Having the knowledge and the tools to service and repair your own bike will save you time and money, it will make your rides more enjoyable, and it will reward you with a tremendous sense of satisfaction

Arm yourself with one of the best mountain bike tool kits for that fresh-out-of-the-box feeling on every ride. Certain jobs are quite tricky and require specialist tools – servicing some suspension components, for example – but beneath all the shims and hydraulics, the modern mountain bike is still a relatively simple vehicle to work on. And with so many video tutorials readily available, it’s never been easier to DIY.

Of course it would be nice to have the principal thing being to have one of the best mountain bike workstands – but the tool kits below are the basics required to start a home workshop. It might also be useful to check out our buyer’s guides to the best multi-tools for fixing your bike on the trail, and the best floor pumps and tubeless inflators for your home workshop.

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Birzman Studio Tool Box

Birzman Studio Tool Box

Superb tool kit for mountain bikers

Weight: 7.91kg | 37 tools | Size: 470 x 370 x 130mm | Rating: 10/10

Pros: Huge array of tools, with some excellent specialist items. Removable tray for working on. Cons: Tyre levers don’t feel very strong. Cassette lockring tool can’t be used on RockShox fork caps.

The Birzman Studio Tool Box houses its contents in a briefcase, and it’s packed, with an extra layer of tools stored in a removable tray that doubles as a work surface. This means it boasts a generous 37 tools, and more importantly for mountain bikers, it’s packed full of useful items. Take for example the Disc Brake Gap Indicator. It’s a thin butterfly of aluminium that inserts between your brake pads and rotor to ensure the perfect caliper position and drag-free rolling. There’s also a pad spreader tool and rotor truing fork, meaning that all your disc brake needs (barring a bleed kit) are covered. On top of that there’s a saw guide for cutting fork steerer tubes, a headset star nut installation tool and a dead blow hammer. The cutters are excellent and there’s also a needle nose plier with end cap crimping tool and diagonal pliers that are ideal for snipping zip ties. The split link pliers make removing your chain a doddle and there’s even a valve core remover, tape measure and half round file.Overall we were really impressed with the Birzman Studio Box. It’s a comprehensive tool kit with a strong mountain bike slant, making it our test winner.

Read our full review of the Birzman Studio Tool Box


Feedback Sports Team Edition Tool Kit

Feedback Sports Team Edition Tool Kit

Feedback Sports Team Edition Tool Kit

Classy tool kit that’s ideal for mobile mechanics

Weight: 3.43kg | 19 tools | Size: 330 x 270 x 57mm | Rating: 9/10

Pros: Sumptuous quality. Useful hanging facility. Room to expand. Cons: Lacks some basic wrenches as well as chain pliers and a torque wrench.

With its fold-out soft binder case, the Feedback Sports Team Edition Tool Kit resembles the kind of set-up a pro team mechanic would use at a race. Once folded out it can be strapped to a workstand (such as the Feedback Sports Recreational), keeping all the tools neatly to hand. This is a high quality kit that any tool fetishist would drool over. Details like the dual sided pick make it stand out from the crowd – perfect for opening up the ends of gear housing and removing seals from cartridge bearings. There’s also a superb little valve core remover and the long, sturdy tyre levers are the best on test. All the tools have either a comfortable, rubberised grip or a beautiful polished chrome finish with rounded edges that make using them a joy. The cable cutters worked well and include an integrated end cap crimp, while the chain tool has a neat, sprung-loaded cradle. On the end of the BB spanner is the cassette lockring tool. It’s open ended, so it can be used to remove RockShox air caps, but the extra length and weight does mean you have to be more careful not to mark the crown. With only Y-handle Allen and Torx keys (it’s also missing a T10 Torx), you’d still need to buy an Allen key and Torx key block, as well as split link pliers and a torque wrench, but the Feedback Sports Team Edition is a beautiful, functional and portable tool kit from which to expand your home workshop.

Read our full review of the Feedback Sports Team Edition Tool Kit


Topeak Prepbox 18

Topeak Prepbox 18

Topeak Prepbox 18

Good toolkit for the all-round cyclist, but not specific enough for mountain bikers

Weight: 4.41kg | 18 tools | Size: 405 x 320 x 115mm | Rating: 9/10

Pros: Sturdy case. Internal divider doubles as work surface. Basic torque wrench is included. Cons: Lacking specific tools for mountain bikes.

Inside Topeak’s sturdy briefcase is a well-organised selection of tools held securely by dual-density foam. There are 18 individual tools with no real filler items. Separating the two sides of the case is a foam sleeve that also doubles as a clean workspace, or kneeling pad, when you’re prepping your bike in the field. It’s great to see Topeak includes a torque wrench in the Prepbox. It’s pretty basic but it works fine. There’s also a full set of long-handle Allen and Torx keys as well as dual ended flat head and Phillips screwdrivers that plug into a separate handle. The chain checker can be used to hold two cut ends together while joining, but there are no split link pliers. We liked the fact that the chain tool comes with a spare driver pin stored in the handle. BB and cassette tools fit into a sturdy 1/2in drive breaker bar, while the latter can be used on RockShox air caps. Finally, the cable cutters are pressed steel, rather than forged, but they work fine, include a crimping tool for end caps and a really neat recessed pin on the handle that can be used like a pick to open up freshly cut cable housing. The Topeak Prepbox features a stack of really useful tools, the quality is good and there are some neat extras that show its designers have really thought about what’s useful to the roving mechanic. Its only weakness is that it’s not particularly focused on modern mountain bikes, and lacks quite a few items compared to the similarly priced Birzman.

Read our full review of the Topeak Prepbox 18 toolkit

 


Best mountain bike tool kits conclusion:

Bit of blue for the rads

Bit of blue for the rads

Of these toolkits, the least impressive is the Park Tool Advanced Mechanic Kit. While you get a lot of items, some feel like they are there to pad out the contents, and there’s a lack of specific mountain bike tools. You can’t argue with the price of B’Twin’s 900 Tool Box, but the quality isn’t that great and it’s missing essential items such as cable cutters.

Initially we were really impressed with the Unior Pro Home Set 1600 CN, and certainly the quality of the tools is very good, but a few of them didn’t quite live up to our expectations and the fact that several tools fell out every time we opened the case became really annoying.

The top three tool kits were really hard to split, and any of them would make a fine foundation to any home workshop. With its foldout binder, the Feedback Sports Team Edition Tool Kit looks and feels like a pro spec item. We love how you can attach it to a workstand in the field and it comes with a really useful selection of quality tools. The Topeak Prepbox 18 also comes with a well thought out array of tools, including a handy torque wrench, and a sturdy case that can be expanded with external pouches as you add items.

Which leaves the comprehensive Birzman Studio Tool Kit as our test winner. It packs in an impressive array of tools for the price, along with some really clever extras that you won’t find anywhere else.

Know your tool kits:

It’s possible to build up all the tools you need on a piecemeal basis, buying whatever you need to complete a specific task as and when necessary. But this tends to be an expensive way to do things. The alternative is to buy a complete tool kit; these tend to be better value for money, come with tools that you may not have considered buying, and all packaged neatly in a case that keeps them neat and clean and easy to transport, so you can sling it in the car for trips away.

For a modern mountain bike, these tool kits need to include the following: Allen keys from 2mm to 10mm; Torx keys, including T10, T25, T30; Chain breaker; Cassette tool (ideally compatible with RockShox forks); Chain whip; BB tool; Split link pliers; tyre levers; screwdrivers; Spoke key; Cable cutters.

Allen keys

Absolutely vital, the Allen key, or hex key, usually comes in either L-shape form or on a three-way Y tool. The L-shape with a ball-end is the most useful, as it lets you access awkward areas and exert enough torque to remove stubborn fasteners. 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm and 10mm are needed.

Torx key

Increasingly present on modern bikes, the Torx key uses a star-shape interface that engages with a larger surface area and is less likely to slip. On a bike, the most used sizes are T10, T25 and T30.

Chain breaker

Used to shorten new chains and remove bent links, the chain tool drives the rivet out of the link. The driver pin should be replaceable, the tool should hold the chain securely and adjust to different widths, and there should be a cradle that lets you remove stiff links.

Cable cutters

Use these to cut gear wires and housing to length. They need to make a clean cut, without fraying, and have a section designed to crimp an end cap in place.

Split link pliers

Most chains now fasten using a split link. This makes installation really easy, but you’ll need these special pliers to compress the chain and remove the link when it’s time for a new one.

Chain Whip (or pliers)

Use the chain whip to stop the sprockets rotating backwards on the freehub body when removing the cassette.

Valve core remover

Use this to unscrew the valve core from Presta valves – means you can pour tubeless sealant through the valve and allow better airflow when seating the tyre.

Chain wear indicator

Tells you when your chain has worn out and needs replacing. Sometimes the reverse has a pair of hooks that hold the split ends in place during joining.