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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 01-13-11, 01:05 AM   #1
miamimike
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Basic Starter Bike Tool Suggestions Please

I've been looking at some of the Tool Kits from the various brands/stores online but here's my problem: many of these kits include tools that I already have and in many instances, aren't as good as what I already have. If some of the more experienced Wrenchers could recommend the basic tools, I would greatly appreciate your recommendations. My use(s ) would include such tasks as Crank/Bottom bracket removal, cone adjusting , chain replacement, steering tube maintenence, but not limited to these tasks. What Starter Tools would you recommend? I would rather buy the Tools seperately so that way I wouldn't be duplicating Tools I already have. I have complete 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 Sockets sets already in Metric and American sizes, open end and box wrenches of every size, allen wrenches, Screwdrivers of every shape--all collected over 5 decades of Tinkering. The Tools don't have to be the highest quality but I don't want Junk either. Not sure if they are any American Made Bike Tools, maybe someone could chime in if they know who does make American Made Bike Tools. Buying American would really interest me, even if they were a few dollars more. Thanks for any Help & Suggestions.


Edit--Just did a search here (which I should have done first) and came up with several suggestions. Still, I would appreciate opinions on the Quality of the Various Tool brands and if any American maker of Bike tools exists. Thx

Last edited by miamimike; 01-13-11 at 01:24 AM. Reason: revise
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Old 01-13-11, 07:04 AM   #2
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Buy tools as you need them.
OR, if you get lucky, find someone selling a set on craigslist.
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Old 01-13-11, 08:34 AM   #3
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I've been happy with park tools. Good mix of quality and price, and I think made in the US. I've ordered most of my tools from amazon or attached to other parts orders. If you have amazon prime, most tools are an easy 2 day shipping away
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Old 01-13-11, 09:57 AM   #4
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A lot of maintenance can be done with allen wrenches, screwdrivers, and crescent wrenches. I think the suggestion to buy tools as you need them is a good one. Depending on what bikes you're working on, you may need more specialized tools that you wouldn't have thought of, and you might never end up needing tools that many mechanics would tell you are essential. If you're opening a shop your needs are going to be different than if you're overhauling your personal bike.

Generally speaking, cone wrenches, cable cutters, a fourth hand tool, crank puller, freewheel and cassette removers, and a chain breaker are a good place to start.
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Old 01-13-11, 10:37 AM   #5
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+1 on buying as you need. Buy based on quality, not price. Cheap isn't always a deal and more money doesn't always get you more quality.
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Old 01-13-11, 10:38 AM   #6
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Chain tool: if you do this infrequently, buy one that can go into the bike bag.
Metric Allen Wrench set: Obvious
Cassette removal tool: You are going to do this eventually.
Cable cutter tool: Learn to do your own cables and you will learn how to tune bikes.
Spoke Wrench: get the color that works with your bike...........black for DT and Wheelsmith spokes, red for japanese spokes. If you have a choice, get a 4 sided wrench as you will round off fewer nipples while learning.

This will cover most of the work a new mechanic will want to take on. As you learn to do more, there will be more tools to get.
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Old 01-13-11, 10:49 AM   #7
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You appear to have quite a few tools.

I would suggest cone wrenches, chain tool, metric allen wrenches and the appropriate bottom bracket and crank removal tools.
For the campy equipment I find that I need some torx wrenches.

Park makes go tools for the home mechanic and are reasonably priced, but I am not sure if they are all made in the US but they are a US company.
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Old 01-13-11, 11:09 AM   #8
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Park is fine and work well. In addtion my local MEC (Sort of a Canadian REI) carries Zefal tools which are equally good to perhaps in specific cases slightly better. At least their final finish work seems to be nicer. As for durability I have not worn or broken any of the Park or Zefal tools so that part is a wash.

For wheels cone and spoke wrenches for sure.

For the frame a crank arm removal tool and BB tool to fit your situations. A nice headset press can be made from threaded rod, rubber tubing spacers and stacks of washers. For driving the cups out all you need is a long pin punch and the skill and knowledge to walk them out with light taps to alternateing sides. The cup removal tool is more for a shop that has to get the work done quickly.

While cable and housing cutters are nice you don't need them if you have alternate methods available. A set of big linesman pliers with the cutter in them and a grinder or Dremel to grind the ends of the housing back a hair is fine. For the first couple of years I'd cut my housings a 1/4 inch over on each end and then slice off the extra using a cutoff wheel in my Dremel and then a long scriber to open back up the melted inner liner tube before it cooled too much. It's slower but it works very well. If you have all that you don't REALLY need cable and housing cutters.

If you work on older bikes with threaded headsets you'll want to get the Park big flat wrenches to fit them. Otherwise you don't need them for threadless headsets
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Old 01-13-11, 11:12 PM   #9
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Many Thanks for all the Suggestions. I think I'll go the direction of buying individual tools as needed after buying a few of the obvious Basic tools (crank puller, casette remover, Chain breaker, Spoke wrench, BB Tool, cone wrenches ect) suggested. I have Dremels (2) in the Box already as well as all my Sears Ctaftsmen & Snap On Sockets & Ratchets. I have a newer Dahon Speed Pro, Earth Cruiser. A Friend sold me a like new Diamondback MTB with no BB, cranks or pedals as well as a second bike(MTB) for spare parts so this will be one of my first projects, removing and replacing these missing parts. Thanks again, I'll be visting this Forum many times in the future to glean Info as well as add(if that is possible heh). I've already posted Ads on Craigslist for tools wanted to buy.
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