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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 08-18-06, 02:55 AM   #1
mcoomer
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Accumulating tools...name one that you can't be without.

I've got a good selection of handtools but I've recently started to pick up bike specific items and I'm wondering what exactly I should be looking for. I have a stand and I'm shopping around for a wheel truing stand. If you had no tools what would be the first thing you would pick up?

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 08-18-06, 03:38 AM   #2
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A chain tool.
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Old 08-18-06, 05:23 AM   #3
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park P handles are awesome. they blow the pedros ones away. the ball head is actually useful. on the pedros its just worthless. in fact, skip all pedros stuff. whatever it is, park makes it better, they make it in america, and they make it cheaper. one exception, kinda: the park home mechanic truing stand is next to worthless. pony up for the shop one.
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Old 08-18-06, 06:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziemas
A chain tool.
The first thing that I ever had was a good set of allen wrenches that included two of every size I needed for everything on the bike. But a chain tool is a really good one too. Man, that's a really good question. I just can't think of any ONE tool that can be be placed at the top of the basics!!!!!
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Old 08-18-06, 06:39 AM   #5
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I don't know if you would exactly consider it a "tool", but sure makes things easier for me: a good BOOK, such as Zinn and the Art of (insert MTN. or ROAD here) Bike Maintenance, Barnetts, or any of the better books on repair and maintenance. I'd rather look something up that I'm not absolutely positive about, than goof it up by thinking I know it and finding out that I was wrong (and fouling up a repair).
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Old 08-18-06, 06:59 AM   #6
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What do you want to do?

In no specific order bicycle specific tools are a freewheel tool, chain whip, Bottom bracket tool, crank puller, chain tool, cone spanners, pedal spanner, special cable cutters, spoke wrench and then even more esoteric tools such as those for fitting and removing headset cups.

There's also convenience tools such as third and fourth hand tools to help with adjusting brakes and gears.

If you want to be able to completely disassemble and reassemble a bike then you probably need all of them but that may not be cost effective if you only use them once in a blue moon.

A freewheel tool, chain-whip, crank puller and chain tool are really handy so that you can completely remove the chain and drive-train for thorough cleaning.

Regards, Anthony
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Old 08-18-06, 07:01 AM   #7
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Bottle opener.
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Old 08-18-06, 07:06 AM   #8
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Lessee... first one I got was a chain tool, then I got the "Team Tool Kit" for $100 from performance, which has: a good set of allen wrenches, cassette lockring tool, crank extractor tool, bottom bracket tool, set of cone wrenches, spoke wrenches, cable cutter, pedal wrench, chainring nut tool.

Later I bought a truing stand, a notched lockring combo wrench, and a chain washer (cheap and really handy!). Oh yeah, I also got a nice metal vernier caliper: very very handy for measuring tube diameter and ball bearing size and such.
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Old 08-18-06, 07:19 AM   #9
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Metric multi -allen (with the bottle opener).
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Old 08-18-06, 07:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG
What do you want to do?

In no specific order bicycle specific tools are a freewheel tool, chain whip, Bottom bracket tool, crank puller, chain tool, cone spanners, pedal spanner, special cable cutters, spoke wrench and then even more esoteric tools such as those for fitting and removing headset cups.

There's also convenience tools such as third and fourth hand tools to help with adjusting brakes and gears.

If you want to be able to completely disassemble and reassemble a bike then you probably need all of them but that may not be cost effective if you only use them once in a blue moon.

A freewheel tool, chain-whip, crank puller and chain tool are really handy so that you can completely remove the chain and drive-train for thorough cleaning.

Regards, Anthony
even if it is used ounce then it is worth its weight in gold. Because you cant substitute something else in there for that tool say a pipe wrench. Even if I did it "right" the first time it always seems like I have to go back at least ounce to tweak it to make it perfect
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Old 08-18-06, 07:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG
What do you want to do?

In no specific order bicycle specific tools are a freewheel tool, chain whip, Bottom bracket tool, crank puller, chain tool, cone spanners, pedal spanner, special cable cutters, spoke wrench and then even more esoteric tools such as those for fitting and removing headset cups.
Tha's a good starting list. I would suggest my favorite tool of convenience: a multiple-allen-wrench-tool. When I can't find the needed size in my tool box, I just reach for this pocket-knife looking thing with 8 different sizes. It saves me the 5 min torture of frantically searching for that Xmm hex wrench that is hiding very effectively.
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Old 08-18-06, 08:40 AM   #12
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The tool I reach for first when I walk into the shop is a Park three way hex wrench 4mm, 5mm, 6mm. The best purchase you can make. A nice set of cone wrenches (with 2 - 15mm wrenches) and a variety of large headset wrenches. Park tools rock!
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Old 08-18-06, 08:57 AM   #13
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Curved forceps. Doubles as a bottle opener!
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Old 08-18-06, 09:14 AM   #14
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Good spoke wrench(s) that holds the nipples snugly and won't slip at all. I use Spokey brand. They are color coded for various sizes.
Oh yeah, and a church key, and a metric crescent wrench.

Al
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Old 08-18-06, 09:16 AM   #15
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It's a tie between an allen wrench set and a spoke wrench. They're the two I use most often, anyway.
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Old 08-18-06, 09:36 AM   #16
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If you are heavy you must have a spoke tensiometer. A small bench vise makes adjustment of wheel bearings much easier for people who only have two hands.
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Old 08-18-06, 01:51 PM   #17
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A hammer...
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Old 08-18-06, 01:58 PM   #18
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Besides the obvious, spoke wrenches/allen wrenches/chain tools...

CABLE CUTTERS!!
The bike specific ones for cutting stuborn housing...I struggled for a couple years using standard wire cutters...and mangled many a cable. I have the shimano ones, they were $35 or so..but worth every penny when I pull them out and make a nice clean snip through some cable housing-

Also crank pullers are great, got alot of use out of mine.

+1 on the park stuff, never had a problem
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Old 08-18-06, 02:03 PM   #19
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I saved 5 bucks by going to the lbs to buy the Park HCW-15 headset wrench I had to buy it out of the mechanics tool box
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Old 08-18-06, 03:04 PM   #20
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Hammer, dykes, pliers, and a cresent wrench......


Seriously though, I buy wrecked/neglected old school bikes, overhaul them, and sell them off. The tools I use most often are the nipple wrench, a hex head set, small phillips/flat head, chain tool, a 9/10mm box wrench, freewheel removal tools, and once in a while a crank puller.

Old wheesets almost always need some truing, and the small screwdrivers, hex set, and the 9/10mm box wrench take care of almost all brake/shifter adjustments, so those are my most frequently used tools.

I also have BB tools, a pedal wrench, and cone wrenches, but they aren't used as much as the others.

OH - I almost forgot.... A STAND!! that's the one that's most valuable to me!!!
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Old 08-18-06, 03:28 PM   #21
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Hammer, dykes, pliers, and a cresent wrench......


Seriously though, I buy wrecked/neglected old school bikes, overhaul them, and sell them off. The tools I use most often are the nipple wrench, a hex head set, small phillips/flat head, chain tool, a 9/10mm box wrench, freewheel removal tools, and once in a while a crank puller.

Old wheesets almost always need some truing, and the small screwdrivers, hex set, and the 9/10mm box wrench take care of almost all brake/shifter adjustments, so those are my most frequently used tools.

I also have BB tools, a pedal wrench, and cone wrenches, but they aren't used as much as the others.

OH - I almost forgot.... A STAND!! that's the one that's most valuable to me!!!
Heh I got almost everything except a stand. I've assembled two bikes so far, and going for a third.
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Old 08-18-06, 03:42 PM   #22
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Gotta have a hemostat for handling ball bearings. My SunTour cable cutter does its job nicely.
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Old 08-18-06, 05:06 PM   #23
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I think I use my 1/4" drive mertric hex drivers more than any of my other tools. I use the ratchet to do the initial loosening and final tightening only. The rest of the time I spin them with my fingers. I have other types of allen wrenches, but I like these the best.

I don't own a chain whip and I've never felt like I needed one. I hold the cassette with my hand when I loosen a lock ring. I don't disassemble freewheels. What else are they good for?

I just bought some cable cutters to replace the Wiss compound action shears that I've always used. The cable cutters don't work any better for me that my old Wiss shears. I screwed up and won two auctions, so I have both Park and Wrench Force (Snap-on) cutters. They're both going back on eBay.
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Old 08-18-06, 06:13 PM   #24
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If you're buying a cable cutter, I recommend the Felco C7 if you can afford one.

Especially valuable tools include the ones needed to remove your cassette from your rear wheel (typically a chain whip and a lockring tool, plus a medium-sized adjustable wrench), the tools needed to remove your crankarms and bottom bracket (crank extractor and BB tools), plus tools to overhaul your hubs (axle vise, cone wrenches, adjustable wrench), and tools to true your wheels (at least a spoke wrench). A bench vise, lots of lighting, a washtub, cardboard and a good floor pump are also great
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Old 08-18-06, 06:44 PM   #25
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Whatever tool, make sure it is the right tool for the job.
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