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Harbor Freight Tools

Old 07-25-21, 02:37 PM
  #1  
WaveyGravey
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Harbor Freight Tools

Can anyone recommend suitable/adequate tools for pedals or headset or any bicycle application for that matter, that could be sourced from places like Harbor Freight? Seems like could be an inexpensive alternative to brands like Park etc. Thanks
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Old 07-25-21, 02:52 PM
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Some parts, like headsets, take a range of possible tools. Some of these tools are specifically designed for bikes, some not.

Again with headsets- Many threaded types need an open wrench version in either 36mm or 32mm, neither are common tools found in general hardware retailers as the thickness of the wrenches are far less then common house hold tools. But sometimes a slip joint pliers or a large (12" or 15") adjustable wrench can work. But for threadless headsets simple "L" hex wrenches do just fine and these are widely available.

So to with cup and cone hubs. Thin open end wrenches are typically needed for working the cone (and sometimes the lock nut too). We call these tools cone wrenches and are not usually found outside of the bike world.

If you have access to a grinder one can thin down common open wrenches and fit pedals more easily.

I suggest making a list of the tools needed for working on the aspects of your bike you want to do then go to the common tool place and get what you can from them that is on that list. Andy
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Old 07-25-21, 03:09 PM
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Modern bikes don't need many special wrenches, except for splined lock ring wrenches that are bike specific. I bought a new wrench for my wheels manufacturing thread together BB and one for my Campy center lock disc brake rotors.
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Old 07-25-21, 03:41 PM
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I agree with AndrewRStewart and will add that the older the bike the easier it is to get by with non-specific tools. Threaded headsets, ashtabula bb's and pre-cartridge bb's could usually be done although often not as easily.
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Old 07-25-21, 04:01 PM
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Unless you are wrenching on bikes for a living, I'd not buy any special tools until you see that you have a need for them. Then consider how often you might need that tool again. I bought a tool to remove my BB back before I knew better and only used that tool once. The BB I put back in the bike required a different tool.

If you stay on friendly terms with your LBS you might find they'll loosen or tighten things like that for you every great once in a while for just cost of a decent round of conversation.

As for Harbor Freight tools, I don't have any problem with them. Just don't expect them to last a long time. I find that some wrenches and other tools don't seem to be forged or hardened as well as they should. Some just break. But I still will buy them when I only will need something a few times in my lifetime. Or it's something that friends like to "borrow" permanently.

Some will insist you have to buy the best you can, but I can buy a crap load of the same HF tool for the price of a really good quality tool. I buy quality tools when I know I'll use them quite a few times.

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Old 07-25-21, 04:50 PM
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No, you can't get bike tools at HFT. But as said several times above, you don't always need bike tools. The resourceful tinkerer can make a truing stand and a dishing tool from household scrap, for instance. But if you need a bike tool, buy a bike tool. Shop on eBay for lower priced alternatives that may work as well as the typical HF tools.
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Old 07-25-21, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
If you have access to a grinder one can thin down common open wrenches and fit pedals more easily.
I find that Harbor Freight tools lend themselves to being ground down, bent, welded to and otherwise modified. I would not want to do any of those things to my pre-Wal-Mart Craftsman, Snap-On or other quality tools. HF hex drivers seem to be pretty good quality and fit, and the 3 torque wrenches I got from them have stayed in calibration for years. I have a long-pattern 15mm combination wrench which fits pedal flats well, no grinding needed
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Old 07-25-21, 06:11 PM
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Just my experience, when I started purchasing more than the basic bike tools, just buying as needed worked fine. I do not have to be in a hurry. I gathered info from this site and others, like youtube, parktool.com. I used a couple of self made tools a couple of times, and then wound up purchasing the tool, like a headset press. I recently used that on press fit bearings and it worked fine. Most of my tools are house brand from on-line bike shops. They are working out well for me, lower cost and I only use them occasionally.
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Old 07-25-21, 08:05 PM
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If you are in this for the long haul start buying decent tools as you need them. The labor you save from not paying a shop will more than pay for the tools. I do recommend getting a nice set of metric hex wrenches as they are the most used tool on bikes. The fastners on bikes are soft and cheap hex wrenches ultimately round them out. Once i switched to Wera hex wrenches the fasteners have held up so much better.
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Old 07-26-21, 02:26 AM
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Wrenches, sockets, ratchets, allens, all basic hand tools made out of a hunk o' metal? Harbor Freight tools are fine. I've rebuilt VW engines with them. (Unless you use hand tools to make your money, in which case buy the best ones you can get.)

That said, there are parts of the bicycle that require bicycle-specific tools. And I do mean require. As in, "there are no substitute tools that will work. Don't even bother trying. Buy the tools or buy new parts... and the tools."

--Shannon
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Old 07-26-21, 02:34 AM
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As others have mentioned, ebay is a good source, can save a few bucks by considering used tools. I have a standard daily search on ebay for "used bike tools'. Some are deals and some are not, gotta lok around.
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Old 07-26-21, 05:38 AM
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Waiting for a sale or a coupon (I forget which) I got a HF air compressor for less than the cost of a Silca Pisa. Unlike the Silca, it's practical and efficient for my car tires, too.
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Old 07-26-21, 12:05 PM
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They have Allen wrenches, box and socket wrenches, torx, screwdrivers, zip ties, a rubber mallet, hacksaw, and lots of little containers for parts and tools.

Its a great start and all that is great to fix stuff around the house and car too.


Buy special tools as you need them.
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Old 07-26-21, 04:50 PM
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We once had a WT Wholesale Tool Store in our area. They were quite the resource as they carried everything from Cheap Chinese tools to name brands like Black Hawk and SK Wayne. The best part was that you could buy a single tool - not a set of tools like at HF. You could buy a single open end/ box end combo wrench or a socket in the size you needed. This allowed one to make modified or specialized tools for specific applications. They had inexpensive grinding wheels and entry level machine tools like bench grinders, small drill presses, etc.
Unfortunately, the store closed and now I can only mail order from them.
If you are lucky enough to have one of these WT Tool stores near you, you can buy a couple of 15 mm wrenches to modify into pedal spanners or cone wrenches. I modified a socket for use in dismantling Suntour derailleurs. They also had inexpensive, oversized open ended wrenches for large machine tool applications. These could be ground to metric dimensions for headset wrenches or Bottom bracket tools. sThe possibilities were limitless…
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