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Park Tools or who else?

Old 03-20-13, 01:16 AM
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Park Tools or who else?

I know Park Tools has a well known name and well deserved reputation for bicycle tools. Are there other companies with equally good tools or does Park pretty much have that business to themselves? I believe a number of tools are similar to Craftsmen and others but the bike tool is thinner or otherwise modified to better suit bicycle mechanics. So, bottom line, if one wants to pursue bicycle mechanics at the hobbyist level with one's personal bikes do you track down the Park tools you need, go with another brand of bicycle tools and if so which one, or just get Craftsmen tools or similar?
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Old 03-20-13, 01:42 AM
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VAR , France, Campagnolo , Italy.. (their classic nickel plated tool kits [#3380] are collectors items now) .

.. back in the day the Famous Italian Frame builders assumed the Retail Shop had the tool kit
to finish the reaming and threading.
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Old 03-20-13, 01:49 AM
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for home tinkering use, I use my craftsman etc generic tools wherever appropriate and I have a smattering of Park and other bike specific tools (I think my crank puller is a Pedros, my chain tool and spoke wrenches are some french or italian Cyclo things from 30 years ago, etc etc. I forget what brand my cone wrenches are, some friend of my kids mangled my old ones when they were in HS a few years ago). The main Park stuff I have is the shimano BB tool, cassette tool, and ummmm, thats about it?

the single tool I use the most is a Bondus metric allen key set, the kind that is like a jackknife.
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Old 03-20-13, 02:13 AM
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Well...
For generic tools, Allen/Torx keys, sockets etc, I'd happily use any old source. For the special tools, splined extractors, extra slim cone wrenches etc, choice is limited.
I've had good luck with noname splined extractors, poor luck with noname chain tools, good luck with noname chain whips, poor luck with noname cone wrenches etc etc.

If I needed a seat tube reamer I wouldn't go to Park, as that's a generic task. But if I needed a headset/bb facing tool I'd probably need to go specific.The more special the task, the smaller the gap between bike-specific and "generic" becomes.
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Old 03-20-13, 08:10 AM
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My view; If you need a tool to use on a bike and you buy the appropriate Park tool, you can be pretty sure it will work, it will work correctly, it will work reliably, it will last, and it will likely be available for restocking if you ever lose it or just wear it out. If you buy other brands or buy non-bike specific tools, then you are at some degree of risk for each of those aspects not working out well enough to not be a distraction. Then you would probably need to buy the Park tool after all to get the task done right. In the end I suspect the total bill for going to the Park bike specific tool from the start is lower that the other paths. It will certainly avoid a few of the "it didn't work", the "it didn't quite fit", and the "it seemed to work but damaged or marred the expensive bike part", the "it was working but slipped and knocked paint off a customers $10,000 frame, etc. The labor cost of frutzing around with the issue and being in stall mode awaiting delivery of the right tool has to be accounted for also. If you have a shop with active customers afoot, then you should consider the impression your pegboard with a nearly arrayed set of professional grade tools will make on your trade.

FWIW; That is my view from the conservative front
/K

PS; For the more casual BM, I found that Amazon has a nice clone of the basic Park bike repair stand that is working out very well. I bought it as an add because it quickly folds up for transport and sturdy enough and is lightweight. Give it a look if driven by funds limits or needing a folder. For some reason the maker didn't think of a travel baq for it (I have ask them to do so), so for now look in sporting goods areas for a canvas bag to do the job. If I ID one that will work, I'll post it. For now I kept the shipping box to do the job.

If one needs a wheel building stand that is less expensive than the $250 Park item, look for the brand that is now on Amazon for about $90...Minuria or something like that brand name. Just sort by price to find it. Several friends have gotten it recently and it looks pretty good and functional (and well worth $90). If funds are there, the Park stand is still better and stands the test of time and 1,000's of wheel builds.

FWIW
/K
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Old 03-20-13, 08:34 AM
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For any generic tool (wrenches, allen/hex wrenches, etc.), I don't get Park Tools, I just get the Craftsman/Kobalt/Husky level of tool. It is usually just cheaper, they have lifetime warranties that are probably easier to access (although I've never broken a tool on a bike), and I don't think Park is any better. For anything bike specific, I usually get Park now. Pedros also has a good reputation for some tools as well but, being in Minneapolis, I think I'm in more of a Park town. I have some no-name generic tools (Lifu?) that I think are pretty much the same (maybe even made in the same Chinese plant) for any of the store brands (e.g., Nashbar, Sette, Performance, etc.). I tend to think of those as my three choices: Park, Pedros, and Lifu/generic. This said, I know there are likely other European tools, or maybe Shimano makes some stuff, that I just don't come across so I'm not familiar with. IMHO, it isn't worth skimping on bike tools for spoke wrenches, cone wrenches, chain tool, and crank extractor. I got a generic set from Nashbar long ago, and no longer use these tools from that set.
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Old 03-20-13, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ksisler
My view; If you need a tool to use on a bike....
Very good points and if this were a shop situation with other people's bikes I'd totally agree. This is just an inquiry for personal use. Having connections on the automotive side I know that besides Snap On, perhaps the Park Tools of automotive, there are also Matco, Cornwell, Mac and probably others. I'm only aware of Park and wondered if there are others on the bicycle side as there are on the automotive side.

I was born with two left thumbs so I don't really need any tools and probably don't have any business messing with any but am reckless enough to loosen a fastener to adjust the seat or bars up or down an inch and other similarly simple operations. I do plan to do some reading and learn a little more like maybe how to adjust the brakes so they both stand off the rim after being applied rather than one side standing off while the other continues to touch the rim.

So, I was just curious if there was any other brand to look at besides Park.
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Old 03-20-13, 10:07 AM
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In addition to Park Tools, I have a lot of Spin Doctor (Performance Bike house brand - often run at really big discounts), Nashbar and Craftsman. The only non-Park tool I've replaced with a Park version is a chain whip. The Park one is much stiffer where the Nashbar one it replaced flexed too much. Other than that, the other brands work just fine. And, in some cases, I actually like the design of the non-Park tools better (like the Nashbar external BB socket that snaps on to my torque wrench and also has the tool for tightening the fixing bolt). Just pick up what you need as you need it and look at the design and quality of the tool before deciding which to buy.
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Old 03-20-13, 10:20 AM
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I read once somewhere on the web a wheelbuilder who said his favorite spoke wrench is made by Czech company Unior (here's one on eBay), they build lots of other bike tools as well, and that's probably not the only company that gets more use in Europe than Park.
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Old 03-20-13, 11:05 AM
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A good resource for bicycle-specific tools from a variety of manufacturers is the on-line shop for Bike Tools Etc.
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Old 03-20-13, 11:19 AM
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+1 on not buying "bike specific" general tools like hex keys, sockets, screwdrivers, combination wrenches and even torque wrenches. There are numerous makers who provide quality tools for these.

One Asian bike tool brand with a good reputation is Lifu and I believe they are the maker of most of Performance's house branded "Spin Doctor" tools. I have one of their Campy lockring/bottom bracket tools and it fits and works very well.

Pedro sells some bike tools and I've had mixed results with the few I've used. Some like them, I don't.

As best I can tell, Campy itself is pretty much out of the general tool business and their older tools are now collector's items and sell for premium prices.

Short answer: You can't go wrong with Park. If they are not the Snap-On of bike tools they are certainly the SK or Proto.
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Old 03-20-13, 11:45 AM
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Given the choice I would always choose "Cyclus" tools over Park as I see them as superior in quality.
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Old 03-20-13, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by onbike 1939
Given the choice I would always choose "Cyclus" tools over Park as I see them as superior in quality.
Cyclus tools are not well distributed here in the US. They can be found, mostly from European sources, but most bike shops here don't carry them.
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Old 03-20-13, 12:04 PM
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Cyclus aren't even well distributed in the UK, they are very good tools, and when they first came out, about 10 years ago, were incredible value for money; in the intervening years, with changes in currency value etc, they can now make some Park Tools look cheap.
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Old 03-20-13, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider
Cyclus tools are not well distributed here in the US. They can be found, mostly from European sources, but most bike shops here don't carry them.
Bike Tools Etc. sells a good number of the Cyclus tools:

https://www.google.com/search?q=cycl...ketoolsetc.com
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Old 03-20-13, 04:39 PM
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The thing I REALLY like about Park is they stand behind their product, big time. I usually buy my Parks tools USED, so standing behind them is incredible to me.

Examples:

I have an older TS2 truing stand. One of the plastic adjustment knobs broke. Called up Parks, they sent me one, no charge.

I have a Park tension meter, picked up used, it was missing their nice laminated conversion charge. Sure, you can download a paper version off the web, but the laminated card is sweet. I call them up, they send me a card, with a spoke gauge tool, no charge.

I could list several more.

Meanwhile, I had a professional level Minoura stand, that the PO messed up. Stand was six years old. I contacted Minoura, no parts, no detailed diagrams, tool is no longer made, so I am SOL. Please note, several on line stores are still selling that same stand.

I have gotten replacement parts from Parks on tools (workstands) that were about 20 years old. On normal wear items, they will charge. I am fine with that, and I would have paid for the examples above.

On tools in general, I primarily work on vintage bikes. So depending on the tool, I have different favorites. About half my tools are Parks, but for a cable tool, I like the Shimano tool best. On bottom brackets, I like the Sugino tool set best, and on basic tools, I do not need Parks branded hammer, screwdrivers, allen wrenches, etc.
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Old 03-20-13, 04:58 PM
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i have a pyramid chain whip and pedal wrench. i love 'em and the prices were reasonable.
most of the rest are park. couple of shimanos.
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Old 03-20-13, 05:42 PM
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wow, that Cyclus stuff is expensive. $90 for a shimano BB tool??!
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Old 03-20-13, 05:56 PM
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Do you think Park will come up with a tool like this one (picture bellow) for 10 bucks and that can be bought in a regular LBS that usually have less tools than many of the guys here have?? The answer is NO WAY... 90 bucks for something that wont slip is ok, and this thing probably wont scratch the cups because of the design, once in place it wont move.



Originally Posted by pierce
wow, that Cyclus stuff is expensive. $90 for a shimano BB tool??!
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Old 03-20-13, 08:15 PM
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+1 on Cyclus. Good pricing on them from wiggle.co.uk. Really like their headset press.
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Old 03-20-13, 08:15 PM
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I bought Shimano's own bb tool for $15 and it works just fine. Does this thing work 6 times better?
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Old 03-20-13, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by pierce
wow, that Cyclus stuff is expensive. $90 for a shimano BB tool??!
Originally Posted by HillRider
I bought Shimano's own bb tool for $15 and it works just fine. Does this thing work 6 times better?
They're shop-quality tools intended to be used in a production environment. They may not work "6 times better" but they'll likely last more than six times longer. As the old Sutherland's manual used to state, "cheap tools are a luxury no shop can afford."
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Old 03-20-13, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ksisler
For some reason the maker didn't think of a travel baq for it (I have ask them to do so), so for now look in sporting goods areas for a canvas bag to do the job. If I ID one that will work, I'll post it. For now I kept the shipping box to do the job.


FWIW
/K
Have you tried a folding camp chair bag?
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Old 03-20-13, 08:42 PM
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Bike-specific: Lezyne. Their quality meets or exceeds that of Park Tool. It's not that I'm saying Park Tool is bad, as I have plenty of things from them that I love, but Lezyne's usually better (and more expensive) for similar products.

If a non-cycling company of good repute makes the tool (hexes, screwdrivers, etc.), then I'll go with them.
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Old 03-20-13, 11:07 PM
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I have some Park tools, but mostly Lifu tools from a kit I got 12 years ago. They have seen a lot of wrenching on new and old bikes, and they hold up VERY well. When I need quality, I reach for a Park, though. General tools? Craftsman. Torque wrenches are harbor freight specials, and even though some have trouble with them not "clicking" they give me no problem at all.
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