It goes without saying but – hey – we’re going to anyway: when you’re hitting the trails, you can never be too prepared. The terrain will inevitably hold bumps and holes and jumps that will catch even the most experienced riders by surprise. So, do you have the necessary tools and equipment to bounce back from any mechanicals that your bike may incur? Below we’ve put together our list of top five items (in no specific order) that you need on the trail to push you and your bike as hard as possible – without having to worry whether or not your bike will make it back in one piece.
A multi-tool is the holy grail of all trail tools for obvious reasons. Sure, we may be a little biased since the Alchemy Factory Racing Team runs this one, but the OneUp EDC Tool System is the perfect tool for any need. With the EDC (Every Day Carry) tool kit, you can skip the bulky backpack and still have all your essentials at your fingertips, as the whole tool stores right inside your steer tube for easy access. Within the half pound kit, you’ll find:
- T25 torx wrench
- 2mm, 2.5 mm, 3 mm, 4 mm, 5 mm, 6 mm, and 8 mm Hex wrenches
- A tire lever
- Chain breaker
- Flathead screwdriver
- Spoke keys and a few other useful gadgets
When you don’t want to deal with the manual labor that goes into using a mini-pump, go straight for a CO2 cartridge inflator for any trailside flats. They offer the quickest solution to a flat and are small enough to be packed away tightly. In fact, the OneUp EDC Tool System from above has a 20g CO2 cartridge storage unit.
When picking a cartridge, it’s important to note that if you have bigger tires, like 29ers, you’ll want to go with the bigger cartridges to ensure there’s enough CO2 to get you off the trail without another flat. Also, know that CO2 gas is not compatible with most sealants because of its freezing temperatures, so always install a tube first when repairing trailside.
Spare Master Link
Not all of us have been there, but for those that have, we’ll never make the same mistake again. Damage to chains can happen for a variety of reasons (i.e. rock hits, derailleurs out of adjustment, muddy conditions, etc.) but once you’ve been caught out on the trail without a way to fix a damaged chain, you’ll never ride without a spare master link and chain tool again.
Make sure your spare master link is compatible with your chain (most notably 11 or 12 speed), and you’ll be set to repair a chain in case it breaks, you need to shorten it, or any other reason your drivetrain may bite the dust. Sure you can still ride the descents without a chain, but hiking every flat and climb back to your car is never a good way to maximize the stoke of a day out on the bike.
If you’re riding tubeless and find that you’ve ridden over a nail, thorns, or broken glass, a plug kit is a must-have, and OneUp’s Plug & Pliers Kit is a no-brainer. The kit is a perfect addition to the EDC Tool System and its Quick Link Breaker Pliers are compatible with all 10, 11 and 12 speed quick link chains. It comes with a tire plug jabber tool and 15 bacon strips to repair any pesky punctures in your tires. String two strips into the jabber tool for access at any point, so when you notice a puncture, you’ll be prepared.
We couldn’t not include this one – it may be the most important tool to have trailside. Whether you’ve made it to the summit or just want a break along the route, one of the best ways to enjoy the trail is with a beer as the end goal (preferably IPA – but potato, pat-a-to). You deserve an award for your hard riding so crack open a cold one with the boys, the girls, and your bike in tow.
Are there any tools you can’t live without that we didn’t mention? Tell us what they are and how they’ve saved you on the trail!