We all know the importance of having your basic riding kit on every ride. Sometimes, though, it is the little things that make the difference between struggling with a mechanical problem for 15 minutes or getting things fixed in 5 minutes. here is a list of five small items that can save your ride and give you peace of mind on the trail.
1. SRAM Powerlinks: These are “quick release” chain links that could be connected and disconnected by hand (i.e. without a chaintool). They are claimed to be only compatible only SRAM chains but work fine with chins by Shimano (I have been using them with Shimano 9-Speed chains for as far as I can remember without any issues. KMC also makes its own version, the “Missing Link”. Break a chain or twist a link on the trail? No problem, just use one of those to fix your chain. Also very useful for removing the chain completely for a clean-up without using popping pins in and out.
2. Spare derailleur hanger: It happens. You are zooming in, around and over rocks then you hear that awful sound of metal breaking on impact with a trail obstacle. Derailleur hangers break. they are designed to do so to protect your frame from damage. But when they break and you are far away from assistance with no spare, you might be looking at a very long walk back home or a very crippled bike (it happened to our guide on the Sinai MTB Epic last December, and I broke one on my hardtail last year). On particularly long rides, you should carry a spare derailleur hanger. Derailleur hangers are bike-specific, so find out which one you need from your bike’s manufacturer. They also make universal emergency hangers that can fit most bikes in an emergency.
3. Presta to Schrader valve converter: Going on an epic ride away from civilization with rims drilled for Presta valves only (most modern cross country wheels are)? Put one of those in your kit. If you get a flat and need to use a car tire air compressor (if you use tubeless tires, for example), this little thing can save your ride.
4. Emergency tire boot: Cuts to your tires’ sidewalls can happen, especially if you ride aggressively and/or on rough terrain. In such an emergency, one of those tire boots will patch things up nicely until you can get home and replace it with a new tire.
5. Electrolyte pills: No body likes cramps. You should hydrate often while riding and take extra care to pace yourself on long rides, but an electrolyte supplement is also a good hedge against cramping. Hammer’s Endurolytes and Nuun tablets are some highly effective electrolyte supplements.