Top 17 Must Have Bike Tools for Every Mountain Biker

There are certain must have bike tools for all riders to keep your bike running smoothly.

Working on your mountain bike can be intimidating to riders that are not used to wrenching on cars or other things around the house. However, if you look at your bike, it is really a combination of bolts and parts. Yes…over the years we have added more complex suspension components and hydraulic brakes…but for the most part…you can still work on the majority of your bike really easily and it only requires a few tools to get start.

I put together this list of “must have bike tools” that will allow you to do regular maintenance on your bike outside of parts like your suspension or brakes. This list should cover all of your normal wear and tear and adjustments to your bike that you can easily do yourself.

Here are the must have bike tools for every cyclist in no particular order.

17 Must Have Bike Tools for Mountain Bikers (and other cyclists)

1. Repair Stand

If you are going to work on your bike at all, you need a decent repair stand. It will make your life so much easier by having a stable platform to adjust your shifting, grease your chain or make adjustments where you need to remove the wheels. Without the right stand, doing everything on your bike will just be that much harder.

Recommended Repair Stand –

Park 3 Way Hex Wrench - Must have bike tools

2. 3 Way Hex Wrench

Almost every bolt on your bike is a hex head. I do recommend having a full set of hex wrenches but at the very least…get a 3 way hex wrench. The 3 way hex wrench is so easy to use and the three sizes (4/5/6mm) will cover 99% of the hex bolts on your bike. There are certain circumstances when it is easier to have a conventional L shaped wrench but the 3 way is great for not having to go back and forth to pick up other sizes.

Recommended 3 Way Hex Wrench –

3. Cassette Lock Ring Tool

Cassettes are a wear item on mountain bikes. The cassette lock ring tool is a specialized tool that inserts around the chub body to remove the cassette lock ring you can remove the cassette from the hub. It is used with the chain whip and this will allow you to change out, clean or service the cassette.

Recommended Cassette Lock Ring Tool –

Chain Whip - Must have bike tools

4. Chain Whip

The chain whip is used with the cassette lock ring tool to remove the cassette from the hub body. You can’t use the lock ring tool alone when you are removing the cassette. You have to use the chain whip on the cassette to keep it from rotating. When you install a cassette, the lock ring tool can be used by itself.

Recommended Chain Whip –

5. Chain Tool

At some point, you are going to have to install or repair a chain. Next on the list of must have bike tools is a chain tool can be a ride saver on the trail if you bend or break a chain. Master Links have made working on chains much easier but you will still need to shorten a chain when installing a new one for the first time. Chain tools are easy to use and will save you one more trip to the bike shop for days of down time.

Recommended Chain Tool –

Master Links used to be really easy to remove but that also could cause problems on the trail. The modern Master Links click in harder and are a lot more secure when creates the need for a special set of pliers to remove the link. Chain maintenance and repair is a regular part of mountain biking so you will need one of these as well.

Recommended Master Link Pliers –

Cable Housing Cutters - Must have bike tools

7. Cable and Housing Cutter

Next on the must have bike tools list are cable and housing cutters make working on shifting cables and housings much easier. Can you use other conventional tools for the job? Yes but cable and housing cutters make it a much easier job.

Recommended Cable and Housing Cutter –

8. Multi-Tool

A multi-tool is a must have on the trail. This tool can make the difference between riding or walking back to the trail head. It is also necessary for any trail side adjustments that might be needed while you are riding (like saddle height).

Recommended Multi-Tool –

Must have bike tools - Chain Lube

9. Lubricant and Chain Lube

Every connection point on your bike has the ability to creak and make other noises. When you install components like pedals, bottom brackets, headsets, pivots or any other part that will have material contact on the bike (that isn’t lock tited), it will need to have grease to insure proper, noise free function.

Recommended Lubricant – and

10. Floor Pump and Portable Pump

This is a pretty obvious one! You need to be able to fill up your tires. A good floor pump makes this an easy task and is a must have for any rider.

Recommended Floor Pump – and

11. Digital Air Pressure Gauge

#11 on the must have bike tools list is one that I use a lot. Floor pumps are notorious for being inaccurate on their gauges. You can fill up your tires to 20psi with one floor pump and it will be several psi different when you go to use another pump. A digital tire gauge will insure that you get exactly the psi you are looking for every time…no matter which pump you are using.

Recommended Digital Tire Gauge –

Torque Wrench - Must have bike tools

12. Torque Wrench

It is really easy to under tighten or over tighten bolts on your bike. Each one of the bolts have a specific torque rating for proper tightening

Recommended Torque Wrench Kit –

13. Tire Levers

It used to be back in the only tubed tire setups, tires were pretty easy to put on by hand for the most part. Fast forward to tubeless setups…some can be an absolute PITA to put on. A great set of tire levers can really make life easier at home and on the trail. I like to use a set that has metal cores covered in plastic for increased strength like these from Park Tool. They live in my waist pack.

Recommended Tire Levers –

14. Spoke Wrench

Even if you don’t know how to work on wheels, you need a spoke wrench. Most people will be perfectly fine with the one included on most multi-tools. It will allow you to make adjustments on the side of the trail if one happens to come loose. You aren’t worrying about the wheel being perfect. You just want tension to get home if you start to hear some pinging from a loose spoke.

It really isn’t a bad idea to have a set at home with a truing stand at home either. You would be surprised how much easier it is to re-tension a built wheel vs. building a complete wheel by yourself for the first time. You can save yourself days of waiting for your wheel to come back by familiarizing yourself with basic spoke/wheel maintenance.

Recommended Spoke Wrench –

15. Shock Pump

You are not riding your bike correctly if your suspension is not setup correctly. Number 15 on the must have bike tools list is a shock pump. Most of the time I will actually ride with one just in case it is needed (there have been times where my shocks have lost pressure for one reason or another). At the very least…it is in my truck for trailhead final tuning like I do with tire pressure.

Find one you like…and stick with it. Just like with tire pumps, they can be inaccurate to consistency is key. Use your sag measurements as the ultimate guide and remember where your pressure gauge is from there.

Recommended Shock Pump –

16. Tubeless Sealant and Puncture Seal Kit

Almost everyone is running tubeless setups now. While there are a lot of on trail benefits to running tubeless, you also need to be ready to service that setup as well. Orange Sealant is a great option for your initial setup and for use as your sealant starts to go bad.

If you get a puncture on the trail, the Dyna plug and a pump/CO2 will get you off and rolling.

Recommended Tubeless Sealant – and

T25 Torx Wrench - Must have bike tools

17. T-25 Torx Wrench

And last on the list of must have bike tools is one of the most frustrating. Everyone’s favorite, annoying rotor bolts! The T-25 is a must have if you plan on servicing your brakes or changing wheels at any point in time. While you get the free version with most brake kits and bike build kits, it is better to invest in getting a nice one to save your knuckles from getting beat up on the rotors.

Recommended T-25 Torx –

So there are the must have bike tools for every rider. These will keep you up and ready for the trail at all times. They are also some of the easiest to use bike tools that you can use that will also save you a lot of downtime because you will not have to wait on simple repairs.

Is there anything we forgot on the must have bike tools list? Hit up the comments section below and let us know what you would add.

Want to know what you need to carry on the trail? Check out this video on must have items for the trail.


Martin Joe October 29, 2022 - 8:58 am

Robb, i would say its the most comprehensive list of bike tools you have listed here. I would love to share it with my audience. Hats off to you for listing any and all tools a mountaineer biker like me would need in any circumstance.

Patrick March 16, 2022 - 12:13 pm

Thanks for the useful information. There are many useful and necessary things here. In the process of daily cycling training, or especially when mountain biking, many situations can happen that the biker does not anticipate. For example, a puncture, or a misalignment is also a time when many people are confused because around the road and mountain there is no one to help repair the car, only you to adjust and find a solution. Therefore, to have a complete and perfect trip, we should fully equip the above tools. Thank you for your specific suggestions on what we should buy.

Robb Sutton March 17, 2022 - 7:51 am

Thanks for taking the time to comment!


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