Bikes are tough and modern components mean you can take them through extreme conditions. However, the chances are your bike will need some routine maintenance on any multi-day adventure. Give your bike some TLC and it will look after you in return.
Mastering a few basic skills and taking an essential repair kit on any ride will help avoid significant mechanicals and get you to safety if something more serious does go wrong. We'll cover:
- What To Carry In Your Bike Repair Kit For Bikepacking And Cycle Touring
- What Are Essential Bike Maintenance And Repair Skills?
- What Routine Bike Maintenance Checks Should I Carry Out?
What To Carry In Your Bike Repair Kit For Bikepacking And Cycle Touring
For many, the repair kit starts and ends with a phone and credit card. But knowing you can get yourself out of most situations without needing help means you can take on adventures into wilder and more remote areas.
The actual tools we take depends on the journey – you'd need very different tools and spares for a round-the-world trip to a long weekend in your home country. As a starting point, our repair kit checklist for longer journeys includes:
- Multitool (including chain tool)
- Mini-tyre pump/CO2 inflator
- Tyre levers
- Pliers/wire cutters
- Spoke key
- Shock pump (MTB only)
- Adjustable spanner (if necessary, for pannier nuts etc.)
- Chain lube/oil
- Puncture repair kit/instant patches
- Tubeless repair kit (for tubeless tyres)
- Cable zip ties
- Duct tape
What Are Essential Bike Maintenance And Repair Skills?
There's a joy to knowing your bike and how to maintain it. The riding experience changes and you hear how the bike is getting on and what various creaks, cracks, jolts and noises mean.
You don't need to be a Cytech qualified mechanic to undertake a multi-day ride but there are a few basic skills that will help you on your journey.
We've partnered with Bicycle Maintenance App to give you a free bike maintenance guide. Together these form an online bike maintenance course that gives you the information to master:
- How to replace an inner tube
- Dealing with a snapped chain
- Dealing with a broken rear mech
- How to adjust a rear derailleur
- How to adjust a front derailleur
- How to true a wheel
- Dealing with a snapped rear gear cable
- Dealing with a torn tyre
The less common skills that you may need but are less likely are:
- How to bleed a hydraulic brake system
- Wheel repair including freehub servicing
- Maintaining and changing a bottom bracket, headset and other bearings
Carrying out the following routine bike checks will keep your bike in tip-top condition and help prevent major mechanicals.
- Wash it regularly to stop dirt and grit making its way into bike components.
- Keep the tyres inflated to the right level and check the tread and walls for damage.
- Clean the chain regularly and lubricate it with chain lube.
- Apply a small amount of lubricant to any moving parts (levers, derailleurs, brakes) to stop them rusting or seizing.
- Check and clean the brakes and change brake pads if necessary. Cleaning your rotors with a rag stops squeaky brakes and grit contaminating your pads.
- Check gear and brake cables for damage.