Shimano GRX Brake Lever, Rear Derailleur. Shimano BL-RX810, RX812, ST-RX810 Shifter. RX600 Crankset. When we were kids, we could jump on our bikes with whatever we had on and ride down the street to our friend’s house and play all day in the same outfit. Unfortunately, as we grow older and we have to attend school, work, and social events, we have to become more conscious of what we wear and what we carry, and in general outfit ourselves for not just a cycling lifestyle but a grown-up cycling lifestyle.
Shimano GRX BL-RX810 Brake Lever, Rear Derailleur
While it might seem like a lot of kit, cycling has a fairly low overhead, and most of the tools and clothing you purchase will last for years or decades. Additionally, you can buy this stuff slowly over time. It helps you ease the pain of spending the money, of course, but it also gives you a chance to evaluate what really is useful to you.
Basic bicycle maintenance tools
Basic bicycle maintenance can be accomplished by anyone with the inclination and a few basic tools. It’s a good idea to carry a simple tool kit when you ride, either stowed in your bag or in a zippered pouch on your bike, often under the saddle. A quality tool can last a lifetime if used correctly. Often it’s worth it to spend a little extra money on a tool that is properly constructed. However, most tools are very easy to break if used improperly; be sure to learn its proper use before putting it into action.
Allen wrenches are six-sided wrenches. You get them for free when buying semidisposable furniture from Swedish mass-market charitable retailers.* Six sides is not the ideal; originally the design called for four sides, but the Ford Motor Company had a patent on the four-sided “key” wrench, so we today live with a six-sided Allen wrench.
Most modern bicycles are designed so the Allen wrench is the only tool you need for many repairs. I own two sets of multiple wrenches, both of which fold up into neat packages. The small set has a 3-, 4-, and 5-mm wrench along with a flathead and a Philips head screwdriver and goes with me everywhere in my messenger bag. At home I have a larger kit, which starts even smaller at 2.5 mm and goes up to 8 mm.
Many people are familiar with adjustable wrenches, which are great for very basic operations. However, it is difficult to maintain a snug fit when applying any real pressure, making it likely to slip, stripping out the nut. As often as possible, use a box-end wrench, which wraps the nut completely. It provides the most secure fit possible as you adjust the nut.
Most nuts on a bicycle can be tightened with a few simple box-end sizes, so a box-end three-way tool, which includes a 6-, 8-, and 10-mm wrench, is a popular option. Box wrenches are most often used on older-style seatpost binders, stems, brake and derailleur cable clamps, and brake and shift levers.
A nipple wrench allows you to tighten or loosen the spokes of your wheel. While some uses for the nipple wrench, such as wheel construction and truing, are not covered in this book, we show you later how to do a simple wheel truing on the road without a truing stand. A nipple wrench, when correctly sized, is vital to keeping your wheels running straight.