Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.
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As a general rule, I'm not a fan of prepackaged tool kits. $45.00, however isn't very much money if it has most of the tools that you will need. Here's some things to think about.
Most of the work that you do on bikes can be done with a set of metric allen wrenches. The most common mistake that novices make is to keep cheap allen wrenches forever. When the business end begins to show signs of wear, throw it away and get a new one. Worn allen wrenches round out the little allen screws and make you spend lots more time and buy more expensive tools to get them out.
The next most common home projects are chain and cassette servicing. Older bikes require a spin-on freewheel removal tool. Newer bikes require a cassette lockring tool and a chainwhip. Packaged tool kits seldom have both so make sure it has what you need for your bike. You'll also need a chain tool. That won't be a problem in your case, but 10 speed folks will probably need a 10-speed chain tool.
Minor wheel servicing is a common home project. You'll need a spoke wrench to do that. On an older bike, don't bet on all of the nipples being the same size. By the time that they get old, most bikes have had some nipple substitutions made and they take a couple of different ones. The kits usually contain a combination spoke wrench so make sure that the side you use fits snugly or you'll be making some substitutions yourself.
Decent cable cutters alone usually cost around $25.00. If they crimp the cable and make it fray or if they leave stray wires, what's the point?
Cone wrenches and headset wrenches come in different sizes. So do bike parts. These are maybe once a year service tasks. A tool kit will probably have more of these wrenches than you need to get by.
Bottom bracket tools are necessary more often than you might expect. A kit will probably have something but it probably won't be what you need to fit your bike.
The bottom line is that a kit won't have some tools that you'll want. A kit will make you pay for some tools that you'll never use. And some of the tools won't have the quality that you'd prefer.