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What bike mechanic tool kit to get?

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What bike mechanic tool kit to get?

Old 11-24-14, 01:36 PM
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Jarrett2
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What bike mechanic tool kit to get?

My girlfriend wants to buy me a dedicated set of bike tools for Christmas/birthday. We had been looking at the Park sets. Are there other all-in-one type sets that would be better to get? What are your recommendations? Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-24-14, 01:42 PM
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I don't think you'll find an "all in one" toolset. Many tools that are required are specific to certain types of components. Look what you need for your bike and make a list. A nice set of metric allen wrenches is always nice. I have a thin 15mm pedal wrench that I like. You may want to look into tools to remove your specific cassette/chainrings/cranks/bottom bracket/wheel bearings. Many of those things require special tools that are often different from bike brand to bike brand or decade to decade. A chain breaker is necessary. A rear derailleur hanger adjustment tool is also nice, but not necessary. Other than those things, almost everything else can be done with a set of allens and screwdrivers.
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Old 11-24-14, 02:11 PM
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buy a tool chest then buy tools as the job requires ..
Park tools is a good source.
if your GF is doing well financially and So got the funds for all at once they sell sets..

Park Tool Co.
But they dont make everything ..
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Old 11-24-14, 02:20 PM
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I totally missed those tool kits. I even looked for them! The home starter kit at ~$90 isn't too bad, but the professional kit at ~$700 is way too much! The master kit is $5,000-$6,000. Wowsers.
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Old 11-24-14, 02:22 PM
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Yeah, they have several:

Park Tool Co.

Just wondering if there was another brand to look at or is Park the way to go.

She's got her eye on this one:

http://www.parktool.com/product/adva...tool-kit-ak-38
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Old 11-24-14, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
My girlfriend wants to buy me a dedicated set of bike tools for Christmas/birthday. We had been looking at the Park sets. Are there other all-in-one type sets that would be better to get? What are your recommendations? Thanks in advance.
The all in one sets are pretty hit and miss; most of them either have too many tools or not enough. For general home mechanic use I'd get the following:

Must haves:

Metric Hex wreches
Pedal wrench (These are starting to go away as more new pedals use hex wrenches)
Cable cutter
Chain tool
2 tire levers
Phillips screw driver
A junk or broken spoke sharpened to a point (a million uses including opening up cable housing after you cut it)
Cassette lock ring/freewheel tool per your specific bike
Chain whip
Side cutters

Nice to haves:

4th hand tool
Spoke wrenches (didn't include these above because I'm assuming you haven't gotten to truing wheels yet)
Torque wrench (3/8" drive; something that goes up to at least 40NM to tighten lock rings)
5NM torque key
Y wrench
Chain keeper for rear drop outs
Steel ruler for chain stretch
Derailleur hanger alignment tool
Box of nitrile or latex gloves.

Those items should cover most of what you'll need to do starting out for general maintenance. The problem I see with many tool kits is that they give you a ton of stuff that you don't need just to get the tool count up there and make sales. The "essentials" kits don't have enough, and the bigger kits have a lot of redundant items that you don't necessarily need.
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Old 11-24-14, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
I don't think you'll find an "all in one" toolset. Many tools that are required are specific to certain types of components. Look what you need for your bike...
Agreed. An all-in-one kit is likely to include tools you'll never need for your bike, so why pay for them? It's also likely that your bike might require tools not included in the kit.

Some ideas for tools to assemble your own "kit":
  • Metric hex (Allen) wrenches.
  • Chain breaker, like maybe Park Tool CT-5 or CT-3.2.
  • Cassette tool that fits your bike's cassette lockring. If you have a Shimano drivetrain, Park Tool FR-5 is likely to be the one you need.
  • Chain whip. (You'll need one to remove cassettes.)
  • Cable & housing cutter, a la Park Tool CN-10.
  • Spoke wrench.
  • Tire levers.
  • Bottom bracket tool(s) for your specific bottom bracket type. This is one of those situations mentioned above where there are lots of possibilities and thus lots of different tools. If you've got a recent Specialized Roubaix, you may need tools for a BB30 bottom bracket. (Or leave bottom bracket servicing to your bike shop.)
  • Torque wrenches.
  • Steel ruler with markings down to at least 1/16" to gauge chain wear.
  • A crank puller, if your bike doesn't have self-extracting cranks. (This will depend on your crankset/bottom bracket type.)
  • Cone wrenches (if they're needed for the particular hubs used on your wheels).
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Old 11-24-14, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
Yeah, they have several:

Park Tool Co.

Just wondering if there was another brand to look at or is Park the way to go.

She's got her eye on this one:

Park Tool Co. AK-38 : Advanced Mechanic Tool Kit : Tool Kits
Looks good. It's got the Park BO-2, one of the best beer bottle openers I've ever used. Honestly the issue with these toolkits though is the specificity of some of the tools. For example, that bottom bracket tool does me no good as my 3 bikes (including wife's) have 2 square taper BBs and one BB30 BB. The cone wrenches are not useful for my Ultegra hubs (which use allen wrench), I prefer the other pedal wrench they make, although the Park wire cutter is good, the Felco C7 is light years ahead in quality etc...

This is why I still think the best bet is to buy tools as you need them.

Get the beer bottle opener first is my advice.
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Old 11-24-14, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
Yeah, they have several:

Park Tool Co.

Just wondering if there was another brand to look at or is Park the way to go.

She's got her eye on this one:

Park Tool Co. AK-38 : Advanced Mechanic Tool Kit : Tool Kits
Honestly I think that kit kinda sucks. There are maybe 5 bike specific tools in that kit that are necessary. (Chain whip, pedal wrench, cassette tool, crank tool, chain breaker.) The rest probably won't ever get used. I think you'd be better off picking and choosing what you want out of those and buying them individually. Not to mention it'd be much cheaper that way. Even if the tools were $20 a piece, which some are, you'd still be spending less. I can't say for sure though, amazon says it's $200-$600. If it were $200, it's probably not a terrible deal, if it's $600, you're better off buying it yourself.

They include things like a patch kit, lube, chain cleaner, screwdrivers. Things you probably already have/don't need. (Not to mention the bottle opener... ... ... (yes, that's three ellipses, for good reason.)) But, if it's what you want, you'll probably be able to do the majority, if not all, of your bike maintenance/repairs with that kit.
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Old 11-24-14, 02:43 PM
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The guide lines I followed in my beginnings was to get the specialty bike tools from bike sources and the general mechanical tools from a non specific source. So Park, Pedros, Bicycle Research, Var, Campy, Phil, Eldi, and many more are the brands of my bike specific stuff. Craftsman, S&K, Snap On, and others are the general tools.

I also found that the more I worked on bikes the more I wanted tools that did one job only (possible exception are "Y" wrenches). the multy tools are fine for road side work but slow and bulky in the shop. I also put more importance in a box or chest that's not specific for tool shapes. As the years go forward the tools that will be added to the collection won't fit the neat and tidy when new tool kits' rolls or chests. Andy.
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Old 11-24-14, 03:04 PM
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Sets often don't have the tools you need to work on your bike (depending on how old your bike is).

You need a set of good quality allen wrenches or y-wrenches (if don't don't have a set in your regular tool box).

A few screwdrivers (you should have these in your regular tool box already).

A set of cone wrenches (it's better to have two sets because once in a while, you need two of the same size).

Spoke Wrenches (the Park Red and Black tools are the most common sizes, but it would not hurt to have the Green one as well).

A shop size/grade chain breaker (don't waste your money on a compact tool).

Pedal Wrench (the longer the handle the better, I'm using a Harbor Freight Serpentine Belt Tool).

Torque Wrench (Harbor Freight has some decent click types (1/2", 3/8" and 1/2" drive) that go on sale for $10).

Chain whip (used at the same time as a cassette removal tool to remove the rear cassette).

Cable Cutters (I prefer to use a Dremel tool).

If your bike/bikes have threaded headsets, a set of headset wrenches.

A tool for installing and removing the bottom brackets on your bike/s.

Cassette or freewheel removal tool/s (to fit your cassettes or freewheels),

Chain Cleaner

Gear cleaning brushes (you can buy brushes from your local $.99 store).

This would make up a good basic/starter tool set.

Last edited by RoadGuy; 11-24-14 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 11-24-14, 03:10 PM
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Excellent post, roadguy.
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Old 11-24-14, 03:15 PM
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Yes, in a perfect world, I'd go build my own. But in this case, I have someone that wants to buy me a pre built kit as a present. So I'm trying to find the most logical kit to get. If the Park kits don't make any sense, perhaps someone is familiar with another, more sensible kit out there?
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Old 11-24-14, 03:46 PM
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I understand wanting to make things easy for a gift giver, but I'd also think you'd want her to get the best bang for her buck. Maybe something like an Amazon wish list could help you accomplish both. You put together a "kit" (list) with the tools you need and she can order right from the list you created.
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Old 11-24-14, 04:31 PM
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See here



I took a quick stab at putting together a Wishlist on Amazon for the tools I'd consider basic for a home bike shop. Came to $263, not including shipping, but including a nice steel three-drawer tool box ($44, optional, but it might last you a lifetime). The tools were selected for working on older bikes. Note wishlist URL.

The Park Advanced mechanic set costs $264 on Amazon. It is designed for servicing newer bikes, so they include two types of bottom bracket tools but not the lockring tool, include Torx drivers, and don't include a socket wrench set. It also includes a chain cleaner, which some use and some don't (you can install a quick link and simply take the chain off and soak it in solvent). It also has some greases and lubes, but you can get equal or better stuff cheaply at the autoparts store.

The vintage of your bike is important here. Very old bikes (1970s and earlier) used standard hex-head bolts, hex-head nuts, Phillip and flathead screws, and the headsets needed thin wrenches, the bottom brackets had lockrings, the cranks had recessed nuts - they tend to need the most tools for basic servicing. Less old bikes used more allen head bolts. New bikes hardly have any hex head fasteners or screws, almost all the fasteners are allen head, the bottom brackets and headsets changed too - they tend to need fewer tools (I think - not an expert on new bikes).

If you have a newer bike, you would skip some of the tools I picked (e.g. headset wrench, bottom bracket lockring wrench, big adjustable wrench, metric socket wrench set) and instead add specific tools for your bike (whichever bottom bracket tool you need). As a result your kit would be cheaper - I'm getting around $215-230.

Anyway, do with that what you will. It is really nice that your girlfriend wants to buy you a kit, and she probably wants something all shiny and coordinated and good looking - low hassle with free shipping. If you have a newer bike, I think the Park kit will work just fine, you might add a couple tools later, but for just routine maintenance you might not ever have to. If you have an older bike, you will be adding a few tools to the Park kit, call it $20 to $50 worth, plus $25 for a bottle of Chain-L, a bottle of TriFlow, and a tub of synthetic auto axle grease. Either way you'll want a floor pump. Treat her right, and next Christmas, maybe she'll buy you a bike repair stand.

(This all assumes you have zero tools currently, not even a screwdriver set.)

P.S. Park tools are generally okay quality, not great quality - but you don't need the highest quality tools for bikes. It isn't like cars, where you have to apply a lot of torque. So I picked pretty inexpensive tools in the wishlist. Not fancy but they should serve.

P.P.S. I forgot to include a hammer and a block of wood (or a heavy rubber mallet), which is rather useful for old bikes with stuck parts . . .
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Old 11-24-14, 04:52 PM
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The major problem with pre-packaged tool kits is that they are general purpose and may or may not fit your specific bike. If you are working on a wide variety of different bikes, say like a bike shop or bike repair business, you may use most of the tools. For your specific bike, many of the tools will be useless.
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Old 11-24-14, 05:55 PM
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Gifts have to satisfy both the giver and receiver. Non tool users don't get much fun out of putting together a tool kit so you will probably get a kit or an ipad. Park makes high quality tools and I have had to buy a couple of their tools to replace what came in my starter kit from Performance Bikes. The only thing I know of that you might want to look at is one from Nashbar for about $150. it seems to have the basics without things like the BB tools that you may or may not need. They also have a torque wrench set that could be ordered at the same time and get in the neighborhood of the advanced mechanics set price.
I don't know anything about the quality of the Nashbar tools and I tend to stick with Park these days. The prices are higher but they seem to do what they are supposed to every time.
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Old 11-24-14, 06:13 PM
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Start with the component list of the AK-38 and eliminate the tools you don't need for your bikes, then replace all the general purpose tools with general purpose brands (something with an instant walk-in exchange warranty). Add a metric hex key set and a 3-drawer tool chest.
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Old 11-24-14, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by kv501 View Post
Chain whip
Unless you're working on single speed freewheels,this works much better:
http://pedros.com/products/tools/cas...ain/vise-whip/

Quicker,stronger hold,less messy to clean up.

No-one mentioned it,but you really want your hex keys to have the ball ends:


They really help getting into tight spaces.
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Old 11-24-14, 06:43 PM
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I like Park Tools. I think they make the best bike specific tools in the business with few exceptions.

Here are their recommendations for home mechanics, broken down by the level of repairs you want to do. I think this is a pretty good place to start.

Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog

Zinn also puts a pretty good list of basic shop, part, and tool setup needs in his "Zinn and the Art of" series of books.
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Old 11-25-14, 08:30 AM
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Ok, so if I have newer Specialized bikes, what tool kit should I build up?
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Old 11-25-14, 09:13 AM
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Do you have a good set of non-bike tools already - allen wrenches and so on? In other words do you need just the bike-specific tools, or are you starting from a rusty screwdriver and an old hammer etc?
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Old 11-25-14, 09:37 AM
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No, I've been modifying jet skis for performance for the last decade or so. For that I've accumulated a ton of metric tools. So I have the standards covered pretty well, really just need the bike specific stuff. Although I do like the idea of having a dedicated set of Park tools for bike specific work.

Currently I have the following Park Tools:

Item # SW-2 Spoke Wrench
Item # TM-1 Spoke Tension Meter
Item # CC-2 Chain Checker
Item # PW-3 Pedal Wrench
Item # AWS-1 3 Way Hex Wrench
Item # CCW-5 Crank Wrench

Also a Bontrager 4mm/5nm torque wrench
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Old 11-25-14, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
Yes, in a perfect world, I'd go build my own. But in this case, I have someone that wants to buy me a pre built kit as a present. So I'm trying to find the most logical kit to get. If the Park kits don't make any sense, perhaps someone is familiar with another, more sensible kit out there?
Ask your girlfriend to buy you a tool bag/case from Home Depot and buy the tools yourself later at your own leisure. Get the largest one they sell. You'll need the space.
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Old 11-25-14, 12:03 PM
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Well, seems like with your existing metric tools and bike-specific tools, you are pretty close to having what you need for working on newer bikes. Just need a few more like chainwhip, cable cutter, the appropriate BB tool, cassette lockring tool, and maybe a few other bits I'm forgetting, and you can pick those up as you need them.

So maybe consider this alternative - ask her to buy you the Park TS2.2 wheel truing stand.

If that doesn't appeal, then the Park Advanced Mechanic tool kit seems like a nice present, well suited for your newer bike, not too much overlap w/ your existing bike-specific tools (maybe you can designate one of the pedal wrenches as the bottle opener?), she would probably feel happy about it, happier than she would about having to laboriously piece together individual tools, and it sounds like you might like a separate set of tools for the bike anyway in which case the overlap w/ your existing non-bike specific tools is okay.

Personally I don't have a separate set of bike tools. The bike-specific tools live in one drawer of my tool chest, and otherwise I use my regular tools from the other drawers.
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