I’m in the process of putting together my “ultimate MTB tool kit” and I thought it might help folks if I share my thoughts along the way. In this post you will find the list of tools and parts I’m putting together.
The immediate motivation for this process is that last week my vehicle was broken into and a bag with all my favourite, my daily use bike tools was stolen.
I’ve always had a desire to create a race mechanics travel style kit so as the tools need to be replaced anyway this seems like a good opportunity to do so, a silver lining to the theft.
So ok, lets have a look at my plan and what I’ve ordered so far
So the overall aim to to create a comprehensive tool kit that can be easily transported to my different work places, on road trips and to events. I’m aiming to have all the tools I need to do 90% of the work I do to my various bikes in a portable case. This will include all mountain bike servicing tasks up to and including drive train replacement, servicing bearings in hubs or suspension linkages and even basic shock and fork servicing.
In this post I’m going to focus on the tool case and what I’m planning to put in it but its worth noting that it will be used along side my Park Tool PCS-10 Home Mechanic Repair Stand (which is awesome!) and PFP-5 Home Mechanic Floor Pump with Schwalbe Tire Booster (previously known as AirShot) attached.
At the bottom of the post you will find a full (planned) contents list. Its a work in progress and there are a number of tools on there that I think will either be eliminated or exchanged out plus there is some detail missing.
While I have considered every single item on the list (epic over thinking) I’m just going to go through an edited highlights of what I think are the most interesting thoughts in my process to this point.
First off the base kit. I’ve choosen Park Tool’s EX-3 Professional Travel and Event Kit as my starting point. I like Park Tools stuff in general, it’s professional workshop quality while being cost effective enough. Other base kits I considered include the Abbey Tools Team Issue Tool Box and the Topeak Prepstation
The Abbey Tools Team Issue Tool Box is suuuuper nice and the tools are just luuuurvely. Its foundation is a PeliCase with layers of lazer cut Kaizen Foam and its filled with the most lickable, shiney goodness from Abbey, Knipex and Wera.
But its exxxxxpensssiiiive!!
Researching it as an option led me down a #toolboxwars internet rabbit hole full of shineyness, Kaizen Foam and impossibly clean and neat Instagram bike workshops. The rabbit hole is also full of amazing ideas and inspiration.
The inspiration for my other option, Topeak’s Prepstation, came from Jason at Bike Clinic, they have just purchased one for events. Its foundation is a trolley stacked with a series of layers that can be separated out onto benches if space allows. This is how Jason organises his tools anyway so its really obvious what attracted him to it.
I have a high regard for Topeak tools, they are my multi-tool brand of choice. I’ve found them to be well made and well engineered. On top of that the Prepstation comes in at a cost effective price.
The problem for me is its just too big, it just wouldn’t fit any where I need it too.
So the Park Tool EX-3 wins on size, the way all tools are available to hand without needing to lay out trays everywhere and the known professional workshop quality of the tools for the price. Its not available here in NZ for a few months so I’ve ordered one from Bike24.
While I think the EX-3 kit is going to be a great base there is quite a bit I know I want to swap in and out. You’ll see in the list below the tools included in the kit are marked with an asterisk (*) and that there are quite a few tools (additional to bits and bobs) that I’ve added. I’ll work down the list and put down some notes on my thought processes.
Headtorch – I’m surprised more mechanics kits I’ve looked at don’t seem to include something so compact and fantastically useful. I have an old Black Diamond Spot I’m going to pop in the kit.
FOX Digital High Pressure Fork – The accuracy of a digital shock pump is something I’ve lusted over for a while.
The kit come with Parks well known and insanely useful AWS-1 3-Way Hex Wrench – 4mm/5mm/6mm and I’ve added the TWS-3 Torx equivilent with its 10, 25 & 30 keys. I’ve also added the AWS-7 3-Way with its 4mm, 5mm and T25 bits. I’m expecting either the AWS-7 to rule and replace the other 2 or it not to be usefull enough and bounce out of the kit. I’ve also added the AWS-10 Fold Up Hex Wrench Set, its just so handy having a tool in a pocket that has all the small hex sizes, I never seem to pick the right one out of the set when working on lock on grips or adjusting gear/brake controls.
Until I’d delved deep into the #toolboxwars rabbit hole I hadn’t come across KNIPEX Pliers. They have a hell of a reputation in the MTB World Cup Pits and if what I’ve found out proves true they could mean a lots of other tools like Utility Pliers and Wrenches get kicked out of the kit. I’ve gone for the medium 180mm 86 03 180 KNIPEX Multigrip Pliers as consensus was these were ideally sized.
I haven’t firmed up much of my plan on what socket components to include yet. Some of my tools are in a container still between Sydney and NZ. Sockets can have multiple uses including seating bearings so I’ll need to ponder that a bit.
I’m also going to replace the Topeak Ratchet Rocket Lite DX Multi-Tool I had stolen, its so insanely useful, easy to use, neat and light so that will be part of this whole picture
Lastly I’m still looking for a way to mount my phone or a tablet in the kit in a way I can see it easily to view workshop videos, manuals or settings notes I’ve made. So much information is now only available via a screen it will make a significant difference if I can find a good solution for this. I have a phone holder for a car I’m considering adapting but will need to wait for the shipment to arrive first before I start playing with it.
Have a look down the list and see if you can spot anything I’ve missed or where you think I’m doubling up and can optimise the kit to be better. Leave any thoughts in the comments below
Planned contents list to date:
* – indicates included in Park Tool EX-3 Professional Travel and Event Kit
BX-2.2 Blue Box Bicycle Service Tool Case *
ATD-1.2 Adjustable Torque Driver — 4 to 6 Nm *
AWS-1 3-Way Hex Wrench – 4mm/5mm/6mm *
AWS-7 3-Way Hex and Torx
TWS-3 Torx Compatible Three-Way Wrench 10/25/30
AWS-10 Fold Up Hex Wrench Set
Fold Up Torx Wrench Set
Hexus® X Topeak Multitool
DSD-2 Derailleur Screwdriver *
DSD-4 Derailleur Screwdriver *
86 03 180 KNIPEX Multigrip Pliers 180
CN-10 Professional Cable and Housing Cutter — Instructions *
LP-7 Utility Pliers *
NP-6 Needle Nose Pliers
ZP-5 Flush Cut Pliers *
MLP-1.2 Master Link Pliers — Instructions *
SZR-1 Scissors *
Swiss Army Knife (climber or huntsman)
¼” Torque wrench
3/8″ Socket wrench
Hex bit screwdriver
HCW-15 Headset Wrench – 32mm/36mm *
HMR-8 8 oz. Shop Hammer *
Sewing kit (upholstery needles and dental floss)
Puncture repair kit
IR-1.2 internal cable routing kit
Small parts boxes
Topeak Ratchet Rocket Lite DX Multi-Tool
RockShox Rock Shox Reverb Stealth Barb Connector – 00.6815.066.030