Emergency tools and parts

If you didn’t take a good tool set, or you just need something unusual, try these substitutions to give you workable emergency tools.

8mm Allen wrench 5mm and 3mm side-by-side (10mm = 6mm + 4mm)
Oversize wrenches on smaller bolts Slide coins into gap between bolt and wrench, on side that will NOT be applying force to the bolt.
SAE wrenches on Metric bolts 8mm = 5/16 inch (approx.)11mm = 7/16 inch (approx.)13mm = 1/2 inch (sloppy fit)16mm = 5/8 inch (approx.)
Last resort wrench Place a screwdriver against the flat sides of the bolt and tap it around with a rock – this will ruin the bolt head and probably the screwdriver too.
Chain breaking 2mm Allen wrench to rest against rivet, rock to pound against Allen wrench, log to rest chain on, and a sacrifice to the tool gods to appease them for the mangling of the wrench.
Lock ring pin tool Two small Allen wrenches, short end in holes, handles held together.
Cassette lock ring removal tool Hold a screwdriver against the splines, and hit it with the palm of your other hand.
Chain whip (for cassette removal) Loop chain around cassette, slide 3mm Allen wrench between chain plates for grip.
Tire Lever Quick Release handle from wheel skewer or seat post.
Lube Lip balm, oily sunscreen, fork oil or check inside headset (if it’s really desperate).
Thread lock Plumber’s tape, plastic bag.
Thread chaser Knife blade, screwdriver, another nut or bolt of the same thread type
Drill A nail or screwdriver will work at a pinch in plastic. Heat up with lighter or better still light a small fire with the lighter, and heat the screwdriver in that. Be careful to localize the heat to the point, as the handle may well melt off. Nails can be held in pliers.
Helper bar for stubborn bolts *thick* aluminum or steel seat posts can be slid over Allen wrenches to provide more leverage. Be careful not to deform the seat post as it will never go back in to the seat tube if damaged.
File Rough rock. Consider finding a big rock and taking the component to be filed to the rock as this gives you a bigger filing area and more control over angles, etc.Some multi-tools and knives come with a file area on the edge of one of the blades.


Emergency spare parts

Bolt replacement Find similar from bottle cage, cycle computer mount, seat post clamp, headset compression/stem cap bolt (this one isn’t needed once stem is tightened), brake bosses, shoe cleats…Remove one from a set (one of the six rotor bolts, one of four or five chainring bolts)

NOTE: do not remove brake boss bolts from forks with bolted on arches (older Marzocchi, for instance).

Washer Aluminum drink can pull tab
Shim (to “pad” components so they don’t slip) Aluminum from drink can. Thicker shims – use old inner tube.
Tire boot (fixes gashed tires) Energy bar wrapper, race number plate, denim (jeans pocket?), duct tape, dollar bill (wears out fast – gets expensive).
Replacement brake fluid DOT4 brakes: take from the brake fluid reservoir in almost any car.Mineral oil brakes: use mineral oil from a pharmacy/drug store.

NEVER use other types of oil. They may work fine initially, but they are likely to expand when hot, leading to the brakes locking on after a short descent.

Replacement fork oil, oil bath forks Motorbike suspension oil, around 7-10 weight if possible. Automatic transmission fluid as a last resort.
Wire/zip ties/rope Compression straps, webbing from backpack or hydration pack, packing tape, baling wire, fence wire, plant fibers.
Padding (missing saddle, etc.) Clothing, backpack.

Get creative! Check what items you have with you, raid trash cans, ask in local houses.