Hot on the heels of last week’s post about the top tools for your shop is part two of the series, covering the supplies you should have – at a minimum – in your home bike shop. Just like last week’s article about tools, these supplies aren’t meant to break the bank. Sure, there are expensive versions of each and every one of these items, but it’s our experience that the popular (and typically cheap) brands do the trick just fine.
Spending a little bit of money up front on the right mountain bike-related supplies can save you a ton of money in the long run. This list covers bike maintenance from a very high, basic level that should be done at a minimum. We didn’t include things like brake fluid or suspension oil because frankly, we prefer to pay professionals to take care of those items. Here’s our list of must-have supplies for your bike shop:
Tubeless Tire Sealant
We personally prefer Stan’s NoTubes sealant, but everyone has their favorites. Tubeless tire sealant is an absolute must-have in your shop, as it constantly needs to be refreshed and swapped out when riding in dry climates. Going along with our recommendation of having an air compressor, having a sealant that works for you is important in having the right bike setup. It’s gotten to the point where we almost can’t ride a bike with tubes as confidently as a tubeless bike!
As mentioned, we prefer the new “Race” mix by Stan’s NoTubes- not only is it a high-quality latex mix, but now they’ve included small fibers in the liquid to help seal pinches and tears more quickly. Thanks to tubeless sealant, we can count on one hand the number of flats Chasing Epic riders got in 2016- and that was among hundreds and hundreds of riding days!
Bike and Chain Degreaser
Yet another important supply to always have on-hand regardless of the time of year, bike degreaser keeps all of our bikes in tip-top shape. Whether it’s the dry climate of places like St. George and Moab, the high-alpine environments of Crested Butte and Park City, or just riding around home in Boulder, CO – degreaser keeps everything clean and moving like it should when your bike was new.
Cleaning off our bikes after a ride is almost part of the ride ritual itself these days. Whether there’s a thin dusting of dirt or a thick cake of mud, the degreaser is coming out when we get home. Always make sure to use it on the chain, in tight spots around the brakes and derailleurs, and then apply it generously around other areas that have become dirty and/or vulnerable to wear and tear.
Another product with a million options, chain lube is always in our Chasing Epic van as well as in our garage. It’s one of those things that should be part of going for a bike ride- either before you leave home, or right before you hop on the bike to ride, make sure you give your chain a nice (new) coating of lube. Besides, chain lube gives you an opportunity to make plenty of jokes and keep the mood light among your riding buddies. Who doesn’t like a good lube joke?
We prefer a lube like T9 Boeshield that both cleans and coats; it requires an application, a short “breaking in” period of a few minutes, and then a quick wipe down to get all the excess gunk off your chain. You want that interface to be as clean as possible to make sure you have an efficient pedal stroke. There are dozens of articles and videos explaining how to choose between dry and wet lubes, we like this one from Art’s Cyclery: Wet vs Dry Lubes.
If you plan on installing (or cleaning, or removing, or swapping out) a crankset or headset, make sure you have some bike-specific grease on hand. Not only does grease lubricate the applicable interfaces, it also helps seal the area in question, keeping any excess dirt, sand or gunk out. Always make sure you re-apply the grease once you swap out or clean a part too, it’s easy to forget. Sure it’s messy, but that leads us to our next item….
This one’s easy: buy a bunch of cheap shop rags (they’re like $12 on Amazon for a supply that will last years) and keep them around. Use them to clean or wipe down just about everything: chains, cranksets, frames, wheels, etc. Hell, even if you’re not working on your bike you should have these at hand.
This one’s a no-brainer, and we probably shouldn’t even have to tell you… but beer makes everything better. Our personal favorite right now (and likely the beer you’ll get from us after a ride this year!) is Finkel and Garf, a local brewery right down the street in Boulder, Colorado. Just make sure you don’t drink too many while working on your bike, it’s awfully tough to ride with a misaligned crankset or reversed brake levers!