Mountain Bike Tool Kit Essentials – a Comprehensive Guide with Tips and Tricks
While mountain biking offers plenty of health benefits, and allows bikers to socialize with peers and enjoy nature, some DIY maintenance and repairs are essential to keep your bike in peak condition. Mountain biking often involves riding on rough terrain and in isolated areas, so you might need to perform quick repairs or tweaks during your ride. This article will list the mountain bike tool kit essentials that you will need while out riding.
Mountain bike tool kit essentials include screwdrivers, wrenches, an MTB multi-tool, pliers, cable and wire cutters, tire levers, an inner tube, a tube patch kit, a tire repair kit, a hand pump, a floor pump with a pressure gauge, a shock pump, a CO² inflator, a pressure gauge, zip ties, a chain master link removal tool, a chain cleaning device, a crank puller, a bottom bracket tool, a valve core remover, a shock pump, a cassette lockring remover, a chain whip, brake and shift cables, a brake bleed kit, a derailleur alignment gauge, a pipe cutter, a hacksaw, a metal filing tool, a magnetic retrieval tool, repair oils, lubricants, tire sealants, degreasers, a bike repair stand, a solid wooden bench, a multi-tool hanger, a heavy-duty vise, an apron, gloves, and goggles.
A personal tool kit will allow you to perform regular maintenance before and after every ride so that you keep your MTB bike functioning optimally. Most large tools can be stored in your garage or toolshed for repairs that are done at home, while smaller tools can be strapped to your bike or carried in your backpack in case they are needed for emergency repairs while riding.
You might also find interest in our mountain bike tool bag ideas. Be sure to check out our related article to find out more.
Basic MTB Bike Tool Kit Necessities For Beginners
Acquiring all the essential mountain bike tools can be expensive, but they are crucial for repairing your bike on the trail or maintaining it at home, especially if you want to avoid paying expensive bike repair shop fees for tasks that you can do yourself.
Basic MTB bike tools for beginners should include screwdrivers, wrenches, an MTB multi-tool, pliers, cable and wire cutters, tire levers, inner tube, patch and repair kits, hand pump or CO² inflator, pressure gauge, zip ties, chain master link remover, chain cleaning tool, a valve core remover, pipe cutter or hacksaw, metal filing tool, and magnetic retriever.
If you are eager to do your own mountain bike maintenance or install accessories that will improve your riding enjoyment, then read our article about mountain bike toe clip installation & use. And if you are a more advanced rider you may be ready for a mountain bike upgrade in which case you should have a look at our article that discusses what mountain bike you should buy.
More advanced mountain bikers should also have a crank puller, a bottom bracket tool, a shock pump, a cassette lockring remover, a chain whip, brake and shift cables, a brake bleed kit, a derailleur alignment gauge, repair oils, lubricating fluids, a degreasing solution, a bike repair stand, a solid wooden bench, a multi-tool hanger, a heavy-duty vise, and safety equipment.
A screwdriver is one of the basic MTB tools every biker should have in their toolkit. Screwdrivers come in two head configurations, with flat or star (or Philip’s head), and in various sizes. A screwdriver with interchangeable heads like this will reduce the number of tools you need to carry with you when biking.
Several bike components and parts are attached with screws. For instance, each derailleur comes with upper and lower limit screws. Even the bottle-cage mounts are attached to the bike with screws. Some bike brakes also have spring-tension screws that enable bikers to adjust the tension on the brake caliper.
Ideally, you should include different types of screwdrivers in your bike tool kit. To avoid spending extra money, check the type and size of your MTB screws and get screwdrivers accordingly. Most of the time, you will need a flathead and this Philips #1 and this #2 screwdriver. Watch this YouTube guide by Tony Marchand to find the best bicycle screwdriver.
There are several types of wrenches that are needed to service a mountain bike. Some of the most common wrench types and sizes for mountain bike tool kits include L-shaped or Y-shaped hex wrenches which come in sizes 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 mm, and socket wrenches which come in sizes 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, and 15 mm, TORX wrenches which are often purchased in size T25 (sometimes T10 or T30), cone wrench to adjust cup and cone bearings, and torque wrench to avoid overtightening bolts.
Most mountain bike bolts, especially those on modern MTBs, require hex keys, also known as Allen wrenches like these, to loosen and tighten them. Allen wrenches are used when removing pedals or adjusting loose-bearing wheel hubs. You can also purchase spoke wrenches like these to tighten wheel spoke nipples to ensure they maintain even tension on the rim. The last two types of wrenches are open-ended box wrenches that come in sizes 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, and 17 mm, and adjustable open-ended box wrenches which are a cheaper alternative to open-ended box wrenches.
3. MTB Multi-Tool
Mountain bike tool kit essentials should also include a multitool like this. This single tool could replace several screwdrivers or wrenches. Although this tool won’t help with major bike repairs at your bike-specific workstation, multi-tools are ideal for basic on-trail adjustments.
A typical MTB multi-tool, like this, comes with multiple hex wrenches, spoke wrenches, Philips and flathead screwdrivers, TORX T25, and a universal chain tool.
While the tool configurations of multi-tools vary, they still offer the essential wrenches and screwdrivers you might need during your mountain biking trip. However, you should consider getting full-size wrenches and screwdrivers for your at-home bike repair station tool kit.
Many professional mountain bikers consider pliers to be one of the most underrated mountain bike tools. As a matter of fact, pliers can actually act as multi-tools. This is because pliers, especially needle-nose pliers, can be used in many different scenarios, such as cutting shift cables, crimping cable ends, removing snap-rings from bottom brackets or pedals, and unsnapping the master link to undo the chain.
When purchasing pliers, make sure you invest in a sharp and high-quality pair. While cheaper pliers allow you to save some money, they can easily wear down from cutting even the simplest bike components.
When it comes to removing or replacing quick links, you should purchase a bike-specific pair of master link pliers, like this.
5. Cable and Wire Cutters
Cable and wire cutters are essential parts of any mountain bike tool kit. If your needle-nose pliers come with a cutting edge, you do not necessarily need a separate cutter. Still, you should have a dedicated wire cutter because it is better suited to cutting cable housing or cables. Getting a pair of heavy-duty cable cutters will ensure clean cuts and can also be used for crimping cable end caps.
6. Tire Levers
Whether you are setting up an on-the-trail tool kit or the one for your dedicated repair station, tire levers should be included. Tire levers allow you to easily remove the tire without damaging the rim. Read our article about how to change a mountain bike tire, which will definitely come in handy when you have a flat tire.
Although you can find many substitute tools for tire levers, you may accidentally damage the tube. Tire levers are affordable and don’t take up much space, so it is better to include them in your on and off-trail tool kits.
7. Inner Tube
Getting flat tires is quite common when mountain biking, so it is always a good idea to have a spare inner tube with you. Replacing an inner tube takes only a few minutes and ensures your safety during the rest of the ride. Some tube damage can be fixed with a tire patch kit like this—though this may take extra time—so replacing an inner tube with one like this is a faster way to get back on the trail.
8. Tube Patch and Tire Repair Kits
Patch and repair kits are essential for changing a flat tire on the trail. These kits allow you to easily complete the basic trailside repairs without replacing the inner tube. However, you should first ensure that your tire or the tube can be fixed with a patch kit like this. If you fail to evaluate the damage before fixing your tires or tubes, you might end up injuring yourself during the ride.
There are three main types of patches and repair kits you can choose from, a tire repair kit like this that is used for permanently patching and plugging holes in tubeless tires, a tube glueless patch kit that is the fastest solution to patching holes in a tire tube and, a tube glue patch kit that takes some time for the glue to dry before applying another layer but offers enhanced protection.
While patch kits only work for tires with inner tubes, repair kits that plug the holes are suitable for tubeless tires. However, you may still need to plug the holes, even if your tires include inner tubes. This will prevent damaging the tubes during the rest of the ride.
9. Hand Pump, Floor Pump, Shock Pump, or CO2 Inflator
No bike tool kit should be without an air pump. Whether it is a hand pump, a floor pump, or a CO² inflator like this, you need something to inflate your tires before, during, or after mountain biking. While air pumps are crucial for re-inflating tires after changing the tube or repairing the tires, they are also essential for adding air to the tires.
While hand pumps like these and floor pumps like these are ideal for bike-specific repair stations, they are not quite useful for on-the-trail tool kits. When creating an on-the-bike tool bag, consider getting a mini pump or a CO² inflator instead. They do the same job while being portable enough to fit in a tool bag easily.
As an advanced mountain biker, you can also use a shock pump to properly adjust tire pressure. These tools are also used for inflating tires and are more precise than regular air pumps.
10. Pressure Gauge
While some hand and floor pumps, like this, come with a built-in pressure gauge, others require a separate tool for measuring pressure in your tires. Although experienced mountain bikers can improvise and check if the tires are well-inflated, beginners might need to get a precise tire pressure reading to inflate tires properly.
Monitoring your mountain bike tire pressure will ensure your safety during the ride and prolong the tire usage. Read our article about mountain bike tire pressure to learn more about how tire pressure can affect your ride. Make sure you include a pressure gauge to check your MTB tire pressure when needed.
11. Zip Ties
If you are looking for the easiest way to attach different bike components to your MTB, then including zip ties in your bike tool kit could be the right choice. Whether you want to mount the cables or attach different accessories to your bike, this little piece of plastic can do the job.
Zip ties like these can also be used for fixing holes in your inner tube. You would simply find the hole and tighten two zip ties so that the hole is right in between them. Believe it or not, zip ties can also replace your MTB shoe laces.
There are many different ways you can use zip ties and Mountain Bike Rider shares 10 of the absolute best zip tie hacks for mountain bikes in this video tutorial.
12. Chain Master Link Removal Tool
A master link is a component of your bike chain that can be unclicked, allowing you to easily remove the chain. However, even if your bike chain has a master link, it can be challenging to break the chain by hand. And this is when a master link removal tool, also known as the chain tool like this, comes in handy.
A chain tool makes it much easier to break and reconnect your bike chain in just a couple of seconds. For detailed instructions on how to break a bike chain with a chain tool, watch this YouTube tutorial by MadeGood Bikes.
13. Chain Cleaning Device
Mountain bike riders should clean their chains regularly. While you should clean your MTB chain at least once a month, exploring muddy trails means that the chain needs to be cleaned more often. Properly cleaning your bike chain will prevent dirt from building up and wearing down the teeth of the sprocket.
The easiest way to keep your bike chain clean is to use a specific chain cleaning tool. By using this Park Tool chain cleaner kit, you can improve shifting, enhance your bike’s functionality, and extend its lifespan. This short YouTube video by Park Tool demonstrates how to clean and lubricate a bicycle chain with a special chain cleaner device.
14. Crank Puller and Bottom Bracket Tool
The bottom bracket of your bike is the engine room for the chainset and is considered one of the essential bearings on your bike. When your bottom bracket loses the ability to hold the spindle in the center of the shell, the crankset of your bike will become wobbly and the chain will simply come off. At this point, you will need to replace your bottom bracket with a new one.
Replacing a bottom bracket can be an easy job as long as you have the right tools with you. A crank puller and a bottom bracket tool will make the task straightforward. While you do not need to carry these tools with you, including a crank puller like this and a bottom bracket tool like this in your bike tool kit is recommended.
15. Valve Core Remover
If you prefer using tubeless tires, then you should definitely have a valve core remover in your mountain bike tool kit. Whenever you need to change the sealant or replace tires, you will need to remove the valve core. Oftentimes, valve cores get clogged or damaged by the dried sealant and you may need to replace them with a new one. You still need to use a valve core remover tool.
A valve core remover like this is small enough to fit in literally any type of tool bag you carry with you. This tool should be included in your on-the-trail tool kit to remove Presta or Schrader valve cores when needed. This video tutorial by Appion Tools shares tips for using a valve core remover properly.
16. Cassette Lockring Remover and Chain Whip
A cassette lockring remover and a chain whip are two cassette-related tools that should be in every advanced mountain bike tool kit. In order to remove and replace your bike cassette, you will need to unscrew the lockring first. To do so, you will need a chain whip, a cassette lockring remover, and a crescent wrench.
While the cassette lockring tool loosens the lockring, the chain whip holds the cassette in place to prevent it from freewheeling while the lockring is loose. Although you can install a cassette without using a chain whip, you need this tool for the removal. Watch this step-by-step video guide by Park Tool to properly remove and install a cassette.
17. Brake and Shift Cables
Just like other bike parts, cables do wear as you ride the bike and they need to be replaced for safety reasons. Changing the cables and housing from time to time will ensure that your brakes run smoothly. While you do not need to include brake and shift cables in your on-the-bike tool kit, these tools should definitely be in the toolbox you store at your bike repair station.
If you are a beginner and only ride your mountain bike once in a while, having brake and shift cables in the tool kit is not necessary. This is because brake cables can last for 3 - 5 years or 2,000 - 3,000 miles. However, if your grip shifter is not working properly then replacing the gear cables could fix this problem. You can read more about this in our article that explains how to fix mountain bike grip shifters.
If you ever need to change your brake cables, this video tutorial by Global Cycling Network is also helpful.
18. Brake Bleed Kit
If your mountain bike has hydraulic brakes, you will need to bleed the brakes every couple of months. When air enters the system, it reduces the effectiveness of the brakes. To make the brakes functional again, you can simply flush the system and replace the old oil. However, on many occasions, you just need to get rid of trapped air bubbles and this process is known as brake bleeding.
Depending on the brand and model of your mountain bike, you will need a specific set of tools to bleed the brakes. A typical brake bleed kit, just like this, includes the following tools:
● Bleed syringe
● Block piston
● Wrench and Torx screwdriver
● Tube and tube closing
● Bottle vent
● Rubber band
● A set of adapters
For detailed instructions on how to bleed MTB brakes, watch this ultimate guide by Berm Peak.
19. Derailleur Alignment Gauge
A derailleur hanger like this is a small bike component that protects the frame during mountain bike accidents. It is typically made from inexpensive and relatively soft metal alloys so that it crashes first and the frame remains unscratched.
A bent or damaged derailleur hanger affects the shifting ease and fluidity, so you should always keep the hanger perfectly straight. To do so, you will need a derailleur alignment gauge like this that allows you to align the hanger at a right angle to the rear axle. This tool will enable you to easily straighten a derailleur hanger that seems to be out of alignment after a bike crash.
Check out this article on Bike Test Reviews that explains how to diagnose and repair a bent derailleur hanger with a hanger alignment tool.
20. Pipe Cutter or Hacksaw and Metal Filing Tool
If you want to customize your old mountain bike or adjust your new MTB, you might need to cut the steerer tube, seat post, or handlebars. And if you are planning to get a new bike check out our mountain bike sizing chart so that you can get the right size bike for your needs.
There are two ways you to complete the task: you either use a pipe cutter or a hacksaw. While both tools do the same job, a pipe cutter offers a cleaner cut than a hacksaw.
When cutting your steerer tube, seat post, or handlebars with a hacksaw, you might need to use a metal filing tool to smooth the edges. Here is a video guide by Global Cycling Network on how to cut down your mountain bike’s steerer tube.
21. Magnetic Retrieval Tool
A magnetic retrieval tool is a regular magnet attached to a stick that allows you to easily retrieve any bolts, screws, or other small parts that get stuck in your bike. Instead of lifting and shaking your bike to get the bolts you are missing, you just use the magnetic retriever.
22. Repair Oils, Lubricants, Sealants, and Degreasers
While repair oils and lubricants like these are commonly used for lubricating chains and hydraulic brakes, sealants like these are special fluids used for sealing tubeless tires. By including these fluids in your MTB tool kit, you can keep your bike maintained or repair it whenever needed.
Before purchasing these fluids, check that the manufacturer of your mountain bike recommends using them for the specific model you have. Also, make sure you use a bio-friendly (biodegradable) degreaser when cleaning lubricated or greased parts of the bike.
23. Bike Repair Stand, Solid Wooden Bench, Multi-Tool Holder, and a Vise
As an advanced mountain biker, you should consider creating a dedicated repair station for your bike. It could be in the garage, in a shed, or in a spare room, you don’t really use. After collecting all the essential bike tools listed above, consider getting a multi-tool organizer like this that can be mounted on the wall. This will keep your bike tools neatly organized and ensure that you have easy access to whatever you need during the repair or maintenance process.
You should also think of getting a bike repair stand to make the repair and maintenance process more straightforward. A heavy-duty vise like this could work as a budget-friendly alternative. If you are looking for a cheaper option, check out this YouTube video tutorial on how to build a DIY bike work stand.
If you are a beginner mountain biker and ride once in a while, your bike will probably require basic maintenance and repair. In this case, creating a bike-specific workstation might not be necessary. You can easily clean your bike, lubricate the chains, change the tires, or replace the brakes without fancy or expensive equipment.
24. Apron, Gloves, and Safety Goggles
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced mountain biker, your safety should always be the number one priority. While basic bike maintenance and repair tasks do not really require wearing safety equipment, you should wear an apron, gloves, and goggles when cutting wires and metal parts or loosening bolts.
Goggles will prevent any loose debris from lodging in your eyes. Wearing an apron and gloves will keep your clothes clean when cleaning, repairing, or maintaining your MTB, especially when using oils, lubricants, and greases.
Our detailed guide on mountain bike body armor places gives other great tips on how you can protect yourself while riding over rough terrain.
You should be able to install mudguards on a mountain bike with the above tools in your tool kit. Be sure to read more about mudguards in our related article to find out more.
Summary of Mountain Bike Tool Kit Essentials
|What You Need||Why You Need It||Is It Essential For A Beginner Or An Advanced Rider?||Common Problems You Can Fix WIth It||Approximate Cost||Amazon Product Example|
|Screwdrivers||To loosen or tighten screws.||Both||Almost every mountain bike repair and maintenance task will involve the use of screwdrivers.||~$45||Mountain Bike Torque Screwdriver Set|
|Wrenches||To loosen or tighten bolts.||Both||Wrenches are basic tools used for almost every MTP repair and maintenance task.||~$45||Klein Tools T-Handle Hex Key Set with 6-Inch Blades|
|MTB Multi-Tool||To have a variety of screwdriver heads and wrenches in one.||Both||Perform basic repairs, such as changing a tire, on the trail.||~$20||Crankbrothers Multi-Tool 17|
|Pliers||To easily brake chain master link.||Both||Shorten or lengthen your MTB chain.||~$25||Park Tool Master Link Pliers MLP-1.2|
|Cable and Wire Cutters||To easily cut cables and wires when repairing or maintaining your MTB.||Both||Useful when changing or shortening bike cables and wires.||~$45||Park Tool CN-10 Professional Cable and Housing Cutter|
|Tire Levers||To easily remove tires from the rim.||Both||Changing a flat tire or adding sealant to tubeless tires.||~$10||Gorilla Force Ultra Strong Bike Tire Levers|
|Inner Tube||To replace the inner tube when it cannot be fixed.||Both||Flat tires.||~$10||Slime 30045 Bike Inner Tube with Slime Puncture Sealant|
|Tube Patch Kit||To patch holes in the inner tube. .||Both||Flat tires.||~$10||Maifede Bike Inner Tire Patch Repair Kit with 11pcs Vulcanizing and 6pcs Pre-Gluled Patches|
|Tire Repair Kit||To plug holes in the tire.||Both||Flat tires.||~$25||Pro Bike Tool Tubeless Bike Tire Repair Kit|
|Floor Pump with a Gauge||To inflate tires at your bike-specific repair station while monitoring the pressure.||Both||Flats or insufficient air pressure in tires.||~$35||Bv Ergonomic Bike Floor Pump with Gauge, 160 PSI, Fits Presta and Schrader Valves|
|CO2 Inflator||To have a portable pump alternative on the trail to inflate tires.||Both||Flats or insufficient air pressure in tires.||~$20||Pro Bike Tool CO2 Inflator - Presta and Schrader Valve Compatible|
|Shock Pump||To precisely inflate tires.||Advanced||Flats or insufficient air pressure in tires.||~$30||Giyo High-Pressure Shock Pump, 300 PSI|
|Pressure Gauge||To check the air pressure in your tires.||Both||Monitoring air pressure in tires for safety reasons.||~$20||Heavy-Duty Bike Tire Pressure Gauge|
|Zip Ties||To mount cables or other accessories onto your mountain bike.||Both||When bike cables come loose or you need to securely mount accessories on your MTB frame.||~$10||Hmrope 100pcs Heavy-Duty Cable Zip Ties|
|Chain Tool||To break or mend your bike chain links and plates.||Advanced||Shorten or lengthen your MTB chain.||~$15||Oumers Universal Bike Chain Tool with Chain Hook|
|Chain Cleaning Device||To keep your bike chain clean.||Both||Reduce wear and improve the overall performance of your bike.||~$40||Park Tool CG-2.4 Bike Chain and Drivetrain Cleaning Kit|
|Crank Puller||To easily remove cranks.||Advanced||Replacing your MTB crankset.||~$15||Oumers Bike Crank Extractor Arm Remover and Bottom Bracket Remover Kit|
|Botton Bracket Tool||To remove or install bottom brackets.||Advanced||Replacing your MTB bottom bracket.||~$10||Bikehand Bike Bottom Bracket Removal Tool|
|Valve Core Remover||To remove and install a valve core in a tubeless tire.||Both||Inflating, replacing, or adding tire sealant into tubeless tires.||~$10||Park Tool Valve Core Remover|
|Cassette Lockring Remover and Chain Whip||To remove a cassette lockring and the cassette in place after loosening the lockring.||Advanced||Replacing your MTB lockring or cassette.||~$15||Bike Cassette Removal Tool with Chain Whip and Auxilary Wrench|
|Brake and Shift Cables||To replace brake and shift cables when needed.||Advanced||Replacing worn-out brake and shift cables.||~$15||Yakamoz 2-in-1 Universal Bike Shift Derailleur Cable and Brake Cable Housing Replacement Kit|
|Brake Bleed Kit||To flush out brake fluid and replace it.||Advanced||Improve brake functionality in hydraulic brakes.||~$25||Hydraulic Brake Bleed Kit with 120ml Mineral Oil for MTB Shimano Brakes|
|Derailleur Alignment Gauge||To easily align a derailleur hanger.||Advanced||Broken or misaligned derailleur hanger after a bike crash.||~$50||CycloSpirit Derailleur Hanger Alignment Gauge|
|Pipe Cutter||To easily cut the steerer tube, seat post, or handlebars of your mountain bike.||Advanced||Adjusting the height of the bike seat and handlebars, and the length of the handlebars.||~$30||Ridgid Close Quarters Tubing Cutter|
|Hacksaw||Used as an alternative to a pipe cutter.||Advanced||Adjusting the height of the bike seat and handlebars, and the length of the handlebars.||~$15||Craftsman 12-Inch Hacksaw with Fine Tooth|
|Metal Filing Tool||To smooth out the edges after cutting the steerer tube, seat post, or handlebars of your bike.||Advanced||Getting rid of rough edges after cutting the tubes or handlebars.||$10||8-Inch Diamond Coated Flat File|
|Magnetic Retrieval Tool||To retrieve any screws, bolts, or other parts stuck in the bike.||Both||Retrieve small metal parts from getting stuck in the bike.||~$20||Extendable Magnetic Pick-Up Tool|
|Bike Repair Oil or Lubricant||To lubricate your MTB chain.||Advanced||Overcoming mechanical resistance and preventing rust, for optimal chain functioning.||~$10||Finish Line Dry Teflon Bike Chain Lube|
|Tire Sealant||To seal tubeless tires.||Advanced||Sealing tubeless tires after replacement or for maintenance purposes.||~$20||Stan’s NoTubes Tire Sealant|
|Degreaser||To clean your MTB chain.||Advanced||Stop grease from building up on MTB chain.||~$15||Finish Line Citrus Bike Chain Degreaser|
|Bike Repair Stand||To lift your bike off the ground and hold it securely.||Advanced||Keeping your bike in a fixed position when handling repairs or maintenance tasks.||~$85||Cxwxc Bike Repair Stand - Height Adjustable|
|Multi-Tool Hanger||To keep your bike tools organized at your repair station.||Advanced||You will no longer have to worry about your bike tools getting lost.||~$55||Tool Storage Rack with Heavy-Duty Steel Hooks|
|Heavy-Duty Vise||Used as an alternative to bike repair stand.||Advanced||Keeping your bike in a fixed position when handling repair or maintenance tasks.||~$140||Yost Vises Heavy-Duty Industrial Pipe and Bench Vise|
|Apron||To protect your clothes and ensure your safety.||Advanced||For safety reasons.||~$15||Waterproof Vinyl Apron|
|Gloves||To protect your hands and keep them clean.||Advanced||For safety reasons.||~$10||Safety Work Gloves with Black Micro-Foam Nitrile Grip|
|Safety Goggles||To protect your eyes from small metal parts.||Advanced||For safety reasons.||~$15||Dewalt Conclear Anti-Fog Dual Mold Safety Goggles|
You might also find interest in learning how to choose a mountain bike tool bag that locks. Be sure to read our related article for more detailed information.
Total Cost of a Basic MTB Bike Tool Kit For Beginners
A basic mountain bike tool kit for beginners should include all the essentials that mountain bikers might need for repairing their bikes on the trail or maintaining them at home. Since beginner bikers typically ride their bike less often, they do not need advanced tools to fix or maintain their bikes. And most of the time, they refer to bike shops to do the repairs and maintenance from time to time.
The total cost of a basic mountain bike tool kit for beginners is approximately $370.
Keep in mind that the cost of a basic MTB tool kit depends on the quality of tools you purchase. Depending on what your budget is, you can either go for high-quality and relatively expensive bike tools or opt for cheaper alternatives instead. Read this article by Ric McLaughlin at Red Bull, that shares some essential items you should include in a basic MTB tool kit.
Total Cost of an Advanced MTB Bike Tool Kit For Beginners
Being an advanced mountain biker means that you ride your bike pretty often. Having advanced mountain biking skills also means that you will probably prefer riding on rough and uneven terrain. As an experienced biker, you may also own multiple mountain bikes. The more you ride and the rougher the trail is, the more repairs and maintenance your mountain bike needs. Therefore, you will need to invest in a broader range of bike tools to fix your MTB and keep it maintained. Paying extra for additional MTB tools will also prevent you from visiting bike repair shops, allowing you to save money in the long run.
The total cost of an advanced mountain bike tool kit for beginners is around $800.
As an advanced mountain biker, you should consider investing in high-quality bike tools that will perform better and last longer. Purchasing high-quality MTB tools will also ensure that you do not damage your bike during the repair or maintenance process. This article by Worldwide Cyclery explores professional mountain bikers’ toolbox essentials.
Portable MTB Tool Kit Must-Haves
No matter how many MTB tools you have in your tool kit, there is no need to carry them with you all the time. And even if you are an advanced mountain biker, you will only need a few MTB tools to do basic repairs on the trail.
Portable MTB tool kits should include a mini pump or a CO² inflator, a pressure gauge, patch and repair kits, an MTB multi-tool, tire levers, a replacement inner tube, and a valve core remover.
It’s important to have some tools with you when you’re biking on mountainous terrain to be able to handle simple repairs. Here are 6 must-have bike tools to include in your portable MTB tool kit.
1. Mini Pump or CO² Inflator and a Pressure Gauge
Mini pumps and CO² inflators are alternatives to regular hand and floor pumps. These options are small enough to be fitted in a portable MTB tool kit that you can carry with you.
Air or CO² pumps come in handy whenever you need to add some air into your tires or reinflate the tubes after patching or replacing them. If you ever end up having flat tires on the trail, you will need one of these tools to enjoy the rest of the ride.
2. Patch & Repair Kits
Oftentimes, damaged tires and tubes can easily be fixed with patch and repair kits. If the hole is small enough to be patched or plugged, then you don’t need to replace the tire or the tube.
When selecting the right patch and repair kit for on-trail repairs, opt for a glueless patch kit so that you will not have to wait for the glue to dry. This will allow you to fix your bike tire or inner tube in just a few minutes.
3. MTB Multi-Tool
When creating a portable MTB tool kit, you may not want to include different hex keys or screwdrivers. Instead, you can get a mountain bike multi-tool that incorporates numerous wrenches and screwdrivers in different sizes and shapes.
Mountain bike multi-tools allow you to handle basic repairs that your bike might need on the trail. If you still want to carry full-size wrenches and screwdrivers, check your bike specs and choose them accordingly.
4. Tire Levers
Replacing a tire or an inner tube on the trail can be an easy task and tire levers make the job even more straightforward. Although you can use your hands to remove the tire from the rim, the process might be a bit tricky sometimes.
To make things easier, consider including tire levers in your portable MTB tool kit. This will allow you to change the tire or the tube on the trail with little to no effort. Read our comprehensive guide on mountain bike tire pressure for helpful tips on how to avoid damaging your tires in the first place..
5. Inner Tube
On some occasions, inner tubes can be easily repaired with a patch kit. However, flat tires are not always fixable. If this is the case, you will need to replace the inner tube to enjoy the rest of the ride. This is why it’s a part of the mountain bike tool kit essentials in your portable tool kit.
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced rider, you should include a spare inner tube in your portable mountain bike tool kit.
6. Valve Core Remover
Flat tires are every mountain biker’s worst nightmare and riding a bike with tubeless tires means that your tires are a bit more resistant to punctures. However, tubeless tires do not provide complete protection against flats. You may find the information provided in our article about how to choose mountain bike tires for maximum grip interesting as we discuss different tire compounds and how to care for your tires.
To be prepared for any emergency, you should include a valve core remover that will allow you to reinflate your tubeless tires after repairing them. On some occasions, you may need to replace the tire and this is not something you can do on the trail.
Summary of Portable MTB Tool Kit Must Haves
|What You Need||Why You Need To Carry It In A Portable MTB Tool Kit||Weight||Approximate Price||Amazon Product Example|
|Mini Pump||To inflate or re-inflate tire tubes on the trail.||0.29 lb||~$30||Pro Bike Tool Mini Bike Pump - Fits Presta and Schrader Valves|
|CO2 Inflator||To inflate or re-inflate tire tubes on the trail.||0.11 lb||~$20||Pro Bike Tool CO2 Inflator - Presta and Schrader Valve Compatible|
|Pressure Gauge||To monitor or check tire pressure on the trail.||0.65 lb||~$30||Jaco ElitePro Digital Tire Pressure Gauge|
|Patch & Repair Kit||To repair the damaged tire or inner tube and fix flats.||0.022 lb||~$10||Park Tool GP-2 Pre-Glued Super Patch Puncture Repair Kit|
|MTB Multi-Tool||To loosen or tighten screws and bolts when performing basic repair tasks on the trail.||0.24 lb||~$20||Park Tool I-Beam Multi-Tool|
|Tire Levers||To easily remove tires from the rim when changing a flat tire.||0.075 lb||~$10||Park Tool 2 Carded Tire Lever Set|
|Inner Tube||To have a replacement inner tube in case your damaged tube cannot be fixed with a patch kit.||0.40 lb||~$10||Goodyear Bike Tube 20x175 to 1.125|
|Valve Core Remover||To inflate or re-inflate tubeless tires on the trail.||0.022 lb||~$10||Stan’s NoTubes Core Remover Tool|
Total Cost and Weight of an Essential Portable MTB Tool Kit
A portable mountain bike tool kit does not include advanced bike repair and maintenance tools. To avoid carrying a heavy tool bag, you should select the essential tools you might need to handle simple repairs on the trail. You will typically need to adjust some bolts or repair and replace a tire.
A portable MTB tool kit with essential bike tools costs approximately $130 and weighs about 1.8 pounds.
While portable MTB tool kits usually include almost the same trail essentials, the total cost and weight may vary. It all depends on what tools you include in your tool kit and what type of tool bag you select to carry the essentials with you.
Tips To Carry A Portable MTB Tool Kit Without A Backpack
While there are many different ways to carry an essential MTB tool kit, taking them with you without a backpack is often the best choice. By attaching your tool kit to your bike, you will no longer have to carry a heavy bag and you’ll still be able to handle basic repairs on the trail.
Tips to carry a portable MTB tool kit without a backpack include using a bumbag, storing a basic tool kit by means of bottle cages, fixing a basic tool kit with frame straps, using a saddlebag for hands-free tool kit storage, attaching frame tool bags to the bike, mounting a pannier bag to the rear rack of the bike, and using on-the-bike tool kits to avoid carrying additional tool bags.
You read our article on how to fix a mountain bike tool bag that’s heavy, for tips on how to reduce the weight on your bike.
Option 1. Use A Bumbag To Carry A Basic MTB Tool Kit
If you prefer carrying your own tool kit, then you should consider getting a bumbag that can fit some essential tools you might need on the trail. Basic MTB tools are not that heavy and you will have easy access to the tool kit in case of an emergency.
If you typically carry more bike tools with you, consider using a backpack as an alternative. While this makes a difference in terms of tool bag size and weight, many bikers are okay with riding with a backpack. So, if this is something you would prefer, you can definitely do it.
Option 2. Store A Basic MTB Tool Kit Using Bottle Cages
Some mountain bike tool kits are portable enough to fit inside the bottle cage. You can even find special tool bags designed to go right into the bottle cage mounted on your mountain bike.
When storing a tool kit using a bottle cage, you will no longer be able to carry a bottle of water on the bike so we recommend you keep your drinking water stored in a hydration backpack like this elsewhere on your body or your bike because staying hydrated is important when exercising as this article from Mdpi explains.
Option 3. Fix A Basic MTB Tool Kit With Frame Straps
Many mountain bikers use regular frame straps like these to fix basic tool kits to the bike frame. In this case, you do not need to purchase a separate storage bag for your tools. You can use any bag or pouch of your choice or even attach the tools directly to the frame.
Although you can easily attach tools to the frame without putting them in a storage bag first, this might damage your tools and frame, so rather place them in a pouch like this and use straps to attach the tool kit to the frame.
Option 4. Use Saddle Bags For Hands-Free Tool Kit Storage
A bike saddlebag like this is a type of bag that can be mounted right under your MTB seat. This under-the-seat tool bag allows you to store the essential tools you might need on the trail.
Usually, saddle bags feature multiple mesh pockets inside the main compartment, enabling you to keep your tools organized. Luckily, most saddle bags are made from water-resistant materials, protecting your tools from water damage and preventing rust.
Option 5. Frame Bags Are A Simple Storage Solution For Tool Kits
Using a frame bag like this to attach a tool kit to your mountain bike is an excellent solution for hands-free tool storage. Frame bags can be fixed to different parts of your bike, including the top tube, down tube, seat tube, and the front bar.
Frame bags are available in different size options, making it pretty easy to select the right one for you. While top tube, down tube, and seat tube frame bags are similar, tool bags that can be attached to the front bar like this one often feature an additional pocket to hold your phone. The clear case allows you to easily access the phone on the trail and protects it from water, dust, and mud damage.
Option 6. Mount A Pannier Tool Bag On The Rear Rack
If you cannot fit your bike tools in smaller saddlebags or bike frame bags, you should opt for a pannier bag like this instead. Mountain bike pannier bags can be mounted on the rear rack by means of adjustable clips, preventing the bag from moving around during the ride.
While pannier bags are large enough to store pretty much every tool you might need on the trail, they are heavier and bulkier than frame bags. Before using a pannier bag to carry your MTB tools, make sure you are okay with having a large bag mounted to the rear rack of your bike.
Option 7. Use On-The-Bike Tool Kits To Avoid Carrying An Extra Tool Bag
If you do not want to alter the aerodynamics of your mountain bike but still want to carry some trail essentials with you, using a stealth tool kit could be the right choice. On-the-bike tool kits allow you to hide bike tools while making your MTB more streamlined.
Some on-the-bike tool kits like this can easily be hidden in the steerer. You can also opt for a bottle cage with a sliding storage compartment that can hold a bike multi-tool. A thru-axle replacement stealth tool kit like this is another excellent option for hiding some essential bike tools.
Summary of Mountain Bike Tool Bag Ideas
|What You Need||Why You Need It||Example from Amazon||Price|
|Bumbag||To carry trail essentials on your body.||MTB Fanny Pack with a Bottle Holder and Room for Tools||~ $35|
|Bottle-Shaped Tool Bag||To attach the tool kit by means of a bottle cage.||Epessa Bike Storage Bag with Sealed Zipper for Water Bottle Cage||~ $15|
|Frame Straps||To attach a tool kit or individual bike tools directly to the bike frame.||Granite Rockband Mountain Bike Frame Carrier Strap for Tools and Inner Tubes||~ $10|
|Saddle Bag||To store your MTB tools right under the bike seat.||Bv Bike Strap-On Saddle Bag||~ $20|
|Frame Bags||To mount the tool bag to the top tube, down tube, seat tube, or the front frame of your mountain bike.||Bike Triangle Tool Storage Bag for Top Tube|
Bike Front Frame Waterproof Bag with a Phone Holder
|Pannier Bag||To store more bike tools while being able to fix the tool bag securely to the rear rack of the bike.||Rockbros Waterproof Bike Pannier with Large Capacity (27L)||~ $70|
|Stealth Tool Kit||To hide the tool kit and make the bike look cool.||Syncros Matchbox Coupe Bottle Cage for On-the-Bike Tool Storage||~ $60|