We dive into the toolkits of the ENDURO Magazine editorial team to find out which tools they can’t live without.
Benjamin Franklin once famously wrote “the best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade”. Anyone who has witnessed the comical horror of Sam Pilgrim installing forks with a sledgehammer head on YouTube will understand this. Good tools should be cherished, looked after and passed down to the next generation. Our ENDURO editorial team certainly knows how to wield a 5 mm hex key and over the years has amassed a serious collection of personal toolkits. From magazine production and testing, to EWS races and holidays, our team presents to you its personal favourites.
Unior Y Hex wrench – 1781/2HX
Riding different bikes every week is awesome! But setting them up can get pretty tedious. One tool that makes my life a lot easier is the Unior Y Hex wrench, which I find especially useful for bolts in the cockpit. With just the one tool in my hand, I can work on all three of the most common sized bolts. I can preload the headset, tighten the stem and bring the brakes into the right position – one tool to do it all. I can also give most of the bolts on the bike a quick check and tighten the rear derailleur. I don’t use this tool on tours but it has a permanent place on my workbench at home. At last, I don’t have to ask my colleagues “Hey, have you seen the 4 mm allen key?” all the time.
AVID Professional Bleed Kit Syringes
Choosing the ultimate tool in my toolbox is not an easy task- over the years each one has saved the day at least once. For example, my awesome Knipex pliers helped fix the power steering pump on my van in the middle of the night on the M1 motorway. However, the one tool I couldn’t part with are the amazing AVID Professional Bleed Syringes which I’ve now owned for 6 years (they’re available as SRAM branded versions now). The high quality syringes feature huge plungers that are easy to use, never pull out unexpectedly showering you with DOT fluid, and give a perfect bleed time after time. I have personally bled countless brakes and reverbs with this set and from EWS race pits to Megavalanche they have never given a bad bleed. They are compatible with all the latest SRAM connectors and far higher quality than the horrible syringes that most manufacturers use. If you want to borrow them, you will have to claw them out of my cold, dead fingers – pure top-drawer kit.
Park Tool Cable Cutters
If you take pride in dialling in your own bike, professional quality tools are a must. I invested in a set of dapper blue Park cable cutters 20 years ago and firmly believe that every budding mechanic should have a set taking pride of place on the tool wall! Even though hydraulic brakes and Di2 have reduced their workload, every time I have to cut a gear cable, shorten a hose or crimp an end cap I appreciate how much easier they have made bike maintenance. With cold forged and heat treated handles, they are built to take years of use and the powerful, precision ground cutting jaws mean you don’t need inhuman strength to close the pliers. Good tools reduce workshop stress levels; once cables are cut properly, they can be removed for cleaning without the faff of a mashed and frayed end unraveling or snagging. Park cable cutters are also my go-to tool for removing zip-ties as they are delicate enough to hook into small gaps but rounded so that they don’t scratch your paint.
Silca T-Handle Folio
To be honest, it’s pretty hard for me to crown a favorite tool as there are so many ingenious options I couldn’t live without. Parallel pliers, disc rotor truing fork, master-link pliers, internal cable routing aids – just to name a few. But in the end, nothing beats a decent set of T-Handle Allen/Torx keys. The worldcup mechanics all have them for a reason. While Beta or PB Swiss are both excellent options, I chose Silca’s T-Handle Folio because it comes with a clever bag you can simply hang over the top tube of your bike or on the workstand and have everything accessible. The keys themselves are superb quality, have a sliding top which allows for reaching basically any bolt and while the omission of a ball tip might seem odd, it does increase your bolts lifespan drastically. The price is steep but this set will last a lifetime and makes working on your bike far more enjoyable and comfortable – just as a superb, hand forged Japanese knife does in a kitchen. And it’s the tool I use the most by far, so why not get the best there is.
MaXalami Tubeless Repair System
While my personal toolkit at home is quite basic, I’m pretty picky about the stuff that I carry with me on every ride. Apart from my trusty Topeak multitool and a Lezyne pump, the one tool that always comes along when I get on the bike is the MaXalami tubeless repair system. Well, repair system is probably a bit exaggerated, essentially it’s an insertion tool that looks likes a small screwdriver and a bunch of sticky tire plugs. Make sure to preload the tool with a plug at home, so you can save precious seconds when your tire sprays tubeless sealant all over the place. It’s surprising how many people still haven’t heard of tubeless plugs and the incredulous faces when you help someone to fix their tire with a plug are priceless. Speaking of price, the basic set with the insertion tool comes in at € 12.90, 10 spare plugs will cost you € 9.90 and you can even cut them in half to get away even cheaper. It’s not the shiniest tool in my quiver but is undoubtedly one of the most useful.
Is that even a tool? What is it for? – If people take a look into my toolbox they always ask about the beloved pick I got from my dentist. I probably don’t use it as often as my pressure gauge or my allen keys but when I need it, nothing works as well as this. I use the pick for nerve wracking jobs such as getting cables through the cable ports of a frame. You can also use it to grab the o-ring that you can’t quite get hold of with your fingers while servicing your forks. Before winter I give my frame and headset-bearings a nice regrease. The pick is great for removing bearing seals without damaging them. What did it cost? – Nothing, except some pain from the root canal treatment.
“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” Abraham Maslow
This article is from ENDURO issue #035
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Words & Photos: ENDURO Team