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Thread: good tool kit?

  1. #1
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    good tool kit?

    Alright, so I've been buying a decent amount of tools lately. I got a chain wear indicator, chain cleaner, chain ring nut wrench, crank arm extractor, and probably some other things I'm forgetting. I'm thinking instead of just buying the individual tools, I'd probably be better off buying an already made tool kit, like a park tool ak37.
    I'm just not sure if something like that is necessary though. I just got a craftsman 160 piece toolset at a sears outlet that has both metric and standard wrenches, plenty of metric and standard sockets, and some different screwdriver bits. Then cyclegear had mechanics allen wrenches for $10 bucks, so I picked up some of those as well. Should I still spring for something like the ak37?
    I still need spoke wrenches, a cassette brush, bottom bracket lockring wrench, chain breaker, pin spanner wrenches, a better chain tool, etc etc.

    Would I be better off buying a big premade set like that, or just building up my own since I already have a few bike specific tools, and normal everyday tools?
    Live free, ride hard

  2. #2
    Senior Member mrrabbit's Avatar
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    Try to buy your tools in sets...

    1. Spin Doctor sells the complete black, red, green spoke wrenches as a set - or by the triangular 3-in-1 from Park/CN/Lifu.
    2. Definitely get all the freewheel removers you can...
    3. Get a combo BB lockring AND cup wrench - Sugino is an example.
    4. Get yourself a torque wrench adaptable for 8mm,9mm,10mm allen - and 14mm/15mm sockets.
    5. Get yourself combo headset wrenches - try to cover most common in two total.
    6. You probably already have a small, medium and large crescent wrench with your latest acquisition.
    7. Get yourself one long handle 10mm allen and one long handle 11mm allen to handle freehub replacement.
    8. Mallet
    9. Dental rinsing syringe. Cut off tip halfway - makes a great el-cheapo grease ***.
    10. Buy a few el-cheap combo standard/phillips bits at the checkout counter. Ground the sides of the standard down 1.5mm leaving the middle intact. Viola! Your own nipple driver...
    11. Good quality steel caliper...measuring is an important part of any tool kit.

    =8-)
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    Re spoke wrenches, have a look at this picture: http://www.bikesonline.com/product_i...80292_zoom.jpg
    The upper socket grabs 3 corners, the lower only 2. I have a set of these, the lower socket is *much* easier to round nipples with. The triangular Park ones suffer from the same problem. Yes - this is caused by me being a careless klutz - the better tool helps me though.

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    Since you already have a good assortment of both basic and bike-specific tools a kit will probably have a lot of duplication. I'd consider keeping on the path you are on and just buy them as you need them. Of course don't turn down a bargain you might find at a garage or estate sale. Get a good cable cutter; Park and Shimano make good ones and my Felco, while costly, is of the highest quality, works beautifully and will last forever. Get a good steel rule for measuring chains; I don't trust the chain checkers and it is also generally useful. A third hand tool is handy when you need to install cables and don't have a helper available. A good, purpose-made pedal wrench will save you a lot of grief.

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    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    I'm not a purist when it comes to tools (some people are BUY ONLY THE BEST, MOST EXPENSIVE TOOLS AND YOU WILL NEVER REGRET IT, but I'm pretty cheap, and don't want to spend a lot of $$ on a tool I'll only use a few times in my life). I bought the Nashbar Essential tool kit, and I'm happy with the purchase. Most of the tools I've used only a few times (some of them I haven't gotten to yet), and they've been fine. I must say I have ruined the pedal wrench, so now I know I need a good pedal wrench, so I'll be buying a Park at some point. One nicety I really enjoy from this kit is that the set of allen wrenches are (a) extra long, and (b) the long ends have a kind of ball shape that makes for extra-easy insertion (you don't have to feel around to match up the hex-sides exactly, it guides you in). So you use the short end with a long lever arm for initial loosening or final tightening, but when the bolt is loose, it's really easy to slip the long end in and just spin the revs.

    I second the recommendation on a good cable cutter. Nothing more annoying than a cable that is not cut cleanly if you're trying to thread it through some housing. It might be overkill, but I kind of wish I had a soldering *** so I could seal a freshly-cut cable with a bead of metal.

    Also, Pedro's Tire Levers. Best value at my LBS at $3.99/pr. Much better design than your average levers (I have broken two though...)

    Pin Spanner? I'm looking at replacing bottom-bracket ball bearings on my wife's 80's non-cartridge BB road bike, and it looks like I'll need a pin spanner after I get the lockring off. Not sure if there's any good way to McGuyver that without a pin spanner -- pair of small allen wrenches?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
    Pin Spanner? I'm looking at replacing bottom-bracket ball bearings on my wife's 80's non-cartridge BB road bike, and it looks like I'll need a pin spanner after I get the lockring off. Not sure if there's any good way to McGuyver that without a pin spanner -- pair of small allen wrenches?
    One thing someone on here actually suggested was to just use a bent metal coat hanger. I tried it, it worked pretty well for my bb.

    Alright, I think I'll just see what I can pick up as I need them then. I can't really justify spending almost 300 on a tool set when a lot of the tools will be duplicates.
    Live free, ride hard

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    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    First off since you already have a good number of tools, a tool set will just give you duplicate tools you won't need or use.

    Second, for those who don't have much in the way of tools, I strongly recommend against buying a tool set. All you need to do is to buy tools as you need them that way you don't have tools you may never use either because the part requiring the tool will rarely if ever break or your mechanical abilities are lacking and you don't want to bothered; and some tools in those kits you already have like screwdrivers and allen keys etc. I have classic cars I work on, I never bought a tools set, I just bought tools as I needed them; I did the same with my bicycle tools.

    Of course there is the argument that you can save money buying a tool set, true, but the problem with that is if you only ever use half the tools then you wasted money.

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    Senior Member scooterfrog's Avatar
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    i think the biggest argument for buying a tool set is it increases the likely hood you will have the tools you need when you need them.
    its no fun to stop what you are doing and clean up enough to get itn the car to go to the bike store to see if they have the tool you need to be told they don't have it today and then have to buy it at nashbar and amazon.

    why can't someone make a good tool set that includes
    crank extractor, botom bracket tool cassette remover chain whip and mayb a chain breaker. maybe a multiy spoke wrench as well.( i had one)

    i just bought that on amazon for about $50 with a combination of park and sunlite tools all with good ratings.

    i am 42 years old and have a nice collection of tools for working on cars, computers, the house etc. I am also old enough to appreciate a good tool versus crap.

    i could have bought complete tools for 37 but i really don't need another set of allen keys or tire levers or another adjustable wrench or screwdriver or box end wrenches or patch kit. by throwing that stuff i don't need in they had to reduce the quality of the whole set.

    there have been a lot of what tool shroud I buy threads. it would be nice if there was a sticky listing what go with what jobs and what are good altertnative to the part tools. maybe even a public amazon lists
    scott north of boston

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    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    I have multiple bikes, whenever I had an issue regarding needing a tool I didn't have, I just ran down to my LBS and bought a Park, not a big deal. If it was on a weekend and they were closed and I needed to ride a bike I just hopped on another, racing kind of teaches you to have more then one bike, though for quite a few years of racing I only had one, but I got lucky and never needed the extra bike, and I was in college so funds were tight.

    I still believe buy as you go is the best method and you "usually" get better quality tools buying them singular rather then what you find in kits.

  10. #10
    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
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    If you are going to be working on "modern" bikes only (last 20 years) you will not need to spend as much as more things are standardized. If you are a c/v guy then you will find more and more specialty tools are needed. I agree w/rekmeyata that you will get better quality tools if you buy them separately however you will spend more, but if you keep them forever and dont need to replace it....

    I have not bought a trueing stand or spoke wrenches because, well, I dont build wheels. once every year I bring my wheels in and have them re-tensioned and trued// $15 a wheel, much easier. I do not have a headset race remover/setter as I would only need it once every few years. I bring this job to my lbs as well.

    I do have a few different bb/cassette removers, a chain whip, crank puller, chain tool that rarely get used
    2010 Kestrel RT900SL, 800k carbon, chorus/record, speedplay, zonda
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  11. #11
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Been discussed hundreds of times already. I think tool kits are a rip off, as you end up getting tools you already own (surely you already have screwdrivers, allen wrenches, etc.), you will get tools you don't need, and usually, you will get a selection of cheap tools.

    Buy individual tools as you need them, and think used. That way, you can satisfy your need to have a top of the line tool, without spending top of the line $$. Example, picked up my Parks TS2 truing stand for $50 used, they sell for about $200 new. 80% or more of my bike tools were bought used.

    +1 As a C & V guy myself, one that works on a lot of bikes, from a lot of different eras, countries, etc., I have ended up with a lot of tools. But if you don't have that problem, you will not need so many.

    On the bb pin spanner tool, my favorite is the old Sugino BB tool set (two tools). One is a lock ring wrench/fixed cup combo, the other is a small pin spanner. Park makes their copy (HCW4), not as nice, but pretty decent. You can find the Sugino tools on ebay, if you are patient, some go cheap (and some go high).
    Last edited by wrk101; 09-21-12 at 06:35 AM.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catonec View Post
    If you are going to be working on "modern" bikes only (last 20 years) you will not need to spend as much as more things are standardized. If you are a c/v guy then you will find more and more specialty tools are needed. I agree w/rekmeyata that you will get better quality tools if you buy them separately however you will spend more, but if you keep them forever and dont need to replace it....

    I have not bought a trueing stand or spoke wrenches because, well, I dont build wheels. once every year I bring my wheels in and have them re-tensioned and trued// $15 a wheel, much easier. I do not have a headset race remover/setter as I would only need it once every few years. I bring this job to my lbs as well.

    I do have a few different bb/cassette removers, a chain whip, crank puller, chain tool that rarely get used
    Hold on there. Actually bikes made prior to the advent of briftors were much more standardized then todays junk. Granted maybe your saying that because today's crap can't be fixed thus the only tool you need is to get the thing off and replace it with a new component then I hear you, but the cost of a tool to be used to fix and older component style system is cheaper then replacing the component of today's stuff. I would rather buy a tool to be used to fix a component then have to go buy a new component because it was designed not to be fixed.

    I'm another one who after 40 years of riding and even 10 years of racing never bought a truing stand or a bike stand! My truing stand is built into every bike...I use the calipers as a guide, doesn't work real good if the dish goes out but that may only happen once every 10 years if that so taking a bike into a bike shop every 10 years and have them go over it for $15 is cheaper then buying a truing stand! I've been doing truing for so long I can feel the proper tension...or at least darn close, close enough I don't have wheels or spokes failing. And bike stand, I know their convenient but for some reason I never found the need for one, I've been able to all my repairs without one.

    The cool thing about older bikes like most that I have are, they rarely break, I have a 1984 Trek 660, which a poster here on this forum says I don't have...anyways, it has over 160,000 miles on the original Suntour Superbe components. The only non original from the 1983 group (I got a 84 frame and fork and headset which was a black Stronglite which after racing ended I replaced that headset with the Superbe I got in the group package); the LBS gave me a great deal on a one year old brand new Superbe group and all I ever replaced since was the freewheel and chain rings of course, and the front derailleur's band snapped and I had to use a exact same model backup I bought to replace it with; but other then that it's been all good. At the time I bought the bike I also bought a second set of Superbe pedals, rear derailleur and front derailleur in case of failure, and never used any of it till about 12 years ago when the front derailleur snapped, and then I use the pedals on my 84 Fuji Club because I didn't like the factory stock pedals, but the rear derailleur sits unused in it's box.

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