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Need to build a bicycle toolbox Help!(13 posts)

Need to build a bicycle toolbox Help!Chris Zeller
Oct 22, 2001 2:44 PM
Now that I finally have a respectable bike, I'd like to learn a thing or two about serious bicycle repair and have the proper tools to acomplish this. On the top of this year's christmas list is a set of good quality bicycle-specific tools. I'd like to be able to perform maintenence on my brakes, drivetrain, headset, BB/Crankset etc. With some practice, for my next bicycle purchase I'd like to build the complete bike myself with hand-picked components. I'd like to buy top-quality tools even if it means waiting to buy all the tools at first. Tools should last a lifetime and I'd rather wait to buy the best than buy junk and upgrade them later. I already have a pretty good set of standard tools. My bikes are an Ultegra road bike with threadless headset and an LX/XT/XTR MTB also threadless headset.

What should I get? Here is my first cut list:

Performance Spin-Doctor Pro and Truing Stand
Cartridge Bottom Bracket Tool for Shimano BBT-2 BBT-2 $10.99
Chainring Lockring/ Bottom Bracket Tool BBT-8
Fourth Hand Brake Tool BT-2 $25.99
Park Brake Toe In Tool BT-3 $9.99
Park Adj. 3rd Hand Brake Tool BT-5 $19.99
8 and 10mm Open End Wrench CBW-1 $4.99
9 and 11mm Open End Wrench CBW-4
Cotterless Crank Puller CCP-4
Crank Wrench CCW-14R
Cable Cutter CN-4 $22.99
Chainring Nut Wrench CNW-1 $3.29
Cassette Lockring Tool for Shimano® FR-5 $5.29
Park Cassette Lockring Tool Guide FRG-1 $3.95 Freewheel Remover Wrench FRW-1 $39.99
36mm Box-End and Bottom Bracket Pin Spanner HCW-4 $13.99
Double-Sided Bottom Bracket Lockring Tool HCW-5
Park 10/13mm Offset Brake Wrench OBW-1 $4.99
P-Handled Hex Wrench Set w/ Holder (7 Piece Set) PH-1 $32.99
Pedal Wrench PW-3 $18.99
Headset Cup Remover RT-1
Spoke, Bearing, and Cotter Gauge SBC-1
13mm through 18mm Professional Shop Cone Wrench Set SCW-2$34.99
Threadless Saw Guide SG-6
Park Adj. Pin Tool BB SPA-1 $5.49
Professional Sprocket Remover SR-2 $23.99
Professional Spoke Wrench SW-0 $4.99
Professional Spoke Wrench SW-1 $4.99
Professional Spoke Wrench SW-2 $4.99
3/8" Drive Torque Wrench TW-2 $34.99

Park Chain Tool (own)
Park Tire Levers (own)
Park Patch Kit (own)
Set of Metric hex wrenches for ratchet set. (own)
Park chain cleaner
Start with these...mr_spin
Oct 22, 2001 3:14 PM
Basic Maintenance
Performance Spin-Doctor Pro and Truing Stand (a decent stand, sometimes on sale for $29.99)
Cassette Lockring Tool for Shimano® FR-5
Chain Whip (not on your list)
Pedal Wrench PW-3
Professional Spoke Wrench: SW-0, SW-1, OR SW-2. You only need the ones that fit your spokes (typically the black one for DT).

If you really need to pull cranks:
First figure out what kind of cranks you have. Modern Dura Ace and XTR are self-extracting, so you won't need a crank puller or wrench. You'll only need an 8mm hex socket.

If you want to maintain hubs:
Get two cone wrenches in each size you need (Shimano is usually 14mm).

Nice to have:
If you build wheels or want to replace bearings:
Spoke, Bearing, and Cotter Gauge SBC-1

Don't buy
Any standard wrenches, including the Park torque wrench. You can find better ones cheaper at Sears.
Any tool that doesn't apply to your bike(s). Spanners and such, Suntour and Campy tools.

The rest
The rest you don't need right now. There are a lot of tools for headsets and bottom brackets, but that is advanced level stuff that I wouldn't get into just yet. Plus, you need to know what kind of components you have before you figure out which tools you need. Figure out wheels, hubs, and the drivetrain first. Then move on to the more complicated stuff.
Thanks, some questionsChris Zeller
Oct 22, 2001 3:57 PM
Thanks for the help. I agree, I'd better not mess with the BB. Some questions:

Do I need crank pullers for Ultegra cranks?

For the chain whip I had Professional Sprocket Remover SR-2 is this one versitile enough?

I'm always adjusting my brakes, and usually end up making them worse. Do I need the special brake tools or is it just my tequnique?

Thanks, some questionsmr_spin
Oct 22, 2001 4:23 PM
The newest Ultegra cranks don't need a puller. I'm not sure when that changed, but it was within the last couple of years. 105 cranks still need the puller and the crank wrench.

I missed the sprocket remover on your list. One is enough, even though Park says you need two. The Park whip has a special fitting for the lockring tool (FR-5), which is why they say to get two: one to hold the cassette, the other to wrench the lockring. Just use a decent long handled Crescent wrench like everyone else. It's a much more useful tool!
Have you considered...Ahimsa
Oct 22, 2001 3:27 PM
Getting one of the Park kits? I'm sure you have looked at them, eh? A couple of the sets are very complete and would meet the needs of any reasonable home wrench job. I suppose I just feel like this: How much return on your investment are you really going to get? How often will you use a bottom bracket tool? How many bikes will you do a complete tear down on in a year? Have you ever wrecked a frame installing a bottom bracket? Do you rebuild headsets often? Open up hubs?

My point is only that we cyclists are prone to zealotry when it comes to components and tools and what-not. Before you buy a LBS worth of tools, really think about the stuff you need to do often, and buy accordingly. The local shop is still good for bigger jobs, and they will replace parts if they foul them up.

I would recommend the Park home kit, a truing stand, a bike stand, and a torque wrench. Oh, and a good reference guide like Bicycle Mags maintenance book.

But if you have money to burn, by all means go nuts. I did when I bought my Sawzall (not for bikes!) two years ago and I've used it only twice. Seems a shame when I might have borrowed one.


Probably will still use my LBS, kits are ok but...Chris Zeller
Oct 22, 2001 4:06 PM
I looked at the Park kits, but the professional was too expensive and the home kit had most of the tools I need but a lot of tools that I would have upgraded. So I'm basically trying to get a home kit with better hex wrenches, chain whip, etc. without the tools that I don't need for Campy, BMX etc.

I've never done anything with the BB, so maybe I don't need that. Never successfully tinkered with the derailer/shifters, fixing cable-strech but really need to learn this. Also need tools for adjusting brakes. I do this regularly but never seem to get it right. I would rather not tear down my hubs but people on this board say you need to re-grease DA hubs. Still haven't had a problem but this may happen someday.
Probably will still use my LBS, kits are ok but...Ahimsa
Oct 22, 2001 4:16 PM
Mr. Spin's comments on tool choice are excellent if you want to buy more specific tools or "upgrade". I like Park just fine for most things, but Craftsman can't be beat for non-bike specific stuff. I also should mention that you need to factor in all your grease and lube stuff into your home shop as well. Cleaning products such as degreasers are just as important (and sometimes costly) as hand tools.

Brake technique = practice

I still screw 'em up sometimes (not that I'm some pro team wrench or anything).

Sheldon's site has plenty of derailuer advise, and a good guide will provide you with the rest. They are not as complex to adjust as they seem. Again it is just practice. We could all use as much of that as we can get, eh?

Less is Moregrzy
Oct 22, 2001 5:20 PM
Look to add the tools as you need them - otherwise you'll spend a bunch of money on things that you'll never use and you'll end up selling or trading them with your buds for components. That's how I obtained my derailleur hanger tool and park truing stand - new in the box! It will also keep you living the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mantra. It's dangerous to get into the "Hey what does this tool do - let's use it...." mode after a few beers.

Think of the "must have's" as the tools for the jobs you're likely to do as you learn and build skills. Adjusting brakes and derailleurs are a given, but the 4th hand tool is a total waste It's all technique and the only thing you really need is a 5 mm wrench and a quality set of cable cutters. The Park one pretty much sucks - probably their worst tool, ever. My cheapo 25 year old stamped Suntour cutters work better. Being able to replace a chain and adjust the wheel bearings is basic so get those tools (the Performance kit of 6 cone wrenches are made by Park and with a bench vise it's all you need). Get the larger Park chain tool - the little one is fairly marginal on a 9 speed chain. Yanking cogs is basic so get a chain whip and the lockring tool, plus the Park combo pedal wrench - you have lots of choices for the other end of the pedal wrench so don't get the headset size if you're running threadless. A crescent is fine for the lock ring, but sometimes I use a socket - whatever's handy. Pulling cranks and BB's isn't something you need or want to do often so wait on those. Getting spoke wrenches will just get you into trouble until you build the skills. True, you have to start somewhere, but wheels is not a good choice. Craftsman makes a very nice set of T-handle Allen wrenches that I find myself using all the time. You can always pick up the right size b/c the handles are different sizes and they're marked. When you get to BB's and cranks then a quality torque wrench is in order - typically 3/8" drive, but wait on this. You may want to get a 1/4" drive and a set of hex socket bits (Craftsman again) if you find yourslef to not have a very developed touch. You can use this so you don't strip bolts, but the smaller size and range is required. I think that the scale type will get you by, but a clicker is far superior.

If you really want to spend some money get the Ultimate Repair Stand. This thing is a bit pricey, but so well built it often gets used as "furniture" to display a bike in doors. It is also rock solid when it comes to holding the bike, plus there is a handle bar holder. They also make a nifty little tool box to fit everything and it attaches to the stand and folds out like a tray - complete with drink holders! This stand can be collapsed for easy travel (in it's own little bag of course!), as well as set up permanently to work in the shop/garage. It also is great for when it's time to wash the bike along with a Pedro's Pit Kit. With this system you can get you bike squeaky clean in about 20 minutes in the driveway and your buds will think you stayed up half the night fawning over your steed with a Q-tip. Keeping your bike clean is the first step to keeping things working correctly and early warning for when things are starting to misbehave. Some people use it for storage by simply hooking the nose of the saddle over the clamping bar and others leave it in the middle of the garage floor so they can't zip in with their bike on the roof and wipe it out. Being able to positon and see your work makes adjusting brakes and derailleurs so much easier. The other repair stands pretty much pale in comparison - especially if you want to totally invert your bike and study the bottom of the bottom bracket (it could happen). It made an excellent wedding gift for a biking couple - even though they're not the wrenching types. There is an inexpensive truing stand as an accessory.

It's worth spending some time to setup a work area with a sturdy bench with a vise, some storage system for the tools (not worth having them if you can't find them) and LIGHTING. You could be in the corner of an apartment or have a 4 car garage - but if you can't see what you're doing you're not going to know exactly what's wrong, much less be able to fix it. Eventually you'll develop a sense of feel and you will be able to do some things with poor lighting, but it's not a good way to learn. Flourescent four foot 40W fixtures are super cheap and easy to install.

BTW - if that's a Millwauke Super Sawzall, you wanna sell it? Gotta be the top model w/Orbital Action (and "Real Kung Foo Grip") - I've used all the others and nothing compares. We've got an old house in need of lots of work - I like to demo in style and with extreme prejudice (like they taught me in the military). Borrowing the neighbors entry level saw just doesn't tear through stuff fast enough and the shorter stoke just smokes blades when it hits nails - then I get to fumble with the non-quick release balde mechanism after hunting around for more blades. Ultimately the fancy saw is cheap when you start adding up the price of blades and the time spent changing them - assuming you use it. Learned that one from my contractor bud - he's a Sawzall artiste. Besides, the meaning of life is to aquire more power tools.
re: Need to build a bicycle toolbox Help!Dog Welder
Oct 22, 2001 5:15 PM
Don't bother with the toe in tool. A couple of business cards or a matchbook will do the trick. Also don't get the Fourth hand brake tool. All it does is cruch cables, get a good set of pliers. If you want quality buy the Park stand. Performance is good but it doesn't last long.
Careful with that axe Eugene...BipedZed
Oct 22, 2001 5:58 PM
Whoa...that's way too much stuff for working on your own bikes, particularly since it seems you have mostly recent Shimano. The most important thing you must acquire is knowledge, but that's a topic for another post. I was a bike shop mechanic for 5 years and here's what I would recommend for a workshop in some order of importance. I'm particularly biased towards Park tools since that's the shop standard.

Park repair stand (or equivalent)
Hex wrenches 2,2.5,3,4,5,6,8

That right there is all you need for most daily maintenance

For more advanced stuff:
Cable cutters (I recommend Shimano)
Park FR5 cassette lockring tool
Large adjustable wrench
Park CT-3 chain tool
Park BBT-2
Park spoke wrench black
Park pedal wrench
Park cone wrenches

Phillips and regular screwdrivers
Awl for reaming out cut cable housing
Hacksaw (carbide grit blade for carbon steerers)
Electrical tape
Assorted grease/lube
Extra cables (der/brake)
Cable ends
Brake cable ferrules

Advanced (wheel building, fork/headset installation)
Park TS2 truing stand
Park WAG1 dish tool
Park headset cup press
Park crown race setter
Park Threadless saw guide

Again, none of these tools will help unless you know what to do with them. I hear good things about Zinn's book Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintance.
Careful with that axe Eugene...flybyvine
Oct 22, 2001 9:13 PM
I second the Zinn opinion - the best book I have come across.

The most important thing wrt tools I have found is buy quality (of which Park is one of the best in bike specific tools). When I was fresh out of H school I spent a fortune (for me then) on a large set of Sidchrome tools (Oz brand). 20 years later I have toted them through 5 differnet countries, hit them with hammers, used the cresent spanners to break rocks and all the no-name brands have been left behind.

For the absolute tool freaks:
(1) Get (or make) a small tool to hold the back of chain ring bolts (can't remember the Park tool #).
(2) The Park Axle vice is pretty cool
Thanks...forgot to mention that I'll also buy the Zinn BookChris Zeller
Oct 23, 2001 5:55 AM
True, no tool is asny good if you don't know how to use it. I'll study the Zinn book. It has been my experience though that fixing things is a heack of a lot easier with the right tools. Plus, reading the book won't do me any good unless I can try it out myself, and the right tools will help.
tool boxbattaglin bob
Oct 23, 2001 1:52 PM
Plano tackle boxes make great bike tool boxes. lots of small compartments and plenty of room for the bigger stuff as well. $12 at walmart