I can't currently afford to pay someone to give my bike a complete strip and rebuild (I need a wheel rebuild, which is essential, so I am paying for that this month!)

So, given I have a hybrid, disc brakes, shimano crankset, I think all bearings are cartridge...what are the ESSENTIAL tools I need to do the job myself.

I already have: Full set allen keys, Screwdrivers of various sizes, Mole wrench (adjustable/lockable), Pedal spanner, General spanners/all-in-one cycle spanner, Grease and oil, Pliers.

I don't have: Bottom bracket removal tool, Work stand.

I am not a bike mechanic (hence not having many tools) but willing to give each part of the strip down a go - one at a time...so headset one weekend, front hub next etc.

  • 3
    Why do you need to rebuild it?
    – ebrohman
    Aug 19, 2016 at 13:48
  • 3
    I think you're better off starting by working out what problem you're trying to solve. If the bike "just doesn't work very well", new cables + adjust everything and oil the chain is probably 90% of the battle. Then pump up the tyres. You can do that with the tools you currently have.
    – Móż
    Aug 19, 2016 at 14:01
  • 1
    I also wonder why you'd want to do this. Unless you have some particular reason that needs a complete strip down (the bike was found in the middle of a lake, for example), I'd start by trying to adjust things as is. A lot of drivetrain problems start with bent derailleurs, for example, and unbending properly and adjusting solves a lot. Things like headsets often last the life of the bike, so unless something is wrong, I'm not sure why I'd strip it down.
    – Batman
    Aug 19, 2016 at 18:08
  • 3
    Basically, you start out with the tools you KNOW you need, and then buy more as you discover you need them. Different hubs may require different specialized tools, eg. If you need to replace cartridge bearings you will need a bearing puller/press. Etc. My tool roll contains a handful of open-end wrenches, a fairly complete set of cone wrenches, crank puller, allen wrenches, pliers, cable cutter, a few small screwdrivers, a couple of different freewheel tools, etc. Dunno what you might need for disk brakes. Aug 19, 2016 at 19:13
  • 1
    There are little tool kits sold by Nashbar/Performance/similar which have most of the tools for beginning repairs. Not the greatest quality, but adequate and reasonably priced. For many people, the remaining tools don't pay off financially or are repairs they won't necessarily do at home.
    – Batman
    Aug 19, 2016 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


What you have is a pretty good start... specialty tools needed depend on how far you want the strip-rebuild process to go. I would recommend the following

  1. If you are changing your cables and housing get a cable housing cutter. I use mine to also cut the cables but a normal (sharp) wire cutter will do that trick as well. You may be able to get by with a dremmel tool for those cuts if you have one

  2. Chain tool. It you have a bike with gears, removing and replacing your chain can have dramatic effect on shifting performance

  3. Crank Arm removal tool. If you are going to change/repack the bottom bracket you will need to get the crank arms off

  4. Bottom Bracket Removal tool

  5. If you are planning on replacing (or tightening ) your cassette you will need to cassette removal tool and a chain whip

  6. Cone Wrenches... these wrenches are needed for repacking the wheel hubs.

  • 1
    Re point 1, I solder the inner cable where I want to cut, and then just use wire cutters. Means there are no flyaway wires, and no need for an endcap either.
    – Criggie
    Aug 20, 2016 at 2:20

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