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  1. #1
    Ride for Life wearyourtruth's Avatar
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    recommended tool kits?

    i'm looking to purchase a tool kit soon and i was wondering what you guys have had experience with? anything really good? anything to steer clear of? i have always used park tools at work and i know they are wonderful, but so expensive! i am looking for a slightly cheaper alternative (<$150). i've been looking at the Nashbar bigger than big, spin doctor pro, and supergo T1 kit. i've noticed with one certain smaller kit (see pic) that almost every company has this same kit with their own name on it... does this hold true of the larger kits?



    i work a lot with my bikes, completely disassembling them for frame painting sometimes, also do a lot of thrift store conversions, so i do need a complete kit, not one for general maintenance. thanks!
    before posting, a "noob" should always ask themselves "could this have been answered by first visiting Sheldon Brown

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    I've got the big Park kit, plus some extra tools, but I started with the one shown. If you're working on older bikes, it's a good kit. It's also a good foundation for a starter kit. You'll need a few others off ebay, but for about $40, it's hard to knock this one. Get a better chain tool, some cable cutters, and make your own headset press, and you're set.

  3. #3
    Ono! sestivers's Avatar
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    Yeah I have that one too, in the Ascent brand from Performance. The only thing I wish it had was cable cutters, but I just use the needlenose pliers that I already had. Otherwise, I can do everything I really need to with that kit.

    It was $40.
    Steve

  4. #4
    Senior Member freeranger's Avatar
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    The only thing about tool kits is that they always seem to duplicate tools I already have, or don't really need. Like screwdrivers, tire levers, crescent wrench, chain tool, patch kit, I'll bet you already have most of those. I don't have any old bikes with a threaded steerer, so I don't think I'll be needing a headset wrench (but I think I may have one I "inherited" laying around somewhere.) I'd rather not duplicate the tools I already have and use that money to buy tools I'll really use. If you don't already have an accumulation of tools, I guess the kits would be fine.

  5. #5
    Ono! sestivers's Avatar
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    With the tool kit I just bought, the headset wrench is necessary for using the BB tool, unless you have a gigantic crescent wrench. Otherwise you're correct. One nice thing though is that you're able to take just that toolbox with you on a trip or to a race without having to dig out a bunch of random tools from your other toolboxes.
    Steve

  6. #6
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    Get a Park tool set...or buy individual Park tools when needed. Park is what the LBS wrenchs use mostly and if you work on your bikes a lot the cheap stuff will break eventually.

  7. #7
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    excellent deal on Park BMX tool kit



    excellent deal on Park AK-32 (use PARK15 to get 15% off)

    i have a BK-2 (similar to the BMX-17)... it's all i need...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze
    Get a Park tool set...or buy individual Park tools when needed. Park is what the LBS wrenchs use mostly and if you work on your bikes a lot the cheap stuff will break eventually.
    I've got 7 bikes to maintain, plus I've built and repaired quite a few in the last few years, and haven't had any problems with the tool kit shown. Yeah, the chain tool is cheap, but everything else has held up to as much use as my Park tools.

  9. #9
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Really glad to have found this thread, and reaally glad to see Expatriate's comments. I bought the above pictured kit yesterday for 50, and I am stoked to have it. Got so sick and tired of not being able to fix something because I lacked ONE tool. I also love the fact that having bike tools in a dedicated case keeps them all together and easy to find.

    If any one tool breaks, I'll replace it with a Park tool, but till then, it's great!

  10. #10
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    If any one tool breaks, I'll replace it with a Park tool, but till then, it's great!

    Thus the origin of the cliché: Buy cheap, buy twice.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    If any one tool breaks, I'll replace it with a Park tool, but till then, it's great!

    Thus the origin of the cliché: Buy cheap, buy twice.
    It's unlikely that he'll break any of those tools. I can be a bit ham fisted sometimes when I'm tearing down a bike for parts, and they've held up to that. If you get an inexpensive tool set, and do your own maintenance, you're already $$ ahead of the game.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    If any one tool breaks, I'll replace it with a Park tool, but till then, it's great!

    Thus the origin of the cliché: Buy cheap, buy twice.
    On top of: "It's unlikely that he'll break any of those tools"; also buying a bundled set of tools there may be some tools that will never get used so those will last forever.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    The pin spanner in there may not get used, so argument there. The only other tool I had no use for was that big wrench. That is, until I had to work on some older BMX bikes and bikes with threaded headsets.

  14. #14
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    The cheap bike tools I have experience with were some off-brand cone wrenches and a headset wrench. Both fit poorly, were uncomfortable to use and seemed certain to damage the bike I was working on. I replaced them with Park's immediately.

    Also, at one time, being young and poor, I bought a cheap set of 3/8" drive socket wrenches complete with a ratchet, extensions, etc. After breaking two or three of the sockets doing routine auto work, I replaced them with a Craftsman set and haven't broken one since.

    Unless you are doing a one-time job and will never use the tool again, buy quality.

    BTW, some of the Taiwanese made tool brands, notably Lifu, appear to be well made and should serve the home mechanic well.

  15. #15
    Spinone Italiano Fat Boy Biker's Avatar
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    Here is a good deal on a slightly older Park AK-32 set
    ebay link

    Also, here is a true story. Last weekend, I was changing a pedal on my wifes Giant OCR. I was using a 15mm cone wrench. A Park 15mm cone wrench to be exact. The pedal was on very tight. I used a metal pipe as a cheater bar. You guessed it, I bent the wrench. Later I realized that I had a pedal wrench in my AK-32 tool kit. Duh. But here is the good news. Park comes with a limited lifetime warranty. I just walked in my local Performance shop, and they gave me a new one. I bought my kit over the internet. But still no problems. Something to think about.

    Steve
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    Pedal fast, feel the wind in your face, be grateful that life is good.

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  16. #16
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    BTW, some of the Taiwanese made tool brands, notably Lifu, appear to be well made and should serve the home mechanic well.
    Lifu and Aireon are the same thing. The tool set pictured is probably available with 6 different brand names.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expatriate
    Lifu and Aireon are the same thing. The tool set pictured is probably available with 6 different brand names.
    Yes, I know. I have a couple "Aireon" tools I purchased at a Performance retail shop (it's one of their house-brand names) and the tools are marked Lifu. I think Performance's "Spin Doctor" branded tools are also Lifu. These are less expensive than Parks but not dramatically so and seem to be pretty good quality.

    I think Taiwan is now in the position Japan was many years ago. The cheap stuff is junk but they make good quality products too.

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