Author Topic: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy  (Read 9163 times)

NumberCruncher

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Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« on: July 18, 2013, 09:39:34 AM »
I've seen some talk on various topics touch on this, but haven't really seen a list before -- what are the basic things you want to have on hand for a bike commute? (gear-wise)

Background: I am planning to bike to work for the first time next week (using this weekend as practice). It is ~6 miles one way.

I have started this list:

1) bike (have)
2) helmet (have)
3) lock (have)
4) patch kit??
5) mini pump??
6) spare tube?? (how often do you get flats?)
7) multitool??
8) rear bag, seat bag, or panniers to carry #s 4-7 (maybe just bungee a bag on the rear rack)??
9) lights (ordered some cheap on amazon)

Should I just start going to work and slowly building up tools and the like as I need them? I can't take a bus back, but a bike shop is 4.5 miles from work (on my way home), mostly walkable streets.

Should I see to getting a rack on the car so if nothing else my husband could likely pick me up?

These things obviously add up pretty quickly O.o I don't want to spend more than I need to, but I want to be prepared.

matchewed

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2013, 09:43:41 AM »
Hex/Allen Wrench set. A multitool generally will not have that.

Everything else seems about right, a tire lever may be needed too. You could always just chat with the bike shop guys and piece together a small kit.

I did see a clever thing on lifehacker about converting a sports bottle into a tool box for your bike so unless you need to carry more stuff you won't need to carry large bags. Alternatively you can get one of those bags that mount under the seat.

napalminator

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2013, 10:07:25 AM »
a larger multitool will have a nice assortment of allen wrenches.  here's one from Park that has all the common tools you'd need, except for perhaps a chain tool: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1030462_-1_400153__400153

here's one with a chain tool: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1102189_-1_400153__400153

here's a minimalist tool from Park that will still handle quite a few repairs: http://www.rei.com/product/639291/park-multi-tool-mt-1



Definitely get a pump, tool, and patch kit.  This little kit from Planet Bike takes care of levers and patches: http://www.rei.com/product/756363/planet-bike-lunar-levers-with-patch-kit

here's a cheap little pump: http://www.rei.com/product/776958/planet-bike-micromite-mini-pump

If you buy a pump, make sure it works with your valve type.  Most pumps have heads that will work on either Presta or Schrader, but there's a few out there that don't. 

When you buy a tube, match up the valve type and tire size.  If you aren't sure, just take your wheel into the shop and they'll pick out the right one for you.


anastrophe

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2013, 10:15:28 AM »
And it's worth it to get a good multitool. You can put all those tools in your bag separately, but they'll rattle around and you're likely to lose one. And cheap multitools aren't worth it. Make sure you have tire levers and a patch kit.

I also recommend latex gloves and a small length of cord. Those can come in very handy, you don't want to have to scrub dirty bike grease out from under your fingernails when you're running late for a meeting and had to change a flat or whatever on the way in.

Matt K

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2013, 11:38:08 AM »
1) bike (have)
2) helmet (have)
3) lock (have)
4) patch kit??
5) mini pump??
6) spare tube?? (how often do you get flats?)
7) multitool??
8) rear bag, seat bag, or panniers to carry #s 4-7 (maybe just bungee a bag on the rear rack)??
9) lights (ordered some cheap on amazon)

A patch kit isn't needed, just carry an inner tube (two if you are paranoid) of the correct size and valve type. You can patch at home later if you like, but chances are, if you get a flat, you'll want to change it and carry on as quickly as possible - that means a tube swap not a patch job.

Mini pump is good, plastic tire levers are also good (a set of three costs $2 a bike store). Check how your wheels are held on. Cheap bikes tend to use a sold through axle that needs a 15mm wrench to take on or off. Quick release take no tools, and soem mountain bikes need a 6mm or 8mm allen key (8mm is only ever used on big bad Downhill bikes, so not something you'll run into).

Multi-tool is a must. Plenty of good brands. Make sure it has: 2.5mm 3mm 4mm 5mm and 6mm allen keys, phillips and flat head screw-drivers. If you have disc brakes on your bike a Torx driver is good. Rotor bolts are the only thing on most bikes that use torx bolts, so if you have rim (normal) brakes, don't worry about it.

Zip ties. just have four or five in your bag, they are even better than duct tape to a cyclist.

I like panniers, but a simple backpack works too. All this stuff will fit into a really small space. Underseat bags can hold it all just fine (maybe not two inner tubes).

How often you get flats depends a lot on you, how you ride, the roads you ride on, and how often you check your tire pressure. I get less than one flat a year commuting. I know guys who don't check their tires and get three or four. If you are riding an mountain bike style bike, always ride above 30psi on the roads. Usually more like 40 or 50 depending on tires. Skinny tire road bikes need more pressure, 60psi or more for a sport-touring bike, 100psi for a performance bike. I'd run 80% of whatever the max on your tire says and adjust from there (more air = faster but harder ride, less air is marginally slower but more comfortable).

GuitarStv

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 12:53:06 PM »
Many great recommendations so far, but also:

Fenders!- even if you don't ride in the rain often, fenders keep you dry if you're riding AFTER it rained.  They also keep a lot of crap off of your drivetrain.

If you don't have much stuff to carry (just a patch kit or whatever) you might just want to pick up one of those cheap under the seat bags.  Something like this would work well:


If you want to carry around lots of stuff on a regular basis, a rack and panniers are very handy.

napalminator

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2013, 04:48:32 PM »
1) bike (have)
2) helmet (have)
3) lock (have)
4) patch kit??
5) mini pump??
6) spare tube?? (how often do you get flats?)
7) multitool??
8) rear bag, seat bag, or panniers to carry #s 4-7 (maybe just bungee a bag on the rear rack)??
9) lights (ordered some cheap on amazon)

A patch kit isn't needed, just carry an inner tube (two if you are paranoid) of the correct size and valve type. You can patch at home later if you like, but chances are, if you get a flat, you'll want to change it and carry on as quickly as possible - that means a tube swap not a patch job.

no patch kit is needed... until you get a flat, and forget to buy a new tube, and just keep on riding every day with that holey tube in your bag, and you get another flat and whoops! 

patch kits are cheap, small, and light.  no reason not to have one.  if you're lazy or short on time, get glueless patches: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1035408_-1_400234__400234

jfer_rose

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2013, 05:32:54 PM »
I think whether or not to carry a flat repair kit depends in part on what kind of bike you are riding. I used to get flat tires often when I rode a road bike. Sometimes I would get those flats on the way to work (a 11 mile trip at the time), so it was absolutely necessary to have a spare tube and/or patch kit, tire levers, pump, etc. When I switched to a more utilitarian bike and a shorter commute I stopped carrying all that stuff. I easily ride my current bike 3,000 miles in a year and I've never gotten a flat while out and about. I've had it for two years. Good thing I've never gotten a flat too because the wheels aren't quick release and the rear wheel had an internal hub which I haven't learned how to remove yet. But the current commute is only 5 miles one way, so even if I did get a flat I could walk home if I needed to.

What I do carry on my current bike commute:
lock
lights
bell (required by law where I live)
bungee cord so I can strap stuff on my rack
skirt garter (if my skirt starts blowing up, I clip that on)
my lunch
change of clothes if the weather requires it (I prefer to bike in what I'm going to wear that day, but the weather doesn't always allow it)

zinnie

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2013, 06:37:10 PM »
It sounds like you'd probably be ok with what you have, at least for the first few rides. The things you have plus the lights you ordered are the essentials. Six miles isn't that far--and it's great you know where a bike shop is on the way. If you have a crisis before you get all the tools could you just take off tires and fit in the car? Or, it's not THAT far of a walk, assuming you make it at least a couple of miles first... :)

The next things I'd buy would be a seat bag like the pic GuitarStv posted that you can put a multi tool and spare tube in. In addition to that, I just have a little pump that attaches to my frame. I don't have a patch kit, just the lever things to pull the tube out. I like having my repair stuff in one place that is always attached to my bike. Then I can't forget it.

You could easily just bungee a bag to your rack if you don't have a pannier yet, or wear a backpack for stuff. Though, when I finally got a nice big pannier I started using my bike for so many more things--it's so much easier to carry heavy or bulky stuff!

My two cents, for what it's worth: if getting all the stuff now will make you feel more prepared/ safer, just go and buy it all. The price is pretty minimal compared to what it would cost driving to work every day.

(And, congrats on starting to bike commute, by the way!)

m8547

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 09:35:06 PM »
I would carry a tube or patch kit, and a pump if you are riding farther than you can walk and if there is no way to get a ride from someone if you get a flat. If you can easily get a ride from someone (coworker, family, friend, bus) then you probably don't need to carry anything special.

I like my Topeak Mini 9 multi-tool. It's small, durable, and has everything I need except for a chain tool and a flathead screw driver (I've never needed a flathead while riding, but they are handy for prying stuff). I use the tool for all my bike repairs; I don't even own a full sized hex key set.  I also carry a Topeak chain tool, which is better than the chain tool in 90% of multi-tools because it is long enough to have enough leverage to actually work and because it has two "fences", one for tightening and one for loosening links. The one in napalminator's second link and ones that look like it don't have enough leverage for stubborn chains, and that one only has one fence. The second fence is used to loosen stuck links, which can happen on their own or, often, after you reassemble a broken chain.
http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/tight-link-repair-ct-3-ct-5-ct-6-ct-7
Here's the chain tool I carry:
www.amazon.com/dp/B000FIE4EK/

If you want an all-in-one tool, I would go with something like the Topeak Hexus II. It's one of the few multi-tools I've seen with a good built-in chain tool.

Everyone should learn how to change a bike tire without tire levers. I almost never use them any more.
http://www.teamestrogen.com/content/asa_levers

napalminator

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2013, 10:19:14 PM »
it bears mentioning that if you're riding a fairly new bike (or at least new chain), on the road, at a moderate pace, your likelihood of needing a chain tool for a roadside repair are extremely slim.  if you get more serious about cycling and do your own maintenance, or put more stress on your bike, a quality chain tool like the Topeak one referenced above is a wise investment.

NumberCruncher

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2013, 08:24:25 AM »
Thanks for all the replies, everyone!

I have a pump ordered and will swing by the bike shop for a spare tube (not sure exactly what kind to get yet! Tried looking on the treads, but didn't know how to read it beyond the psi fill) I got a patch kit too as it had tire levers and was pretty cheap (gotta try that without the levers sometime, though!). Looking at seat bags now...probably worth it to just buy one (but I'll take a stab at making a pannier -- finally have the space for crafts like this - yaay)

Man...multitools and chain tools. They confuse me. Right now I could fix a spare on my front (quick disconnect) tire. I have close to no clue on how to fix anything else besides the easy things like adjusting the seat, etc. I might go without for a few rides as I get more comfortable with my bike and start reading up more on bike maintenance. I got an older bike on Craigslist that had been revamped by a local bike shop (this one half a mile from home!) - I think you'd call it a hybrid (tires say 40-65 psi), and I don't have disk brakes.

Cinder

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2013, 11:42:20 AM »
On the tube vs patch issue..

As was mentioned above, if you want to repair the tube without taking it off the bike (non-quick release, etc..) then you can patch it without removing the tire from the frame.

However, throwing a fresh tube on and worrying about the patch later is much eaiser/quicker. 


In addition to that, make sure you have some small type of pliers (like on a multi-tool).  I've had to pull out a small shard of glass from my wheel.  If I had put in a new tube or a patch, it would have just re-punctured if I had not removed it, and it wasn't obvious like a nail or other object sticking though the tread!

mpbaker22

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2013, 11:50:17 AM »
I would highly recommend nashbar.com, but stay away from their panniers.
I have the woody one.  It's pretty good and suits my purposes.  Has a few hex wrenches but other tools as well.

If you have high PSI tires, I'd recommend getting a CO2 inflator.  Just make sure your cartridges match the inflator you get.  It will make changing tubes much easier compared to a mini pump.

About flats - I ride a road bike, and maybe I'm just extremely luck.  I've only once gotten a flat tire.  I changed tires and tubes after about a 1000 miles, but even that was to prepare for a ride on a crushed limestone trail.  Ironically, my only flat came on the first day riding on that trail, which was my 2nd or 3rd day on the new tubes.
Haven't gotten a flat after another 500 miles.

hybrid

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2013, 02:57:51 PM »
I've had three flats in my first two months of commuting, definitely carry a spare tube. 

mpbaker22

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2013, 10:29:02 AM »
I've had three flats in my first two months of commuting, definitely carry a spare tube.

Seems like YMMLV - Your mileage may literally vary.  I definitely carry them as a precaution, but I've somehow never needed to make a change.

AJDZee

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2013, 08:33:02 PM »
Wow after reading this thread I feel like I've been living dangerously (ignorantly?) because i've been commuting my 10mi to work and don't have a spare tube, nor a multi kit or a patch kit... and I just youtubed how to change a tube, never had a flat before.

I ride a Specialized hybrid with road tires that came with bike 3 years ago. And I'm very sure I always have my tires under inflated because my cheap floor pump can't inflate to 80psi.

I found a Topeak Joeblow Sprt II floor pump for $35 (+tax/shipping) from Performance Bicycle... is that a good deal? Is that a decent pump? I hate buying new things these days but kijiji and CL aren't offering much right now.

Matt K

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Re: Basic Bike Gear - What to buy, where to buy
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2013, 06:44:00 AM »
I ride a Specialized hybrid with road tires that came with bike 3 years ago. And I'm very sure I always have my tires under inflated because my cheap floor pump can't inflate to 80psi.

I found a Topeak Joeblow Sprt II floor pump for $35 (+tax/shipping) from Performance Bicycle... is that a good deal? Is that a decent pump? I hate buying new things these days but kijiji and CL aren't offering much right now.

First, to answer your question, topeak is a good brand, I've had a couple of their mini pumps, and their multi-tools are top notch. Take care of it (don't leave it beside heat sources that will dry out the seals) and it'll last a decade.

Second - if you want to get real technical and want a better 'fit' than the 80% max psi rule-of-thumb, you cna figure out the exact tire pressure for you. You need your bike, a pump, a pressure gauge, a ruler, and a buddy.

Inflate the tires to max listed pressure. Take a ruler and measure the height of the sidewall from the ground to the bottom of the rims (basically the distance from the ground to the lowest bit of metal on the wheel). Measure both back and front wheel. Measure in mm, it'll help. Multiply that number by 0.85. This gives you a 15% sag. While sitting on your bike have a buddy slowly let air out until each wheel sits at it's 15% sag height. Measure the air pressure in each wheel and write it down. You now have the tire manufacturer's ideal pressure for you. This'll give you a good balance between speed, comfort, and long tire life.