Commuter's Essential Toolbox [From BA 42-100]

Commuter Toolbox Best of Boneshaker

"Part of the beauty of bicycles is how unique every one is. A long history of bicycle evolution correlates to an interesting, yet dense and seemingly infinite list of tools to go along with it."

from BA 42-100

Below are the essential tools for every commuter’s mechanical needs. Acquire them. Learn how to use them. Take care of them like you take care of your bike. Then, don’t be surprised if you end up conquering every mechanical issue you encounter.

1)   General

a.    Work Stand – Park PCS-1: Collapsible, adjustable, dependable, affordable. Solid clamp.

b.    Multi Tool – Crank Brothers M-17: Every tool for every ride. Compact, sturdy, and sleek.

c.     Lubricant – Boeshield T-9: For cables, chains, nuts, and bolts. Creaks and squeaks beware, this formula is used on spaceships.

d.     Grease – Park PolyLube 1000: Go green with this food for all nuts and bolts. Rich with nutrients for threads of any size, shape, and color.

e.     Tape Measure – Zippo: Metric is in. Keep your adjustments dialed.

f.      Y Tool– Park AWS-1: Six-point allens, #’s 4,5, and 6. Used endlessly around the entire bicycle.

g.     Screwdrivers – Wiha: German screwdrivers made for the masses. Phillips and flathead, one big and one small of each.

h.    Adjustable Wrench – Snap-On, Craftsman, etc.: Adjustability from 2mm to 25mm will do for almost anything on the bike that is a bit too loose, or a touch too tight.

i.      Round Cutters – Pedro’s: Cables line the bike, unless the whip of choice rolls with a coaster or no brakes at all. For quick, clean cuts, these yellow gripped choppers are essential.

j.      Angle Cutters – Snap-On, Craftsman, etc.: Housing shields your cables from the elements. A jagged cut cramps the cable, causing friction and loss of smooth braking and shifting. Keep ’em sharp for extra snappy cuts.

k.     Needle Nose Pliers – Snap-On, Craftsman, etc.: For all of the grabbing fingers can’t do.

l.      Dead Blow Hammer – Snap-On HSP-D16: Rubber on one side, steel on the other. Sometimes all it takes is one hard hit to get the job done.


2)    Wheels

a.     Mini Pump – Serfas Bullet: Most durable high-pressure pump around. Presta and Schrader all in one.

b.     Tire Levers – Pedro’s: Thick and colorful. These levers impress for even the tightest fitting tire.

c.     Spoke Wrenches – Park SW-40/SW-42 (Red/Black): Two wrenches that will fit almost any spoke on any wheel.

d.     Cone Wrenches – Pedro’s 13-17mm: Smooth rolling hubs are a must. Fine-tuning can be difficult, but these wrenches make the job a whole lot easier.


3)    Drivetrain

a.     Chain Tool – Park CT-3/Shimano TL-CN32: The Park model fits all chains, while the Shimano works for 1/8” chains only. Both will stay in the box through many tune-ups.

b.     Chain Whip – Wheels Manufacturing: Good length, nice grip. Particularly necessary for single speeds and fixed gears.

c.     Lockring Tool – Park HCW-5: Another must for the singlespeed and fixed gear rider.

d.     Crank Tool – Park CCW-5: 8mm allen on one side, 15mm fixed socket on the reverse. Works well for old and new school crank sets.

e.     Crank Puller – Park CCP-2: After using the crank tool to remove the bolt, this gem of a tool will pull the crank off of the bottom bracket spindle.

f.      Pedal Wrench – Pedro’s: Extra yellow and extra long for all the torque necessary to remove even the rustiest pedal.


4)    Steering

a.     Headset Wrenches – Park HW-2/HCW-15: Dialing in a headset can be tough without the right tools. These two wrenches, one thick, one thin, both with 32mm and 36mm ends will help eliminate front-end chatter and rotational friction.


Editor’s note: Part of the beauty of bicycles is how unique every one is. A long history of bicycle evolution correlates to an interesting, yet dense and seemingly infinite list of tools to go along with it. Boneshaker’s “Commuter’s Essential Toolbox” should be sufficient for every cyclist on the road today; overkill for some, lacking for others, just right for most. Any complication these tools don’t address should be taken up with your local shop. They need your support and are happy to help (as if you weren’t going to be riding through to purchase another ultra-bright, super-flashing, visibility accessory anyways).

Illustration by Daniel Rebour

Evan P. Schneider