What mountain bike tools should I take on my ride?

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Answered by: Steven, An Expert in the Mountain Biking 101 Category

A lot of things can happen on your ride and if you are not prepared it can make for a disappointing walk home. There are many tools needed to keep a mountain bike running properly. Obviously you can't carry all of them, but there are a few essentials that you should never ride without. Here are three mountain bike tools you should never ride without: 1. Allen Wrenches - Allen wrenches are used to tighten or loosen just about every bolt on your bike. From your handlebars to your brake calipers, you can find allen bolts from top to bottom and front to back on your rig. We've all taken a spill and then noticed our stem had turned when we got up. Riding with crooked bars is no fun and sometimes its not even possible. Having an allen wrench will allow you to straighten everything out so you can keep rolling. Typically you'll only need a 4mm and 5mm, but I would recommend buying one of the little folding allen sets that they have at bike shops. They are easy to carry and then you'll have every size you could possibly need. 2. Spoke Wrench - You'd be surprised how much a spoke wrench can help. If you hit a rock hard, come up short on a drop, or just forget to check your wheels for a while spokes will loosen up and your rim will bend slightly. Once these slight bends add up your tire will begin to rub on your frame. Not only is this annoying, it can also be dangerous if your wheel suddenly stops turning. Spoke wrenches come in three sizes. Find out which size fits your spoke nipples and take it on every ride. They are very small and will easily fit in your pocket. If your wheel doesn't seem to be spinning right or you hear a creaking noise it's time to take a look as your spokes. 3. Small Pump or CO2 Kit - Having a way to inflate your tire is crucial. If you have a small puncture you may not notice for a while. By the time you catch it you might be miles away from civilization. Ideally you will have a spare tube as well but even if you don't just being able to re-inflate your old tube once it goes flat can give you a much easier trek home. If your bike has a water bottle cage mount then you can buy a pump that attaches to your bike there. If your bike doesn't have a mounting spot you can easily fit a small hand pump in a backpack or carry a CO2 valve and canister in your pocket. I like to put a CO2 valve and canister into an Altoids tin with a spoke wrench. Its a great way to keep everything together and make sure nothing gets broken if you fall. There you have it, a few small mountain bike tools that are inexpensive, easy to carry, and extremely useful. If you ride long enough you will run into an issue at some point, but if you bring these tools along and you'll be back in the saddle in minutes.

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