Tooling Up- A BMX Survival Guide

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Its been said before and I’ll say it again, bikes are getting easier and easier to maintain, repair, dis-and re-assemble at a moments notice.  Most bikes can be chucked into a golf flight bag in ten minutes with little more than a six millimetre allen key and a 17 mm socket if pegs are your bag.  Bikes are nigh on perfect now but what about the tools you use to work on them? Are you still riding around with several pounds of ring spanners, a rubber mallet and your granddad’s old cross wrench in a military grade canvas rucksack or are you carrying something a little more subtle in your back pocket?

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In my mind there are two types or riding; sessioning and cruising.  With sessioning you find something good to ride (whatever that is in your mind, in mine it’s a wall ride…) put down your bag and jacket and you tend to stay in one area.  With cruising you’re just rolling down the street, hopping curbs and generally not stopping too much; a bag isn’t really something you want here. Both of these situations influence your decision on what tools you carry on your person but unfortunately your bike usually has other plans…
Being caught short can rue the day and there’s nothing worse than slipping your bars and having to ride home with your chin on your stem.  Or walking.  Especially if all you need is a spoke key.

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So what is the least you can get away with carrying? While I personally carry a yellow spokey, a six millimetre allen key and a puncture kit and pray I can find a shop or petrol station with a pump if the worst happens, this is probably not the most sensible option.
Lets start with the obvious; the ‘multitool-with-everything-you-could-ever-want-on-it’, namely the Shadow Conspiracy multitool, DK Random Wrench, Animal Kotulak, Eclat E-Tools and Salt Plus Tool Tube. While they vary from the all-bells-and-whistles of the Animal and Shadow tools with built-in chain splitters, and imperial allen keys to simpler offerings like from Eclat which could definitely tuck away in a winter coat.  The main drawback is that you need something to carry it in as you generally wont fit it into your jeans pocket without looking like the bassist from This Is Spinal Tap.

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The next kind of tool to consider is a pocket tool, Alfaro or Stolen’s Piece tool is a good start if you’re pegless, with a five (or 1/4″ in Alfaro’s case) and a six millimetre, tyre lever and a spoke key it’s got the bare bones of what you need to get going again and you never notice it in our pocket.  Salt Plus’s Flip tool is another good example, with a chain splitter and multiple allen keys you could strip a pegless bike to the bare bones.  If you ride pegs, Merritt’s Trifecta tool is a handy little telescopic 17mm socket with a 6 and an 8mm allen key attachment, it folds away to a mere 5 inches and even comes with hook and loop straps to carry it on your frame.  The cons of such tools is that there’s always a chance you wont have the particular tool you need on you at the time.

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That’s most people catered for but there are still some people out there who just can’t deal with a pocket full of stuff ruining the cut of their jeans or wearing the same backpack they used at school to carry tools you MIGHT need to fix your bike later.  I know, it’s hard.  Thankfully BMX has your back, companies like Kis and Wethepeople are turning the very same seatposts we sit above into 17mm sockets, so all you need to carry is a six to get that sucker out…. And you don’t even need to carry THAT if you have a Wethepeople Smuggler seat, well, if you can fit an allen key in beside all the weed you probably keep in there.  If aesthetics are your thing then you should watch out that your post doesn’t get too scratched up by reinserting the post into the frame.

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Other than the subject of pumps (of which this offering from Vocal was the only thing I could find worth half-mentioning) that’s about the long and short of it, there are plenty of BMX tool solutions out there to suit everyone so get tooled up, get out there and ride untill the wheels fall off.  Then screw them back on again.

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