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Road bike repair essentials

By Bruce Lin


Road Bike flat tire repair essential tools, spares, and gearThere’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.


Spare tubes

Road bike spare tubes

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.

Continental tubes (pack of 4) - $21.00
Tubolito road tube - $36.99
Aerothan road tube - $33.23

Tire lever

Road bike tire leversTo 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.

Park Tool TL-1.2 tire levers (3) - $6.25
Pedros tire levers (2) - $5.00

CO2 or hand pump

Road bike co2 inflator cartridges and hand pumpsCompact 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.

Lezyne Control Drive - $21.35
Genuine Innovations AirChuck - $20.54

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.

Lezyne Pressure Drive - $35.45
Lezyne Pocket Drive - $22.50


Road bike multitoolsIf 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.

Silca Italian Army Knife Nove - $35.00
Park Tool I-Beam - $16.95

Saddle bag

Road bike saddle bagsSo 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.

Arundel Medio - $34.95
Lezyne Road Caddy - $21.99
Lezyne M Caddy - $22.99

What did I miss? What other essentials do you carry on your road bike? Let us know in the comments!

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  • 1) Presta valve adaptor for when you need that pump at a gas station. 2) A couple of zip ties. 3) Small roll/strip/piece of electrical tape. 4) Microfiber cloth.

    Evan Locke on

  • Good suggestions. I also carry a patch kit and 2 tubes. I flatted 3x on a self-supported century. Very scary

    Fletch13r3 on

  • How about first aid stuff??

    John Radetich on

  • In addition to items mentioned in the article, I carry Park Tool TB-2 Emergency Tire Boot (a little more sturdy than $1.00 bill) , a spoke wrench and a 9,10,11 speed missing links

    Hank Baum on

  • I keep a business card in my saddle bag. Not mine. If you hit something that cuts the body of your tire, it’s a good get you home patch. A dollar bill works well for that, too.

    James Cappa on

  • On a recent group ride, someone’s chain broke…. I’ve been carrying a chain tool ever since. On another group ride, someone broke a cable. Luckily, another rider was carrying a spare cable.

    Frank Hulsman on

  • I also carry a single use tube of chamois butt’r, some bug repellant, and $20 for when I hit the wall and want a subway and a snickers

    Joseph Yahna on

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