I have a bike that I would like to take apart to store for the winter. I live in a college dorm and don't have much space. What are the basic tools that I would need to take it apart?

I think taking apart the wheels, pedals, and handlebar will be enough.

Ex: Screwdriver, wrench

The bike is a Trek 7.2FX

  • 1
    Mainly a pedal wrench, a set of metric hex wrenches (often available in a Swiss-Army-Knife-style single unit), and whatever wrenches (if any) that are needed to remove your wheels. For disk brake bikes you should have spacers to insert in the calipers to keep them apart. And some cheap or older bikes may need an regular adjustable wrench or fixed size open-end wrench to deal with the seat and/or handlebar. A screwdriver is generally not needed. Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 20:02

6 Answers 6

  1. Set of Allen (hex) key: usually 4,5 and 6 mm would do the job. You can use these Allen key for disassembling handlebar, stem, seatpost, and most pedals

  2. Adjustable wrench or (usually) 15 mm wrench: (check if needed) in order to remove the pedal. You could usually remove the pedal with 8 mm Allen key (sometimes could be 5 mm, 6 mm, or 10 mm). Check if there is a hexagonal recess in the pedal axle (crank side), and better, check the size so that you could buy a correct Allen key. The size would be the distance between two opposite (parallel) flat sides of the hexagonal recess.

    If it is too much trouble, just buy a set of Allen key from 3-12 mm. It won't cost much.

  3. You could remove the wheel simply by hand (check if the wheel is clamped by skewer).

  • What is the difference between hex key and Allen key? Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 11:23
  • 2
    They are the same, just in different names
    – Nhân Lê
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 11:24

You want to remove the wheels, seat post (you may be able to get away with setting this all the way at the bottom or doing nothing depending on how you're storing it), handlebars and pedals. If you can go to your local bike shop and get a (cardboard) box for shipping bikes, the bike should pack in nicely for storage. This video shows you the steps in a nice way visually. You're not shipping it, so you don't need as much bubble wrap and straps and foam, but bubble wrap is nice.

The tools you'll need are likely a set of metric hex keys (mostly 5 mm, possibly 4-8 mm) and a thin adjustable wrench (maybe a pedal wrench too).

To remove the wheels, you likely have quick release wheels, so just pop the lever and unwind it. Undo the brake's quick release and the wheel will come out. Be careful not to let the derailleur get impacted as that can make it come out of adjustment (e.g. don't drop the bike when you have the wheels removed).

The seat post will be either a hex key or quick release. If its a hex key, try the appropriate size hex key (4-8 mm). If its a quick release, pop the lever and unwind it. If you're not using a bike box, I'd stuff the seatpost with a bit of newspaper or something in case critters make a home there. The seatpost is also likely to be greased, so wipe it clean.

The handlebars should be removed and put to the side of the bike. I wouldn't disconnect any cables.

Simp (from http://brimages.bikeboardmedia.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/moots-rsl-road-bike-review-stem02.jpg)

Simply remove the bolts on the front of the stem (the four bolts on the front of the red piece, in this picture), put the handlebars to the side of the bike and re- attach the red piece (so you don't lose it). You may want to tape them to the bike to prevent them from moving.

For the pedals, you'll either want a thin adjustable wrench which can adjust to about 15 mm or a pedal wrench of the appropriate size (a combo 15 mm + 9/16" will be fine). Note the left hand side pedal (when you're riding the bike) is counter threaded -- that is, it tightens counter clockwise, rather than clockwise. The right hand side pedal tightens clockwise. Remove the pedals. Wipe the pedal threads and crankset eye clean.

This should all fit nicely into a bike box which would be ideal for storage. Gloves may be nice for preventing your hand from getting messy. To re assemble the bike, do this in reverse, making sure to grease your bolts + pedals + seatpost appropriately.

  • Pedal wrenches are cheap, and finding an adjustable that suitable thin would be difficult. Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 19:57
  • I don't think its hard to find, but it does depend on the crankset and the pedals in question. A lot of 6 inch adjustable wrenches are thin enough to substitute for a pedal wrench on the pedal+crank combinations that I have.
    – Batman
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 3:15
  • 2
    So It turns out that a hex key can also be used to remove my pedals as well from the inside. I purchased a set of hex keys and I think that might be all I need! Thanks Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 11:18

You will want:

  • hex/allen key set (check standard vs. metric)
  • pedal wrench
  • ratchet set or box wrenches (crescent wrench as last alternative)
  • gardening gloves to keep your hands clean

Ensure that you do not strip the fasteners as metric/standard can be a very close fit sometimes. Save some old t-shirts or towels to wrap around the drive-train to keep it from dirtying your space.

When taking off your left pedal, ensure the chain is on the largest chain-ring to save your knuckles in case your wrench slips while loosening the pedal.

  • I can't think of very few things I'd ever want to use a crescent wrench for on a bike. Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 18:10
  • @SuspendedUser I mentioned a crescent wrench simply because it it useful for removing certain after-market parts (fenders, racks, mounts, certain seats, or certain wheels). Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 18:16
  • I tend to think of crescent wrenches as a last resort for intermediate and higher level skilled mechanics to use in a bad pinch. Unskilled and new mechanics shouldn't be using them because they have an increased likelihood of damaging components using one. Other than that holding a cassette removal tool (which I have a different tool for) they shouldn't ever really be near a bike. Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 18:21
  • @SuspendedUser Fair enough. Just like WD-40 :) Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 18:22
  • Feel free to revert my edit if you feel it's warranted. Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 18:26

I take a single multitool when I travel to disassemble/reassemble my bike. I have an older model crank brothers tool that they don't make anymore, but something similar is available here. I run pedals that can be taken on and off with a 8mm hex, so I don't need a pedal wrench.

Without a complete breakdown of your bike and all it's parts, one would be hard pressed to tell you definitively what you need. However, a good multitool and possibly a pedal wrench (depending on your pedals) may be all you need.


Outside the box possibilities.

Is there something that stops you riding your bike in the winter? Yes winter is colder and wetter, and depending on your location there may be snow. Perhaps a snow bike would be more year-round.... that's a rigid MTB with studded tyres for winter and commuter tyres for summer.

Second option is to look at hanging your summer bike without disassembling. Wash and dry it, and hang it up high out of the way. When summer (or a warm snap) comes you lower the bike, lube it, and ride.

Final option is to ride/ship your bike home and leave it there for winter. You want as little stuff as possible in a dormitory.

  • 1
    A trek 7.2 fx can be decent in the winter, provided you put the right tires and don't go through heavy snow.
    – Batman
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 15:55
  • 1
    I would love to ride through the winter as originally planned, but after doing some research it turns out that it might too much of a hassle for me and might also ruin my bike because of the salt (rusting the metal) and slush(to the gears). Additionally, my dorm space is very limited and the only other space I have to store my bike would be outside(also a no go). Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 11:15
  • 1
    Also live on a hill and it might be dangerous to ride down it when the roads are icy. Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 11:16
  • I suggest send it home for winter.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 19:29

Just a 5mm allen will get you a lot if you have quick release wheels. Just drop seat and spin the bars. Lace the pedals between the spokes of the removed wheels. In a dorm closet you can hang socks on the bar. You just need to get it against the wall. hex tool

For college you might as well get a kit to also do basic maintenance.
Essential Tool Kit
Starter Tool Kit - 90% of what I do is with this kit

  • Down vote what is the problem?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 21:27
  • Those are quite expensive on a college student's budget. Nashbar/Performance make cheap stuff for about 40 dollars.
    – Batman
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 3:17
  • @Batman Plan A is the first paragraph
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 3:18

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