Bikes are tough and modern components mean you can take them through extreme conditions. However, the chances are your bike will need some routine maintenance on any multi-day adventure. Give your bike some TLC and it will look after you in return.
Mastering a few basic skills and taking an essential repair kit on any ride will help avoid significant mechanicals and get you to safety if something more serious does go wrong.
This article answers a few fundamental questions:
- what tools should be in a bike repair kit when bikepacking and cycle touring
- what are the essential bike maintenance and repair skills all cyclists should know
- what are the routine maintenance checks to carry out on my bike
What tools should be in a bike repair kit when bikepacking and cycle touring
For many the repair kit starts and ends with a phone and credit card. But knowing you can get yourself out of most situations without needing help means you can take on adventures into wilder and more remote areas.
The actual tools we take depends on the journey and we've developed a repair kit checklist that includes:
- Multitool incl chain tool
- Puncture repair kit/instant patches
- Spare inner tubes
- Tyre levers
- Mini-tyre pump/CO2 inflator
- Spare rear mech hanger
- Shock pump
- Chain lube/oil
- Black cable zip ties
- Latex gloves for greasy work
- Pliers/wire cutters/hacksaw blade
- Spare cable end caps
- Cassette removal tool
- Spoke key
What are the essential bike maintenance and repair skills for bikepacking and cycle touring that all cyclists should know
There's a joy to knowing your bike and how to maintain it. The riding experience changes and you hear how the bike is getting on and what various creaks, cracks, jolts and noises mean.
You don't need to be a Cytech qualified mechanic to undertake a multi-day ride but there are a few basic skills that will help you on your journey.
We've partnered with Bicycle Maintenance App to give you a free bike maintenance guide. Together these form an online bike maintenance course that gives you the information to master:
- how to replace an inner tube
- dealing with a snapped chain
- dealing with a broken rear mech
- how to adjust a rear derailleur
- how to adjust a front derailleur
- how to true a wheel
- dealing with a snapped rear gear cable
- dealing with a torn tyre
The less common skills that you may need but are less likely are:
- how to bleed a hydraulic brake system
- wheel repair including freehub servicing
- maintaining and changing a bottom bracket, headset and other bearings
Master the routine bike checks will keeps bike in tip top condition and help prevent major mechanicals.
- wash the bike regularly to stop dirt and grit making its way into bike componentskeep the tyres inflated and check tyres for damage
- clean the chain and lubricate with chain lube
- check and clean brakes and change brake pads if necessary. Clean with a rag stops squeaky brakes and grit contaminated your pads.
- check contact points: adjust saddle, bar, pedals, brake levers. This helps prevent components seizing.
- check gear and brake cables for damage