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If you’re reading this, chances are you want to start doing some of your own mountain bike maintenance, which is awesome! I think more riders (including me) should do more of their own bike repairs and tune-ups.
I know it can be a little intimidating to start wrenching on your most prized possession, but with a little help from YouTube, I’m confident that you can do your own basic bike repairs.
You will need to build up a home mountain bike tool kit, though, so in this post, I go over what you’ll need to get started and a few more advanced tools if you want to really get your hands greasy.
Home Bike Shop Essentials
A Bike Stand
Great for: Anyone wanting to do bike repairs or maintenance at home
Before I get into different mountain bike tool kits and individual mountain bike tools, the first item you should invest in is a bike stand.
A bike stand isn’t necessary per se, but it will make your home bike repair life a whole lot easier. If you are really planning on diving into tune-ups and repairs, I highly recommend investing in a good bike stand.
I have the Foundation Bike Repair Stand and it works great. It has a quick-release head so that you can snap your bike in and out of the clamp easily. It also comes with a tool tray to keep all your tools close by and organized as you tinker with your bike.
There are lots of great options for bike stands, though, so click the button below to find the best one for you.
Mountain Bike Tool Kits
If you’re just starting out with doing your own maintenance and repairs, investing in a mountain bike tool kit is a good way to go.
These kits typically have everything you need to do basic maintenance and repairs. From there, you can add on more tools as you need them.
Park Tool AK-5 Advanced Tool Kit
Great for: Riders who know they want to dive headlong into doing their own mountain bike repairs and maintenance
The Park Tool AK-5 Advanced Tool Kit is a comprehensive mountain bike tool kit that can be delivered straight to your door. This kit includes everything you need for basic and more advanced mountain bike maintenance and repairs from replacing chains to swapping out cassettes.
It also includes the Park Tools Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair, which has detailed step-by-step instructions for almost any fix or service.
Park Tool AK-4 Starter Kit
Great for: Riders just starting out with doing their own bike maintenance and repairs
If you’re not sure how far you want to dive into mountain bike repairs and maintenance, the Park Tool AK-4 kit is a basic kit that still allows you to do simple fixes and services like cleaning chains and doing basic adjustments.
Of course, you can always add to this tool kit if and when you decide that you want to do more maintenance and repairs at home.
A la Carte Mountain Bike Tools
Whether you’re looking to add to one of the mountain bike tool kits above or you’re just looking for the essential tools for basic maintenance and repair, here are the a la carte tools I recommend:
Long-handled Hex (aka allen) Wrench Set
Needed for: Tightening bolts and pivots, adjusting shifting, adjusting seat height and brake position, removing thru-axels, swapping pedals, etc…
A compact multi-tool is great to throw into your pack for the trail, but if you want to work on your bike at home, having a set of long-handled hex wrenches in your mountain bike tool kit is essential.
90% of what you do on your bike will require a hex wrench. The long handle allows you to get a little more torque when you’re wrenching on pivots or pedals and the ball end allows you to insert the tool at odd angles.
The Lezyne Hex Kit is a great, affordable option that can be thrown into a portable tool kit or mounted to the wall.
3-Way Torx Wrench
$12 – $15
Needed for: Tightening or adjusting bolts that require a Torx wrench like some brakes
You could invest in a full Torx wrench set like the Hex wrench set above, but honestly, you don’t really need to. Most mountain bikes only have one or two sizes of Torx screws which are usually found on brake rotors, brakes, derailleurs, handlebar clamps, etc…
A 3-way Torx wrench like the Park Tool TWS-3 is a good and affordable choice for your mountain bike tool kit.
Torque Wrench Set
Needed for: Tightening components to specific newton meter specification
Most mountain bikes have components that require tightening to a certain newton meter specification. If you overtighten or undertighten these components, you risk cracking or breaking them (especially carbon) or having something come loose while you ride, which would be no bueno.
A torque wrench like the Park Tool adjustable torque wrench allows you to tighten bolts and clamps to the exact nanometer spec recommended by the manufacturer. It’s expensive, but essential for any mountain bike tool kit. (Make sure you get the adjustable one).
Floor pump with an air tank reservoir
Needed for: Pumping up tires, seating new tubeless tires
If you run tubeless tires (which you should if you are a mountain biker), then you’ll need a floor pump with an air tank reservoir for when it’s time to swap tires. Tubeless tires are exactly what they sound like – tires without inner tubes. Instead, they have 1-2 ounces of tire sealant inside them that will seal up small holes and punctures.
Since switching to tubeless tires a few years ago, the number of flats I’ve gotten has gone way down. But in order to install tubeless tires, you’ll need a pump that can hold air in a separate tank. If you try to pump up new tires without blasting them with a rush of air, you won’t get anywhere and the tires won’t seat. The Lezyne Pressure Over Drive is my top choice for floor pumps.
Needed for: Checking and adjusting air pressure in front fork and rear shock
A shock pump is definitely a mountain bike tool kit necessity. Some new bikes come with a shock pump in the box and others don’t. Why do you need one? Because setting your suspension to the correct PSI is one of the most important things you can do to make your bike feel smooth and nimble.
There are tons of YouTube videos out there that will help you set up your fork and rear shock according to your weight. It’s pretty simple once you get an idea of what to do and you’ll need a shock pump to do it. The Fox Digital Shock Pump is my choice (yes, it will work on RockShox) or if you’re looking for something a bit more budget-friendly the Fox Analog Shop Pump is also great.
Mountain Bike Tool Kit Fluids & Lubricants
In addition to tools, you’ll also need to stock up on several different fluids and lubricants in order to perform your services and repairs.
Needed for: Topping up tubeless tires, swapping tires
If you’re going to be swapping your own tubeless tires, you’ll need some tire sealant and an injector. There are tons of YouTube videos like this one that will walk you through how to install a new tubeless tire.
There are two main tire sealant brands out there: Orange Seal and Stan’s NoTube. I think Orange Seal is the superior sealant and can seal holes and punctures more quickly and efficiently than Stan’s. However, it does tend to plug up valve cores more quickly.
Stan’s NoTubes, on the other hand, may not be as powerful, but you won’t be fighting plugged valve cores as often, which honestly are super cheap and easy to replace anyway. If you get Stan’s NoTube be sure to get the injector as well.
Needed for: Lubricating chain
There are so many different options for chain lube out there and there’s really no ‘best’ product. It all depends on where you ride (for example, wet vs dry conditions), how much you ride, and personal preference.
That being said, I use Rock n’ Roll lube, which is one of the most popular chain lubes out there. The Rock n’ Roll Gold is great for dusty, dry conditions but needs to be applied frequently. The Blue Extreme is good in all conditions and lasts a long time, but it does leave residue on your drive train.
Needed for: Protecting stanchions and seat post
My boyfriend swears by this stuff. It helps protect stanchions and seat posts from dust and grime build-up and extends the life of fork and shock seals.
He sprays Maxima SC1 on our stanchions and seat posts before almost every ride and then lightly wipes it off with a rag. A mountain bike tool kit necessity? No… but it can help extend the life of your shock seals and make your fork and seat post feel super smooth.
Needed for: Cleaning pivots, swapping pedals, greasing bearings
You’ll need grease for cleaning pivots, bearings, and other components. Pretty much every moving part on your bike should be cleaned regularly and lubed with fresh grease.
You can’t go wrong with Park Tool PPL-2 Polylube 1000 Grease. (Note: servicing forks and shocks require a different kind of grease).
Needed for: Keeping bolts from coming loose
Loctite is used to keep bolts and screws from coming loose with every jolt and rattle. It shouldn’t be used on every bolt on your bike, but it’s good for certain bolts/screws like suspension and pivot hardware and brake rotors – things that don’t need adjusting or removing frequently.
Bikes will come with Loctite already applied in these areas, but if you want to clean or swap components it’s good to have a bottle of medium-strength Loctite in your bike tool kit.
Needed for: Good for cleaning rotors and suspension parts and wiping up oil/fluid after brake bleeds
Isopropyl alcohol is great for cleaning brake rotors and suspension parts and wiping up oil after brake bleeds or fork services. It’s basically rubbing alcohol but look for one that is at least 90% isopropyl alcohol.
This is not for actually cleaning your bike, think of it more as a way to remove unwanted oils from components to keep them clean and lasting a long time.
Needed for: Keeping your bike nice and clean. Washing your bike can help prolong the lifespan of components
If you want to give your bike a wash, the Muc-Off Nano Tech Bike Cleaner is a favorite. Washing your bike not only keeps it looking good, but it can also help prolong the lifespan of your components by keeping them rust and grime-free.
Simply spray it on your bike (everywhere!), let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it off with a rag or sponge.
Advanced Mountain Bike Tool Kit Add-ons
The tools and products above will allow you to do pretty any basic bike repair or maintenance at home. If you want to start getting into more advanced bike maintenance like brake bleeds, lower fork services, and replacing cassettes, then you’ll need some more advanced tools.
Keep in mind that a lot of bikes require their own special tools, so don’t make the mistake of thinking ‘one-size-fits-all’. Be sure to do some research on what tools/fluids your specific bike requires before making any purchases.
Brake Bleed Kit & fluid
Needed for: Bleeding your brakes
Doing your own brake bleeds can save time and money at the bike shop. Depending on how much you ride, what kind of riding you’re doing, and what kind of brakes you have, brakes will need to be bled at least once a year (and oftentimes more!). Home brake bleeds aren’t as scary as they sound, but I definitely recommend watching a YouTube video several times before attempting to do your own.
Also, note that brake bleed kits are specific to brake systems. Sram and Shimano use different brake fluids, so you do not want to confuse the two. The Park Tool Brake Bleed Kit includes the hardware you need for both Sram and Shimano bleeds, but brake fluids are not included.
Chain Whip & Cassette Lockring Tool
$9 – $33
Needed for: Replacing the cassette
Swapping out a cassette is a pretty easy process and there are lots of YouTube videos out there explaining how to use these tools to remove and replace your cassette.
Bottom Bracket Tool
If you’re really, really keen on doing ALL of your bike maintenance at home, you’ll need a bottom bracket tool to grease and/or replace your bottom bracket. The problem is that there are so many different bottom bracket sizes that you need to find the right bottom bracket tool (BBT) that will fit your bike.
A little bit of googling and research should land you in the right place or you can ask the mechanic at your friendly local bike shop.
Basic Bike Maintenance Classes
In addition to YouTube (which is honestly great for learning basic bike maintenance), there are a few other places you can hone your home bike mechanic skills.
- GMBN – These are my go-to guys on YouTube for anything home bike repair or maintenance. Their videos are detailed, professional, and cover pretty much any maintenance or repair topic you could ever need!
- Park Tool School – Park Tools has teamed up with local bike shops around the country to provide training and classes for local communities. Use the Park Tool School Locator to find events and programs near you.
- Mike’s Bikes – If you live in the Bay Area of California, Mike’s Bikes offers free Tuesday night tech clinics.
This is a pretty comprehensive list to build your own home mountain bike tool kit, but don’t feel like you need to buy it all in one go! If you’re just starting out with bike repair and maintenance all you really need is a good set of Hex wrenches. You can do 90% of your maintenance and repair with these. Once you get comfortable fiddling with your bike, slowly add in more tools and products.
Are you starting to build your own mountain bike tool kit? What questions do you still have or what tools did I leave out? Do you have any favorites? Drop a comment below!