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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 10-30-05, 06:45 PM   #1
peripatetic
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wrenches (hardware, not the nickname)

Hey,

For just doing bike maintenance on older bikes, does one really need expensive wrenches? What about whole sets vs. singles? What about ratchet wrenches? Should I look for brand name or will most things work?
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Old 10-30-05, 06:58 PM   #2
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Uber-cheapo wrenches will work, but sometimes break. The home mechanic only really needs a 3-way socket, a 15, and an adjustable. A set of craftsman is nice, though.
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Old 10-30-05, 07:13 PM   #3
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Thanks, gbd. Do I need a 14mm also? What's a 'three-way'? What about combination? I'm thinking I should just get a nice craftsman in the size I need, huh?
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Old 10-30-05, 07:18 PM   #4
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I mean, a 14 mm is nice, useful for certain applications (I forget what--old seat clamps? Old sturmey axle nuts?). This is just my opinion, but if money is an issue, my recommendations on what'll get you by are above. A 3-way is a y-shaped socket wrench with 8-9-10 mm.

Or just get a set of shiny and long craftsmans. They're nice.
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Old 10-30-05, 07:34 PM   #5
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Sears now has a cut-price line of tools called Companion, they are better than the typical china tools, and not badly priced. They don't have the great warrentee that Craftsman have, but despite having 2 chests full of Craftsmans, I also keep one of the Companion set behind the seat of my truck for 'emergency use'.

You will need a few 'bike specific' tools, cone wrenches are a must for doing hub adjustments, a cassette tool and chain whip for the back. At some point you'll probably get some tools to work on the bottom bracket. Spoke wrenchs to true wheels.

Start off with a good set of basic hand tools, and add others as needed.

Steve W.
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Old 10-30-05, 07:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by genericbikedude

Or just get a set of shiny and long craftsmans. They're nice.

. You own stock? I actually have tons of bike-specific tools, incl. cone wrenches and a nice ELDI (sp?) pedal wrench (highly recommend it) but I've been using adjustable wrenches for all the bigger nuts. I have found them a little awkward, and of course, they're not useful on crank bolts. Think I might just get myself a 15 mm craftsman. Thanks for the tips, guys.
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Old 10-30-05, 08:22 PM   #7
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Bought at the often-available sales prices, complete Craftsman socket or combination wrench sets are resonably priced and will last forever. Also, they can do a lot more than just bicycle repairs. Don't you ever work on your cars, appliances, lawnmower, etc. etc.?

Buy quality, buy once.
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Old 10-30-05, 10:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by HillRider
Don't you ever work on your cars, appliances, lawnmower, etc. etc.?

Buy quality, buy once.
Normally I agree with your statement, but...

I don't have a or any cars (cars suck), appliances (other than the fridge and oven), lawnmower, etc. etc. I live with a roommate in a tiny apt. in Brooklyn that doesn't really accomodate my five bikes and the many tools I already have. In my case, one tool is better than many.

Different circumstances, different variables, different solution.

Last edited by peripatetic; 10-30-05 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 10-30-05, 10:46 PM   #9
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Keep your eyes open when you ride down the street. So far this season I've found a snap-on 15mm swivel impact socket, snap-on screwdriver, channel lock pliers, and countless china sockets and screwdrivers. A guy can't have too many tools! I also agree with hillrider, buy quality once. Cheap tools work for occasional repairs and bikes usually don't need you to really reef on any fasteners. Quality tools fit your hands better and don't tend to tear up and round off fasteners like cheap, poorly made tools. Crescent wrenches aren't called "knuckle busters" for no reason. I probably have over $10K in hand and air tools alone, but many are at least 20 years old. I don't even want to think about what I have in power tools.
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