10 Pro Mechanics' Favorite Tools at the Albstadt XC World Cup Season Opener

May 7, 2021 at 16:40
by Alicia Leggett  
Instagram...

World Cup racing is back on, which means World Cup wrenching is, too. Here are some favorite tools from the mechanics looking after some of the top riders this weekend.


Alvaro Dominiquez, mechanic for Trek Factory Racing

Alvaro Dominquez

bigquotesThere are several, but maybe now the tool I most use is the new torque wrench from Bontrager. I like it because it's small, it's portable, light, and I have the options that I normally use: 0 to 8 Nm so really easy to work with all the bolts.

Alvaro Dominquez
Alvaro Dominquez
Alvaro Dominiquez says he has several favorites, but Bontrager's new torque wrench stands out.


Yannick Gyger, mechanic for Nino Schurter

Yannick Gyger

bigquotesWell I like gold and they're actually made out of a coating, 24-point-whatever gold. It's real, but just a tiny coating. I also used to have Allen keys, exactly the same.

Yannick Gyger
Yannick Gyger
Do gold-plated tools help make a bike go faster? Probably.


Brad Copeland, mechanic for Kate Courtney

Brad Copeland

Brad Copeland
Brad Copeland
It's the little things.

bigquotesSo it's called a ring-marking plier, it's actually a jeweler's tool for stamping or engraving soft metals with a date or a name, like on the inside of a ring. I use it to crimp the tips of the cables that we use on the lockouts on our bikes. It was a wedding gift from one of my good friends and a mechanic that I used to work with at a bike shop. We used to joke about this tool and how cool it would be to get it, but the cost is so high for such a silly novelty item that it's kind of not worth it. But for my wedding present five years ago that was his gift to me and I've been cherishing it ever since. I've got it for life, and hopefully for at least a little while longer we'll still actually have cables on the bike before everything goes fully electronic so I still have a few left to crimp. Then I'll just have something for my vintage bikes at home.

The most used tool? For sure Abbey Tools' bottle opener at the end of every day we bust this tool out and crack a few cold ones with the boys. Maybe not the most practical tool in the box for working on bikes, but the one we enjoy the most.

Brad Copeland


Gavin Black, mechanic for Thomus RN Swiss Bike Team

Gavin Black

bigquotesChainwhip tool made by a good friend, Nigel Reeve of NSR Racing. Custom made.

Gavin Black
Gavin Black

Gavin Black


Andi Pscheidel, mechanic for Santa Cruz FSA MTB Pro Team

Andi Pscheidl

bigquotesIt's Arrowmax screwdrivers, it's out of the RC car scene. I just like the fancy look and they're super lightweight.

Andi Pscheidl
Andi Pscheidl
"They're mainly for looks, like all of my tools," Andi joked. "I use them mainly for photographers asking for screwdrivers."


JP Jacobs, mechanic for Cannondale Factory Racing

JP Jacobs

bigquotesI believe in a good pressure gauge. Tire pressure is quite a vital key, it makes your racing. This one is a digital one. It does two decimals behind the comma and gives me PSI and bar because some riders have different preferences in what they use. It also has an easy deflate function, which is quite accurate and has been trusty since day 1.

JP Jacobs
Tire pressure is no joke in a World Cup race.


Lewis Kirkwood, mechanic for Norco Factory Team

Lewis Kirkwood

bigquotesI have a PB Swiss PB8451.10-100M. The handle has it written on here! It's a PB Swiss screwdriver with interchangeable bits and a magnetic holder to do so. It's easy to be able to swap between loads of different attachments, given that there's lots of different ways you need to get into things. And it's magnetized so you don't lose the bolt, particularly for the small stuff.

Lewis Kirkwood
Lewis Kirkwood


Uwe Kampe, Ghost Factory Racing Team

Uwe Kampe

bigquotesI don't just use it for changing tires. I use it for removing some stickers or to put the brake pistons back into position, all that stuff where you need something with plastic that's not scratching around. It happens often that we remove some stickers and make them nice and shiny.

Uwe Kampe
Sometimes simple tools are the best tools.


Peter Felber, mechanic for Specialized Factory Racing

Peter Felber

bigquotesThis is just a toothpick for a dentist. I love that tool because we use it so often -- on the shoes, on the fork, on the cassette somewhere to put mud out. It is one tool that I need all the time on the bike and for so many things.

Peter Felber
Peter Felber


Jerome Alix, mechanic for Specialized Factory Racing

Jerome Alix

bigquotesSo that's an Abbey Tool with torx on it and allen key. Basically, with one tool you can do a bolt check on the complete bikes, for us on the Specialized S-Works. You order it with the bits you want and they put it in for you. They have a combination of bits you can have on, so you choose which one is most appropriate for you. And that one for me is the best we can get for all bikes. Every day we do bolt checks. Every day, every time before racing. That's the best tool for that.

Jerome Alix
Jerome Alix



146 Comments

  • 144 1
 Wow, the Trek dude’s favorite tool is sold by Trek. What are the chances?
  • 13 0
 Thank you for beating me to this. Sigh.
  • 83 0
 It's funny because its actually made by Silca, then re-badged by Bontrager with an increased price. The Silca one is a GREAT tool though.
  • 5 2
 @Phillyenduro but it is sick. Bikes need low torque most of the time and the offerings are usually limited and just shitty rebranded tools. That actually looks like a nice piece of kit, will have to look into that for my race kit.
  • 12 0
 @ratedgg13: and the silca version in itself ain’t cheap.
  • 3 0
 I don't know what you say but Dominquez just sold me a tool!
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: thank you for the info. Just priced one up. Looks great!
  • 12 0
 @ratedgg13: increased prices after rebadging are very common, but not sure how 'Bontrager' justifies a higher price than 'Silca'. It's like Ford rebadging a BMW and then increasing its price.
  • 6 0
 I too think it's amazing.

*has never touched one
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: Copying is the sincerest for of flattery, especially when you charge more for it.
  • 1 0
 im gunna go ahead and say there is not a large market for this tool and its corresponding price tag. you think trek told his to endorse it, or he just genuinely likes it? seems like a solid piece of equipment to me.
  • 2 0
 The torque wrench is pretty nice. I do a lot of small stuff that needs to be accurately torqued (UAV’s). I have a HRD torque wrench that does 2-24NM, it’s great but pretty bulky. I’ve given silca my email to inform me when it’s next in stock. That will give me enough time to decide whether I really would use this or if it’s something I’m just listing over.
  • 1 0
 How does one torque something to 0Nm?
  • 3 0
 @buckwheat23: you joke, but the torque spec on a Magura lever bleed port is .5Nm. lmao
  • 7 0
 Gotta say though, I have the silca version and its probably my favorite tool. Comes with all the bits you need and you can set it up as a 3-way with any specific bits you need at the moment. You can make it a t-handle, p-handle or just a straight tool for removing/tightening loose bolts. It ratchets, gives you most of the torque you need, and comes apart easily to change configurations on the fly.
  • 1 0
 @buckwheat23: simple: loosen the bolt and don't tighten it. Won't stay on for long though...
  • 3 0
 @conoat: lol and at .6 it strips right out.
  • 1 0
 @Mac1987: usually in a case like this, it’s not designed for retail. It’s designed to be sold to dealers, branding it and stocking it’s part number in their dealer network.
  • 3 0
 @Phillyenduro I'm sure his boss told him to toe the company line...........or else Smile
  • 1 1
 But actually made by Silca.
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: Yes. Bought the Silca original version years ago after their Kickstarter campaign and it’s my go to tool for building up my and my friends new bikes. So well designed and executed, sits right between all those Wera and Swiss tools with a beautiful textile cover and bit holder
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: in fairness, based on a quick google, Bontrager price is a whole $5 more than Silca, $125 vs $120

Pricey either way but looks like a really nice piece of kit.
  • 65 2
 A dentist's bikes requires a dentist's tools.
  • 5 0
 at first glance, I thought that was the tool for taking dabs haha
  • 2 0
 @mojopedaler: lmao one end for the bike, other for taking fat dabs while working on the bike.
  • 3 0
 @DylanH93: in all honesty... I dab with dentist picks...
  • 2 0
 I find it a bit funny with this tool
  • 4 15
flag sqidd (May 9, 2021 at 8:48) (Below Threshold)
 Except none of those bikes are owned by dentists. They're race team bikes. Good job on outing yourself for being an underachieving jealous wanker though. If you spent less time being angry about what you don’t have you would have more time to make money to buy the things you want. You’re probably just a lazy and entitled though.
  • 2 0
 @Phaethon85: haha I've definitely seen those. I used to dab, had some super nice glass dab sticks and a little recycler bong. Seems like most go for the dentist pick setup though.
  • 6 1
 @sqidd: spoken like a true lazy entitled dentist

Lazy dentists everywhere, sorry for the tautology.
  • 2 0
 @sqidd: Lane? Is that you?
  • 2 0
 You're a rabid anti-dentite
  • 1 0
 @wildedge586: Yeah... His post was a bit tough to chew Wink
  • 1 0
 @sqidd: what are you talking about? Dentists are underachieving... isn’t that why we didn’t do med school?
  • 46 0
 Brad Copeland
"The most used tool? For sure Abbey Tools' bottle opener at the end of every day we bust this tool out and crack a few cold ones with the boys. Maybe not the most practical tool in the box for working on bikes, but the one we enjoy the most."
Spoken like a true mountain biker. If ya ain't havin' fun, why bother?
  • 31 0
 Brads a real nice guy. And a great story there about the jewellers tool too.
  • 1 0
 You expected anything less from the man with the strongest 'stache game in the XC pits?
  • 6 0
 Thank you! I always say if you’re not having fun you’re doing it wrong!
  • 38 6
 The enduro/downhill folks really liked Knipex Wrenches. I guess the lighter duty XC bikes do not need heavy duty tools.
  • 4 5
 Dunno why you got downvoted for that
  • 6 0
 @Themissinglink83: I see a Knipex in one of their kits
  • 2 1
 Agreed but not their favourite tool @taprider:
  • 8 0
 My guess is since every mechanic had different tools featured, they were probably asked to pick something unique so the article had variety.
  • 10 0
 At the end of the day though it’s just a wrench right? Yeah it’s the ultimate refined evolution in wrench technology but it doesn’t do everything
I like knipex because $30 for a flat-ground socket from fox is a damn scam
  • 1 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: damnit I should've bought a knipex
  • 4 6
 Never understood Knipex adjustable wrench, it's like using a pipe wrench on everything. I feel it does more harm then good.
  • 8 0
 @femto505: the difference is that it always has a perfect fit and pressure on the contact surface. It therefore has a better grip on things than even the correct size wrench.
  • 1 0
 Cheap (in Europe) and heavy. Two things XC racers don't like Wink
  • 2 0
 I'm willing to bet a lot of the tool choices amongst pro mechanics are fairly fashion based. At the end of the day there are very few specialist or innovative tools for bikes, it's just what looks and feels nice.
  • 6 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: do what everyone else does.....take a $9 socket and 5 min with a grinder.
  • 3 0
 @conoat: everybody else takes 30 minutes trying to do it with an adjustable wrench like we all did at one point
  • 1 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: and end up with a mangled top cap......ah yes. 2014 was a bad year. lol
  • 2 0
 @conoat: I should turn my self in - I have the Park flat sockets, knipex wrenches and a F#%k ton of other tools. The Knipex are my favorite because they are always in my small box when I travel. I do not always use my Knipex for bikes -they are universally awesome. Yes you can strip bolts etc....
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: nobody's sponsored by knipex
  • 2 0
 @femto505: The jaws are parallel with no serrations on the inside, and grip harder the tighter you squeeze. It is every spanner you need for you bike in one tool.
  • 2 0
 @femto505: I always thought they were overhyped and that I wouldn't use one that much until I got one. Now I'm trying to convince myself I don't really need additional sizes.
  • 3 0
 @muscogeemasher: I was just building a kids basketball set up and had to put a washer between two moving pieces in a tight space - Knipex - the narrow jaws are great. I have 3 sizes. Cannot say enough about them!
  • 3 0
 @muscogeemasher: they don’t need to sponsor fashionable bike mechanics tools because just like all great tools they sell more by word of mouth and tried and tested quality and longevity.

Obvious marketing campaigns like seen here with simple manipulative slogans are simply unnecessary for quality stuff.
  • 5 0
 @wildedge586: Agreed. My buddy owns a chain of bike shops. Never heard of KNIPEX before. I tried them - loved them then took them into the shop to show him. He just looked at me - and trust me he has it all the good tools in the shop and said - GO GET ME A SET OF THESE RIGHT AWAY..............

I have to tell you - I have lots of tools - many or over-hyped just like you said. Some are just possessions - I use the Knipex all the time.
  • 2 0
 @wildedge586: Agreed. About 12 years ago after I really got hooked on riding I spent a lot of time and money buying "bike" tools. Now I'm on the tail end of spending time and money replacing a lot of those tools with much better tools that are not made by bike tool companies.

Cool thing about the Knipex is I use them all the time for non-bike stuff as well. For that reason, probably at least one more size on the horizon for when I need to hold a bolt head while I tighten a nut.
  • 1 0
 @muscogeemasher: Too true. I only buy from "bike tool" brands if it's a bike-specific tool (or in the rare case one of their tools are cheaper). Knipex wrenches, electricians pliers, bondhus torx and allen wrenches, etc. have all been super solid.
  • 22 0
 Pressure gauge!! I always marvel at how people buy fancy expensive bikes but don't figure out their ideal tire pressures, let alone check their tire pressures every ride or 2.
  • 4 0
 I check my pressure every ride at the trailhead. The difference in pressure between my garage and after the tires have been outside heating up or cooling down depending on outside temp is usually a couple psi.
  • 1 0
 @lognar: right
While I'm not one to claim I can feel 1psi more (or less) I really enjoy low front tire. Untill it loses all support and starts to roll. That means I pay attention to that number every ride, and set it right before the trail.
  • 10 0
 Dental picks for the win.

My personal favorite tool is the classic blue park Y wrench I got when I started wrenching professionally 19 years ago. Still have it...you can build about 90% of a bike with one of those, especially a more consumer grade oriented machine that doesn't need a lot of fussing with torque or torx fittings, smaller sized hex fittings, etc.
  • 2 0
 The classic Park Y is what I used for my first 10 odd years of wrenching on bikes. Late 90's-early 2000's it seemed like every bolt on a bike was a 5mm SHCS. Those were great times for working on bikes.
  • 3 0
 @FatSanch: I took apart an old bike I have in the garage the other day (2005ish). It was great to only need a 5mm allen for pretty much all the bolts - so much simpler.
  • 2 0
 The y was what i carried in my pocket as a multi tool on rides for my first 5 years as a mtber
  • 2 0
 When I was a shop mechanic, the most used wrenches were a nice, full-sized folding hex set and a couple of y-wrenches. When we’re working on our own stuff at home, we all like to have a good beer and fondle our boutique tools, but when you’re on the clock, the multi tools are very efficient.
  • 11 0
 "24-point-whatever gold"
  • 10 0
 Cheap peasant gold
  • 3 0
 How very swiss
  • 2 0
 but isn't gold soft? So doesn't that just lead to premature wear? And I suspect they aren't cheap. Lose, lose?
  • 2 0
 @trillot: It doesn’t look like the gold is on the contact points of the tool.
  • 1 0
 @trillot: it's a coating
  • 7 0
 That Maxxis tire lever is great. It's much more durable than the Pedro's (a very good lever), and the hook is a little shallower. It's only recently been superceded on my bench by the large Topeak lever.
To Brad: You're welcome.
  • 13 0
 That crimper is one of the coolest touches I've ever seen, well done if you are the giver of the gift! Really liked the story behind it.
  • 10 3
 @james182: And possibly the worst crimp job I've seen in a hot minute haha!
  • 2 0
 @TheLoamDeranger: this made me laugh so I went back and checked. Annnnnnd, you're right Smile Bent crimp end, frayed cable, lol.
  • 6 0
 @TheLoamDeranger: but his name is stamped into it!
  • 12 2
 show me a man in here who doesn’t want that tool and I’ll show you a liar
  • 9 0
 That "dental pick" looks like a spoon excavator. Its used for removing gunky, decayed tooth structure, so digging muck out of things isn't too far from home!
  • 37 0
 How do you like your new Yeti?
  • 20 0
 @bengtleon: I'm early in my career, so no yeti yet.

I worked hard to ruin tracks on my ebike though
  • 2 0
 @bengtleon: I see what you did there...clever XD
  • 7 0
 I wanna see how that tire lever works for taking off stickers, it’s a massive pain for me to do even using the ultimate mountain biker tool - a credit card
  • 1 0
 Get the sticker wet if it has any paper composition, or not for plastic. Then scrape away at it with the sharper edges. I have used a Pedro's lever for this, but I always had a ski was scraper in my apron for that also, which works a bit better. A little bit of rubbing alcohol will take any residual sticky stuff off.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: try heating them up first. Hairdryer or (be very careful) hear gun
  • 4 0
 On a side note, the worst “tool” I’ve ever used was an ODI beer can holder shaped like a grip, yeah it looks sick in the shop, but did you ever consider how absolutely insanely hard it is to install and remove push-on grips from a can?
  • 1 0
 Lubrication makes Push on grips really easy. Spray a little wd40 or isopropyl (something that will evaporate) into the grip and slide onto the bars with ease.
To remove, spray a cable tie with wd40 and slide it up between the grip and bar, rotate around the bar and slide that grip straight off.
Same principal with the fatneck holder, just using the condensation already on the outside of the beverage.
  • 7 0
 Are Feedback bike stands so good that they are used by several pro teams?
  • 2 0
 good value and stable but the quick release is crap (at least on mine)
  • 2 0
 Yes.
  • 3 0
 Finally, a mechanic shows a torque wrench and a pressure gauge! As a professional mechanic I would say they are some of the most important tools to have and use. Also surprised to yet see a mechanic say a Vernier caliper is favorite or most used tool.
  • 2 0
 I use the PB Swiss driver and T-handle driver religiously. Granted, drivers and bits aren’t ideal for every scenario, but I’d say 95% of the time they work so incredibly well. The magnet is super strong and the bits never come loose (bonus of not dropping hardware is a plus). I like them so much better than regular T-handles or triple keys. They are pretty pricy though.
  • 2 0
 I love my RC hex drivers. Although not as nice as my wera versions, they’re really great quality at under $8usd for a set of six.

My favourite tool by far though is my motionpro T bar bit driver. They’re originally sold for motorbikes. I own three and they’re my most used tool everywhere, from the machine/work shop to my bikes and vehicles on the farm, to building drones that cost more than most people’s houses. I also have them for sockets and they get a lot of use everywhere.
  • 5 0
 that ring marking plier is so cool
  • 2 0
 Thank you (my emoji responses appear to have failed me)
  • 1 0
 @bbcopeland: you are cool too
;-)

you must be finally having a bit of down time (or you are currently traveling to Czech)
  • 4 0
 Is 0.01psi actually measurable? Probably serves more as a mental placebo effect booster than performance gains.
  • 7 0
 yes the gauge can measure it. You, or anyone else, cannot feel it though. lol
  • 1 0
 And the margin of error will be much bigger than that.
  • 3 0
 I detail Corvette C8s for showrooms and its really funny what the best tools for the job are. I use the Muc Off brush for cogs the most. It has saved the day plenty of times.
  • 1 0
 I’ve just started down the deep rabbit hole of car detailing myself (consumer grade, not professionally). I’ve actually been thinking in the opposite direction... which of my car detailing tools and consumables will do a nice job on my bikes too?
  • 5 0
 You're all.my favorite tools.
  • 1 0
 The abbey multi-tool is very well machined. But it doesn’t reach into
a lot of the places where a t25 or 4mm is needed. Such as brake calipers or shifter clamps. So many nice tools and I still end up using the same ol’ hex wrenches
  • 4 0
 This is so cool! Love to hear stories from the people behind the bikes.
  • 4 0
 This is expensive content.
  • 1 0
 Not really, it’s all made by U.S. companies, and pretty much none of it is available in Europe at the moment.
  • 1 0
 @FuzzyL: still makes me want to get new tools.
  • 1 0
 @Muckal: If you want to get one of those above, buy Andi Pscheidel’s screwdrivers, they’re from a Chinese company, available, and they’re (relatively) cheap ;-)
  • 3 0
 I've used the same pressure gauge on a Super Late Model on a Saturday night. Funny to see my two sports collide like this.
  • 2 0
 I was excited to see it as well! I work in the professional motorsports world so I've always wanted to convert a Longacre gauge to presta.
  • 2 0
 @tstrunk33: I absolutely love how he invested $150 in the pro gauge, then cut the hose off of it and jammed in a Schrader to Presta adapter for disc wheels... and I plan on doing exactly the same when my Longacre shows up. I knew them from my autocrossing days and had been looking for a _good_ digital gauge and never thought to look to them. Perfect!
  • 3 0
 Take an old spoke and sand to point! Best tool ever! Works for bikes and Bongs
  • 3 0
 I'd go with the trusty tool bag.
  • 3 0
 I love looking at the custom tool boxes with the cut outs for each tool
  • 1 0
 I assume you're all over @toolboxwars on insta then? Just checking because if not you're in for a major treat!
  • 3 0
 Fav tool?
My Bike
Its reeal tight
and makes everything loose Smile
The End!
  • 2 0
 That cable crimping tool sums up everything good in mountain biking - warms me heart - good job Brad!
  • 2 0
 Thank you!
  • 2 0
 Need me some gold bling on my Park spread.
  • 1 0
 I have an initial I can easily crimp into a cable end with a pair of pliers Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Isn't the Bontrager tool just a rebranded Silca tool?
  • 1 0
 any idea who own the first toolbox? or the manufacturer of the allen keys on it?
  • 1 0
 They look like regular T bar keys. Should be a million different makers.
  • 1 0
 Facom.
  • 1 0
 Don’t know who’s toolbox it is, though, but judging by the brands (Wera, Knipex, Facom) might be someone from this side of the pond.
  • 1 0
 @FuzzyL: More likely USAG (which are the same as Facom).
  • 1 0
 thanks guys Smile
  • 1 0
 Maxxis tire levers ftw. I've had mine for ~12 years and they are still the best on the market.
  • 2 0
 Rc car tools for the win! Best shit ever!
  • 1 0
 No knipex this time around, odd Big Grin
  • 3 0
 two in the first photo
  • 3 0
 Because every mechanic's story before this had 50% Knipex, I suspect they secretly asked 'What's your favorite tool... besides Knipex pliers wrenches of course'
  • 1 0
 I want this bontrager/silka torque wrench - this is nice
  • 1 0
 And not a lump hammer in sight....
  • 1 0
 Knipex and Wera all the way !
  • 1 0
 Hellos! Where is beer holder tool at?
  • 1 0
 Your hands or the table
  • 1 0
 That chain whip....points for style
  • 1 0
 Nobody has showed an Hammer, haaahhaa

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