Optimisation, part 2: Tooling up.

11 02 2017

What to carry when you ride. It’s a balance, isn’t it? on the one, hand you don’t want to be too encumbered with un-needed stuff, but on the other, a mechanical that can’t be fixed means a walk out.

Perhaps a long one.

The other key thing to keep in mind – the tools you carry *must* be effective. If you cant reach that essential 4mm hex bolt with your super-dooper, wee multi tool, it is useless.

Over the years, I have whittled down what I carry and made changes to the tools themselves in the interests of balancing utility with minimisation.

One relatively recent change has been the use of Backcountry Research Aweseme Straps and it’s various stable mates. These at-first-glance simple webbing straps have gone through several iterations to produce what I consider to be essential items. The Tülbag, courtesy of the inimitable Team Dicky is also well thought out – a good size, zip puller and grippy coated material make it an excellent jersey pocket take-along.

In it, I have a 5, 6 and 8mm PB Swiss hex key. These are coloured so they are more difficult to lose in grass and are made to exacting tolerances. There is a magnetic bit holder that allows me to use a PH2, slotted 5.5mm, T25, 2, 2.5, 3, and 4mm bits as needed.

I used to use the PB Swiss bike tool. This has most of the above tools, but also 2 integrated tyre levers and the subtle difference was down to me adding a 8mm bit. In use though, anything that requires an 8mm bit required enough torque that it damaged the magnetic bit holder over time, rendering it, eventually, useless.

I also never use tyre levers. All my tyre and rim combinations can be remounted by simple thumb pressure. It just takes practice.

What else? a Park tools folding chain tool and 10 or 11 speed quick link.

I also carry a Race Face 8 to 16mm adaptor. This is used to tighten their next SL and sixc cranks. essential if seldom (never? – so far!) required.

Occasionally, I add a ‘specialist’ tool… like this Bentley Components carbo loading tool – light and effective.