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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Turn me into a wrench!

    I'm blaming all of this on the BF forum, because before I had ever heard of you, I lived a sane, quiet life (of course, I didn't bike, but that's another story).

    Now I've gone beyond getting excited and committed to biking. I've got two bikes I ride. I've got another my daughter uses, and half of another I used for some parts for her bike. And, now i've gotten a whole bunch of parts, wheels, tires, a frame, and other odds and ends.

    Here's what I'd like some help with:

    What do I need to build up a basic took kit to work on these things? What tools, and what else do I need? Bearing (no pun) in mind this stuff will be used in my living room (for now) and that I'm on a budget, what would you suggest I purchase? I have a set of sockets (including metric), allen wrenches and screwdrivers. I have one book -- put out by Bicycling Magazine (and it's okay, but not ideal for me). So what else do I need, including "non-tools" such as oils, solvents, rags, whatever?

    Also -- in the process of learning all this bike maintenance stuff -- what would you recommend I work on first? What would be a natural progression of easy projects to harder ones?

    Any ideas would be helpful.
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  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    I'm blaming all of this on the BF forum, because before I had ever heard of you, I lived a sane, quiet life (of course, I didn't bike, but that's another story).

    Now I've gone beyond getting excited and committed to biking. I've got two bikes I ride. I've got another my daughter uses, and half of another I used for some parts for her bike. And, now i've gotten a whole bunch of parts, wheels, tires, a frame, and other odds and ends.

    Here's what I'd like some help with:

    What do I need to build up a basic took kit to work on these things? What tools, and what else do I need? Bearing (no pun) in mind this stuff will be used in my living room (for now) and that I'm on a budget, what would you suggest I purchase? I have a set of sockets (including metric), allen wrenches and screwdrivers. I have one book -- put out by Bicycling Magazine (and it's okay, but not ideal for me). So what else do I need, including "non-tools" such as oils, solvents, rags, whatever?

    Also -- in the process of learning all this bike maintenance stuff -- what would you recommend I work on first? What would be a natural progression of easy projects to harder ones?

    Any ideas would be helpful.

    First thing I would suggest, as you are working in the lounge or the kitchen, is a Large bed sheet to stretch out in the area you are working. Does keep the carpet a bit cleaner and helps you find the small nuts and bolts that you drop. Second is a toolbox for all the tools- or get one of the "Complete" tool kits as sold for bike maintenance. I think they are not good enough and prefer to buy the tools as I require (or break or bend) them. You need the lubricants of course, but I use plenty of rag or Kitchen roll to clean parts, and finally a chemical cleaner to degrease, but as you are in confined space- I would not recommend that.

    Tools are easy- Spanners to fit the nuts and bolts- Mostly 10mm, but sometimes smaller and sometimes larger- check your bikes to find out what they are. Allen key set to cover the sizes on the bike, cross head and flat screwdriver, most have an adjustable spanner in the Kit but I use small Mole grips, And then the bike specific tools.

    You know how to repair a puncture, so first simple mind boggling task is to change or regrease the bearings in your wheels. You need a set of Cone spanners- Grease and a new set of bearings(Just in case). This is an easy job to do but will require technique to get the cone andjusted right- If you have an old wheel- Practice on that first- or see the LBS and scrounge an old dead wheel from them.

    Second job change brake blocks. That will get you worried as your life is then in your mechanicing skills- Go for a flat ride afterwards.

    Both these jobs are common on a bike- but if you can do these two properly- then you will have the skiills to service the whole bike.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  3. #3
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Gary- I've collected some items over the past 3-4 years and have found that you can store a lot of things you might need in a cheap plastic toolbox from a store like Lowes. It will keep all the bike tools and stuff together. From memory, here's some stuff in my box:

    spoke wrench
    tool for "breaking" chains-removing and inserting pins
    rolls of electrical tape in a variety of colors
    duct tape
    chain tool for removing cassettes
    socket wrench and adapter for removing cassettes
    plastic ties-in various sizes
    chain lube
    wrench for pedals
    measuring tape (in inches and cm)
    pins for chains
    tire tools-for changing tires/tubes
    Vise grips
    ferrules for the ends of cables
    chain tool for measuring stretching in chains
    screwdrivers-various sizes
    Multi-tool-can also carry in saddle bag

    Hope this helps get you started.

  4. #4
    Wheezing Geezer Bud Bent's Avatar
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    I bought a toolkit like this one: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

    Individually, some of those bicycle specific tools can be a bit pricey, but if you wait until Nashbar, Performance, Supergo, etc has a kit like that one on sale, or use a coupon, you can get it pretty cheap.

    I've only been cycling less than a year and a half, but I've learned a lot about working on them. Cyling snobs might argue to get better tools than the cheap ones I've suggested, but converting my Tsunami to a high racer and upgrading components on it, they've worked perfectly, and most of the bicycle specific tools you're likely to need are there.
    Bud
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    They told me it's ok to post mileage over in the commuting forum, so you'll probably find me there these days.

  5. #5
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Odds & Ends that come to mind not mentioned above:

    Don't forget a set of metric hex wrenches...either in a set, a holder, or a "Y" shaped wrench. Perhaps later a 3rd hand tool for adjusting brakes.

    Also, if you don't want to always break chain to clean it using the soaking method....then a plastic chain scrubber for use while the chain is on the bike.

    Old toothbrushes are good for cleaning all sorts of crannies.....to go with your Simple Green or citrus or mineral solvent...all have their proponents.

    Cable cutter/crimpers.

    Chain lube...maybe we can get up a thread sometime on what people like best.

    If you have a "master link" chain like SRAM or KMC (don't laugh out there-- I like KMC's new chains), then for $10 or so you can buy a little pliers like tool that pops the link for you......saves lots of wear and tear on your thumbs.

    Someday a stable means of holding the rear wheel off the floor so you can easily adjust indexing, clean chain, etc. while spinning the pedals. If you had a garage you could hang Lucky from a rafter.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  6. #6
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Great adds Granny-especially the tooth brushes!

  7. #7
    Touring senior
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    Great post, Gary. I'm reading over your shoulder and getting some good ideas. Haven't got into doing cables or bearings yet, but it sounds like that's a logical next step.

    Thanks for your help, people!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Go over to Chula Vista and check out the Harbor Freight Tools store. Get on their mailing list. I know, I know, it's "junk mail", but they have great prices on tools. I got a set of metric and SAE hex wrenches (T handle) for $3 each on sale a couple of years ago. You might find cheap single metric open end wrenches that you can grind the end thinner to fit in tight spots.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  9. #9
    Senior Member marmotte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    What do I need to build up a basic took kit to work on these things?
    You're sure you want to start with it?
    I've got the oldest bike in the neighbourhood, it's rosty and it squeezes sometimes (my friends are convinced: it cries). But the time they fix their bikes I sit on mine.
    marmotte

  10. #10
    Senior Member Thrifty1's Avatar
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    http://www.parktool.com/ will be your best wrenching asset for excellent instructions for every reapir/maint action the appropriate tool for the job. I personally can't tolerate using cheap tools that "round" off/out hex heads or spoke nipples or any deformation of the part or tool itself due to non-precision fit or poor material. IMHO it is well worth taking the necessary time to acquire quality tools.

  11. #11
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    First thing I would suggest...is a Large bed sheet to stretch out in the area you are working...
    +1 on the work sheet!

    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    ...Tools are easy- Spanners...Allen key set...
    That's a METRIC allen key set - important difference... I like the long-handled ones (Nashbar sells a good set).

    Happy wrenching!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    +1 on the work sheet!



    That's a METRIC allen key set - important difference... I like the long-handled ones (Nashbar sells a good set).

    Happy wrenching!

    Aren't we supposed to have a complete set of both Metric and SAE????


    Grunt.....Grunt......Gruuuuuunt
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  13. #13
    Get A Life - Get A Bike cheeseflavor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrifty1
    http://www.parktool.com/ will be your best wrenching asset for excellent instructions for every reapir/maint action the appropriate tool for the job.
    I agree about Park Tool. About a year ago, Linda bought me this toolset from Park Tool and it's got everything I've needed since then. I also picked up a good work stand to hold the bike. You'll also need a few other hand tools that aren't included in the kit, like screwdrivers, a good set of snips, rags, brushes, etc.

    The cost of the tools you need pretty much pay for themselves after a few repairs, and then there's that sense of satisfaction

    Take care!

    Steve

  14. #14
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    These are all great tips and I've cut and pasted the various lists into a Word document. But it seems that I won't get very far as a bike wrench without a bike repair stand, and IMHO, these are expensive! I could get all the tools you guys mentioned and not have spent what a repair stand costs.

    Now, maybe I don't need one, but I sure don't see how to do the work without one. For instance, I've been trying to remove the pedals on my Univega, which doesn't even have a kickstand, and I can't get them loose. (Yes, I know which direction to turn.)

    So I think I'd need a stand to secure the bike to work on it. There's a used Park Tool PCS-1 on Craigslist right now for $80. Is that about as good a deal as I'm likely to find?
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee

    So I think I'd need a stand to secure the bike to work on it. There's a used Park Tool PCS-1 on Craigslist right now for $80. Is that about as good a deal as I'm likely to find?
    A stand is the most important tool purchase you will make. Don't buy a stand that isn't stable and sturdy. A good bike shop should have several to look at and choose from.Put a bike in it before you buy, and try rotating it to make sure it is stable. Ultimate makes excellent stands for under $200.00

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    I would get an inexpensive stand that you hook one side ofthe upper and lower parts of the rear triangle into.The "good stands" are bulky and not really suitable for spur of the moment fixing.It lifts up just the rear of the bike,but it is all you really need-especially if you are working in the kitchen-livingroom like most of us.Bike Nashbar had-has-them for about $25-$30.
    If at all possible,fit a side stand-kickstand to your bike.A bike without a kickstand is a pain.Some folks will tell you"you can't put a sidestand on thin aluminum-carbon etc".Yes you can-pad it with dense foam 1st,and don't tighten it too much.I'm having problems fitting a sidestand to my NRS,but I will jury rig one.
    Buy good cable cutters(most are pretty good~$20-$30.
    Get some simple green and clean the bikes every so often-spray-hose-spray-hose.Don't worry about the bearing-what kind of bike (bearings)can't take a little hose pressure??Do this outide the front door-of course.A clean bike is a lot easier to work on.
    If you aren't into racing-efficiency-don't worry about chain lube.Use as little as possible-none maybe.Yes the chain will wear out sooner,but who cares-$20 for a good chain.The chain lube is the main culprit in making the bike filthy.You know-you bump into the bike and get this dark greasy grunge on your $50 pants-shirt.Chains and cassettes are cheap and last forever.Luck,Charlie ps there is some waxy sort of lube that doesn't attract much grunge.

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=phoebeisis]I would get an inexpensive stand that you hook one side ofthe upper and lower parts of the rear triangle into.The "good stands" are bulky and not really suitable for spur of the moment fixing.It lifts up just the rear of the bike,but it is all you really need-especially if you are working in the kitchen-livingroom like most of us.Bike Nashbar had-has-them for about $25-$30.

    I can fold my good stand up, move to another location unfold it and put a bike in it, in less than 30 seconds, not including walking time. For cleaning and general maintenance, it is ideal as I can use it in the backyard on nice spring days. I don't use it in the living room, but it would work fine there.

  18. #18
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    CrazyB,you're right-that looks like a nice stand.I became prejudiced against "good stands" when the clamp on the "good stand" wouldn't hold this Y-Bike.Normally it is a good idea to buy the best tool you can afford.
    Bike Nashbar has this "Stand by me" stand on sale for $9.95.It has been very useful.
    The no lube comments above were motivated by recent stains.Most folks use lube;there are stainless steel and teflon chains now,but the manu. usually recommend lubing them.Thanks.Charlie
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  19. #19
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    The only problem with lightweight stands is: when you get piss-bubbling angry because you can't figure something out, or you forgot to put the new cable thru the guide, or the damned thing won't index the 3rd cog, etc. etc.-- and this WILL HAPPEN-you'll want something that can take your verbal abuse, plus the extra torque you'll need to get that pedal off!

    Seriously, I wish I'd bought a good, stable, hold-your-bike-securely-at-any-angle-and-no-matter-how-hard-I-spin-the-pedals stand.....rather than going thru a few lightweights first.

    Another Idea Very Off the Wall: if you don't mind hunkering down on the floor for repairs, consider a portable wind trainer...it will hold your bike's rear securely AND be there for those days you can't get out (like maybe when it snows in SanDiego?). Storage is easy. There are disadvantages of course in terms of no variety of working positions--and you'd want one that allows the rear wheel to spin without tension.
    Last edited by GrannyGear; 01-16-06 at 03:05 PM.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  20. #20
    Perpetually lost
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    There's a used Park Tool PCS-1 on Craigslist right now for $80. Is that about as good a deal as I'm likely to find?
    DG (or is it GD now?)
    The PCS-1 is a good stand and 80 bucks is a good price; they typically sell for more on ebay (retail on this is about $160.00 or so) and you'll pay frieght. There are better stands (the Park professional models) but a whole lot more money. Typically the professional stands are heavier, have a more solid base so that you can twist or pry on whatever you're working on and the stand not move, but for 90% of the jobs that you'd do on your own bike, the 1 will work just fine.

    John in Oregon

  21. #21
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    DG: One suggestion I might make is to check out your local community college(s) and see if they offer any bike maintenance classes--ours does in the spring. If not, call them and suggest that they do one--they're usually looking for suggestions for classes to offer.

  22. #22
    beginner budster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    These are all great tips and I've cut and pasted the various lists into a Word document. But it seems that I won't get very far as a bike wrench without a bike repair stand, and IMHO, these are expensive! I could get all the tools you guys mentioned and not have spent what a repair stand costs.

    Now, maybe I don't need one, but I sure don't see how to do the work without one. For instance, I've been trying to remove the pedals on my Univega, which doesn't even have a kickstand, and I can't get them loose. (Yes, I know which direction to turn.)

    So I think I'd need a stand to secure the bike to work on it. There's a used Park Tool PCS-1 on Craigslist right now for $80. Is that about as good a deal as I'm likely to find?
    This is a great thread, and I'm taking notes too.

    I just had to remove some old pedals and I used an old trick I learned a long time ago: to get a stuck bolt started, BRUTE FORCE RULES! Seriously, get the wrench on the pedal bolt and then just whack the heck out of the wrench handle with a mallet or hammer until you get it started. Be careful to hit the wrench handle and only the wrench handle, and HIT THE ****ER HARD! It's not a bad idea to hit the bolt with a squirt of 3 in 1/liquid wrench/wd40 a couple of hours beforehand. You can't 'beat' the torque amplification of the old hammer trick. Have fun!
    Path of Abundance: Be Kind, be Generous, be Content, be Honest and be Aware.

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  23. #23
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    This is the repair stand I have. It's sometimes a bit tricky when removing a rear wheel, but not bad for the things I do.

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4216
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  24. #24
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    Park offers clinics through participating dealers. Usually offered in two parts, basic and advanced, the courses are held at the bike shops on over the course of a couple of weekends. Cost in my area, $100 per course. Check with Park for participating shops in your area. Nothing beats hands on training.
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

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