Author Topic: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!  (Read 6135 times)

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Offline SilasTarr

Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« on: August 07, 2011, 11:10:43 pm »
So, you're having an amazing time on a beautiful country road in the middle of nowhere with just you and your bike during a long tour.  Then, it happens.  Something goes wrong and your bicycle needs a quick repair.
But no worry!  You're an experienced bicycle tourist, so you have the gear to tackle such a situation.

You pull out your portable repair kit - What's inside?


---

So, I'm curious to know, what do you carry with you on tours to carry out field repairs?  Personally, I've already got a pretty comprehensive list of the generic items needed (air pump, patch kit, spare tubes, etc.), so I'm mostly interested in the exact brands and products in which you place your trust.  However, I'm sure sharing our own check lists for bike tools and spare parts could be helpful for others, so I'll start this thread by contributing my own current list:

  • Air pump w/ pressure gauge
  • Tube/tire patch kit
  • Tire levers
  • Spare tubes (2)
  • Chain/bike lube
  • Spare spokes (2)
  • Spare quick release axle
  • Bike/shift cable
  • Extra nuts, bolts, bailing wire
  • Replacement cleats
  • Towel/rag
  • Spare chain links and/or extra chain
  • Multi-tool with:
    screwdrivers, wrenches, 2-10 mm Allen, spoke tool, chain tool, knife, etc.
(List adapted/taken from the Complete Bicycle Touring Gear Checklist v5 by Jim Dirlam)


Anything you would add to or take away from this list?  Most importantly, which brands and products did you choose to cover such necessities?  Thanks ahead of time for your feedback!  You guys are always a great help!   ;D


Offline whittierider

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2011, 11:37:16 pm »
If you're going to have some of those like a 10mm allen wrench which is only useful for changing the freehub body, you might as well have a chainwhip and a tool to remove the cassette plus a big wrench to operate it.  That's pretty unnecessary though unless you're going across a third-world continent.  Even an 8mm allen wrench is only for removing the crankset which with external-bearing BBs will be unnecessary for tens of thousands of miles or however long it takes you to wear out a steel granny ring (since you probably can't get the granny ring over the crankarm).

For the tire repair however, I would have a good set of tire boots.  That would include several pieces cut from a Mr. Tuffy or similar tire liner, an a large one cut from an old, thin, worn-out tire with the beads cut off for the worst tire problems.  That way there is no tire problem that will require replacing the tire on the road, even if you blow a big hole in a tire.

If you're going to carry spare spokes, you should at least have one of each length needed on the back.  The front may use a third length, but font-spoke breakage is more rare.

I'm not sure about the extra nuts and bolts, but there have been a couple of times electrical tape would have come in handy.

My cleats take a big flatblade screwdriver.  The one I carry has an L-shape at each end and no bulky handle.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 01:41:58 pm by whittierider »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2011, 08:58:19 am »
I don't see the point of a spare quick release axle.  For one thing, you'd need two to cover both front and rear.  For another, I've read axles don't break nearly as frequently with the modern freehub/cassette as they did with the older freewheel/cluster.  That sounds like a holdover from ancient days.

Having needed and used a spare tire, I'd keep that on the list, but look for a lightweight, foldable tire.

I took a spare chain, which I didn't need.  I'd add a small bottle of chain lube, and leave the chain at home.

I'd also add spare Koolstop Salmon brake pads to fit your bike.  Everything else seems to pick up grit, and listening to my rims get ground away as I brake to make that next hairpin going downhill -- well, no thank you!

Offline whittierider

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2011, 01:50:58 pm »

Quote
I've read axles don't break nearly as frequently with the modern freehub/cassette as they did with the older freewheel/cluster.  That sounds like a holdover from ancient days.

It was the frames with horizontal dropouts

that required an awful lot of force to keep the axle from slipping forward on the right side with a lot of chain tension.  Now that road bikes use vertical dropouts

the skewer doesn't have to be so tight.  Actually a lot of the modern skewers' cam design makes them nearly impossible to get tight enough to hold well in the older horizontal dropouts.

Broken skewers are extremely rare as far as I can tell, but it would make sense that they're usually ones used on horizontal dropouts.  Assuming you have vertical dropouts, there's no worry, unless clamping a trailer mount adds a new worry.

Offline Grumpybear

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2011, 11:10:48 am »
How about duct tape and zip ties? Never leave home without them.

Offline tsteven4

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2011, 08:32:29 pm »
I have always carried spokes, and broken quite a few.  As whittierider  mentioned it takes a bunch of heavy tools to remove a cogset, which is necessary to replace a spoke on the drive side of the rear wheel.  A video is at http://www.parktool.com/product/cassette-lockring-tool-FR-5.  In the old days it was worse with a wide variety of freewheel removal tools and a not insignificant chance the freewheel would break in the attempt.  But in these modern times I carry some kevlar spokes (fiber fix).  These may be the best thing ever, since I started carrying them I haven't had a spoke break, yet alone one on the drive side of the rear wheel.  They are also work for both sides of the rear wheel and the front wheel, which probably all require different length spokes (so 2 spokes may not cover the 3 lengths you might need.)

I wouldn't carry a chain, but I carry and have used a spare master link that is appropriate for your chain.  I would skip the spare quick release.  I carry and have used spare bolts when some holding the rack jiggled out and were lost.  I have carried a little tube of blue locktite ever since, which may be an over reaction.  I definitely use the locktite when installing the rack.  Personally I don't carry spare cables, but I would recommend a careful inspection before you leave, especially of the brake cable near the fat end in the levers.  Look for broken strands.  Also check any cable stops in the brake system, I have had one disintegrate which leads to a total failure of that brake.  

Some judgement on what to take is required, the answer varies depending no your tour location and the ease of getting new parts.

Ahh, I almost forgot, some latex gloves for messing with the chain.

I would add chain lube to the list.

I know you are not flying, but if you were you would need a pedal wrench, I use a short one as a compromise.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 08:37:09 pm by tsteven4 »

Offline whittierider

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2011, 12:26:42 am »
Quote
but if you were you would need a pedal wrench.  I use a short one as a compromise.

Many pedals now have a hole for a 6mm allen wrench.  Check yours and see if yours have it.  It can't apply as much torque as a real pedal wrench, but there's no need to get pedals very tight since precession keeps them from loosening as you ride.

Offline tsteven4

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2011, 08:50:42 am »
Quote
Many pedals now have a hole for a 6mm allen wrench.  Check yours and see if yours have it.
Thanks for the idea, I would love to lighten the toolkit a bit.  Unfortunately the situation is actually worse than I stated.  My pedals have no flats and require an 8mm allen key.  My wifes pedals only have flats.  So we have to take a big allen key and a short pedal wrench.

Quote
It can't apply as much torque as a real pedal wrench, but there's no need to get pedals very tight since precession keeps them from loosening as you ride.
Despite the thread arrangement I have had pedals loosen up.  A nice thing about the 8mm hex hole is that you can use a torque wrench instead of an allen wrench (at home).  Shimano specifies a torque of 35-55N-m (26-41ft-lbs), which I consider to be fairly tight.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2011, 09:11:15 am »
Quote
It can't apply as much torque as a real pedal wrench, but there's no need to get pedals very tight since precession keeps them from loosening as you ride.
Despite the thread arrangement I have had pedals loosen up.  A nice thing about the 8mm hex hole is that you can use a torque wrench instead of an allen wrench (at home).  Shimano specifies a torque of 35-55N-m (26-41ft-lbs), which I consider to be fairly tight.

Some of the multi-tools on the market how have an 8 mm hex gadget that slips over the 6 mm.  If you're worried about sufficient torque, you could start with your multi-tool, then stop at the first auto shop and ask either to borrow their torque wrench or to have the mechanic could check it for you.  I've been looked at oddly, but never turned down when I asked for something simple like that.  (If you feel guilty for asking, slip him a fiver when he's done.)

Offline whittierider

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2011, 01:50:36 pm »

Quote
Despite the thread arrangement I have had pedals loosen up.

Very strange.  Was that with anything in recent decades where the left pedal is left-hand threaded?  I used to put pedals on hardly more than finger-tight and never had a problem; but then I started tightening them a little more after reading that not tightening them may cause thread damage even though the pedal does not come loose.

Offline tsteven4

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2011, 07:48:57 pm »
Quote
Was that with anything in recent decades where the left pedal is left-hand threaded?
The pedals were Shimano PD-M770 which I bought in 2009, crank (Shimano FC-M569) threads were in good shape, pedals were new, all threads cleaned and greased before installation.  Left hand pedal has left hand threads, right hand pedal has right hand threads (I have never seen any other pedal thread arrangement, or cranks that would match anything else).  The combination has been fine since I torqued it.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2011, 11:28:25 am »
Despite the thread arrangement I have had pedals loosen up.
I also have seen that happen and even seen a couple cranks that were destroyed by the pedals coming loose.  I believe in tightening them tight.

Besides, I'd be hesitant to rely on precession not making them hard to remove with a 6mm allen after riding for several thousand miles.

One option would be to stop at a bike shop shortly before the end of the trip and see that they are loose enough to remove with a 6mm allen.  Another would be to carry a smaller 15mm open end wrench like maybe a cone wrench or the short pedal/headset wrench that Park sells.

What I do is start out with the little park wrench to assemble the bike at the airport and then I mail it home.  Since I usually have a bike shop box and ship the bike for the return trip I don't need it again.

Offline DaveB

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2011, 01:53:29 pm »

 Actually a lot of the modern skewers' cam design makes them nearly impossible to get tight enough to hold well in the older horizontal dropouts.

Broken skewers are extremely rare as far as I can tell, but it would make sense that they're usually ones used on horizontal dropouts.  Assuming you have vertical dropouts, there's no worry, unless clamping a trailer mount adds a new worry.
The skewers you note as impossible to get tight enough are the external cam design and often boutique items with Ti skewers and aluminum nuts.  Avoid those on any touring bike no matter what the dropout configuration.   

Really strong skewers that will get tight enough to hold anything are the internal cam design with steel rods used by Shimano and Campy and a few others.  These are both stronger and more durable than any external cam design.  I've never seen one of these break and probably won't unless tightened with a mallet.

Offline Bicycle Rider

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2011, 12:36:19 pm »
On all rides I carry:

On the bike:
  • A pump (full size, works great on dogs as well as tires ::) )
  • Spare spoke (one size fits both the front and rear wheel, both sides (a little "Macgyverism" of mine  ;D )!

In a small wedge shaped pack nestled in the rear triangle:
  • Spare tube
  • Patch kit
  • Wide jaw 6" crescent wrench
  • "Swiss Biker's Knife" which has an Allen set (2-6mm) Phillips and slotted screwdriver
  • Tiny chain tool (about 1/3 the size of a disposable lighter) works with an Allen key and the crescent wrench.
  • Spare chain link and a few "quick release" links.

The latter two fit inside the patch kit box, and with these tools I can repair 85%-90% of the bike. For longer tours (over a week), I also carry;

  • Spanners for headset and BB.
  • Cone wrenches.
  • Misc spare parts (folding tire, bearing cones, balls, more than just one spare chain link, cables.)
  • Small containers of lubricants (White Lightning and waterproof grease)

With these additions I can repair the entire bicycle.

This is why I stubbornly hang on to older technology; it is user serviceable. I even use the old style UniGlide cog sets, These let me remove the cogs without any tools to get at a broken spoke on the chain side. Also, if a cog wears I can also reverse it and get a few thousand more miles of use out of it. I dare any of you to try either of those with the newer one piece cog sets with their "handicap ramps".

IMO, the newer "no need for maintainance" s**t has only one purpose: Not to make thing easier for us, but to make more money for the manufacturers. With simple maintainance the old stuff will last longer (because it is getting maintainance. The new stuff forces you to use it until it wears out. Then pray the more expen$ive replacement will still be compatable with the thirteen other things it is supposed to work with. Otherwise you will have to replace them a$$$$ well.  >:(

~End of rant~ ;D
« Last Edit: August 23, 2011, 12:44:06 pm by Bicycle Rider »
May you always have the winds at your back, and a low enough gear for the grades

Offline whittierider

Re: Your Portable Repair Kit - What's Inside?!
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2011, 04:33:06 pm »
BicycleRider, I like some of the old stuff too, but be aware that Shimano's hubs all still use cup-and-cone bearings because these last pretty much indefinitely if they're adjusted right, meaning there's some play in them when they're out of the bike, just enough that it just barely disappears when you squeeze the skewer down tight.  With rubber seals just inside the dust caps, they keep the dirt out a lot better than the older type also.

Modern external-bearing bottom brackets last far longer than the old loose-bearing ones we had decades ago.  (That's not true of the internal-bearing ones though, especially the Isis type.)  I have 26,000 miles on my GXP external-bearing BB and it acts and feels like brand new, in spite of a lot of climbing.  You mention the "cog set" though.  If you mean a cassette, that goes with a freehub body, so you better have the tools to remove and replace that too, because they do go out.  For Shimano, it just takes a 10mm allen wrench.  If you mean a freewheel, make sure you add the appropriate freewheel remover to your list of tools.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 03:30:59 pm by whittierider »