Ask the Komorebi Cycling Team: Tools and On-trail Repairs
We're back with another Ask The Komorebi Cycling Team* post! This time, we're addressing the common concern of what tools you should have on you while out bikepacking and what repairs you should learn to manage trail-side.
If you’re getting ready for your first bikepacking adventure, having the right tools and spare parts is key. It’s pretty likely that your journey will take you out to some pretty remote places with no bike shops for many, many miles. The last thing you want to do is spend your day pushing your bike and wondering just how you’ll get it back home.
Before you head out, make sure everything on your bike is in good working order. If something seems a little off, sounds strange, or looks funny - go get it checked out at your local shop. We also recommend that you seek out a drop-in night at a shop, where you can learn how to make the adjustments yourself. The more you know about your bike and how it works, the more prepared you’ll be to fix things out on the trail. On that note, there are a few essential repairs you should be confident on how to do before heading into the backcountry - flat fix, gear/brake adjustment and chain repair. There are a ton of videos online or look for classes at your local shop. I also highly recommend this book, it’s the one that first taught me how to work on bikes.
The next important thing to consider is packing all the necessary tools with you. I would recommend that you and everyone you're riding with have what it takes to fix a flat tire. This would include a patch kit, tire levers, spare tube (or 2), pump and a tire boot for major tire damage. The following list of tools could be carried by one or a few people, depending on group size, but it also couldn’t hurt for everyone to have their own.
Allen keys - having a full set (2.5mm-6mm) is ideal. These can come in a multi-tool set or individually. While the multi-tool setup is convenient, sometimes having a bulky tools can make it difficult to get to a hard to reach bolt so I opt for a loose set.
Multi-tool - For this, I’m a huge fan of Leatherman multi-tools. Mine has a knife, pliers, flat head and phillips head screwdriver and a bottle opener. Great because it’s useful for camping and some bike repairs.
Lube - several companies make very small bottles that are ideal for bikepacking. You’re never going to need very much so no need to carry a huge bottle. Along with lube, having wipes is great in case you need to clean a dusty or muddy bike or greasy hands from a repair. I’m a fan of these. A set of nitrile gloves can be nice for trailside repairs so you don’t have to spend the rest of your day with dirty hands.
Spare parts - as I mentioned earlier, it’s not likely that you’ll be near a bike shop on a bike trip out to the woods so there are some extra parts that are key to bring along. It’s likely you won’t need them, but if something breaks, you’ll be glad you brought them. I recommend a chain master link, a few 5 mm bolts and a shift cable and a brake cable (if you’re not using hydraulic disc brakes).
Post by Hazel Gross.
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