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7 Essential MTB Spares You Need to Have at All Times

By Martin Atanasov

We all love to test our bike’s endurance. Not that we want to harm them. But let’s be honest. When going on a downhill slope with all the jumping, rough terrain, and thrilling features, our riding style is quite demanding to our trusted two-wheeled friends. So inevitably, some parts of our bikes are bound to get the shorter end of the stick and take more punishment than they were originally meant to. Is it rough for them – definitely. Would we change our riding style to accommodate them – definitely not.

So, the next best thing is always to be prepared to change them with a spare. Thus we prepared a list of 7 essential spares you should always keep close when riding the mountains.

Inner tube

Inner tube
Have a spare inner tube on the ready.

Even if you ride tubeless, which I totally get is the new fad, and it’s almost sacrilegious to use normal tires, a spare inner tube can be highly beneficial. Sometimes, your sealant is simply incapable of sealing your tire completely, and that’s when a good old inner tube can fix it all. Moreover, using patches and other tire-fixing methods can get you so far. So having a spare tire on you may save you from having to push or carry your bike while others fly nearby. Now, getting the right tube for your bike is essential, so check your outer tire and look into the right size inner tube. I get that it’s a bit of extra weight, but not as much as carrying an entire bike down a slope that was never meant to descend by foot.

Spare tires

In some severe cases, even inner tubes are helpless to save you. Ripping your tires on a sharp rock is not uncommon, and regardless of how good of a rider you are, mistakes happen. Yes, in this case, you will have to push your bike back, but if you have a spare tire in your car, that won’t result in returning home and spoiling your fun entirely. All you need to do is change the tube while having a breather and then get back on the track.


Speaking of tires, valves are quite often the biggest victims of hard rides. Getting such is paramount for tubeless users as they often get damaged and start releasing air, leading to a slow leaking puncture. Needless to say, having a couple of these on your rides is a must. They are easily installed, and you can be back on the track in less than 15 minutes. The alternative of ending your joyride is simply not acceptable. A good idea is to get them with a removable valve core, as it often gets bent or even broken during rides. Moreover, cleaning the valves with a removable core is way easier.

Chain quick link

Chain quick link
A lifesaver on your bikepacking trip. © Profimedia

A chain quick link, also known as a master link, is a specialized connector used to join the ends of a bicycle chain together. It is designed to allow for easy removal and installation of the chain without needing tools such as a chain tool or a chain breaker. This is a godsend if you are on a bikepacking trip or an enduro or XC ride. It gives you the opportunity to remove and install your chain quickly and efficiently. In addition, this can help you a lot if you break a chain during a climb. Thus, instead of carrying a ton of additional tools with you, all you need is a small quick link in your bag that will reconnect the chain. Naturally, you will need some craftsmanship, but nothing you can’t find on youtube. Still, don’t forget to always have some lube on you since when reapplying your chain, you must clean and relubricate it.

Derailleur hanger

Riding between rocks, roots, and branches are bound to give you and your bike some pounding. That’s especially true when you are going after an unknown track, where you are not quite familiar with the best lines. Hitting your derailleur is nothing new, but bending it can quickly turn your ride into a nightmare. A bent derailleur can cause much more damage than simply prevent you from shifting gears. In some more extreme cases, it may even get stuck into your tire and brake off wheel arms.

Thus having a derailleur hanger is essential to make a quick fix when possible. All you need to do is get your old one off and install the new one – 10 minutes tops. Having one during a longer ride can save you much walking and pushing.


In the more severe cases I mentioned above, you won’t simply get by with a quick hanger change. Changing the hanger will do nothing if the derailleur is not bent but broken. In this case, the best option is to simply remove the derailleur and chain (that’s when the quick link comes into play) and descend down to your car without using the drivetrain. There might be some places where you’ll need to push, but mostly, if you are careful enough, and your technique doesn’t involve the drivetrain to maintain balance at rough terrain, you will be OK. Still, having a spare derailleur in your car is a good idea. No need to end your DH day just because you busted a derailleur, right?

Brake pads

Finally, this is a spare part that it’s not necessarily something you need to carry around with you. Still, it’s good to have it in your home. Brake pads, as you can imagine, wear off over time, and your ability to stop is hindered. If that wasn’t obvious, the ability to stop is essential when speeding down the side of a mountain at a speed most planes use for liftoff. So, having some spare brake pads can help you maintain this crucial element of riding unhindered.

Moreover, when you can change them in an hour or so, you can have your bike ready for the tracks the very next day. Still, be mindful that on your first ride with new brake pads, your brakes won’t be as efficient as you are used to. So take it a bit slower.

Tools, so many tools

Needless to say, to get all of these things on and off your bike, you will need various tools. You can even add an electric band and a zip tie or two to your riding kit, just in case. After all, the main point is to have as many rides in a day as possible, not to be forced to get back home right after the first minor mishap.