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Old 10-21-03, 06:16 PM   #1
JLahr
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basic tool setup

What would you consider to be the best range of tools for keeping up and making minor repairs/adjustments on a road bike? Obviously a completely outfitted shop would be nice, but is unrealistic for most people interested in getting more into (and out of) their bikes. Are there any tools which are absolute musts? Any that are generally unnecessary? How about brand names, are some more trustworthy than others? Are there any invaluable resources for riders trying to get more into the mechanics side of bicycling?
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Old 10-21-03, 06:48 PM   #2
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1. Mr. Spokey spokes wrenches (2) both yellow and red
2. complete set of boxed/open end wtrenches from 7mm thru 19mm
3. phillips head and flat bladed screwdrivers.
4. complete set of long allen wrenches 4mm through 10ish mm
5. crank puller
6. cone wrenches
7. bicycle grease
8. chain tool
9. tire levers
10. patch kit
11. needle nose pliers
12. cable cutter

Most of these tools can be used for normal household automotive repairs. Be sure the allen keys have 'rounded' ends. A socket set isnt necessary as the wrenchset can do what the sockets do. You should be able to get your pedals off with the 15mm wrench. Any other tools buy as you need them...thats what I do. I can fit all of my tools in a small toolbox and I have all the tools I need to do a complete overhaul.

Anyone else have some basic starter additions?
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Old 10-21-03, 11:15 PM   #3
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Can all bikes be worked on with metric tools, or are there different manufacturing standards in different countries?
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Old 10-22-03, 09:49 AM   #4
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All metric tools would be fine.

Some other things I would add-

Floor pump w/gauge (no brainer)
Work stand (makes life much easier when you can work without stooping)
Chain whip and cassette lockring remover (for freehubs)
Space (keeps you from losing things)
Time/patience (when your bike is in pieces, you ain't riding it to relieve the stress of having your bike in pieces)

In addition to the allen keys, you may want to consider some hex bits if you have a ratchet wrench. The only thing to be aware of is that you can torque down stuff a bit too much with a bigger wrench. Of course, that it also why I have a torque wrench that uses the same hex bits.

Brand name you will hear most often is Park. With the exception of the bike specific tools (e.g., aforementioned chain whip), you should be able to use the same tools that you would use for household/automotive use as miamijim mentioned. If you are looking for a bargain, you can get one of those inexpensive bike tool sets. I know of a couple people who are happy with them, but they don't use them much either.

For sites, you have this one and www.sheldonbrown.com or even Park Tool's site www.parktool.com. Other than that, get a book book.

The best plan is to know what you want to do and then buy the tools and the parts together. That way you are not spending a lot of money of stuff you may not use for a while. Take it steps (see the last item in my list above)

- Jeff
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Old 10-22-03, 10:11 AM   #5
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Previous posters have done a good job of outlining a pretty good setup. I would suggest just getting the basic stuff first because you always need the allen keys, combination wrenches, screwdrivers, grease, lube, etc. But I would say wait until you need them before getting things like crank pullers, cassette lockring tools, chain whip, cable cutter. You are not likely to have an emergency where you just MUST have a crank puller immediately. But when the time comes, invest in the specialized tool. Most are not expensive bought one at a time, and the right tool, like a crank puller, makes a task quick and easy. Pulling a crank with a $15 crank puller takes seconds. Trying to do it any other way may take time and risks damage to the crank, the bottom bracket, and even the frame.

Do get a good cable cutter. You don't necessarily have to get the $35 heavy duty Park (though it is worth the money), but don't balk at spending $20-25. If you ever have to try to cut a cable with regular wire cutters you will immediately appreciate the difference.
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Old 10-22-03, 12:11 PM   #6
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Rainman is right, buy them as you need them one or two at a time. I already had the "generic" tools, but when I bought pedals, I bought a pedal wrench. Much easier than just using an open end. Needed a cable cutter, bought a cable cutter. To me the one thing you really can't do without is a good stand. I bought an excellent stand and it was worth it, between my 2 bikes and my kids 2 bikes, there is constantly one in the stand getting lubed or maintained in one way or another so it was a very worthwhile and NECESSARY investment. Same may not be true for you. Next specialized purchase will be a cable puller, followed by Chain Whip and Caseete Tool as well as Cone Wrenches. Ulitmately a truing stand will be in the picture, although for the simple truing I do now, I do fine with the wheels on the bikes. To me tire levers, lubes and such are not "tools" in the true sense of the word, but requirements. All our bikes have a patch kit, spare tube, tire levers, and a bottle of lube in their bags.
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Old 10-22-03, 12:45 PM   #7
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I would ad a good brush, be that a specialized bike brush or DIY jobbers but I am constantly using my Park brush to clean the cogs and all over my MTB commuter. I would also get smaller hex keys, sometimes the brake adjustments are done with a 1.5mm hex key and not always a flathead screwdriver. It depends on the brake mfgr.

Also, a headlamp is really handy and the LED ones are cheap (Princeton Tec Aurora, Petzl Tikka are both LED lights for about $20) that is handy in giving you more light without taking a hand.

Small ziplock bags are handy too for keeping small parts and stuff. Don't throw out any nut/bolt/hex thing, keep them in a bag cause you never know when you might need to jerry-rig something up. Bike Tourers probably know all about this.

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