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  1. #1
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    Tool needs for novice/noob

    I am going to post this before I leave on a trip for the holiday and hope for the best. I have a large selection of tools for automotive and motorcycles, but they do not all work for bicycles. I am changing my lifestyle and am getting into bicycles and want to do my own work 100%, but I want to know what are the best tools to buy in what order. I am not planning on starting my own bike shop, but I want to be able to do almost all of the work that could be done in a bike shop. I can work on anything, but I want to do it with the proper tools. I have a park tool mutli tool that I keep on my bike, but what do I need for the shop?

    1. Bike stand for home use? Brand and Model I can weld up a good adjustable height stand for my garage and just buy a good rotating clamp, or would it just be as good to get an entire bike stand?

    2. Hand tools once you get past the allen wrenches, screw drivers, standard/metric wrenches, tire tools?

    3. Wheel truing? Is it something best left for the pro's, or can I become one rather quickly.




    Your help will be greatly appreciated. I probably will not have internet access until Sunday afternoon/evening, but if I do, I will try and post responses if you have questions for me.
    2007 Jamis Ventura Comp
    2006 Jamis Explorer 2.0
    2000 Specialized Hardrock (bought used)
    Swim, Bike, Run and sounds like fun

  2. #2
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    I use two ratcheting tie down straps and two hooks that slip over the rafters to hang my bike from the rafters. A bungie cord from the chainstay to an eye set in the floor steadies the whole rig. Cost; $30.00, and it works just fine. Yeah, it sways a little, but it has never gotten in the way of any work I was doing. One advantage this has over regular workstands is that you have clear access to both sides of the bike. bk
    Last edited by bkaapcke; 11-25-07 at 03:07 PM.

  3. #3
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    I purchase a bicycle tool kit from one of the big online retailers when I got started a few years ago and I would recommend that you stick instead with name brands like Park and Pedro's etc. and just buy the tools you need rather than a "kit". The quality of the tools will be much better and make the work more pleasant.

    This list is by no means complete but from memory without opening my box. Some are specific to the brand of the item you are working on like Bottom Bracket tool so be aware of that.

    T handled "Allen" wrenches.
    Regular L shaped Allen's for those tighter spots
    Cassette tool
    Crank Puller
    Chain Tool
    Tire Levers
    Pedal Wrench 14mm open end will fit but are usually too thick to work well
    Cone Wrenches (2)
    Good cable cutter
    Small to medium flat head and Phillips head screw drivers
    A Torque wrench that measures in Inch Pounds is nice.
    Bottom Bracket Tool
    Spoke Wrenches - not the one size fits all universals. Spring for the size-specific ones.
    I'm forgetting some unless I look in my box but you can buy some as you need them to build your collection.

    I use an Ultimate Work stand my wife bought me for my birthday a few years ago and an ultimate truing stand as well. I really like them both but there are plenty of choices out there. I like the tripod leg arrangement because I take mine on camping and bike trips and events and the tripod legs can deal with uneven ground/parking lots well. Other manufacturers have this too on some units. If you will only work on the bike at home, this is not a real issue.

    Like you I started with a ton of tools in my collection for cars-house etc. but nothing for bikes. I learned by reading and doing and other than building frames, I do it all. The people here are very helpful. Make sure you read up on the following two sites and consider a repair manual(I linked one).

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/
    http://www.parktool.com/repair/byregion.asp
    http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/fix/
    http://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Maga.../dp/1579540090
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  4. #4
    use your best eye kenhill3's Avatar
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    blamp28-

    Excellent advice to the OP.

    I am similar to you in that I do almost all but certainly not framebuilding. Exceptions would be frame facing and headset installation (although with press and rocket tools I'd be there), crown race steerer shaving, frame/fork alignment (although I do have a der. hanger alignment gauge)- some of the more specialty and less-frequent things that are just plain easier and more convenient to have the LBS do.

    Tool-wise, I have done it the same way I do tools for my carpentry work- a particular bike project gives me the perfect excuse to spend money on toys, I mean tools.

    To the OP- Sounds like you're mechanically inclined, you're gonna probably enjoy wheelbuilding, it's very rewarding.

    All the above has been a constant source of learning for me over the years, and that experience is a reward in itself.
    "I tell you, We are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." - Kurt Vonnegut jr.

  5. #5
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenhill3 View Post
    a particular bike project gives me the perfect excuse to spend money on toys, I mean tools.
    Too true!
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  6. #6
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    I have all of the screwdrivers, allen wrenches (t-handle, short, long, ball-end, metric, standard, socket 3/8 and 1/4 inch drive), sockets, and wrenches.

    Where do you buy your Park Tools?

    Should I look at a Park Tools kit?

    It doesn't look like you can buy anything from Part Tools.com site.

    I really don't know if I will get any more web checking over the holiday weekend, but thanks for everything.

    I wish I could find a bike jig and be able to build my own, but I don't see that as an option. I have a mig welder, but TIG is not available to me and I don't have the money.
    2007 Jamis Ventura Comp
    2006 Jamis Explorer 2.0
    2000 Specialized Hardrock (bought used)
    Swim, Bike, Run and sounds like fun

  7. #7
    use your best eye kenhill3's Avatar
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    Check this thread for a list of online bike parts sellers, many of which carry tools:

    Online bicycle parts dealers?


    Framebuilding takes some training, for certain. Here's a place to learn:

    http://www.bikeschool.com/


    Framebuilding jig from Henry James, start at about $2400.00:

    http://www.henryjames.com/home.html
    "I tell you, We are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." - Kurt Vonnegut jr.

  8. #8
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I buy a tool when I need it for a job. Park is great. If you want to save some money, Nashbar tools work fine, at least the ones I've bought. Watch for sales.

    A good workstand is invaluable. I like having a stand-alone, because I can move it around my small shop, and I've taken it with me to multi-day mountain bike events to make it easier to clean, lube, adjust, etc. my bike between days.

    Wheel truing is something I thought I should know. I bought a stand (Park), tension meter (Park), and dishing tool (Minoura?), and started in. I read Sheldon Brown's pages, and "The Bicycle Wheel". I feel like I'm good enough now to do a passable job. I think I'll get better at it as I do more of it. I feel much more confident now that if I ever have to replace a spoke on tour, I'll be able to replace it and true the wheel good enough to pedal to the next bike shop, even if it's a couple hundred miles away. I think the experiment has been successful for me.

  9. #9
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    BTW, one correction to blamp28's tool list: Pedal wrenches are 15 mm, not 14. For many pedals an ordinary 15 mm open end wrench will work but on some models the wrench flats are too narrow and a special thin pedal wrench is required.

    The absolute essentials tools that are bike specific and there are no reasonable substitutes:

    Crank puller
    Bottom bracket tool
    Chain tool
    Cassette lock ring tool or freewheel remover.
    Chain whip.
    Cone wrenches
    Spoke wrench(s)
    Pedal wrench (as above if your pedals require one)

  10. #10
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    BTW, one correction to blamp28's tool list: Pedal wrenches are 15 mm, not 14.
    Oops Right you are.
    I had just finished changing the oil in the minivan - 14mm drain plug + mechanical ability enhancement fluid/beer = error.
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  11. #11
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    BTW, one correction to blamp28's tool list: Pedal wrenches are 15 mm, not 14. For many pedals an ordinary 15 mm open end wrench will work but on some models the wrench flats are too narrow and a special thin pedal wrench is required.

    The absolute essentials tools that are bike specific and there are no reasonable substitutes:

    Crank puller
    Bottom bracket tool
    Chain tool
    Cassette lock ring tool or freewheel remover.
    Chain whip.
    Cone wrenches
    Spoke wrench(s)
    Pedal wrench (as above if your pedals require one)
    Thank you, I will start looking at these.

    Now, what does everyone suggest for a stand?
    2007 Jamis Ventura Comp
    2006 Jamis Explorer 2.0
    2000 Specialized Hardrock (bought used)
    Swim, Bike, Run and sounds like fun

  12. #12
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    Stands run anywhere from nearly free (two hooks and a piece of rope) to north of $500 (the Park double arm shop stand). How much work do you expect to do? Simple cleaning and tuneups or major overhauls and build-ups from a bare frame?

    For light duty use, one of the Performance or Nashbar house-brand low cost stands will be perfectly adequate. For frequent and heavy-duty use, the mid to upper level Park stands or the Ultimate stands are worth the extra cost. My personal stand is an Ultimate Pro and I'm very satisfied with it.
    Last edited by HillRider; 11-24-07 at 06:16 PM.

  13. #13
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    + one on the Ultimate Pro. I love mine.
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  14. #14
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    I have both the PCS-4 and the Ultimate Pro as bike stands given to me as the best stands for a home mechanic/user.

    I plan on doing all of the work to all of my bicycles in less than a year, so I want something that will last.
    2007 Jamis Ventura Comp
    2006 Jamis Explorer 2.0
    2000 Specialized Hardrock (bought used)
    Swim, Bike, Run and sounds like fun

  15. #15
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flip18436572 View Post
    I have both the PCS-4 and the Ultimate Pro as bike stands given to me as the best stands for a home mechanic/user.

    I plan on doing all of the work to all of my bicycles in less than a year, so I want something that will last.
    It comes down to personal preference then -or availability. Both will last very long.
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  16. #16
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    HillRider's list would be mine, but add a nice set of cable cutters to it.

  17. #17
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    How often do you change cables that you need a set of cable cutters? Not as a mechanic, but as a home user?
    2007 Jamis Ventura Comp
    2006 Jamis Explorer 2.0
    2000 Specialized Hardrock (bought used)
    Swim, Bike, Run and sounds like fun

  18. #18
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Home user here.
    I change cables on average of once per year on my Mountain bike and every three on the road bike. The cables on the MTB see some pretty rotten environments and I like to avoid on trail breakdowns. I also keep bikes working for my kids (seven) and my wife as well as a few neighborhood kids and friends/relatives. A good set cost roughly the labor charge for installing one pair of cables at the LBS. Seemed like a good investment to me.
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  19. #19
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    blamp28 - Sounds like a wise investment for you. I only own road bikes at this time and will probably put on around 2000 - 2500 miles a year on mine. The cables are in great shape, but I will want to do my own work, so I will probably add that to my list next year some time.

    Thanks.
    2007 Jamis Ventura Comp
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    2000 Specialized Hardrock (bought used)
    Swim, Bike, Run and sounds like fun

  20. #20
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    New cables and housing are often the fix for poor shift and brake performance. I think cable cutters are a good investment for a home user (unless you have a nice dremel set already).

  21. #21
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barba View Post
    New cables and housing are often the fix for poor shift and brake performance. I think cable cutters are a good investment for a home user (unless you have a nice dremel set already).
    I've heard that but never tried it. I have a Dremel so I will try next time I cut housing. I would think that it could fray the cables though. Maybe tape the ends? Any experience!
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  22. #22
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    Is there a reason that nobody put a wheel truing stand on the list? From what I have seen almost everyone has needed spoke replacements or needed some wheel truing. Is it that difficult, or does everyone just have the shop check their wheels all the time?
    2007 Jamis Ventura Comp
    2006 Jamis Explorer 2.0
    2000 Specialized Hardrock (bought used)
    Swim, Bike, Run and sounds like fun

  23. #23
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    My shop does wheel truing and spoke replacement for me very cheap. They also do it much faster than I can.
    Last edited by barba; 11-26-07 at 07:29 PM.

  24. #24
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    Here is my dilemma; I don't have an LBS that is LOCAL. They are 50 miles away, so that is why I am thinking I need to do everything myself and would like to have the ability and tools to do so.

    I don't have a bike club, or other riding partners to push me in my goal of doing an Olympic distance triathlon in 2008 and I am 235 pounds down from 350+ and working hard to get under 200 before I do my first sprint distance tri in 2008.

    I wish I was close to an LBS and I would gladly give True Wheel in Council Bluffs, IA, all of my business. But I need to save some money and do the work myself.
    2007 Jamis Ventura Comp
    2006 Jamis Explorer 2.0
    2000 Specialized Hardrock (bought used)
    Swim, Bike, Run and sounds like fun

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    Bike Tools Etc is a great internet/mailorder source for common bike tools and those you didn't even know existed.

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