What's in My (Saddle) Bag?
Carrying the right tools not only makes repairing your roadside mechanical easier, but also allows for an optimally compact arsenal for everything you may need! It is important to have your bases covered with the right tools while out riding, as it is often said that you don't realize how important something is until you need it. Whether you are 2km into a short ride or over half-way through a 160km ride, the inevitable dread of discovering a mechanical is the same. While some mechanicals cannot be as easily remedied by the roadside, there are a few handy tools that make addressing the majority of straightforward mechanicals easily without having to make the less than thrilling call for help!
Roadside or Trailside Basics
Saddle Bag (Evoc's "Saddle Bag Tour")
Conveniently tucked underneath the saddle, it's typically secured by mounts attaching to the saddle's rails and seat post, allowing for the discrete and compact storage of your tools and supplies. Saddle bags come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors — so, whether you only need to bring anything between a few items or the kitchen sink, there is a model and style for everyone! In particular, Evoc's "Saddle Bag" line is well made, coming in a variety of colors and sizes to fit a range of personal preferences. A tried and true favorite, the "Saddle Bag Tour" model has a water resistant exterior (which doubles as a partial mud guard) and has a 1L capacity. While appearing small, it can fit: tire levers, a C02 cannister, two road inner-tubes, multi-tool, an extra chain link, and mini-patch kit.
Tire Levers (Pedro's)
Tire levers are one of the most handy items any rider can have with them while out riding. Ergonomically shaped and made from a durable material, these levers get the job gone efficiently and quickly. The plastic body of the levers is especially useful, as they are less likely to potentially damage the rim, in comparison to using metal levers, thus are more user friendly.
Inner Tube(s) (Conti Race 700x 25 Tubes)
Carrying one inner-tube is an essential element to any rider's roadside tool arsenal. While the occurrence of roadside flats can be mitigated by ensuring the tires are inflated properly, as per the specified guidelines by the tire's manufacturer, they can occur unexpectedly from roadside debris (at always the worst times too)! Thus, carrying a tube is very handy. If you plan of riding longer distances solo, carrying 1-2 inner-tubes is a safe suggestion, along with some pre-glued patches to be extra prepared in case you run into some bad luck!
Multi-Tool (Park Tool's "I-Beam")
Whether you need to re-tighten a loose headset, modify your saddle height and angle mid-ride, or need a chain tool, the "I-Beam Mini" tool has you covered for all of that and more. While it is small and compact, it includes: 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6mm Allen wrenches, a socket 8mm Allen, a regular screwdriver, a T25 Torx tool (for disc-rotor bolts), a tire lever, spoke wrenches and a chain tool.
C02 Cannister and Adapter
Despite this item isn't exactly as pictured, it serves the same purpose and does not differ in quality. In particular, this item highlighted is particularly useful as it not only includes the cannister, but it also includes the adapter, this item is essential to inflating your tire. Unsure what size of cannister is best for the type of riding and style of bike you have? Click on this link for an in depth chart.
Frame Mini-Pump (Lezyne's "Grip Drive HP")
While this pump doesn't fit in the saddle bag, it comes with a handy attachment which allows you to easily mount underneath your bottle cage. Having a "back up" manual pump provides some peace of mind, especially if you get more than one flat or something unexpectant happens while using the single use C02 cannister. This HP model reaches a max of 120 psi (8.3 bar) and its use is most ideal for road and urban usage. Lezyne has a similar model, their "Grip Drive HV" (high volume instead of high pressure) which is better suited for riding lower pressures at a higher volume (mountain bikes, gravel bikes, etc.).
A Spare Chain Link (SRAM PowerLock Chain Connector)
While this item is handy to have in your saddle bag in the event your chain snaps while out riding, it is especially handy if you like to ride far solo. The power links provide an easy tool-free re-assembly of your chain, so you can get rolling efficiently after some quick roadside work. Please note, while the image and link attached are to an 11-speed SRAM chain link, ensure the link is compatible to your drivetrain as links are not interchangeable amongst all drivetrain types.
Other Handy Items for Mountain and Gravel Riding
Tubeless Tire Plugs (Genuine Innovations' "Side of Bacon")
This item is designed to make potential minor trailside tubeless failure an easy fix. Coming with 5 strips of self-vulcanizing rubber and an insertion tool, this tubeless repair kit makes plugging small imperfections by the trailside is simple.
Links to Everything Mentioned Above:
- Evoc's "SADDLE BAG TOUR"
- Pedro's "Tire Lever's"
- Continental "700c Presta Valve Inner Tube"
- Genuine Innovations' "Microflate Nano" C02 Cannister and adapter
- Lezyne's "Grip Drive HP" mini frame pump
- Park Tool's "I-Beam Mini Fold-Up Hex Wrench/Screwdriver/Torx Set with Chain Tool"
- SRAM "11sp Power Link Chain Connector"
- Genuine Innovations' "Tubeless Repair Kit"