Essential tools to carry with you on a ride

01 December 2022

By George Wise

Mechanicals are an unfortunate part of cycling, and no matter how well prepared your bike is, they will happen. Whether it’s the frequent, tedious incidents like punctures and broken chains or more major issues like parts falling off. But there is one thing they have in common: They will all happen mid ride when you are miles away from home

To prevent ruining your ride and potentially being left stranded in the middle of nowhere, carrying essential tools to fix all but the most terminal mechanicals is a must. With bikes becoming more complicated and varied, having a plethora of the right tools is highly advised. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean having to empty all your workshop tools into a backpack: By making the right choices, and with some clever ingenuity you can carry all the tools you need and hardly know you have them until (inevitably) required.


It is always worth carrying the humblest of tools: The simple tyre lever. For prizing off tyres quickly (or in desperate times putting a stubborn one back on) it is the master. Whilst there are many different versions on the market, a good set will have a few key features and make the task even easier. Take the Silca Lever premio set as an example. At their core is a strong forged alloy, which won’t snap on the tightest of tubeless or wired MTB tyres. Yet, to not damage carbon rims or softer alloy, they have a nylon coating. Perfect for all wheels!

Pump it up

Cyclists should carry an inflation device on every ride: Not to carry the necessary tools to fix a puncture on the road is a gamble with unfavourable odds.

There has become a trend in recent years to carry CO2 cannisters instead of a pump, mainly for their compact design and quick inflation. The negative of this choice is that they aren’t good for the environment, can cost quite a lot of money over time and are limited in use by how many cannisters you carry. The other downside is that some tubeless sealants get broken down by CO2, meaning your tyre won’t seal afterward, potentially causing a momentous of headaches.

The Gravelero pump by Silca is a high-volume, high-pressure pump which is small and pumps up tyres on the roadside with ease. Being both high volume and high pressure, it’s perfect for road, gravel or MTB tyres. Not all pumps are made equal, and this pump will both save you a huge amount of time and aggravation. It’s very efficient meaning it takes less effort to pump and has a high quality head that won’t leak whilst in use. To top it off, all internals are replaceable so it’s a pump for life.

For a more road focused pump (higher pressure) then the Tattico, Pocket Impero or Ultimate Impero pumps would be worth considering. All offer a different choice of size so you can decided what compromise between size and chamber volume you want to make.

In the next group ride when someone punctures, become a hero by handing over a Silca pump to your stranded friend.

Tools for the job

The Wolf Tooth Pack Plier range (including the original and 6 bit + 8 bit) all offer incredible tooling solutions and versatility: However, the ultimate is the 8-Bit Kit One. At its core is the 8-Bit Pack Plier with 17 functions, but has upped the anti with a rim dent removal tool/tyre lever AND chain breaker, tyre plug + mini utility blade. This is the ultimate tool for most mechanical issues on a modern bike with different setups. If you have a mechanical on your ride with one of these on you, it’s likely you will be able to get home most of the time.With so many different types of bikes and options, it’s hard to know which tools to carry. The simple answer would be ‘the more the better’, but in reality, performance, space and practicality all play a part in our choice.

With road bikes where cyclists likely want something small, minimal, and light with basic tools, either the Silca Tredici or Venti multi tools tick the boxes. Beautiful in design and built to high tolerances for better/easier use, they are small enough to fit into your jersey pocket or small saddle bag.

When building a lightweight carbon road bikes with carbon finishing kit, a toque wrench would have been used to make sure no bolts were over tightened. Not only is it safer, but it is also usually a necessity for maintenance of the warranty of your bike. When adjusting bolts on the road, it is better to keep to this good practice. To do so, the compact Silca Ti ratchet and torques kit is the perfect multi tool to stash in your jersey pocket. Minimal in design and with all the hex and torx pieces you need to tighten any bolt to the manufacturers recommended settings.

Wolf Tooth are the masters of making amazing on bike tools that disappear into the bike. For less conspicuous tools, the Wolf Tooth Axle Handle Tool and EnCase are hard to beat. The Axle Handle Tool has 8 of the most common used sized tools required on a bike, all hidden away in a bolt thru axle lever handle which can be left on the bike. It’s also a great way to add a splash of colour (does come in black also).

The EnCase tool is a handlebar integrated tool, where it lives in a rubberized sleeve which can be pushed into the end of your bars: No one would ever know you had them until you pulled them out! You have a choice of 2 variants, or for better value of combo pack which would fit in either side of your bars. Suitable for either road drop bars, or straight MTB bars, the EnCase has 14 functions including a chain breaker and valve core wrench for tubeless fixes.

What is the best tool to carry on a ride?

The long and short answer is there isn’t a ‘best’ but what is the most suitable mix for your requirements. Ultimately, the more tools you can carry (like the that of the 8-Bit Kit One) will get you out of most mechanical pickles, and whilst on a MTB or gravel bike with bags it wouldn’t be noticed, for some roadies it might be just too much. This is where something like the Silca multi tools or Toque Kit come into play.

Whatever you choose, always have tyre levers, an inflation tool (preferably a pump) and a multitool with all the basic hex and torque keys. But the more you have, the less likely it is that you will need to call a taxi when you don’t have the right tools to fix.