The Best Bike Tool Kits Give You a Quick Fix
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Cycling, as far as we’re concerned, is the best way to get anywhere. Commuting, shopping, meeting up for dinner, long rides on weekends with friends, months-long trips across multiple countries – getting around is more fun pedaling on two wheels. Of course, there is a downside: The more you ride, the more likely you are to suffer from the occasional flat tire, snapped cable, or broken chain.
Whether you’re miles from home or just simply trying to get to work on time, a flat tire or other mechanical issue can throw a wrench into your plans. As a person who literally rides their bike everywhere, I never leave home without a bike tool kit, no matter where I’m heading.
Unless something catastrophic happens (like your wheel frame splintering or your frame cracking), you can make most minor mechanical repairs on the road with the right bike tools. Carrying one of the best bike tool kits and a little elbow grease, means you’ll be back on your way in no time, rather than calling a cab.
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The Expert: I'm a New York-based journalist who writes about cycling and outdoor gear for HuffPost, Adventure Cycling Magazine, BBC Travel, Vulture, Dirt Rag Magazine, and many others. I'm an all-weather bike commuter, member of CRCA, the New York Cycling Club, and Transportation Alternatives, as well as a gravel and road rider who, once long ago, actually raced. These days I'm anavid bike-packer. I've trekked across a good part of the world, from Beijing to Istanbul, through eastern and western Europe.
Some folks might prefer to buy a saddle bag and gradually build a repair kit over time with the tools they want, but it's easier — and more affordable — to buy an off-the-shelf kit (especially if you’re starting from scratch.) If that sounds like your speed, you can rest assured that there are repair kits for every kind of cyclist, with a range of styles to help you fix every kind of problem.
A properly stocked bike kit should, at the very least, give you all the tools you need to fix a flat tire. More specifically, it should have bike levers, a patch kit, and one of two tools to inflate a tire – either CO2 cartridges and an inflator head or a mini pump.
To complete your kit, you will need to purchase inner tubes specific to your bike to keep with your kit, as no one stock kit can accommodate every style and size out there. If you have wheels with deep rims, you may also need a longer valve to properly fill the tube with air. If you’re unsure about which tubes to buy, ask someone at your local bike shop.
Beyond fixing flats, many kits will also throw in a multi-tool with the most common hex wrench sizes (4, 5, and 6mm), a flat-head screwdriver, and possibly a T25 Torx bit (for properly tightening down bolts). The multi-tool will allow you to make minor adjustments to your bike like changing the seat height and loosening clipless pedals.
One last thing to keep in mind: Though many bikes have quick-release skewers/axles, some bikes still feature thru axles, which require the proper hex wrench or wheel key to remove your wheel and fix a flat.
Every rider has their own preference on the best tool for inflating their tires – CO2 or a pump.
A CO2 cartridge inflates your tire fast, and using one takes a lot less work. You screw a cartridge into a CO2 holder, then insert the tube stem into the cartridge holder the same way you would with a pump, and slowly release the CO2 into the tire. That said, your CO2 is a limited resource: Each cartridge has enough gas to fill one tire, so there's less room for error. Practice makes perfect, so I recommend using one at home before bringing them out on the road.
I’d always recommend carrying a mini pump, whether you bring CO2 along or not. Even if you prefer CO2, it's a useful 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. It takes some muscle to pump up a tube to 80 – 100 psi with a small hand pump, but it always works.
Make sure you pick a repair kit that can help you fix your specific bike. First and foremost, that means choosing one that can fix tubeless tires if you have them. Some, but not all, kits come with the gear you need to fix tubeless tires. The Topeak Gravel Gear Bag on our list, for example, includes tubeless-tire repair plugs and the Tubi 11 mini-tool, which is equipped for tubeless-tire repairs.
Most bike tool kits are designed to attach under your saddle or somewhere on your frame. Saddle bags may come with a bolt-on mechanism that you’ll need to secure the bag to your seat rails and/or seat post. If you have two water bottle holders on your bike, there are also kits that fit into a water bottle holder.
If you really want to keep your kit out of sight, there are options like the Wolf Tooth Components EnCase that fit discreetly inside the ends of your handlebar.
If, somewhere down the road, you decide to upgrade to a larger, roomier tool kit with room for extra supplies and more tools to fix bigger problems like a snapped shifter or brake cable, a broken chain, or a bent derailleur, there are lots of well-designed bike bags to choose from.
One of our experts owned a car for over twenty years. Cycling is her primary mode of transportation (only an active snowstorm sends her to the subway). As well as commuting and just regular getting around town, she participates in long group road or gravel rides weekly and has ridden her bike through many countries (including a five-month long trip across Central Asia). She's experienced almost every manner of bike mechanical there is – from super common like the inevitable, occasional flat to downright weird like a wheel rim crumpling mid-ride. All of this is to say that we have spent a lot of time using bike tool kits and know firsthand what makes a good one.
We’ve also researched bike tool kits online, scoured customer reviews and ratings, and factored in price and value while also obtaining input from the Bicycling gear editors. After all that, we’ve selected the best bike tool kits for any kind of rider, on any bike, on any adventure.
This lightweight, all-around kit attaches underneath the saddle and stores what you need to fix a flat while leaving a little extra space for other necessities like keys or cash. The included multitool has seven hex wrenches, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, and a T25 Torx bit for minor repairs and adjustments.
And for all your flat-fixing needs: a mini pump with frame attachment, a patch kit, tire levers, and—bonus!—a coupon for one free standard Bontrager presta or Schrader inner tube. Not a bad deal for around $50.
This relatively affordable bike repair tool kit frame bag from Wotow includes a robust 16-piece multi-tool with a spoke wrench, a mini pump, patch kit, and tire levers. The triangle-shaped bag attaches to your frame under the front of your seat via velcro straps.
There's an inside pocket that accommodates a cell phone, as well as an exterior pocket for the included mini pump (and a valve adapter). You can also fit quite a few extras inside including tubes, snacks, wallet, and other tools (or a couple CO2 cartridges).
Bike Repair Tool Kit
Founded by former professional triathlete Micki Kozuschek, Lezyne makes a number of decent tool kit options, including the Sport Kit, which I like for road bikes. Constructed of durable nylon fabric with a water-resistant zipper, this wedge-shaped bag keeps contents dry in a rain shower or through road spray.
It stows all your essential tools in its main compartment with labeled organizational pockets. A second, smaller compartment on the underside holds a phone or other items. Ideal for commuting or longer rides.
M-Caddy Sport Kit
Triathlon bikes are generally built to be more aerodynamic than road bikes, with a more aggressive body position. The goal is to have the most efficient, aero cycling machine possible, so there's very little room for a seat or frame bag. This kit packs everything you need to fix a tubeless tire on the fly in an easily accessible water bottle cage, so there's no bag holding you back.
If you want to bring along a spare tube (or aren't running tubeless), you can slide one into your jersey pocket or consider another water-bottle-shaped tool storage container that fits into the cage holder, such as the Flow Tool Caddy Pro.
Tubeless Loaded Flow Storage Cage w/ CO2
This seat bag attaches to your seat rails via nylon straps and buckles and to your seat post with a Velcro strap, so it's easy to swap from bike to bike when you need to make a change. The adjustable straps give you a nice tight fit against the seat.
The 11-function mini tool has 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex tools, a #2 Phillips screwdriver head, and a T20/T25 Torx wrench. There's also a reflective strip across the back with a place to attach a rear clip light and room inside the bag for a couple tubes and some snacks.
Deluxe Accessory Kit
This unique, American-made kit fits inside the ends of most mountain and road bike handlebars. The secure, space-saving design ensures you never have to worry about anything accidentally flying off your bike during gnarly descents or pothole-riddled roads.
The multi-tool includes seven hex wrenches, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, a spoke wrench, a valve core wrench, and three Torx bits (T10, T25, and T30). The EnCase Chain + Tire Plug tool is compatible with most chains, including 12-speed, and has a tire plug at one end.
Both tools slide neatly into the included storage sleeves which fit snugly inside your handlebar for a rattle-free design.
EnCase Bar Kit One
The Gravel Gear Bag attaches to the top tube via two hook-and-loop straps and is constructed of durable 1000D nylon—ideal for rugged riding situations. The bag opens up like a book to reveal pockets designed to hold everything you need to fix a flat or repair a tubeless tire.
The Tubi 11 multitool includes six hex wrenches, a T25 Torx wrench, and a tire lever. Behind the tire lever, you’ll find a tire reamer and plug-insertion tool, and a small knife to trim the tire plugs. Also in the bag: the Power Lever X (levers, master link pliers, and presta valve core tool), the AirBooster CO2 inflator, and 10 tubeless-tire plugs.
Gravel Gear Bag
The MTB Field Kit is like a first-aid kit for your bike. It includes not only the tools you need to make on-the-fly adjustments and repairs, but also a few extras to do some trailhead parking-lot maintenance.
In addition to essentials like an 8-in-1 multitool, mini pump with gauge, a chain breakers, and tire levers, you also get a shop rag and a couple brushes, refillable chain lube and degreaser, a tape measure, a screwdriver, a spoke wrench, and a full-size pedal wrench.
It all comes neatly organized in the labeled pouch with plenty of room leftover for spare tools, parts, and a tube.
MTB Field Kit
BI: How do I learn how to use the tools in my tool kit?
VN: Carrying a tool kit on your bike won't do you much good if you don't know how to use it. There's a whole world of bike repair tutorials and resources available online that can teach you how to fix a flat or repair a broken chain, including plenty from the Bicycling team.
Many local bike shops also offer repair and maintenance classes, if you’d like more hands-on instruction. More than anything, though, if you’ve never changed a flat tire before, practice at home before heading out on your own.
BI: I have a basic tool kit. What's the next tool I should buy?
VN: If you’re expanding your tool kit, I’d consider adding a chain breaker and a quick link, which allow you to fix your bike chain on the fly. The chain breaker allows you to disconnect a bike chain, so you can adjust the length of your chain or install a new one.
A quick link replaces a chain link with a set of interlocking plates, which you can install without a chain breaker. Without a functioning chain, there's no way to pedal your bike, so keeping these on you may be the difference between a quick fix and a trip to the repair shop.
As with tire repair gear, make sure to look for gear that's compatible with your specific bike.
BI: Are there any repairs I shouldn't try to make on the fly?
VN: Any structural damage to your bike makes it unsafe to ride. If your frame or wheel rim cracks while out on a ride, you’ll need to stop and bring your bike to a shop. You could seriously injure yourself if you attempt to ride a damaged bicycle.
BI: Should I carry any spare parts in my tool kit besides tubes?
VN: I know quite a few people who carry a spare rear derailleur as a backup if the installed one on their bike gets bent or broken in a fall. The folks who carry one usually do so because they’ve had one break on them before.
I like to have both a replacement shifter cable and brake cable, especially when I’m riding a bike that has a Campagnolo groupset (not all bike shops carry Campy parts).
BI: How do I carry gear that doesn't fit in my tool kit?
VN: The back pocket of your jersey is a great place to stash a spare tube, a mini pump, and any additional tools that don't fit in your bag. Just be sure to avoid over-stuffing it to the point where it weighs you down and disrupts your ride.
Most pumps come with a method of attaching them directly to your frame so they don't take up space in a bag.
BI: Do I really need my own tools if I’m going on a group ride with a bunch of other people? Won't someone else have them?
VN: Please do not be this person. It's rude to join a group ride without the ability and tools to fix your own flat.
It's customary for people riding together to help each other out and wait when someone has mechanical trouble, but you should, at the very least, have two tubes, tire levers, and a pump with you. Don't make your bike someone else's problem.
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7 Things You Should Do After Every Rainy RideZen and The Art of Bicycle Maintenance: The Expert: BI: How do I learn how to use the tools in my tool kit? VN: BI: BI I have a basic tool kit. What's the next tool I should buy? VN: BI: Are there any repairs I shouldn't try to make on the fly? BI: BI VN: BI: Should I carry any spare parts in my tool kit besides tubes? BI: BI VN: BI: How do I carry gear that doesn't fit in my tool kit? BI: BI VN: BI: Do I really need my own tools if I’m going on a group ride with a bunch of other people? Won't someone else have them? BI: BI VN: You Might Also Like