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Opinions on a Tool Kit

Old 04-10-17, 07:02 AM
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Opinions on a Tool Kit

I'm possibly looking at a tool kit just to tackle general maintenance on my bike. Nothing crazy. I found this on Nashbar:

Nashbar Essential Tool Kit


Would something like this work for basic maintenance?
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Old 04-10-17, 07:18 AM
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You probably get more bang for your buck buying a kit. Things to understand
1) Some of the tools in the kit won't fit your bike, and
2) Some of the things needed for your bike may not be in the kit
So check each tool to ensure that it will work for your specific bike. Also
3) The quality of some tools will likely be poor. Mostly the common tools like screwdrivers and pliers. The poor quality is seen in a lower type of steel and heat treat and fit and finish. If someone here has the Nashbar kit perhaps they can comment on quality. At least one review on the Jenson site knocks the quality.

One thing you could do is to ask yourself what you want to do. If you just want to adjust your handlebar and seat, it's overkill. If you are planning on overhauling the bike and replacing bearings and bottom brackets and cranks, just make sure that the kit has stuff that fits your bike.

A Park home-mechanic tool kit has fewer tools, but probably better quality tools. And if the cheaper kit has stuff that doesn't fit your bike, and is missing things that you need for your bike and your goals, the Park kit may be a better starting point.

I will say that I grew up working in a machine shop and a bike shop, and have a passionate hate for poor quality tools. So using a cheapie screwdriver that works ok but wears and rounds off after minimal use us like fingernails on a blackboard for me. May not bug you.

Last edited by WizardOfBoz; 04-10-17 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 04-10-17, 07:24 AM
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That kit has everything that I have accumulated, except for a DIY head press that I've used exactly once. Good price, I say go for it!
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Old 04-10-17, 10:12 AM
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What kind of bike do you have? Different bikes require different tools. This kit may not have the right tools for your bike.

In my opinion, if you already have basic hand tools like a socket set, Allen wrenches, and screwdrivers, you're often better off buying the specific tools you need for your bike individually as you need them. That way, you have the exact tools you need without having to pay for tools that are redundant or don't fit your bike.
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Old 04-10-17, 10:36 AM
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I have preferred to buy tools as I need them. I had all the basics which cover 95% of what I need on a bike (screwdrivers, hex key set, wrench set and big adjustable one), so from there on I just picked up what I needed as I needed it. First things added that got used on all bikes were a nice stand, tire levers, chain tool and cone wrenches, and from there I bought various cassette/freewheel/BB tools as a bike required.

That said, if a kit has tools that fit your bike, it can be a much better deal.
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Old 04-10-17, 11:26 AM
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Unless you are a pro mechanic, these toolkits are full of stuff that you will never use. If you are a pro mechanic, a better quality toolkit will save you money in the long run. Here is some advice from Bobke:
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Old 04-10-17, 01:45 PM
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Buy individually. Quality is typically higher and a lot of those tools wont be needed.

...this is based on 2 toolkits i have seen in person, 1 being a nashbar. not sure if this is the same kit as i saw.

What bike(s) do you have?...this toolkit is made for an older style bottom bracket.
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Old 04-10-17, 02:01 PM
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To clarify, that Nashbar kit looks like it has tools for the more or less standard Shimano compatible cassettes (freehub) and bottom brackets. The picture looks to me like the BB wrench is for the ubiquitous square taper but the descriptions says "Integrated bottom bracket wrench adapter" so that's one thing you might want to check. The torx wrench is for disc brakes. FWIW as a shade-tree mechanic with several entry-level bikes I've needed and bought every tool in the kit.
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Old 04-10-17, 02:04 PM
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The patch kit seems silly.
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Old 04-11-17, 09:30 AM
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To answer questions, I have a Nashbar CX1 cyclocross bike. It has a Sora groupset with 9x2 shifters.

The only things i'd be possibly be looking to do is have tools to swap cassettes if I get an alternate wheelset and be able to get pedals on and off. I watched that Bobke video and have 99% of those tools except for the chain tool.

Nashbar Super Spanner Set

Is this any better?
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Old 04-11-17, 09:57 AM
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Get it. It's $37 with the 25% off right now. You may find you need to add something later, but for general maintenance, I don't see how you can go wrong.
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Old 04-11-17, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by paul barnard
get it. It's $37 with the 25% off right now. You may find you need to add something later, but for general maintenance, i don't see how you can go wrong.
+1
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Old 04-11-17, 12:03 PM
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Bunch of stuff in that kit, you'd never use on most modern bikes. There's typically no need for a cone wrench on hubs with press in sealed bearings. Many cranksets now are self extracting, you don't need two different types of bb tools, if you only have one bike, with one type bb, etc.

You don't need a torx wrench if your bike doesn't have any torx bolts.

Conversely, you likely have a some of those tools (screw drivers, hex wrenches) already.

Buy good quality tools for the job you need to do now. Repeat as you need to do a new job, and need a different tool.

FWIW, I've accumulated all those tools and more working on bikes for 40 years, the tools that get regular use are 3,4,5 mm hex wrenches, and a tire iron.

You'll end up with better tools than in that kit, and without tools you don't need.
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Old 04-11-17, 01:06 PM
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That kit may get you started and suffice for routine maintenance for a short while but for the long-term, you'll be better off buying top quality tools individually as you need them and as your budget will allow. I, too, hate cheap tools. They don't save you any money over the long haul and do in fact cost you money in broken or stripped parts, barked knuckles and frustration. Cheap tools just don't do the job well.

Here's a short list that will get you through a majority of routine tightening and adjusting:

Bondhus allen/hex key set - $18 bucks - Very good tools
A pair of Park DCW-3 double-end cone wrenches in the size that fits your bike - $16 bucks
Park PW-3 pedal wrench - $25 bucks
Park Spoke wrench to fit your wheels - $5 bucks
12" Crescent or Channellock brand adjustable wrench - $23 bucks

These tools total $87 bucks (give or take) and they are shop-quality tools you'll have for a lifetime. That tool set was on sale for $50 bucks. I'd flip for the extra $37 bucks and get good tools.


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Last edited by drlogik; 04-11-17 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 04-11-17, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by drlogik
Park pedal wrench - $20 bucks
Even that, you can often get by with just a standard 15mm wrench. My normal one is narrow enough for that purpose.
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Old 04-11-17, 05:43 PM
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Jefnvk,

Point well taken but the mid-range Park pedal wrench has two sizes of spanner and can be used for other tasks as well. You're right though. A standard 15 mm wrench will fit many pedal spindles. The thing now is many decent pedals now have a hex head not spanner head. That's where a good quality set of hex wrenches come into play.
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Old 04-12-17, 04:39 AM
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Some of the tools in the kit seem a little bit short for my preference (such as the chain whip). I like getting one of those sets of like 60 driver bits of all different types -- works for everything not just bikes. Also I don't think I'm in love with the spoke wrench from what I see there. But if you are starting from zero it might not be a bad introduction and just add to it as you find the need.

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Old 03-08-18, 06:27 AM
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I have that kit for 7 years and have used just about every tools in it.
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Old 03-08-18, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Buy individually. Quality is typically higher and a lot of those tools wont be needed.
This is what I did. Purchased as I needed. You will buy a better tool than your getting in a kit as mstateglfr said and I couldn't agree more. This will take longer to buy them but you only buy what you really need. It took me over 4 years to get all the tools this way but I now have an awesome quality set.
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Old 03-08-18, 07:16 AM
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It's a good start. Unless you wrench on bikes for a living, or maintain a fleet of bikes, it'll have what you need to get started.

I like nice tools too, but it's a little galling to spend $40 on a single tool to install a $20 component that might be a once-in-the-life-of-the-bike occurance.

I would, however, spring for a set of good allen keys, since those are what you will use most often.
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Old 03-08-18, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653
I like nice tools too, but it's a little galling to spend $40 on a single tool to install a $20 component that might be a once-in-the-life-of-the-bike occurance.
That's when it's sometimes better to have the LBS handle some things, especially when you expect it to be a one-time thing. Then if it turns out to be more than one, you know which tool you need.
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Old 03-08-18, 09:03 AM
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A good starting set of tools for introducing yourself to maintenance:

-$8-20 set of Bondhus ball-end hex keys (depending on what you want, metric or metric/imperial, bright finish, etc).

-$8-50 worth of screwdrivers. No need to skimp here, the better quality ones fit better, and will last a lifetime. Wera/Wiha/Proto/Bahco/Felo/Blue Point...all good tools worth owning (plus: you'll be less inclined to pick up/ruin a $15-20 screwdriver by using it as a pry bar). You only need to get a 1/4" and 3/8" (or metric equivalents) flat head, and a #2 cross tip to start. Don't accidentally buy a Pozidrive tip, as it won't fit into the cross tip screws on bicycles.

Those will get you 90% of the way to completely maintaining your own bicycle. The average person who just wants to keep their bike clean/make minor adjustments doesn't need to take off cassettes, remove cranks or bottom brackets, or true wheels.

Take the money you would have spent on a kit, put it in a jar, and when you've got ~$100, start looking for a repair stand. It's a more useful tool than anything else mentioned here...
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Old 03-08-18, 09:30 AM
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Having everything in a case is good if you have limited space-

work on bike outdoors, move frequently, etc..

Got that kit for my son in law, & I think it has worked out well.
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Old 03-08-18, 10:31 AM
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With regards to which I hate more, bike thieves or cheap tools, it is a toss up. There are few things in life more infuriating than being in the middle of an important (critical) repair and experiencing a tool failure. I'm embarrassed to say it took me several such experiences before the lesson sunk in. I have learned my lesson.

Buy quality tools and you'll only cry once.


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Old 03-08-18, 11:53 AM
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The simple answer to your question - is Yes, it will suffice, and be a good starting point.
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