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Old 09-17-06, 12:32 AM   #1
lukathonic
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tool buying advice

I'm debating the choice of tools to buy ... nashbar is having a sale right now and the decision is timely.

I've always tried to work on my bikes as much as possible, and have accumulated a small collection of essential tools ... chain tool, spoke wrench, allen keys, screw drivers, cleaning brushes, etc.

But I don't have anything to work on the drive system or headset.

Nashbar sells a set of tools that is on sale right now for $90 that sounds like a good deal. A lot of the stuff I already have, but there is enough there that I don't have to deserve some thought.

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...Subcat:%20Kits

Question is ... is it worth it to buy this set, or are they crap that will fall apart? Furthermore, does this really cover the tools I will need? If not, what would be a better way to acquire the necessary tools? (

I have both mountain and road bikes, all with shimano components. Except for one ten speed which is suntour.)

Thanks for the help!
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Old 09-17-06, 01:53 AM   #2
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If you're just planning on working those three bikes over time, the nashbar set will probably be fine. I have some of their tools, and while they're not amazing, they also get the job done. Just keep them clean and dry: one thing with cheaper tools is that they tend to corrode easily.

A lot of people here will tell you to buy quality tools piece-by-piece as you need 'em, but I went that route, and just have way too many tools that ate up a lot of my money. It also meant sitting around and waiting to go buy a new tool every time I got inspired to try some new task. I say make this quick, one-time investment. As things wear out, you can decide if you want to drop the dough for their higher-quality, more expensive replacements. Or, you may not use them that much, then you'll have a set that'll last you quite a while.
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Old 09-17-06, 08:47 AM   #3
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It will be worth it if it includes cassette and BB removal tools.
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Old 09-17-06, 08:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewP
It will be worth it if it includes cassette and BB removal tools.

That's true. Thanks for revising.
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Old 09-17-06, 09:15 AM   #5
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So find out exactly what tools you need or forsee you'll need (drivetrain and headset) and go and buy those exact tools. Or you can be lazy and buy the entire toolset hoping that everything you need will be there already.
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Old 09-17-06, 12:16 PM   #6
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Since you have more than one bike, I would buy the tools as you need them.
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Old 09-17-06, 12:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outashape
Since you have more than one bike, I would buy the tools as you need them.
Thanks for the responses. Why is this? Is it because of the quality of the tools, or because they aren't the right ones for the job?
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Old 09-17-06, 12:30 PM   #8
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If the Nashbar set does what you need, go for it, IMHO.
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Old 09-17-06, 02:40 PM   #9
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Search these forums for Nashbar Big Tool kit. I've got these tools and they are a great starter set. No they won't fall apart, and yes they are a great value. And no, they aren't the best, but they are inexpensive, and that is good.

My set paid for itself in the first 30 days and continues to work. I bought the less expensive nashbar kit, for around $40.
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Old 09-17-06, 04:05 PM   #10
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If you only have one bike and it needs repair and you don't have the tools, well..... However, if you have another bike to ride, then you can order the tools you need as you need them. First I bought a pedal wrench because I was always changing pedals and taking them off for travel. Then I bought a chain cleaner and a chain repair tool after I broke a chain. I cycled for 4-5 years then my favorite mechanic moved away and I had to wait at the LBS to get my bike fixed. They did not want me to put a 24 tooth granny on the bike or a 34 tooth cassette. They are young and they don't tour. So then I started buying bicycle tools. A crank puller, chain whip, a couple cone wrenches, a cassette lockring tool and bottom bracket tool. So now I have the tools for the drive train. I had the headset replaced twice by the LBS with the last one being a Chris King headset, so I won't need to repair the headset. When I get ready for cables, I'll try the ones we have at home and if they don't work, I'll buy a Park/Pedros or some bike specific tool. We have a torque wrench and metric hex wrenches and socket set in the regular non-bike tools. I have broken one spoke and never had a wheel out of true with 5 bicycles, so I don't need the wheel truing stand yet. My husband told me to never buy junk tools. He only uses Craftsman from Sears, so I didn't buy the no-name brands from Nashbar or REI.

Last edited by outashape; 09-17-06 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 09-17-06, 04:11 PM   #11
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For the price, I think the Spin Doctor Team toolkit at Performance is a better value. It's listed at 109 right now and you can always use a coupon to get it even lower.
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Old 09-17-06, 04:26 PM   #12
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I buy the tools I need when I need them. With kits it's easy to buy tools you'll never need and still have to buy the ones you need.

Al
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Old 09-17-06, 05:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al1943
I buy the tools I need when I need them. With kits it's easy to buy tools you'll never need and still have to buy the ones you need.

Al
Yeah, you'll get tools you don't need, but you'll have just about everything you need for $40. You spend $40 on Park Tool stuff and you haven't even started.
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Old 09-17-06, 06:55 PM   #14
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I looked at that kit very closely, but decided to follow the advise given here in many threads about buying the tools you need when you need them. Well, I really regret not buying this kit. It comes with just about everything you will need to tear down your bike and put it back together again. Sure, you may not use the headset wrench, but for the value you get with this particular kit, it is pretty good. Some of the tools are OK quality and probably wouldn't last very long for a bikeshop tech, but for a home wrench guy it will be more than fine.
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Old 09-17-06, 09:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Portis
Yeah, you'll get tools you don't need, but you'll have just about everything you need for $40. You spend $40 on Park Tool stuff and you haven't even started.

+1.

I really advise you to think about how much wrenching you'll be doing. If you're absolutely positive you're going to work on bikes all the time, then go for quality and plan on dropping a bank over a long period. But if you just want to get into it now and learn things quickly, then you're really saving yourself the irritation of shopping around for a new tool every time you have a new mechanically inclined impulse. I took all the "buy one at a time" advice, and just yesterday it dawned on me that I really should have just used all the time I waited for tools to arrive in the mail to head on down to my local bike co-op and learn what I wanted to learn there.

But...

-how much space do you have? Do you have a garage to keep your crap all over the place?
-are you planning on overhauling all three bikes multiple times? Three bikes, a spin doctor kit will do fine for just about everything.
-how much do you really want to spend on this hobbie? If you're not sure, then lay out this one-time purchase and replace as you go.
-Don't spend money you don't have to when you can spend time that you'd rather do. Looking to purchase one new tool can be a tedious and time-eating business, better spent actually working on a bike than shopping lbses or online retailers.

Good luck.
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Old 09-17-06, 10:07 PM   #16
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The headset wrench will be fine when you want to adjust or replace the headset bearings on the 10 speed. With your variety of bikes I dont think there is anything in that kit you wont need. However check with Nashbar that it includes a cassette removal tool because that is something you will want in a hurry when you need it (replacing a rear spoke). Freewheel removal tool for the 10 speed is something you will have to buy separately because there were so many varieties - start looking now.
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Old 09-18-06, 04:06 AM   #17
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Park tools are somewhat over-rated. Yes they are sturdy and they all work, but in some cases the designs are not the best.

The kits from Spin Doctor/Nashbar/Sette (all Lifu) are pretty good. There will be a couple of trash tools in there, but all the functional bits are there. You can replace the stinkers with better Pedro's tools. This is easily justified as buying the Park versions of the good tools in the kit will cost you 2-3 time as much.

The bottom line is that there is no "best" tool company out there. Each company seems to make standout tools in various categories.

As a personal aside, I strongly prefer "socket" based tools from Lifu and Pedros. It's easy to get a long, generic swivel headed socket wrench from Sears to mount to for lots of leverage and good part clearance. The Park tools do have built in handles (mostly), but they are short and thin. This is not very ergonomic in my opinion.
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Old 09-19-06, 03:29 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the comments. I ordered the nashbar kit, and will post my thoughts after I've tried to break them.
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Old 11-08-06, 03:02 PM   #19
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Final report

OK, so I got the tools a few months ago now, and here are my impressions.

Overall I'm happy. Granted, I'm not a pro mechanic and I've only used each tool a few times now, but they are really solid and appear to be well made. The little nashbar multi-tool hex wrench is AWESOME. It is overkill to take on rides, but it is great to have.

Half the tools in the set haven't been used at all, since I haven't had an occassion to disassemble my rear wheel. But that's why I bought the set ... when I DO have to take apart a rear wheel, I didn't want to have to make a special trip to the store to buy it. For $90 I bought 99% of the bike tools I'll need for years to come. I did use the crank extractor (quite an exotic tool for a beginner like me), and it worked like a charm.

One complaint is about the toolbox itself. It comes with two shelves, plus the bottom of the box. Pretty slick design for cramming a lot into a small space, but it makes it more of a pain to get to anything but the top shelf. And the plastic dividers they give you are pretty lame. They don't fit very tightly - I could do a much better job with cardboard and duct tape.

Another comment - it would have been nice if the tools were labeled better. This may be kind of dumb for the pros out there, but when I open up the box and a little cylindrical attachment is floating around, I get a little frustrated. Is that for the crank extractor or the what? (rhetorical question). With a noob kit like this, I'd like the name of each tool stenciled on to the side.

Thanks to everyone for the advice - I'm glad I got this set.
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Old 11-08-06, 04:59 PM   #20
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Looks good but...

What is that device with the quick release on the far left of the picture?
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Old 11-08-06, 05:07 PM   #21
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They call it the "Chain Master". It's designed to fit into the dropout in place of your rear wheel. It supports the chain and gives it something to loop over when you're cleaning your chain. I haven't used it except for when I first got my kit. Since I have connex or superlinks in all my chains, they get cleaned off bike, so it just sits in the box and takes up space. Might be handy when traveling maybe.

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Old 11-08-06, 06:21 PM   #22
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it seems to me that you already have some tools. it wouldn't make much semse to buy a whole set now.
I would spend money on quality tools that you use often, and less so on tools that you don't use so much. obviously taking into account quality, of course.
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Old 11-08-06, 07:42 PM   #23
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At $100 dollars that is $3 a tool.
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Old 11-09-06, 01:20 AM   #24
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Performance is running, among other things, 50% off Spin Doctor tools. I don't know for how long.
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Old 11-09-06, 01:43 PM   #25
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50% off multi-tools. 30% off tools and repair stands. Through Nov. 12 and looks to apply only to stores.
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