There’s nothing worse than going out for a ride and getting stranded, miles from home. Flat tires and mechanical mishaps are inevitable. Here are the repair essentials you should carry on your road bike, you know, for those rides when you don’t have a team car following you with all the spares.
It’s not a matter of if you get a flat tire, but when. Don’t be that rider begging every passing cyclist for a spare tube. I carry at least one basic Continental butyl tube. There are also options like Tubolito and Schwalbe’s Aerothan tubes that use thermoplastic polyurethane, or TPU. They cost more but are smaller and lighter to satisfy weight weenies.
To replace a punctured tube, you’ll need at least one tire lever to free the tire bead. If you lack muscle or have extremely tight tire beads, it may take two levers. Our favorites are made by Park Tool and Pedros.
CO2 or hand pump
Compact CO2s are the popular option for reinflating flat tires. I prefer beefy inflators like the Leyzne Control Drive or G.I. AirChuck because they’re easier to control. I’ve watched too many riders waste CO2 cartridges fumbling with cheap inflators. A single 16-gram CO2 cartridge is enough to fully inflate a road tire.
If you prefer the reliability of a hand pump, Lezyne also makes compact pumps that fit in your pocket or mount to your bike. I like Lezyne pumps because they achieve the high pressures needed to inflate road tires and they have flexible hoses, so you don’t accidentally break your valve.
If you hit a pothole and your bars twist, or your cleats come loose, or your saddle is somehow the wrong height, a small lightweight tool will save your ride. Any bike-specific multitool will do. Bare minimum it should have 3, 4, and 5mm hex wrenches and a T25, or whatever size fasteners your bike requires.
So you have your repair essentials. How do you carry them? Saddle bags like the Arundel Medio look classy and hold your stuff. Leyzne has a couple of low-profile options as well. Some riders hate the look of saddle bags on their bikes. If that’s the case, you’ve always got pockets.
What did I miss? What other essentials do you carry on your road bike? Let us know in the comments!
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