamma||€11.59|
|Screwdriver set 5-piece||Ironside|
|Socket wrench set||Lux Tools|
|Flint paper 60, 120, 150, 220, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 2000||HBM, 3M|
|Polishing Wheel 150mm||HBM||€48.99|
|Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound||Meguiar’s||€16.50|
|Meguiar’s Deep Crystal Carnauba Wax||Meguiar’s||€15.50|
|Meguiar’s Foam Applicator Pad||Meguiar’s||€7.50|
Cleaning & Lubrication Tools
|WD-40 Multispray 450ml Smart Straw||WD-40||€6.99|
|WD-40 bike cleaner spray 500 ml||WD-40||€6.99|
|Bike Dry Chain Lube 100 ml||WD-40||€7.99|
|Lubricating Oil for Air Tools||Kroon Oil||€2.99|
|Red Chain Grease||Forte||€24.99|
|Ball Bearing Grease||Eurol||€2.90|
|Terpentine / White Spirit||€1.50|
|Bright & Fresh BTL-21 Chain Cleaner||BBB||€24.95|
|Electrical Insulation Tape|
5. Compact Universal Crank Puller CWP-7
At number 5 sits the crank puller. When I started to get serious about doing my own bike repairs, the first thing you want to do is to overhaul drivetrain. That means you’ll need a tool to remove the crank.
The reason why I chose this above the Chain Tool CT-3.2 and Chain Whip SR-2.3, tools necessary to remove the chain and sprocket, is that I simply use the crank puller much more often. That’s because I also remove the crank to be able to clean it more thoroughly.
4. Bondhus GorillaGrip 7-piece Fold-up Hex Tool, 2-8mm
At number 4 sits the tool I owned long before I actively started restoring bicycles and is the tool I’ve probably used the most by far.
Basically every bolt on your bike needs to be operated with a hex tool. And not having to think about getting the right one but having them all in one tight package is a blessing. Especially for the price of 10 euros.
3. Bright & Fresh BTL-21 Chain Cleaner
At number three sits the BBB chain cleaner.
The difference between having to clean your chain with or without a chain cleaner is tremendous. It’s much easier, faster and better enabling you to do a quick 5-minute clean before riding.
2. Turpentine / White Spirit
Especially with restoration project, you need to step up your game when it comes to cleaning. And turpentine or white spirit will give you the edge when it comes to removing decades old grease.
Used on a piece of cloth, in a chain cleaner or the infamous salad bowl, it’s my tried-and-true recipe of cleaning each and every bicycle part you can think of.
1. Polishing Wheel 150mm
For my number one pick I’ve chosen a tool which falls more into the “restoration” category than the “repair” category. But that can be said for this entire top three.
More than any other tool I own, the Polishing Wheel breathes new life into tired old bicycle parts. You don’t use it to get a bike back into working condition but to restore its parts to their former glory, enabling you to achieve that “time-capsule” feel of old bikes.
Concluding remarks for best tools for bicycle repairs
So that’s my list for the best tools for bicycle repairs. I admit this list is more about restoring than repairing, but that’s to be expected from a website called restoration.bike. But I said up front this list would be very personal.
In all honesty, what projects you take on might differ markedly from my penchant for 90s bicycles and may require different tools. My suggestion would be to expand your toolset with each new project just like I did. Then you’re sure you’ll buy what you need.
If you like this article please share it. If you have any questions or suggestions for new articles, let me know in the Facebook Group. Cheers.
Q: I started my first project a couple of weeks ago. It’s a Koga Flyer from 1984. Because I didn’t know what I would find, I bought a repair kit from Decathlon. It’s nice for the amount of money. But what you say is correct; not everything you need is present, and some tools you already have. If you have any tips for truing a rear wheel I would be very grateful. Now I just check it with the naked eye, but the result is less than desirable.
A: Especially when you restore bikes from the 80’s and older chances are you’ll need tools you won’t find in any kit from today. When I started buying tools for bicycle repair I chose Park Tool as my go-to choice and only bought their stuff as time passed on. Having success truing a wheel without a truing stand is moderate at best. And spoke tension is just as important. Too much tension and you can damage either the rim or hub and with it your entire wheel. If you don’t have a truing stand you also don’t have a spoke tension meter. Until now it’s the only repair I always let my LBS handle. It kost me about €10 for a set of wheels. A Park Tool truing stand is €400. That’s almost my entire bicycle repair toolkit combined.