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Old 01-21-07, 03:39 PM   #1
uniuniunium
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Entry level tool kits...

this post shamelessly crossposted with RBR

I'm looking to hook myself up with an entry level (sub-$100) tool kit for basic maintenance/repairs/upgrades. I unfortunately don't have the cash for a nice Park set, so I've been considering other options from Performance and Nashbar. Anyone have experiences or opinions on any of the following? What's their comparative bang-for-buck value, quality of brand, etc?

Spin Doctor Essential Tool Kit $44.99
Spin Doctor Team Tool Kit $104.99
Nashbar Rolled Tool Kit 44.95
Nashbar Bigger Than Big Tool Kit $99.95

I'm new at wrenching bikes, so I'm not really sure what I'll need on a regular basis. I anticipate getting nicer tools at some point down the road (assuming I stick with it), so I don't want to spend more than I have to right now.
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Old 01-21-07, 04:32 PM   #2
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Personally I don't like tool sets of any kind including for bicycles. I believe, and in fact all my tools I own not only for the bike but for my car and house repairs have been bought only has needed. Also some tools you probably already have, like bladed and phillips screw drivers, needle nose pliers, wire cutters, knife, and allen wrenchs, so when you buy a tool set you get a lot of this same stuff again, in other words your paying for stuff you don't need; plus you may buy a tool set that has some tools you may never use. So my suggestion is to buy only the bike specific tool as you need it and save your money from buying a toolset.
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Old 01-21-07, 04:48 PM   #3
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It depends on what bikes you plan on wrenching. The kits tend to contain tools for the newer stuff.

Also depends on what tools you already have. Otoh, I'm glad I bought a entry level kit with redundant tools. Now I just grab the kit and go rather than have to assemble it from half a dozen drawers.

IMO, if you have newer bikes you'll be happy with the Spin Doctor Essentials, plus a few tools you can add on your own, like a chain grabber, a freehub tool, etc..
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Old 01-21-07, 05:33 PM   #4
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The tool kits are good because they will immediately get you just about everything you will need to work on your bike for cheap. You will quickly learn which of the tools you'll want to upgrade after you start using them, if any.
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Old 01-22-07, 09:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froze
Personally I don't like tool sets of any kind including for bicycles. I believe, and in fact all my tools I own not only for the bike but for my car and house repairs have been bought only has needed. Also some tools you probably already have, like bladed and phillips screw drivers, needle nose pliers, wire cutters, knife, and allen wrenchs, so when you buy a tool set you get a lot of this same stuff again, in other words your paying for stuff you don't need; plus you may buy a tool set that has some tools you may never use. So my suggestion is to buy only the bike specific tool as you need it and save your money from buying a toolset.
Agree. Assuming you already have basic hand tools, start with a chain tool and cassette/FW removal tool, chain whip, cone wrenches and spoke wrenches. If you have taper cranks and ball bearing headset and BB, get a combination headset wrench, BB lockring tool.That will keep you occupied for a while
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Old 01-22-07, 09:33 AM   #6
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It will also cost as much as a kit.
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Old 01-22-07, 11:50 AM   #7
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I'd stay away from nashbar and performance kits (if you decide to get a kit). I know several people who only got 1 or 2 uses out of their tools before they broke.

If your on a budget, then just get the tools you need as you need them as some other suggested, but get decent ones as you go.

Many tools used on bikes are not bike specific. A good metric crescent wrench set, and allen wrenches, screw drivers, and a side cutter all can be bought at any hardware store or sears. And a good adjustable wrench can go a long way.

Like others have said, just buy the bike specific tools as you need them, when you go to the bike shop to get whatever parts your planning on replacing. And then you can ask them what tools you'll need for a specific job.
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Old 01-22-07, 11:51 AM   #8
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I'd stay away from nashbar and performance kits (if you decide to get a kit). I know several people who only got 1 or 2 uses out of their tools in those kits before they broke.

If your on a budget, then just get the tools you need as you need them as some other suggested, but get decent ones as you go.

Many tools used on bikes are not bike specific. A good metric crescent wrench set, and allen wrenches, screw drivers, and a side cutter all can be bought at any hardware store or sears. And a good adjustable wrench can go a long way.

Like others have said, just buy the bike specific tools as you need them, when you go to the bike shop to get whatever parts your planning on replacing. And then you can ask them what tools you'll need for a specific job.
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Old 01-22-07, 12:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMF
It will also cost as much as a kit.
Agreed but the tool quality will be much, much higher.
The most expensive tool is the one you have to buy twice because the cheap one broke.
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Old 01-22-07, 01:26 PM   #10
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Agreed but the tool quality will be much, much higher.
The most expensive tool is the one you have to buy twice because the cheap one broke.
I just boought the nashbar rolled kit, and most of the tools are labeled lifu. They seem fine.
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Old 01-22-07, 02:07 PM   #11
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I have the Performance/Spin Doctor Team Tool Kit. I like it very much and use it frequently. I've never broken or damaged any tool from that tool kit. In fact, I think most of the tools are of very high material quality. The finish of the tools could be nicer, but since I'm not a pro who uses tools all day long they do just fine.
Sometimes this tool kit is on sale for as low as $80.
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Old 01-22-07, 06:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by FlatFender
I just boought the nashbar rolled kit, and most of the tools are labeled lifu. They seem fine.
Lifu? who?

I agrees with just buyin as you need em.
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Old 01-22-07, 06:18 PM   #13
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Lifu makes tools. Several of the tools in my Sugoi (pre-Spin Doctor) kit are Lifu. I actually prefer some of Lifu's tools to the Park Tools equivalents. I can't imagine them breaking.

The chain tool (don't know who made it) in my kit is decent. Can't complain about the Allen wrenches either. I don't like the cone wrenches or screwdrivers much, but they're okay in a pinch. I have no complaints at all for having spent <$40.
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Old 01-22-07, 06:59 PM   #14
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A good set of allen wrenches and a pair of regular pliers and needle nose pliers are your friend. So is the chain whip and the casette remover tool and cassette brush from Park Tools. Simple Green is also a good degreaser to won as well. I've changed out my front and rear deraillers, cassette, saddle and so on with just those tools.

Although I recently won the Park Tools rollup set from a Cane Creek online suvey/drawing! I love it!

Good luck!
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Old 01-22-07, 08:24 PM   #15
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If and when I see a tool kit that has stuff I need and not too much more I will concider buying it, the special tools for cassette removal and crank tools, chin tool, etc, are the only things I have had to buy.
I have been looking for said tool kit for 23 years. My wife says I'm just cheap, so don't listen to me.
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