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That said, you can roll with your pockets virtually empty and avoid a backpack as well. When I had first read the press releases on the SWAT system, I was somehow under the impression the items wouldn’t play well with other bike models. Admittedly, I didn’t look very closely at the items other than the bib short. That said, the chain tool and bottle cage should fit most standard frames without any issues, provided your frame has the space for it. Suspension service is a specialty within bicycle repair and it takes specialized tools to perform this work.

Problem is you’re still often left with a loose fitting socket that is still prone to chewing up those delicate parts. The EMT still leave you needing a chain tool, so why not stash it in your steerer tube?

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Specialized certainly isn’t the first to offer a tool that fits in the steerer tube, but they make use of empty space with an emergency chain tool. The system works with any 1 1/8″ steerer with 32mm of available depth, and is offered in an alloy version with a star nut or carbon version with a expander plug. In addition to being compatible with 8, 9, 10, and 11 speed chains, the Top Cap Chain Tool also holds quick links for repairs.

Should the bike have a broken chain, however, the SWAT CC’s main body gets pulled up out of the steerer tube. It has a built-in chain tool, along with a magnetic mount for a user-supplied quick link on the bottom. This collection of tools is intended to help you set up a home workshop that’s capable of tackling roughly 80 percent of the maintenance and repair work any bicycle needs.

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There are a ton of single-purpose tools out there that can be quite handy for specific repairs, but most of us will never need a headset press or a hydraulic brake-line cutter, for instance. For some of these repairs, it’s still best to take your bike to a qualified, experienced professional. The 18 tools we’ve collected here should handle almost anything a home mechanic will want to attempt. The 8mm Allen key is unusually stubby, but on most bikes download here, the only 8mm you generally need to touch while out on a ride is on your pedal and can easily be reached with a short length key.

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A special tool is included with the alloy version to properly set the starnut. Let’s say you aren’t me though and you don’t have back issues but you just want to keep your pack off for a day because it is hot or you don’t need 100oz of water with you for 10 miles of local riding. You can use saddle bags or tape to strap tubes and tools to your bike. It makes a ton of noise and rarely stays in place so most of the time you just don’t bring anything at all.

One of the things that any factory tech will tell you is nice to have are sockets specifically made or altered for the low profile hex on the top of each fork leg. The lead in or chamfer on a standard socket will greatly decrease the contact between tool and part and can easily scratch or deform those nuts. For years shops have been grinding down their sockets to remove the chamfer.