Sometimes the most essential gear around is the gear that keeps your bike well-oiled. Or, maybe it’s something that helps keep your bike secure and stowed away, providing a clearer path to the Halloween decorations when it’s time. Either way, there’s a lot of good gear in the garage worth highlighting. So far this spring, we’ve received a bunch of different lubes — some for bike chains, some to ease frustrating mechanicals — plus bike storage tools, service kits, and a few other things which hopefully make maintenance easier, or at least more fun.
Finish Line lubes, grease, degreaser
Most of us are familiar with the Finish Line name when it comes to their bike-friendly chemicals. I’ve used their Wet chain lubricant for years and am still a fan. Finish Line recommends using the lube for long and hard rides, in muddy and wet conditions, and foggy, or salty coastal climates. The lube is a “heavier, wet-style lubricant that requires a little more attention to drivetrain cleanliness, but delivers the ultimate in lubricity and protection.”
In my experience, the Wet lube does last a while in between lube cycles. Folks in the desert might prefer their Dry lube, as it holds up better in really dusty environments, or for shop heads who need a drop or two on their derailleurs or shift cables.
Finish Line’s Fiber Grip is also an excellent and classic choice for keeping carbon bars where they need to be. The 4oz. lube bottles pictured is probably the most common size, and sells for $9. The degreaser sells for $12 and is good for spring drivetrain refreshes. The grease sells for $8 for the pictured 3.5oz. container and is helpful for greasing headsets, hubs, and the like.
See this comprehensive grease guide for more information on which lubricants go where.
Mountain Flow lubes and washes
Mountain Flow has a pretty cool backstory and anyone who is inherently opposed to the often environmentally-unfriendly lubricants out there will be pleased to hear about their products. Mountain Flow started with anti-stick sprays and waxes for skis and snowboards. They were also featured on the ABC show Shark Tank
Now, they’ve moved on to eco-friendly, plant-based bike lubricants, a grease, and a bike wash/degreaser. The wax lube is for moderate to dry conditions, and the All-weather lube is said to work well for mixed conditions.
I have used the wet lube a little and don’t have any complaints yet. The wash/degreaser works well, and seems to get drivetrain muck off ok, while not leaving any murky residue on the frame. The grease certainly has a different odor to it than other greases and the consistency feels more jelly-like, though it seems like it will work just fine. The lube bottles can be recycled, the spray bottle is made from recycled cardboard, and when you finally burn through the grease, the metal can of course be recycled too.
The dry and wet lubes are $14 and the wax lube is $16. The grease is also $16 and the wash is $14.
Öhlins service kits and lubricants
One of the things I was happy to note in my Öhlins reviews last summer is that the Swedish brand has made their service instructions and components readily available. With the hefty price tags that accompany the premium suspension parts, anything that anyone can do to save a little bit of money is welcome. Öhlins now offers oils, lubes, greases, and service kits for their suspension products to keep everything running smoothly.
The lubricants are available on their website.
Topeak Swing-Up Bike Holder
As someone who has a 1-car garage, with room for zero cars because of the amount of bikes, space is always at a premium. The Topeak Swing-Up Bike Holder is made for situations like this. The Bike Holder installs easily enough, granted you know how to install a drywall anchor if necessary.
As pictured, the Holder does exactly what it says, and rotates to the side to maximize space. The only limitation is tire and wheel size. The Bike Holder is best for commuter, dirt jump, and some gravel or mountain bikes. My gravel bike actually won’t work with the hanger, because the rim is too deep. Topeak lists the max sizes as a 2.35″ tire/rim width or a 3.15″ height.
Otherwise, the Topeak Bike Holder works great and feels nice and sturdy. MSRP: $60.
Hiplok security and wall mounted bike rack
Hiplok has a few bike storage items these days too, and they add an element of security. Counting the number of times I’ve left my garage wide open over night, I should have purchased one a while ago.
Hiplok’s Jaw bike rack sells for a reasonable $25 (lock not included) and installs into a wall with the anchors in the center, where the tire would rest. There are also caps that cover the screws. Hiplok says it can fit tires from 20-75mm wide, which translates to about a 2.5-inch tire, max. The pictured tire is a 27.5×2.5″ and there is room for something larger. The Jaw obviously isn’t a heavy-duty lock and is rather plasticky, but it seems useful for getting a bike mounted on a wall.
Hiplok also has the Ankr, which is a pretty cool little mount that can be installed in a wall and connected with a lock. For bike commuters who don’t have a rack outside their office, this will make for a useful attachment. The Ankr Mini and Z Lok above both cost $25.
CushCore Tire Lever
We’ve mentioned the Bead Dropper on the site before, but it’s still a real handy tool, even if you’re not putting Cush Core inserts in a tire, and are just dealing with any old tire install. The fat handle feels more ergonomic and makes it easier to pop and drop tires from beads. MSRP is $20 on Evo.
Sealant Injector Syringe
The sealant syringe is one I’ve picked up on my own and it’s probably my favorite tool in the garage. Rather than trying to pop the bead for a sealant refresh, you can inject some fresh fluid right through the valve. I squeeze the empty tire first and let it expand while the sealant goes in, thread the core back in, and it’s good to go.
The sealant can build up inside the thin tube and syringe exit, so give it a few pumps or put some compressed air through the parts when you’re done, and it should last a while. I picked up this one on Amazon for about $10.
Dogfish Head Hazy-O IPA
When I’m wrenching at home, I like to think of jobs in terms of beer. Swapping out a set of tires? That’s probably a one-beer job. Installing a new drivetrain? Better bring two.
Dogfish Head has a new hazy IPA out this season called Hazy-O, an easy-drinking beer made with four different kinds of oats. Rolled oats help give the beer its signature haze, while oat milk gives it a super smooth texture. According to the brewery, Hazy-O is the “first-ever nationally distributed oat milk-centric IPA,” and based on how this one tastes, it’s only a matter of time before we see others experimenting with adding the creamy liquid to their hoppy creations.
Just don’t let the smoothness fool you; this beer packs a 7.1% ABV, which could lead to some shoddy repair work toward the end of the night.
Your beers by job discipline is quite commendable. I have a small easily accessible beer fridge in my shop. Depending on the repair and what I am planning on doing after has a big impact on how many go down. Sometimes, I even find more work to do just to stay in the shop a bit longer. That is to make sure everything is in proper working order of course.
i use a bid screwdriver for the tire lever
I use a big flat-head screwdriver for the tires lever. it works just fine. the problem is the transportation…