As home mechanics, we've never had it so good. For almost any task you can find detailed instructions online from manufacturers and amateurs, in written or video format. But so often these instructions call for specific tools which the average rider might not own.
Adjusting the position of your carbon bars? You'll want a torque wrench for that. Changing a volume spacer in your shock? That usually requires a strap wrench
, a tool that neither my local hardware shop nor bike shop sells.
Of course, you can often do these jobs without the proper tools (a pair of stout gloves or an inner tube can be used to remove a shock's air can, for example), but doing so can be tricky at best and risky at worst. As a result, official manufacturers' instructions rarely acknowledge any way of doing the job without the ideal tools.
Given some of these tools aren't cheap, can be hard to find and are often only needed once or twice, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been forced to improvise or admit defeat on more than one occasion. It seems to me that bike designers and product managers could be doing more to make bikes easier to work on with the basic tools almost every rider owns.
So, which tools are in your toolbox?