The Cyclists' Essential Tool Box
This year's must-have accessory has got to be the home tool box. It doesn't have to be big or clever with more tools than you know what to do with; that's for tasks our workshop staff are trained in. I just need for my tool box to make life easier on a day-to-day basis.
I was in my garage the other day, digging through a smashed up plastic box to find a cable end, when I thought about all those times I've gone to a sportive, a race, or ride and wondered what I'd do if my chain broke or if I discovered that my cable has frayed to within a fraction of its life.
What better place to go than into the Condor workshop for a chat with head mechanic, Andrea, who pulled out his essentials for a home tool box.
With all that muck, grime and salt on the roads you need a mini cleaning and degreasing kit that will stave off the rust.
1. Degreaser - we like Muc-Off as it has unique formula containing no harmful acids, CFCs, or solvents, and is fully biodegradable.
2. Lube - keep rust away from the chain after a good clean.
3. Brushes - you can buy brush sets or accumulate them over time. Brush sets have hard nylon bristles for removing grime. Old toothbrushes are good for hard-to-reach places.
4. Spray lube - GT85 is a popular brand, though it is primarily a water dispersant. It also contains Teflon, and will leave a valuable protective coating. Get it into nooks and crannies. Ideal for a quick squirt if you get in from a ride and don't have time to clean the whole machine.
Worn chain? Need a new cassette? Need to replace the cables? These are the important tools you'll need. Go for good quality as they will do their tasks without a hitch.
1. Lock ring tool - for removing the cassette.
2. Cable ends and spare ferrules - grab a handful and stash them in those funny compartments you get on tool box lids.
3. Chain whip - holds the cassette still when undoing the lock ring.
4. Inner and outer brake and gear cable.
5. Chain tool - for breaking and re-joining your chain. We use a high quality tool from Park and, year after year, it's never let us down.
6. Cable cutters - in the workshop we cut a lot of cable and, again, Park is our preferred choice. Cold forged, heat treated steel for precision cutting - no messing!
Got home to discover you have a slow puncture? Need to take your pedals off, or make minor adjustments? These are the tools you need:
1. Spare inner tube.
2. 3-way allen key - home to the most used allen key sizes: 4mm, 5mm, 6mm.
3. Pedal spanner.
4. Zip ties - ever switched Garmin computer brackets and speed sensors? Zip ties can prevent some mechanical mishaps until you get your bike up to a full bicycle workshop.
5. Tyre levers - always good to have two sets; one for when you're on your bike and one for your tool box.
6. Electrical tape - a good way to keep worn bar tape on the bars, or protect your frame from rubbing cables.
You'll need a place to store your new found tools, bits and bobs. DIY shops have small budget-priced tool boxes, which will fit all of our suggested items. We were thinking something like this tool box from B&Q.