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Tool Kit

Old 08-04-13, 09:07 PM
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Tool Kit

Hey,

I searched for a thread such as this, but I couldn't find one. I was looking to buy a bike tool kit, and looked into some at my local shops, as well as online, but just can't afford those prices on my tight budget. Today, I was in Target, and spotted this, but I decided not to get it. Instead, I went with these two sets from Home Depot, HDX Plier Set (5 PC) & HDX Ratcheting T-Driver Set (31 PC).

I figure that these are good, basic tools to have on hand for all sorts of bicycle repairs.

Anything I am missing?

Did I get a good value on these two sets? Are they good sets, will they keep for a long time etc.?

Thanks!

p.s. My newest repairs on my list are to replace my MTB pedals, as well as the brake lines. Any tips/suggestions? I plan on using my new tools, too!

p.s.s. I'm just dissapointed they weren't pink. LOL! The only thing I am missing is something to carry them in. Suggestions? Please, keep in mind that I am on a budget. Thanks!
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Old 08-04-13, 09:28 PM
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Those are of course general tools, rather than bike specific. As the T-Driver does not say metric is likely is not - and that is a problem, as essentially all multi-speed bikes and many others use metric hex and allen bolts/nuts (though not all the threads are metric). Bike tool kits are unnecessary, especially for working on your own bike. I don't like using an adjustable wrench on smaller nuts, certainly nothing below 12mm. Combo wrenches are ideal, as are regular allen wrenches, as the length roughly corresponds to the relative force you need to use to tighten. Y wrenches (8/9/10 mm) are useful (although moreso on older bikes, as is a spoke wrench and cone wrenches. Cruise Parktool.com to see some good bike-specific tools and parktool.com/blog or sheldonbrown.com for repair procedures.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 08-05-13 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 08-04-13, 09:31 PM
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It's a good start for the time being. You might know that cheap tools actually cost more money, because good tools generally don't need replacement. But if this is all you could afford, this stuff will work for a while.

You won't need to carry most of these things. The most important tools for short rides are:

tire levers
patch kit
pump

Build your tool set slowly. Buy a tool when you need it. Don't think about building the set all at once.
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Old 08-04-13, 09:58 PM
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Hex keys (aka Allen wrenches) are possibly the most common tools you'll use on a bike made in the last few decades. You'll want a metric set, and thankfully you can often find basic sets under five bucks. Since you mentioned Home Depot, HERE is one option you'd find there. To list some items you'd need hex keys to remove/install/adjust, how 'bout handlebars, stem, brakes, shifters, saddle, newer cranksets, so on, and so on.

You'll also want a set of combination wrenches. HERE is a cheap set, although I'd personally suggest spending a few more dollars for something a bit nicer. You'd typically need wrenches for pedals, the nuts holding your shift & derailleur cables, and all sorts of miscellaneous stuff. (Not just on the bike, but around the house and in your car, too.)

Moving on to bike-specific stuff, tire levers are a no-brainer. We all get flat tires every once in a while. Speaking of flat tires, I wouldn't normally think of a pump as a tool, but figure I'll mention it just in case; a good floor pump is a must. Same for a vulcanizing patch kit like the ubiquitous Rema kits.

Everything else I'd probably consider optional for most people. I've got a feeling I'm overlooking something, but I'm sure others will chime in. EDIT: Some of them type & think faster than I do and have already done so!

Last edited by SkyDog75; 08-04-13 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 08-05-13, 05:54 AM
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Pedal wrenches and cone wrenches tend to be a little specialized and I haven't been lucky enough to find anything except bike specific tools that'll do that job.

The best bet would be to make a list of what you want to do on YOUR bike, find out EXACTLY what bike specific tool is needed to do the job, and then decide if generic stuff from the hardware store will do the job. Bikes don't all have the same components, and many of the tools included in most bike tool kids may never get used on YOUR bike. So the usual suggestion is to buy exactly what you need as you need it.

And another suggestion is to price the work that needs to be done (at LBS rates) vs the price of the tools. Some things aren't worth buying either.

If you decide to carry tools - a tool roll is convenient. They come in different sizes and colors - including pink if you look hard enough.
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Old 08-05-13, 06:06 AM
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The guy who makes Alario Accessories makes them one by one. If you hire him to make a tool roll and you can find pink material, he should be able to do it. I've seen his bags, and they're very nice.
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Old 08-05-13, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Burton
Pedal wrenches and cone wrenches tend to be a little specialized and I haven't been lucky enough to find anything except bike specific tools that'll do that job.
I certainly agree that there is no substitute for cone wrenches but I've found several pedals have wrench flats wide enough to accept a standard 15 mm combination wrench. My Speedplay Frogs, Shimano M535 SPDs and an old pair of SR quill pedals can all be installed/removed with an ordinary Craftsman 15 mm combination wrench. Other models do require the special thinner pedal wrench. Upshot; check your particular pedals before buying a specialty wrench.
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Old 08-05-13, 10:59 AM
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Hey,

Thanks for all the help. I should have been more specific in my original post, as I was referring to a basic tool kit that I will keep at home when working on my bikes, and perhaps toss in my Vibe when taking my MTB out on the local trails in case something comes up that my seat post tool kit can't handle. I did get some tire levers, and may either return the wrenches for the metric or just go get the metric set, as well.

Thanks!
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Old 08-05-13, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider
. . . several pedals have wrench flats wide enough to accept a standard 15 mm combination wrench. My Speedplay Frogs, Shimano M535 SPDs and an old pair of SR quill pedals can all be installed/removed with an ordinary Craftsman 15 mm combination wrench. Other models do require the special thinner pedal wrench. Upshot; check your particular pedals before buying a specialty wrench.
+1 on that. I was kind of surprised when I got a pair of Crank Bros Eggbeaters, that they had no flats for a wrench (combination or pedal). Took me a minute to realize that the pedal spindle has a hex recess for an 8 mm (IIRC) Allen wrench.
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Old 08-05-13, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by KenshiBiker
+1 on that. I was kind of surprised when I got a pair of Crank Bros Eggbeaters, that they had no flats for a wrench (combination or pedal). Took me a minute to realize that the pedal spindle has a hex recess for an 8 mm (IIRC) Allen wrench.
The 'except that' is that the pedals are normally speced to require a torque of 40Nm and the length of a standard 15mm combination wrench or 8mm allen key won't give you near the leverage required. Yeah - you can put an extension bar on them, or just buy the specific tool for the job in the first place - which is a lot longer than standard. The hex key and the pedal wrench both.
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Old 08-05-13, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Burton
The 'except that' is that the pedals are normally speced to require a torque of 40Nm and the length of a standard 15mm combination wrench or 8mm allen key won't give you near the leverage required. Yeah - you can put an extension bar on them, or just buy the specific tool for the job in the first place - which is a lot longer than standard. The hex key and the pedal wrench both.

Now that you mention it, I do recall seeing a pedal-specific hex wrench. I think it was a Pedro brand. I did crank on the pedals pretty good (I've got a set of T-Handle hex wrenches that allow me better torque than the regular L-wrenches), but probably not to 40 Nm. I ended up going back to my Speedplays anyway (and they do have flats for my pedal wrench).
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Old 08-06-13, 06:23 PM
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Edit I ended up returning the HDX sets, and replaced them with the following ones from Husky - 8 in. Slip Joint Pliers & 8 in. Adjustable Wrench w/ 10 in. Groove Joint Plier Set (3-Piece), Screwdriver Set (10-piece), SAE Universal Ratcheting Wrench Set (7-Piece).The only thing that I think I am missing for my kit (for starters, anyway) are wire cutters, and a small ballpin hammer. Spent a few dollars more than I had originally planned, but since they are good sets (my Dad who is an electrician told me Husky is a good brand), and they also come with a lifetime guarantee, so that's a plus.

Anymore thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 08-06-13, 06:38 PM
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You got SAE wrenches. Bring them back and return them for metric wrenches.
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Old 08-06-13, 08:08 PM
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Thanks Tom.
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Old 08-06-13, 08:12 PM
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I've been looking online, and was told that both would come in handy. Is this true, or am I better off with the metric? What is the major difference?

Thank you for your help.
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Old 08-06-13, 08:36 PM
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If you use the SAE wrenches on bikes, it will be very rare, like once a year.

The difference is that metric wrenches are size 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, etc, and SAE wrenches are 1/4", 5/16", 3/8" etc, and the wrong wrenches won't fit your nuts.
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Old 08-07-13, 07:04 AM
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Honestly, return all that stuff unless it is a Metric Allen Wrench set that is Husky brand. Go get a quality multi-tool such as a Crank Bros Multi 17 or Topeak Hexus II. I have literally built entire bikes with these things at swap meets.

Crank Bros Multi 17:
https://www.rei.com/product/768257/cr...-multi-17-tool
Topeak Hexus II:
https://www.rei.com/product/799892/to...-ll-multi-tool

Heck with as much as you are spending you could get this:
https://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...52_-1___202586

If you have to go the Home Depot Route, besides your screwdriver set, what you actually need is:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-13-...13PC/202934894
and
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Met...PCMM/202934515

That should get you most tools you need besides a patch kit and tire levers. That would be a good start. Do not buy a bike pump from there.
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Old 08-07-13, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by mechanicmatt
Honestly, return all that stuff unless it is a Metric Allen Wrench set that is Husky brand. Go get a quality multi-tool such as a Crank Bros Multi 17 or Topeak Hexus II. I have literally built entire bikes with these things at swap meets.

Crank Bros Multi 17:
https://www.rei.com/product/768257/cr...-multi-17-tool
Topeak Hexus II:
https://www.rei.com/product/799892/to...-ll-multi-tool

Heck with as much as you are spending you could get this:
https://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...52_-1___202586

If you have to go the Home Depot Route, besides your screwdriver set, what you actually need is:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-13-...13PC/202934894
and
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Met...PCMM/202934515

That should get you most tools you need besides a patch kit and tire levers. That would be a good start. Do not buy a bike pump from there.
Those tool kits have their uses, but if you actually did 'build an entire bike' with one - there's not a chance the pedals, crank bolts, bottom bracket cups, cassette, centerlock disc rotors, or wheel nuts are properly torqued. And there's not a chance you could use something like that to remove any of those components on a bike where they HAD been installed with proper torque values. Even less is any of those items are seized. The leverage just isn't there.
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Old 08-08-13, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Burton
Those tool kits have their uses, but if you actually did 'build an entire bike' with one - there's not a chance the pedals, crank bolts, bottom bracket cups, cassette, centerlock disc rotors, or wheel nuts are properly torqued. And there's not a chance you could use something like that to remove any of those components on a bike where they HAD been installed with proper torque values. Even less is any of those items are seized. The leverage just isn't there.
Oh I agree with you completely, but most people starting out could give two cents about torque values, proper this or that. This is basically enough tools to really get you in trouble, or the better way to say it is most of the tools you would need for adjustments and to get you started. Everyone must start somewhere.

Also, your tone is a bit harsh, you expect people to know how to put together a top of the line 29'r first try out? This is someone starting, how did you start out for comparison?

My comment about swap meets is true, the multi-tools are versitile, surprisingly so. I don't use them for maintenance but it may be a good entrance to the tools she may actually need. Likewise, if she found some of the work daunting, she would at least have a handy tool for ride breakdowns and stem adjustments. Would you rather she go to work on bicycles for the first time with SAE wrenches and pliers?

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Old 08-08-13, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by mechanicmatt
Oh I agree with you completely, but most people starting out could give two cents about torque values, proper this or that. This is basically enough tools to really get you in trouble, or the better way to say it is most of the tools you would need for adjustments and to get you started. Everyone must start somewhere.

Also, your tone is a bit harsh, you expect people to know how to put together a top of the line 29'r first try out? This is someone starting, how did you start out for comparison?

My comment about swap meets is true, the multi-tools are versitile, surprisingly so. I don't use them for maintenance but it may be a good entrance to the tools she may actually need. Likewise, if she found some of the work daunting, she would at least have a handy tool for ride breakdowns and stem adjustments. Would you rather she go to work on bicycles for the first time with SAE wrenches and pliers?
No idea why you find my tone harsh - maybe you just don't like people not agreeing 100% with you.

Since you asked - I started building bikes when I was a kid from parts the neighbors scrapped. There were 10 kids in the family and no money for luxuries like new bikes. But my dad was a car mechanic so a garage full of quality tools and grown-up expertise were at my disposal. One of the things he did teach me that stuck is that there's one best way to do everything and a lot of ways that'll waste time, money and be guaranteed to make you have to redo the job. Personally I hate having to do things again unnecessarily and doubt anyone else enjoys it either.

Actually I thought my initial advice was fairly reasonable. It didn't specify any particular brand or tool and left a lot open to personal discretion, but was also intended to get the job(s) done CORRECTLY. Not sure why you yourself would describe and recommend something as being 'the basic tools needed for adjustments' and then go on to say that it's not what you use for basic maintenaince yourself.

I don't think the idea is to get enough tools to get in trouble - I think the idea is to get the tools and information to do whats necessary, have fun doing it, and do it right.

Last edited by Burton; 08-09-13 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 08-09-13, 03:06 PM
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Some good advice above, but here's how I'd approach things:

A pump is probably the more import shop tool, IMHO. And, good tire levers belogn on the bike as well as in the shop. Multiple sets are good. If you have more than one set, get different kinds (like one plastic, one metal).

After that:
1) I'd go first for a good set of metric allen wrenches. Not the ball-end kind either (because they can slip). Almost everything except derailleurs can be adjusted with these. BTW, sometimes, on less-expensive bikes, you may find some fractional inch needs, so a second set of allen wrenches can be a good investment
2) A good set of screwdrivers would be next - so you can adjust the limit screws on the derailleurs. You could just get a couple of small phillips and straight blade screwdrivers, but Sears regularly has Craftsman screwdriver sets on sales for next to nothing. And they are useful all over your household.
3) Moving on is a small adjustable wrench - 3" or 75mm. These can fit in a number of places, and have a number of uses - even unscrewing a valve core.
4) A non-marring hammer is really useful (not ball-peen unless you're doing metal manipulations - which isn't typically part of bike mechanics). I prefer a rubber head as my 1st choice. Ultimately, you may want multiple types sizes.
This get's me through basic adjustments.

5) Cables & housings need regular maintenance, and here we start to look at bike specific tools. A cable cutter is nice, but it should be bike specific, with the ability to also cut housing and crimp ferrules.
6) A 3" needle file and a 6" flat file, 2nd cut (that is about medium coarseness). This to clean up the ends of the housing after cutting.
7) You really need a cable puller to properly install cables. This too is a specialized tool, and can't be had cheaply at Sears or Home Despot. Nice ones have a lock position, but I have one without and have used it for years.
8) My next in line would be a chain tool. Size according to the number of cogs on the rear of your chain. Park tend to be good, and have good availability of replacement pins (which you will need eventually).
9) Depending on your pedals, a pedal wrench might be warranted. However, I've freed tight pedals with a good (Park) cone wrench and my rubber hammer. And most pedals today use an allen wrench (either exclusively, or optionally). It can be hard, but I've done fine with a regular allen wrench, not a long-armed pedal allen wrench. So look closely at your pedals and use your judgement.
12) If you have some form of caliper brakes, you'll want a wrench to center same. Could be a brake wrench (or set) which shouldn't be too dear (although mine is 40 years old, so I can't claim to have been in the market for a while). Also a suitable cone wrench may be found to fit, which also shouldn't run much.
13) Check to see if your hubs used cone and cup bearings, or some form of cartridge or sealed. If the former, bring them to a shop and select cone wrenches to fit. Remember, you'll probably want one of the same size for each end of the axle. If the bearings are cartridge or sealed, you're probably better off leaving their maintenance to a shop (although pre-tension should be adjustable with your allen wrenches).
By now, you're able to handle much of what can/needs to be maintained on your bike.

13) A shop stand is handy, but unless they're heavy and expensive, they are mostly for tuning. You can't generally bear down hard on a soft stand. If you have a workbench, a 4" or larger bench vise is nice too.
14) As you expand your tool connection the collection, consider a spline tool to remove/install the rear cassette (which is a wear item, sooner or later).
15) Then look at BB tools (and crank puller if necessary) to fit your bike.

Once you've covered this much ground, there are lots more tools, but most aren't appropriate for home shops, unless you have plenty of money, or need to do lots of more complicated work.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-12-13, 07:46 PM
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Thanks for all of the advice! Thanks for all of the advice!

I ended up with the following, and they have worked well for installing new brake cable, and housing this weekend. Although, I only had time to do the front end, not the rear. I must say that doing the repair myself (just like when I took my bike to A2's "mobile repair stand by Common Cycle, even though I had help with that repair, which was replacing my shifters on Lanny) made me very proud.

[Home repair/bike repair kit (that is stored in my apt.).]

1. Husky Metic Combo Wrench Set
2. Husky Plier Set (This set also has an adjustable wrench.)
3. Husky Screwdriver Set
4. Husky 7 mm 12 - Point Metric FP Combo Wrench
5. Husky Metric Round Handle Folding Hex Key Set
6. Husky Torx Mini-Radial Folding Set
7. Tekton Needle Nose Pliers
8. Tekton Diagonal Cut Pliers
9. Irwin Multi Tool Stripper, Cutter & Crimper
10. Tekton Percision Pick & Hook 4 Piece Set
11. SAE Wrench Set (Mine are not Tekton, but they are just a small set, so I am not too worried.)
12. Spin Doctor Double End Cone Wrench Set
13. Small IKEA 17 Piece Tool Kit (In separate case, not really included in my bike repair kit, but will be when I combine them.)
I know that I am probably forgetting something (tire levers, patch kit etc., but I cannot remember everything that is in it right now. This tool kit is not just for my bikes, I also keep it in my apartment in case a small emergency comes up. In a month, or so, I will probably invest in a basic bike tool kit, just to give me a few more tool options.

Any suggestions on a nice one to go with?

This weekend, my tool kit worked quite well to replace my front brake cable and housing, although, I did not have time to get to the rear. That will be this weekend's project when I am up north. Although, my Dad ended up breaking his 7mm wrench when trying to get my left pedal off (and, yes, before you ask, we did know about the opposite lefty-loosey, righty-tighty) which was extremely rusted on. My right pedal came off with the Spin Doctor tool, so now I have two different pedals on my MTB, for now. The only thing I had to borrow from my Dad was a crimper tool, because my Irwin tool hasn't come in from Amazon, yet. I ended up using his wire cutter, too, but his (and he's an electrician & cuts wire on a daily basis - heavy gauge, too) did the same thing mine did, which, was fray the wire a little bit, but with crimping it, it worked out fine.

Anyway, I will stop babbling about my tool kit now! I have a question regarding my brake cable: How tight/taught should the wire near the brake cables be? When I push on the brakes, they do not go all the way to the handlebar grips, does that mean they are too tight? Should I loosen them, redo them etc.?

Thanks for all the help!

p.s. I, also, have a kit that I carry on my bikes (I switch it between the two) that includes the following:

[Bike repair kit that goes back & forth between Lola & Lanny.]

1. Park Tool Tire Levers
2. Genuine Innovations Nano Microflate Inflator
3. 14 Piece Folding Allen Hex Key Wrench Set (Metric & SAE)
4. Park Tool VP-1 Vulcanizing Patch Kit
5. Cabelas Multi-Tool in Pink
6. Mini Leopard Print Flashlight (Sorry, no link.)
7. Mini Multi-Tool w/ Small Knife (Sorry, no Link.)

All stored in the SKS Tour Bag in size XL.

I don't know why I have two multi-tools, probably ended up with one, simply because it is pink, and the other because it was sold with the knife along with the multi-tool.


Looking back at everything that I have purchased for my bikes (Lola, the commuter & Lanny, the MTB), I've probably spent more money than I should, but I tend to do that when I get into something new. Now, I should do more riding than I do, to make those purchases worthy! LOL I, also, like to be prepared, just in case. My parents think that I have spent too much (probably about $100) on "gadgets" and such for my bikes, but I just don't want to be stuck, have something happen, and the be unprepared/unsafe.

Anyway, just my two-cents.

Last edited by Bikeforumuser0011; 08-12-13 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 08-12-13, 09:52 PM
  #23  
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Good work, so to speak. Even I don't have some of those tools, such as the hook and pick set. I'm sure that if I had them, I'd find a use for them. I've been collecting bike tools since about 1975.

You'll want individual allen keys, too, for when the jack knife version doesn't get into small spaces. They're very cheap. I buy several at a time, because I lose them over time.
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Old 08-13-13, 01:29 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75
You'll also want a set of combination wrenches. HERE is a cheap set, although I'd personally suggest spending a few more dollars for something a bit nicer. You'd typically need wrenches for pedals, the nuts holding your shift & derailleur cables, and all sorts of miscellaneous stuff. (Not just on the bike, but around the house and in your car, too.)
The flats on pedals are often too narrow to work with a conventional combination or open-ended wrench so you want a pedal wrench unless your pedals are setup to take a hex key (you might want a 3/8" drive socket or cheater bar to get enough torque for removal; just remember the left pedal has left-handed threads) The flats for centering brakes often can't be reached by a straight wrench so you need an offset one like Park's. Many if not most cable and brake fixing bolts take a hex key.

A box end wrench is nice for cassette lock ring/freehub tools; although the 1" wrench won't be in a metric set or an inexpensive standard set.

Pass on the combination wrenches.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 08-13-13 at 01:33 AM.
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Old 08-13-13, 10:14 AM
  #25  
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This thread almost makes me sorry I have all the tools I need, since it looks like fun to choose and buy them.

When you become a weight-weinie (someone obsessed with reducing every gram of weight on the bike), you could replace those two multi-tools and hex wrench set with a bike-specific multitool like this:



(Lezyne Rap-13 Multi Tool)

Last edited by TromboneAl; 08-13-13 at 10:20 AM.
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