In order to look after your bike you need to give it regular maintenance. Here is a list of tools I must have in my workshop.

It’s convenient working on vintage bicycles. Compared to the modern day ride the tools for vintage bikes are for the most part still the same and for the most part I enjoy the simplicity of these mechanical devices, and apparatus.

Before you buy any new tools, take a look around as you most likely already have the majority of the tools you need. Providing you have the majority of the tools shown here you’ll be ready for some bike maintenance.  



Two types of screwdrivers you will generally have are a flat head and a Phillips screwdriver. I use a Phillips Screwdriver for generally adjusting the front and rear derailleur. The flat head can be used for adjusting the down shifter gear levers. They are also used for plastic dust covers on cranks and pedal arms and handle bar end caps.

Metric Spanners

Anything mechanical generally uses spanners. Depending on the age of the bicycle you are working on, areas can include brake callipers. The most common sizes are 8, 9, 10 and 11mm.

Socket set

These are generally not regarded as bicycle tools. Their are some bike maintenance jobs that you can only use a socket set on – such as crankset, where the bolts and nuts are buried.


Very universal tool great for gripping brake and gear cables however not so good for cutting cables with. For generally holding things in place you need a good set of pliers.

Adjustable Spanner

Adjustable spanners are a great handy tool and can be used on headsets, bottom brackets and other items. However this is a general tool and dedicated designed tools for these items are more recommended.

Allen Keys

Allen Keys are needed on various items of the bike depending on the age of the bicycle they are becoming utilised in newer bikes such as Handlebar Stem, Brake Levers Brake Callipers, Brake and Gear cable bolts Chainring Bolts, Bottle Cage mounts, Seat Post bolt and even Pedals.

Stanley Knife

A good sharp blade is needed for cutting off excess handlebar tape and electrical insulation or finishing off tape. The knife is also useful for removing bar tape and also unwanted cable ties.

Wire Cutters

It is well worth investing in a good set of wire/cable cutters. Pliers include wire cutters however these do not do the job as good and more often than not squash the cable rather than cutting it.


A hammer is always a good tool to have around and should be only used if physical strength is not enough. I’d recommend between a 16 and 20 ounce hammer.

Tyre Levers

If you are replacing a tyre, fixing a puncture, or needing to replace a spoke in the wheel – tyre levers are an essential item.

Spoons out of the cutlery draw have been used in the past too, however these can damage and bend, not to mention they can also nick the inner tube creating more punctures! Tyre leavers are very inexpensive and when traveling out cycling they are an item that you should not leave home without. You can generally get away with only using two of them, I would choose.

Cycle Pump

Another Item that is an absolute necessity, there are two types :

A Hand pump.

B: Track pump.

You should not go on any any ride without means of inflating your tyres and a hand pump is ideal for this. These work fine but you will not get the same pressures compared to the track pump, in addition they are a lot of hard work compared to having a track pump at home.


Chain Splice Tool

If you are wanting to strip any bike then this is one tool you will need. Not only do I have a few of these in my workshop, but I also  even take one of these in a smaller version out cycling with me. You cannot get away with using any other tool for this job, this is one handy tool you will need. They come as one complete item and are easy to pick up at a very low cost at your local bike store or online. 

Crank Extractor Tool

When your crank is a Cotter pin type then all you need to extract is a hammer and a small spanner. Otherwise you will need a Crank Extractor tool these are inexpensive tools to buy but are a essential. If you don’t use a Crank Extractor you can easily damage the crank. I tend to use a socket set with this tool, or in some cases a spanner. It’ easier to do with a socket. 

Cup and Axle Bottom Bracket Spanners

Having the right tool for the job really does make a difference. A cup and axle bottom bracket is essential. I used remove the cup, with a hammer and chisel, it can be done, but if your just beginning I would recommend you get the right tool. I say this as using the more traditional hammer method can damage the locking ring and it is also much harder to do than using a simple and inexpensive tool that is made for the job.

The two spanners that are perfect for this are the C-Spanner and Pin-Spanner. These are purpose designed spanners that fit perfectly to the cups on the bottom bracket.

Cartridge Bottom Bracket Tool

Sealed bottom brackets or cartridge bottom brackets can be found on a modern ride as they can on vintage bikes. They are a nice solution and a maintenance free replacement for the Cup and Axle type. Keep in mind that manufactures have different adapters to fit the collar for securing the cartridge to the frame.

Lockring Tool and Chain Whip

These two items are used together. They are used for removing the Free hub or sprockets from the rear wheel.

Oils and lubricants

Ordinary greases have a tendency to thicken up with age and also break down when exposed to water. It is well worth investing in bike friendly lubricants. The advancements in these have come on leaps and bounds over the last few years with such companies as Muc-off investing a lot of time and money in research & development they have demonstrated both improve performance and better protection.