What bit of your bike has broken and stopped you riding on?
If your bike is in good condition and everything relatively new (and good quality) but well maintained and worn in, and you have the tools to tighten all the nuts & bolts, then the only spare you may need would be a mech hanger or rear mech if steel framed (or even with replaceable mech hangers).
If you take all of these stories together you'll end up carrying a spare bike. Just take what you would on a regular ride. Just because you're miles away from anywhere doesn't increase the likelihood of a mechanical. Another failure was an Octalink crank working loose at the furthest point from home. After this I bought a multi-tool that could tighten everything on my bike.
The only thing I've had fail on off-road tours was a pannier rack - I was pushing my luck with a cheapo one but the improvisation (zip tie) and 'pushing your luck' with the bodge all adds to the adventure.
Add to the usual toolkit - gaffa tape, zip ties, wire (and a small set of pliers to twist it with). Maybe a jubilee clip if using a pannier rack. And a good pump.
Had a crank snap itself clean in two when I was midway down Glen Tilt.
That was a long walk out.
Not much you can do about it though (turned out to be a manufacturing fault in the crankset. LBS replaced free of charge as it had been recalled).
If you take all of these stories together you'll end up carrying a spare bike.
That's because this thread has gone all anecdotal. From reading it I would think about taking a few different sized bolts - M4/5/6 in various lengths.
Maybe a jubilee clip...
I now carry one that's about seat tube size; seat clamp failed on an overnight camp/bivi on the Scottish west coast - managed to get a jubilee clip from a fisherman.
Mech hangers. Now carry a spare. I have bodged a singlespeed, but it is a crap fix. Maybe next time I'll try tensioning the chain with a ziptie onto the chainstay.
Rear triangle went on old frame at the seatstay to dropout weld. At the furthest point of a ride.
Everything else has been fixable. Ripped tyres (twice) easily fixed with a boot and duct tape. I carry a spare cheapo seat clamp, so that one didn't get me either.
Touch wood, nothing catastrophic yet.
A week last Thursday got lazy through a fire break , went over a downed tree too close to the thicker pine branches .trashed my xtr shadow plus mech .the branch just did not want to let go settling fir a spare xt none cammed .mino link popped out on thursday so no ride . Then saturday halfway round Dalby red my cassette came loose .thats three in a week
Freewheel pawls snapped on my Singlespeed. Scooting around the trails after your kids is not my idea of a fun afternoon!
Definitely a mech hanger, but if I was on a long XC ride that took me miles away from anywhere I'd also take a spare foldable tyre. A mate of mine had a tyre sidewall split last year, the gash was way too big for the tyre boots. Not too bad for him, a couple of mile walk back, but you'd be screwed if you were out in the sticks. A rare occurrence, but one of those things you simply can't work around if it were to happen.
Snapped steerer tube on my Alan Super Cross back in the day - on top of the Snake Pass. Carried it back down onto the road and hitched a lift back into Glossop.
Best improvised fix was a folded up crisp packet I found in a hedge to use as a tyre boot for a big rip in my road tyre. Ten pound notes also work well as tyre boots.
Other good one from back in the day was using a tubular on a clincher rim to get me home.
If you have a Reverb then it might be worth carrying the enduro collar to keep the post up if you have a failure.
Gashed tyre: now I carry a piece cut from a toothpaste tube as a patch. A few cable ties and some self-bonding tape might do for bodges.
Ooooh lots, ripped valve off inner tube and the spare (loose fitting rim/tyre) stuffing tyre with grass doesn't work
Snapped chain no chain tool pre power link days (zip tie on lower run and ratchet pedal home)
Mech stuffed into spokes (ss home)
New wheel (second ride weirdly ) spokes all detensioned
Free hub fell off, the hub threads stripped.
Cracked top tube
Snapped fork leg
Very free freehub, pawls only intermittently engaged.
Only the ripped inner tube involved a walk home, the others i gingerly rode home, very gingerly in one or two cases, but they still cut the ride short and so a fail in my book.
Wheel dropped into wheel sized slot covered by long grass, twisted a pair of triple clamp forks to about 20 degrees off straight, so the wheel rub was unfixable. Surprisingly the wheel was fine. My helmet, specs, forehead, nose, shoulder and dignity? Not so much...
Ignoring breaking myself the only ride ending issue I've had has been a fairly new freehub mysteriously deciding to spin freely. It was tight, all pawls and springs fine but just span away, no idea why to this day! Any other issues I've had on the trail I've bodged with zip ties or a tyre boot.
I blew up a rear rim on my road bike once.
I knew the rims were wearing out anyway but on a descent the brakes weren't sounding right so I stopped and checked the bike over and the rim was paper thin.
Let a load of air out to reduce pressure on it, turned round and carefully rode back up the hill. About 100m from my house, the rear wheel just exploded, blowing out a third of the rim section in metal, ripping the tyre and tube to shreds. Dread to think what the result of that would have been at speed or if I'd been 50 miles from home!
Wrecked an ISIS BB on the MTB once (the whole shell cracked, bearings fell out and it left the axle rattling round with no support), again fortunately was near the car.
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