Whether you’re a beginner or a professional rider, a surprise flat tire can turn a fun day mountain biking in the Arizona desert into a long, hot walk home. But a well-stocked mountain bike repair kit will help prevent a minor mishap from escalating into a lousy situation, keeping mountain bike riders both safe and happy.
We’ve paired the advice of professional mountain bikers with real-life experience to help you organize the most compact and practical mountain bike repair kit. All trails, even beginner mountain biking trails in Phoenix, AZ, are often in locations outside of cell phone coverage, and emergencies can and do happen. These pieces of equipment are essential items that every cyclist should keep with them when riding in both rural and urban settings.
Essential Repair Kit Items for Mountain Biking
As a general rule, anybody driving or riding anything with tires needs to know what to do in case of a flat. They often strike without warning and can ruin your whole day if you don’t have a flat kit. Your flat kit should include spare tubes, tire levers, and a pump or CO2 cartridge.
Called a multitool for a reason, this small but mighty asset sports several tools, often over 18. Every one of these tools is essential for mountain bike repairs.
A good quality multitool will make your trailside wrenching a smooth operation instead of a frustrating one. If you’re just learning how to repair a mountain bike, be sure to get a multitool with a chain breaker, spoke wrenches, and pliers. These items are critical to bike chain and wheel issues.
Both Phillips and flathead screwdrivers are essential to your mountain bike repair kit. You’ll need them for adjusting your derailleur, brakes, cargo racks, and more. Save yourself some time on the trail by looking over the hardware on your bike ahead of time and ensuring that you have adequately sized screwdrivers.
Lube and Grease
Anywhere metal touches metal (like the chain) needs consistent lubrication to keep your bike in optimal shape. You’ll need to choose from a couple of different consistencies of lubes/greases for different bike parts – the weather will also influence your grease choice. Here’s where it pays to get a high-quality lubricant designed exclusively for bicycles. Never use WD40 or any type of household oil such as olive or coconut oil. Using these can cause bike parts to corrode faster.
If you know you’ll be riding in damp conditions, bring along a wetter lubricant, such as an oil-based option. An oil-based lubricant will adhere to your bike components and won’t rinse off too quickly in rain or other wet situations. Consider carrying a wax-based lubricant in your mountain bike repair kit when you know you’ll be riding in dry or dusty conditions.
Trust us on this one – it truly does fix everything. From patching a torn bike seat to securing a light in place, duct tape is as versatile as it is useful on the trail! Instead of carrying an entire roll, consider tearing a few feet off and re-rolling it around a pencil or even a water bottle.
As with anything, maintaining your gear is the best way to prevent accidents in the future. If you’re going on a multi-day ride or if there’s a chance of rain (there’s almost always a chance of rain), you must be prepared with the proper cleaning supplies to keep things running smoothly.
If you keep your bike clean, as in cleaning it regularly every time you ride, you’ll likely be forewarned by a creak or squeak before something goes majorly wrong. So, for your cleaning kit, keep some rags, cleaning solution, and brushes to get in all the nooks and crannies of your mountain bike. You don’t need to carry these items with you on the trail, but be sure to use them when you get home!
As always, planning, organization, and maintenance are the best ways to avoid emergencies. But despite your best efforts, something may still break on the trail. So keep these items in your mountain bike repair kit to ensure you won’t be up a creek without a paddle – or on top of a mountain without a tire.