So you have spent weeks looking around for a new bike and you have finally made your purchase. However, whether it’s an absolute bargain in the sales – or that dream machine you’ve been saving for, don’t get caught out by forgetting to buy a few simple accessories. We’ve put together a list of 9 essential (and not so essential) accessories for your bike – in no particular order.
Most new bikes are sold with pedals – of course they are. However, these are likely to be basic, Nylon or if you are lucky, aluminium pedals. They will definitely serve their purpose. However, if you have treated yourself to cycling specific shoes, especially road shoes – the stock pedals aren’t going to be much use.
So easy to forget. Bottle cages are something that are easily taken for granted. if you have bought your bike for getting you to and from work, then you may not be too worried about carrying a bidon (water bottle) on your bike. Especially if your commute is a short ride. But if your planning on longer rides or you’re a fair weather cyclist that’s keen to rack up some miles on a hot sunny day, you will need hydration. Water bottles are the obvious option but they will prove difficult to carry without your bottle cages. The great thing about this accessory is that they can be incredibly inexpensive. Just don’t forget the bottles.
If you have a road bike and you and you are buying a new/replacement road bike – the chances are you will still have spare tubes kicking around. However, if your new bike is a different discipline, its important to make sure you not only have replacement inner tubes, but that they are the correct size. Your new gravel bike with it’s 40mm tyres is not going to run well on the 20-25mm tubes you bought in bulk last Black Friday. In addition to spare tubes, it’s always sensible to carry some self-adhesive glue patches. These are ideal small punctures when you changing out the tube is is a bit excessive.
Some people opt for a Co2 inflator pump – others prefer the more conventional hand pump. Either way, you should have one and you should take it on every ride. Don’t rely on your ride buddies to bail you out. Bike pumps don’t have to be expensive and are often super-compact and very lightweight. So if you are worried about ruining the aesthetics of you lovely new ride by clipping a pump to the frame – many pumps and inflators are (jersey) pocket friendly.
Unless you are simply planning to ride out and back without stopping, you may not need a lock. However, if you plan to commute or leave your bike somewhere for any period of time, buy a bike lock. How much you choose to spend will ultimately come down to your budget and how valuable your bike is to you. Locks can vary in size an security. a simple cable lock like the Hiplok FLX is a good lock to deter would-be-thieves on a quick stop. But its not really ideal for leaving your best bike unattended for the day – while you go to work. Choose a lock that is fit for purpose. Check out our ‘5 tips for locking up your bike’.
You could argue that bike lights are only essential if you a planning to ride at night. But at AATR – at least a rear bike light is used for every ride, day or night. All lights are designed to make you more visible to others and that can only be a good thing. Many bike lights have quick mounting systems like rubber straps or turn-and-lock mount, making them easy to remove when not on the bike. The introduction of USB chargeable lights means that those of you who you sat at a computer – can make sure your lights are fully juiced up for your extended commute home.
Cleaning and Maintenance Products
This may not be seen as essential bike accessories. But in reality – looking after your bike is incredibly important. The saying goes “a clean bike is a happy bike” – and it’s true. Invest in bike cleaner and a GOOD chain lube. If you’re new to cycling or this is your first bike for a few years – you don’t have to buy expensive maintenance stands or super hi-tech jet cleaners. But a bike cleaner that is suitable for your type of frame, a bucket and sponge will go a long way. When it comes to the chain, this arguably works harder that any other part of the bike. Keeping your chain clean and lubed is key to is longevity. It goes without saying that if you ride during Autumn and Winter months when things get particularly wet and muddy – bike cleaning should become a more regular activity.
The unsung hero of roadside repairs. A multi-tool is exactly what it says. The Swiss Army Knife of bike accessories, a multi-tool holds a number of different sized ‘bits’ or ‘heads’ that should fit most of the screws and bolts on your bike. The very basic tools will usually have 4 or 5 hex (Allen) keys and a Phillips and flat head screw driver. Larger tools can have over 20 different tools. These can include additional sized hex key, Torx or star-shaped wrenches and chain-link removers. The nice thing about multi-tools if that they a compact to carry and don’t need to cost a lots of money. Although we’d strongly advise you not to but too cheaply. The last thing you want is to have an Allen key snap whilst trying to tighten/loosen a bolt.
This always splits opinion. On the one hand, some riders feel that a saddle bag ruins the looks of their pride and joy and adds unnecessary weight. Anything they carry in a saddle bag can be carried in the jersey pocket. The other side of the argument is that these accessories are extremely useful. Depending on the size, you can carrying as much or as little as you need for a ride. Our Lezyne seat pack carries 1-2 spear tubes, some glue patches and a multi-tool – without issue. And because its always fixed to the bike, there is no chance of forgetting to take any of these essentials.
There are so many more bike accessories that we could add to this list – but we feel that these are the basics. We wanted to put cycle helmets at the top of the list – but this article is more about the bike than the rider. There are other accessories that are more of ‘nice-to-haves’ such as bike computers and GPS devices. Many newer riders may find that a mobile phone app is more than sufficient to record basic ride information. At the end of the day, all you really need to enjoy cycling is a fully working bike that is safe to ride. How far you go with adding bike accessories and personalising it is up to you.