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  1. #1
    Senior Member keithnyc's Avatar
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    Best all-around tool kit for carrying???

    Guys-

    Can anyone recommend a decent all-around bike tool kit that I can easily carry around? I already have a portable pump, so it's doesn't necessarily need to have that as well. I've seen the Bell Ultra-Tool Multi-Function Bike Tool on Amazon for a relatively inexpensive price of about $15....having no real experience in this area yet, I'd appreciate any thoughts or suggestions
    Thanks
    Last edited by keithnyc; 03-07-07 at 11:04 AM.
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  2. #2
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    It all depends on what tools you need to work omn your bike.

    I found carrying a few allen keys, a leatherman, tire levers, and a CO2 inflator kit is compact enough and works well for me. My whole flat/repair kit is about the size of a small under-seat pack.

    If I am in a group ride, I add a 5" adjustable wrench and the scraeder adaptor for my CO2 inflator just in case someone might be in need. A little running joke around here that I'm the support bike, since I always have tools.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    Park tool MTB 3.

  4. #4
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    What tools you need depend on the bike, but my normal repair need is flat tires. For that I like to have a couple of tire levers, a spare tube wrapped up in an old sock that protects the tube and can be used as a rag to clean grease off your hands. A patch kit is nice, but I'd rather fix the tube a home.

    I ride a Downtube VIII which does not have a quick release rear hub so I carry a 6-inch adjustable wrench as well. An allen wrench or 3 are good - 6mm for sure, more if you want to adjust pedal tension, etc. If you ride a bike with derailleurs, then small screwdrivers are good. Yesterday I needed to stop a squeek on my commute bike and was glad I had chainlube, but you have to draw the line somewhere.... A couple of disposable gloves can be handy too if you want to keep your hands clean.

    I like the Crank Brother's multitool with allen wrenchs, phillips and regular screwdrivers, and a chain tool. Check out Nashbar and Performance an see what's on sale. I carry the whole mess in a small bag which attaches under my saddle.

  5. #5
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    Ditto what everyone else said about a tire patch kit and the like. and another vote for a Crank Brothers multitool. They work well, can be had for sale on Nashbar and most of them look pretty cool, too. I also carry a small adjustable crescent wrench that I have used and let others borrow on several occasions. Better safe than sorry,

    Juan

  6. #6
    Radfahrer Rincewind8's Avatar
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    I got a TOPEAK ALIEN II as a present and I really like it. It's a little expensive and I would probably not have bought it on my own, since I have a large set of (full size) tools already.
    TH 1.81 (133kg*62)

  7. #7
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    What you carry for a tool kit depends on your bike, your competance and confidence. The best advice I ever got on this topic came, when as a new rider, I went into a bike shop and asked for a tool kit to carry on the bike. The salesguy said that he could sell me this 25 dollar tool kit, or, I could just buy the specific tools I needed for about half that. As the years went by and I became a better mechanic I added to the kit.

    Here's my current list, in order of priority:

    mini-pump
    tire irons (plastic)
    spare tube
    patch kit
    mini wallet with change and cash (about twenty dollars total)
    small reversable slotted/phillips screwdriver
    4,5,6 mm Allen keys
    8,9,10 mm Y wrench
    chain rivoli (I'm not sure of the spelling. My wife and I call it the chain ravioli!)
    spoke wrench
    freewheel remover (cassette remover on current bikes)
    adjustable wrench
    couple of wire ties
    roll of electrical tape
    spare derailleur cable
    spare brake cable
    mini pliers with cable cutter
    spare spokes (sometimes)
    surgical rubber gloves (sometimes)
    small rag

    Priorities are mine, you can mix and match as your competance and confidence suits you! Test every tool you add to the kit on your bike to make sure it fits! Example: I carried a Y shaped 4,5,6 allen key until I discovered that the Y prevented me from gettiing at some of the bolts I needed to get to.

    I've never been big on the multi-tools, but being a tool nut I'm tempted to buy one anyway!

    Speedo

  8. #8
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo
    What you carry for a tool kit depends on your bike, your competance and confidence. The best advice I ever got on this topic came, when as a new rider, I went into a bike shop and asked for a tool kit to carry on the bike. The salesguy said that he could sell me this 25 dollar tool kit, or, I could just buy the specific tools I needed for about half that. As the years went by and I became a better mechanic I added to the kit.

    Here's my current list, in order of priority:

    mini-pump
    tire irons (plastic)
    spare tube
    patch kit
    mini wallet with change and cash (about twenty dollars total)
    small reversable slotted/phillips screwdriver
    4,5,6 mm Allen keys
    8,9,10 mm Y wrench
    chain rivoli (I'm not sure of the spelling. My wife and I call it the chain ravioli!)
    spoke wrench
    freewheel remover (cassette remover on current bikes)
    adjustable wrench
    couple of wire ties
    roll of electrical tape
    spare derailleur cable
    spare brake cable
    mini pliers with cable cutter
    spare spokes (sometimes)
    surgical rubber gloves (sometimes)
    small rag

    Priorities are mine, you can mix and match as your competance and confidence suits you! Test every tool you add to the kit on your bike to make sure it fits! Example: I carried a Y shaped 4,5,6 allen key until I discovered that the Y prevented me from gettiing at some of the bolts I needed to get to.

    I've never been big on the multi-tools, but being a tool nut I'm tempted to buy one anyway!

    Speedo
    Those are good suggestions Speedo. I will add the electrical tape and mini-pliers before the weekend. Thanks.

  9. #9
    Senior Member keithnyc's Avatar
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    Thanks, Speedo. You're probably right about buying the separate tools based on my specific needs (once I figure out what they are!!! ) , but you may want to include duct tape to your list as well.

    Just as an aside, on another board, a few people also mentioned the following other mini toolkits:
    a) Topeak mini 18 or the Topeak Alien II 26
    b) Pedro's Intensive Care Unit 16-Function Bicycle Tool
    c) Crank Bros. M-19 multi tool

    They're all about the same price (along with the first one I thought about, the Bell Multi Tool) except for the Alien II. The funny thing is, if I get the Alien II (which has like every tool in the book except the tire patch stuff), it ships for free from Amazon, so it comes up to the same price as all the other lesser equipped mutlit tools that ship for about $8.
    Last edited by keithnyc; 03-07-07 at 04:03 PM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    Those are good suggestions Speedo. I will add the electrical tape and mini-pliers before the weekend. Thanks.
    Thanks. I'm sorry to say that many of the items on the list are in the nature of lessons learned. I used to carry the spare derailleur and brake cables, but nothing to cut them with. A friend of mine, looking over what I was carrying, commented that cutting the ends of the cables and cutting them to length could be a bit tricky with my teeth. I stated I was pretty confident that I could always scrounge something to do the job on the road.

    That turned out not to be the case!

    Oh, and I carry electrical tape instead of duct tape because it isn't quite as sticky and it stretches. Being over forty I've already got everything that could possibly be duct taped on the bike already covered. (He said confidently. Given my past luck I should make sure I carry a bit of the silver stuff now!)

    Speedo

  11. #11
    Señor Mambo
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    Cables should really be cut with cable cutters. Anything else and they tend to fray. God help you if you then try to shove them into cable housing.

  12. #12
    Member, Schmember DaFriMon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo
    . . mini pliers with cable cutter . . .
    Can you recommend a small tool that actually works to cut brake and derailleur cables? My cable cutter is a big shop tool that I could carry with me, but probably wouldn't want to. The cutter on my Leatherman® doesn't seem to work for this, nor do any of the normal diagonal cutters I have.
    Last edited by DaFriMon; 03-07-07 at 06:52 PM.
    You're right, I do have more bikes than I need.

  13. #13
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    The Altoids home-made kit on the FGG is pretty good
    http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/articles/altoidbox/

  14. #14
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaFriMon
    Can you recommend a small tool that actually works to cut brake and derailleur cables? My cable cutter is a big shop tool that I could carry with me, but probably wouldn't want to. The cutter on my Leatherman® doesn't seem to work for this, nor do any of the normal diagonal cutters I have.
    The ones that I use seem to be mini lineman's pliers. They don't cut as well as purpose built cable cutters, but they work well enough for reliable "on the road" use. I bought them at a regular hardware store. See the picture...

    Speedo


  15. #15
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    For me the advantage the crank Bro tool has is that almost all of the tools can not be removed so they cannot fall out or be put aside and forgoten. Other tools have little parts that disconnect and can be lost.

    Crank Bro allen tools are not very long so that might be a problem.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11
    Cables should really be cut with cable cutters. Anything else and they tend to fray. God help you if you then try to shove them into cable housing.
    Yeah. I appreciate the distinction. I'm new to the folding world. On a folding bike there can be lots of long cable housing runs with tight corners. I can see that the clean cut might be more of an issue.

    I put together a tool kit for each bike, and it lives in the bike's seat bag. I just bought a Bike Friday in December, and I'm putting together its tool kit now. I may have to rethink the mini lineman's pliers for that bike. I have a pair of smallish cable cutters that I use at home. They came as part of my wife's "dowry" and work very well. If I can find a pair like that I will probably put that on the BF.

    Speedo

  17. #17
    Señor Mambo
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    I wouldn't mind a mini-cable cutter myself, but I don't know of any specially made in a key chain size. Broken cables haven't happened to me yet, but you reminded me to keep tandem length brake and derailleur cables around just in case. Gotta wait for another Nashbar blowout sale to stock up again.

    And I've seen your beautiful Friday. How do you like the ride?

    As for the OP, I'm a believer in Quick Sticks because of their ease of use and compactness; the CrankBros. multi-tool 17 because of its completeness (though sometimes I find the allen keys too stubby); and am experimenting with a Micro Rocket (presta valves only) because they all fit in a mini seat bag along with a tire patch kit. I may try to shove in an extra tube, but not in the near future.

    A few other things from my experience: a mini-crescent wrench was useful esp. when my wife and bent a chainring on our tandem: didn't have mini-pliers so I used the wrench as a grip to straighten it out. Also a few extra chain links would have been nice when I busted our tandem timing chain by exerting too much force (I was solo when I did this) and had to walk the bike home. The CrankBros. tool has a chain remover; used it once and it did ok, but a dedicated chain remover will always be better. I also have one of those Stein HyperCrackers for the freewheel which I haven't used, and an emergency fibrespoke spoke replacement.

    Like Speedo and as others have suggested, different tools depending on the bike. For my Bike Friday, I just carry the mini seat bag with the bare minimum of tools. The tandem and Xtracycle have a more complete set.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11
    And I've seen your beautiful Friday. How do you like the ride?
    Thankyou. I don't know how I like the ride yet! The bike arrived the same day we got our first actual snow of the season. It's been crummy since, and I'm suffering from "New Baby" syndrome. I don't want to take my new baby out on the wet, salty roads!

    +1 for the fibrespoke. I'd never heard of them before I started reading Bike Forums. I'll be adding fibrespokes to my kit.

    Speedo

  19. #19
    Senior Member keithnyc's Avatar
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    Folks-
    Thanks for all the help and ideas....I finally broke down and bought the Topeak Survival Kit. (jeez, you'd think I was shopping for a home mortgage or something..........). Anyway, here's why: First off, it was highly recommended by a number of bikers; secondly, it had many of the tools that were listed here (except the wire cutters and the duct tape); third, it's nice and protable and lastly, I got a kickass deal on it ($16, including shipping and tax). Now I guess I should learn how to use this stuff before I run into an emergency...
    I don't give a damn 'bout a bad reputation
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    If there had been lots of these combo tools when I started I probably would have used them. They are pretty cool!

    Quote Originally Posted by davewnyc
    Now I guess I should learn how to use this stuff before I run into an emergency...
    Check with your local bike clubs. It's just about spring, and many bike clubs will have intro rides and maybe even intro classes on bike repair. The Boston chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club has an annual one day Bike Repair Workshop that would be very helpful for a new mechanic.

    Speedo

  21. #21
    Senior Member keithnyc's Avatar
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    Speedo-
    You're so right.....there are two clubs in particular in the NYC area that sponsor bike repair nights each month, 5BBC and Time's Up. I'll be sure to attend one of them in the next few weeks.
    I don't give a damn 'bout a bad reputation
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    Joan Jett, circa 1980

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