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What are your favorite tool purchases?

Old 07-06-15, 10:04 AM
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Apricohtyl
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What are your favorite tool purchases?

I'm just getting into cycling, and I aspire to do my own maintenance, installations and perhaps even a frame-up bike build once I have enough know how.

So I'm just trying to get a good idea of what kind of tools y'all have acquired over the years, and what models/brands/specific tools are your favorites. Thank you!
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Old 07-06-15, 10:51 AM
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What are your favorite tool purchases?

A workstand, I think is my favorite. It is what makes working on bikes fun.
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Old 07-06-15, 10:52 AM
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What are your favorite tool purchases?

I also have some pretty nice laser cut aluminum spanners made specifically for those thin bolts atop RockShox fork stanchions.
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Old 07-06-15, 10:57 AM
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My FELCO cable cutters; I have had them for decades and they work as well as the day I bought them. They were/are expensive but I have never regretted spending the money for quality tools.
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Old 07-06-15, 11:23 AM
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My favorite spoke wrench came out of a cheap set of tools. It's surprisingly a cast and nickel plated tool, and is much nicer than any other I've used, plus it has sizes 11-15 on the same wrench. I'm also fond of the park headset press, and my alien II multitool. At work we have a set of cone wrenches that are superbly thought out, I wish I could find a set like them, I'm not even sure who made the set.
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Old 07-06-15, 11:24 AM
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My favorite tool is the one I just purchased to let me do a repair or component installation I couldn't do before I bought it.
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Old 07-06-15, 12:30 PM
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My favorite tool is a ParkTool crankpull. I love pulling cranks off old bikes for some reason. If I could be paid to pull 200 cranks a day, id do it!


My new favorite tool, at least for the first few times I use them, will be the new set of Allen/Hex tools I bought this weekend to replace the old and cheap ones I have. The old ones were so bad that for the last 4 refurbs I did this past month, I used the multi-tool I ride with.
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Old 07-06-15, 12:49 PM
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My Ritchey 5Nm Multi-Torque Key without a doubt. I had stripped cleat bolts on two shoes and destroyed a seatpost clamp on a carbon frame (I know, maybe a ham-fisted mechanic wannabe), and got tired of that torque by feel schtick. Bought the Ritchey a while back, and all is well with the world again!
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Old 07-06-15, 01:13 PM
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Best tool is a workstand... took me over 20 years to break down and buy one.

Favorite pre-workstand tool: Park TS2 Truing Stand.

John
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Old 07-06-15, 01:29 PM
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My favorite tools are my vintage Campy "peanut butter wrench" and pedal/bb wrench. I picked them up in a barter, and the craftsmanship and design are just enjoyable (although now that my kids are on big/good enough bikes to have quick-release, I don't get much opportunity to use the PB wrench)

I also picked up a pair of Felco cutters, but they haven't been as amazing as I expected. I bought them off eBay I think from a shop (electrical?) where they had been used professionally, probably for years (decades?) and the cutting blades are kind of worn. I generally have to do some cleanup when cutting spiral brake housing. However, still much more convenient than getting dremel out of its box (and probably installing a new cutting wheel)

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Old 07-06-15, 01:38 PM
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BUT, to answer what may be your actual question ("what should I buy to get started in bike wrenching"), there are two schools: pay the most for the best every time, and never replace a tool; and the rest of us. I'm the rest of us. Apart from general purpose tools (screwdrivers, wrenches, etc), I started out with the Nashbar Essential toolkit (you can buy an identical kit rebranded a couple different ways, including from Performance brick&mortar stores), and I recommend it as a good value. Some tools in the kit are insufficient and will need to be replaced eventually, but maybe not until after a few uses, which might well last you a few years. Most of the tools are plenty durable for the occasional home mechanic.

My top candidates for bike tools that are worth spending top dollar on are: cone wrenches (because they have to be very narrow, and thus manufacturing shortcuts result in crap tools), and cable cutters (because normal wire-cutting tools are not up to the task and just make a mess of it).

Oh yeah, here's a tip: Pedro's tire levers are excellent, and very affordable (like $5/pair?). Way better than any nylon levers that might come in a patch kit.

Oh yeah one more thing: if I had a 3rd/4th hand tool, it would be my favorite because it's just such a cool device. For now I'm still making do with vise grips and gravity, and woodworking clamps to hold brakes together..
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Old 07-06-15, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
BUT, to answer what may be your actual question ("what should I buy to get started in bike wrenching"), there are two schools: pay the most for the best every time, and never replace a tool; and the rest of us. I'm the rest of us. Apart from general purpose tools (screwdrivers, wrenches, etc), I started out with the Nashbar Essential toolkit (you can buy an identical kit rebranded a couple different ways, including from Performance brick&mortar stores), and I recommend it as a good value. Some tools in the kit are insufficient and will need to be replaced eventually, but maybe not until after a few uses, which might well last you a few years. Most of the tools are plenty durable for the occasional home mechanic.

My top candidates for bike tools that are worth spending top dollar on are: cone wrenches (because they have to be very narrow, and thus manufacturing shortcuts result in crap tools), and cable cutters (because normal wire-cutting tools are not up to the task and just make a mess of it).

Oh yeah, here's a tip: Pedro's tire levers are excellent, and very affordable (like $5/pair?). Way better than any nylon levers that might come in a patch kit.

Oh yeah one more thing: if I had a 3rd/4th hand tool, it would be my favorite because it's just such a cool device. For now I'm still making do with vise grips and gravity, and woodworking clamps to hold brakes together..
Wow, thank y'all for the responses! I'm looking at some of the prices for buying individual tools, and I think you're right.. It might be more cost effective to get a quick kit for now, and upgrade to some quality tools when I'm more than ankle deep into cycling!
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Old 07-06-15, 02:15 PM
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..and don't be too enamored of a scratch build. You'll spend an inordinate amount of time and money without learning all that much more of use tha, you will doing normal maintenance and upgrades.
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Old 07-06-15, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
..and don't be too enamored of a scratch build. You'll spend an inordinate amount of time and money without learning all that much more of use tha, you will doing normal maintenance and upgrades.
Yes, it is hard to beat a full-bike price with a scratch-build price. Using a donor bike for temporary parts, and spreading my eBay shopping over months, I beat retail, but it would be hard to beat used.
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Old 07-06-15, 03:49 PM
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I find my work stand is the most essential tool. It makes everything else easier and faster.

The Park AWS 3 and AWS 8 are probably the two tools I use the most.

Good cable cutters are also essential.

But as I think about it, it seems to me every tool I have is important if not outright essential. I love wrenching and so it seems whichever one I am using is my favorite.

One important lesson I have learned is this; spend more to buy the best quality tool. Buying cheap tool will not save you in the long run. When you have to replace it, there is a chance it will have cost you more than the price of a new, quality tool.
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Old 07-06-15, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Oh yeah one more thing: if I had a 3rd/4th hand tool, it would be my favorite because it's just such a cool device. For now I'm still making do with vise grips and gravity, and woodworking clamps to hold brakes together..
I've got two Third Hand tools, a Park BT-1 and a BT-5, and I never use or need them. You can have either or both for the $6 shipping cost of a USPS Flat Rate box.

I have a Hozan 4th Hand tool that I use very occasionally to snug up shift cables but more often to tighten zip-ties. That one I'm keeping.
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Old 07-06-15, 08:29 PM
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The bag of Park, hozan, and var tools I bought for $20 from one of my pipe vendor estimators who knew I worked on bikes. cone, headset, lockring, freewheel, all kinds of stuff, most new in the package yet, plus a nice tool bag.
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Old 07-07-15, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Yes, it is hard to beat a full-bike price with a scratch-build price. Using a donor bike for temporary parts, and spreading my eBay shopping over months, I beat retail, but it would be hard to beat used.
Well honestly, if I ever do make my own from scratch, it would be for the fun of it and to assemble a quality bike that appeals to my style,and damn the expense, you know?
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Old 07-07-15, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
I've got two Third Hand tools, a Park BT-1 and a BT-5, and I never use or need them. You can have either or both for the $6 shipping cost of a USPS Flat Rate box.

I have a Hozan 4th Hand tool that I use very occasionally to snug up shift cables but more often to tighten zip-ties. That one I'm keeping.
Thank you for the offer, but I'll decline. No sense in purchasing tools that are outside my current ceiling of knowledge and experience! Still, very kind of you!
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Old 07-07-15, 07:13 AM
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My all time favorite tool purchase has been my Park derailleur hanger alignment tool.

I like it because it has allowed me to quickly solve many shifting problems after other bike mechanics had failed. It's made several riders think that I'm smarter than I really am. I like that in a simple tool.
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Old 07-07-15, 07:39 AM
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General purpose tools; screwdrivers, allen/hex wrenches, ratchets, etc. - I buy from Sears.
These items normally wear out; and Sears has a no questions asked lifetime replacement policy.
Bike specific tools; cassette removal socket, whip, bb tool, etc. - I buy from reputable companies -
Parktools, Pedro's. They also offer lifetime replacement on most of their tools; but I haven't had
to take them up on that policy.
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Old 07-07-15, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
..and don't be too enamored of a scratch build. You'll spend an inordinate amount of time and money without learning all that much more of use tha, you will doing normal maintenance and upgrades.
Boy, I learned a TON because of my first build from a frame. Way more than doing normal maintenance and upgrades. Ive fully refurbished a dozen+ bikes over the last year, which is completely tearing the bike down to the frame and cleaning everything before building it back up- and even those don't come close to truly building a bike up from the frame.

The task of finding components and making sure everything works properly together can be large.
My first frame build was an '80 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 sport-tourer, so there was a ton of difficulty due to age- the stem was thinner than pretty much any vintage or new stem, even quills. The cable stop on the FD had to be rigged by attaching an under bottom bracket guide for that derailleur only. The cassette was 1st gen uniglide and incompatible with anything else. It took a long time to find all matching components that were period correct(cuz I wanted that), good quality(cuz I wanted that), and SunTour(cuz I wanted that) while working with how the bike was built.

I would do it again in a second. In fact I just bought a 23" vintage Diamondback MTB frame to do the same thing.

Its fun and I learn WAY more than I ever would from regular maintenance of a new bike. I learn way more than I ever would from refurbs too, since that's all just plug n play- the components are already there and its been established they work for the bike.
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Old 07-07-15, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
I've got two Third Hand tools, a Park BT-1 and a BT-5, and I never use or need them. You can have either or both for the $6 shipping cost of a USPS Flat Rate box.

I have a Hozan 4th Hand tool that I use very occasionally to snug up shift cables but more often to tighten zip-ties. That one I'm keeping.
Very interested, I will PM you....
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Old 07-07-15, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Apricohtyl View Post
Well honestly, if I ever do make my own from scratch, it would be for the fun of it and to assemble a quality bike that appeals to my style,and damn the expense, you know?
Yes, fun and learning has its own value, if that's what you're after then by all means go for it! But if your primary goal is to save money, it's probably not the right path.
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Old 07-07-15, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
I've got two Third Hand tools, a Park BT-1 and a BT-5, and I never use or need them. You can have either or both for the $6 shipping cost of a USPS Flat Rate box.

I have a Hozan 4th Hand tool that I use very occasionally to snug up shift cables but more often to tighten zip-ties. That one I'm keeping.
If you're offering, I've wanted one for a while.
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