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Thread: Bike tools

  1. #1
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    Bike tools

    So, I just bought my first roadbike for ultra-cheap. It's an old Fuji 12speed. I'm using it for a couple of things, first to get used to roadbiking and see if I like it enough to invest in a much nicer bike, and second, to learn the basics of how to work on a bike.

    The question I have is, what set of tools will I need for the basics of working on a bike? The kind of things I'm looking to do are basically, replacing some of the older parts with newer, upgraded parts as I learn what I want and need out of a bike, and doing basic general bike maintenance. Do bike shops carry tool-sets that I can pick up, or should I just hit home depot and get some basic tools? Thanks!

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    Home Depot, Sears, or cheaper yet Harbor Freight can get you started. You'll need some metric wrenches - combination open/boxed is good, and a set of metric hex wrenches 2mm-10mm will cover everything, and 3-6 will cover 95%. For stuck items a breaker bar is good. After that you start getting more bike specific, you'll need flat cone wrenches to adjust loose bearing hubs, special pullers for freewheels and bottom brackets, a chain tool. But you can start slow, and ask on here about specific jobs and tools required as you come across them. Welcome to the club.

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    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    nothing wrong with an old Fuji. Especially for the purpose you describe. Not too much heavier than a good new bike, and smaller financial risk.

    The bearings on an old bike are likely in need of (at least) re-greasing. Most importantly the hubs. But also the bottom bracket and headset. You could pay a bike shop to do this. Or you could do them yourself. For that you would need cone wrenches for the hubs and one of various BB tools for the BB and probably only a large adjustable wrench for the headset.

    And some cleaner to get the old cruddy grease out. And a tub of cheap grease to put back in. You might need new bearing balls too. And maybe new cones on the hubs also.

    Minimal cost for grease and cone wrenches. Not much more for BB tools. Balls are cheap and readily available. Cones are cheap, but may be hard to find for your bike.

    Other than the large adjustable wrench for the headset, Home depot will not have much to help you.

    I guess you will likely need metric wrenches and allen wrenches in case you mess with more than what I described above. They can be purchased at a Home Depot.

    A chain tool (to size a new chain) might enter into the equation also. But if you do that you might have to put a new freewheel on to avoid chain skipping. That means getting the right freewheel tool...

    Start with hubs (and therefore cone wrenches -they are maybe 5-7 bucks) and go from there.

    jim

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    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sevrdhed
    The question I have is, what set of tools will I need for the basics of working on a bike?
    What kind of tools do you already have?
    Top
    You know it's going to be a good day when the stem and seatpost come right out.

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    I don't have any real tools to speak of currently. Small things like a hammer, 2 adjustable wrenches, couple of screwdrivers. I've mostly been using my construction worker friends tools whenever I need something. But since I'm hoping to work on this bike a fair amount, I figured it was time to invest in some tools of my own.

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    Let me suggeast the Performance Bicycle mechanic set as another alternative. The smaller one will do. They have a range of bike stands also if you end up going that far. I thought it was always nice to be able to hold, raise the bike up and be able to spin the wheels to work on it.

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    Would that be this:

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/....cfm?SKU=22310

    Because if that would include all of the basics, I'd totally buy it.

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    Senior Member Apnu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sevrdhed
    Would that be this:

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/....cfm?SKU=22310

    Because if that would include all of the basics, I'd totally buy it.

    I have that kit and like it a lot. I'm a total newbie to bike maintenance and repair and Haven't used them all. But it has been handy so far.

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    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    I've been buying tools piecemeal over the last two years, sometimes trying to save money by buying stuff on eBay, or buying Nashbar brand knockoffs..

    In retrospect, i should probably just have bit the bullet and spent $260 on a proper Park kit like this: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...bcat%3A%20Kits

    It's the cost of two or three tuneups in a store, and i've probably spent as much for considerably fewer (and lower quality) tools by buying as i went along.

    The nashbar tools i've bought have been OK, but most of the tools i've bought on eBay have been rubbish. I bought what looked like a really nice set of torx and hex bits, where each bit would bend and literally shear off as soon as it was torqued, as well as a clicker torque wrench that i'm really suspicious of (seems to allow way too high a torque before it clicks).

    Go for good quality tools and you'll sleep better at night and have far fewer headaches. It's worth a few extra bucks. Better to buy cheaper bike parts in fact, since cheaper parts usually work just fine. Cheap tools don't.

  10. #10
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sevrdhed
    Would that be this:

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/....cfm?SKU=22310

    Because if that would include all of the basics, I'd totally buy it.
    That'll do a noob just fine, but the OP will need a freewheel tool and a set of old-school bottom bracket wrenches as well. A big (15" or so) adjustable wrench can double for the latter, and makes a serviceable headset wrench.
    The Spin Doctor tools are made by Lifu, same as Nashbar's house brand. There's nothing wrong with them and I use them myself.
    Top
    You know it's going to be a good day when the stem and seatpost come right out.

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    I DO NOT recommend a bicycle tool set, reason being is some of the tools in those kits you already have, also there may be some you may never use! If you don't have any tools at all then get all your standard basic tools at Sears if you want hassle free tool replacement should one break or rust etc (Sears will cost more then Harbor Freight but their better made). Then when you need a bike specific tool you go and buy that one tool, and you keep doing that on a as needed basis.

    I've bought all my tools for my cars, the house and the bike this way and I don't have any tools that I never used and saved a ton of money by not buying tool sets.

  12. #12
    Too many bikes bikemore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sevrdhed
    Would that be this:

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/....cfm?SKU=22310

    Because if that would include all of the basics, I'd totally buy it.
    I bought the cone wrenches from Performance and after a while I went and
    bought the Park cone wrenches. The Park ones are easier on your hands and
    you get more leverage with the longer handles. The leverage can be important
    if you are taking apart a hub that hasn't been serviced in a while. On the other
    hand, it can't hurt to give the Performance ones a try - might work for what
    you are dealing with.

  13. #13
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    I have the Spin Doctor Essentials kit too, and I think it's a good place to start. The tool quality is quite good. The issue is selection. Some of the tools - notable the cone wrenches, chain whip, chain tool, hex keys, etc - are going to be useful on any bike. Others like the bottom bracket wrench are specific to certain technologies (in that case to the new external-bearing Shimano BBs). You will need to add some tools to work on the Fuji, notably the correct BB tools, freewheel tools, and some cleaning brushes. Also a pump.

    If you can afford the larger Spin Doctor Team Tool kit (currently $105) you'll have fewer "others" to buy. But the price difference is enough to buy the Spin Doctor Essentials work stand and a few tools.

    One other tool I'd seriously consider acquiring is a torque wrench. You can get a 3/8" torque wrench from Harbor Freight for about $20. People that are new to wrenching don't yet have a feel for how tight certain fasteners are supposed to be. With the wrench you don't have to bet on a guess.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemore
    I bought the cone wrenches from Performance and after a while I went and
    bought the Park cone wrenches. The Park ones are easier on your hands and
    you get more leverage with the longer handles. The leverage can be important
    if you are taking apart a hub that hasn't been serviced in a while. On the other
    hand, it can't hurt to give the Performance ones a try - might work for what
    you are dealing with.
    The cone wrenches are not the best tools in the Essentials kit. But I use them rarely (and they do work) so I haven't been motivated to upgrade.

    Another problematic tool is the pin wrench. Quality is fine, but the pins aren't replaceable, meaning that there are plenty of times where you'd like to use it but the pins are the wrong size. (Not sure that the current kit even has one; mine is the predecessor with 9-speed BB tool.)
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF
    One other tool I'd seriously consider acquiring is a torque wrench. You can get a 3/8" torque wrench from Harbor Freight for about $20. People that are new to wrenching don't yet have a feel for how tight certain fasteners are supposed to be. With the wrench you don't have to bet on a guess.
    Look man, you can't just go to Harbor Freight and buy a torque wrench, their stuff won't be accurate nor reliable. You also need a inch pound torque wrench not a foot pound torque wrench; and you need the inch pound one to read from 0 to usually 600 but anything less then 600 is ok since no bike application that I know of would exceed 60, most inch pound torque wrenches start at 100 to 150 to whatever so you need to watch the lowest setting. Dial torque wrenches are more accurate then the click style as well.

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    I bought a Nashbar toolkit for $100 last year - http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...All%20Products.

    Although I know you can get better tools if you buy Park, or buy as needed from the LBS, this was a good deal and has gotten me through a year of repairs w/o a trip to the store because I didn't have the right tool. To be honest I still haven't used 75% of the tools, but knowing they are there is somehow reassuring.

    Good luck.

  17. #17
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    A torque wrench is probably the last thing i'd ever acquire unless you're working on carbon parts most of the time.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze
    Look man, you can't just go to Harbor Freight and buy a torque wrench, their stuff won't be accurate nor reliable.
    Well, the quality issue is tough to argue - I have to exchange about 10% of what I buy there - but reliability? What are you going to do, wear it out?

    As for accuracy, who cares? All we want is to get close. Look at published torque specs. They easily have a 25% range. Shoot for the middle and your wrench can be off by 12% and still be within spec!

    Besides, that's not the issue (except, as you say, with carbon). We're trying to avoid the 50-100% over/under torquing that commonly occurs with newbies. There's no reason at all to spend big bucks on a high quality torque wrench.

    You also need a inch pound torque wrench not a foot pound torque wrench; and you need the inch pound one to read from 0 to usually 600 but anything less then 600...
    Math is HARD!

    Besides, most bike specs are in metric not English units. The 3/8" drive I got from HF has a dual scale. (Not sure they still sell that one.)
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF
    Well, the quality issue is tough to argue - I have to exchange about 10% of what I buy there - but reliability? What are you going to do, wear it out?

    As for accuracy, who cares? All we want is to get close. Look at published torque specs. They easily have a 25% range. Shoot for the middle and your wrench can be off by 12% and still be within spec!

    Besides, that's not the issue (except, as you say, with carbon). We're trying to avoid the 50-100% over/under torquing that commonly occurs with newbies. There's no reason at all to spend big bucks on a high quality torque wrench.


    Math is HARD!

    Besides, most bike specs are in metric not English units. The 3/8" drive I got from HF has a dual scale. (Not sure they still sell that one.)
    Accuracy...who cares? I don't because I have an older bike and never had a need for a torque wrench, but I do work on my own cars and have one for that. And I have seen cheap torque wrenchs become extremily inaccurate after just a few uses and especially if it accidently gets dropped which does happen to tools. But you may be right maybe 25% + or - is not a big deal for bike applications. But if you have any kind of mechanical skill and want to have a decent torque wrench to use also on the car or whatever else you might work on, then it pays to get a decent one and not a cheap one.


    But a inch torque wrench is easier to guage the amount of force especially for a newbe then trying to figure it out on a foot pound wrench...but again I agree, it can be done with a foot pound wrench if you use your head more...but for some folks using your head could be a big IF!!!

  20. #20
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze
    But if you have any kind of mechanical skill and want to have a decent torque wrench to use also on the car or whatever else you might work on, then it pays to get a decent one and not a cheap one.
    +1
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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