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Useless and Worthless Tools

Old 05-11-16, 12:11 PM
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techsensei
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Useless and Worthless Tools

A couple of current threads got me thinking about tools that I think are inadequate, a waste of money, something I would never use, etc. For example, I've never bought a handlebar holder; the thing that keeps the front end of the bike from swinging when the bike is in a repair stand. The few times I tried one, it annoyed me more that the bars were immobile. Until I became a total tool geek, I'd never buy the "fake pedal" thingie either ... the thing you screw into the right crankarm for when you're building up a bike. Why not just screw in a pedal? Waste of money to look more "pro."

What tool do you never see yourself buying? What tools have you bought that you ended up regretting?
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Old 05-11-16, 12:19 PM
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I've found my handlebar holder to be extremely useful when building up bikes. For everyday maintenance, it's not super useful, but I like to use it when doing jobs where keeping the handlebars steady is helpful, like putting on new bar tape.
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Old 05-11-16, 12:20 PM
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My Priority Classic came with a 2-ended 5/6mm Allen wrench that worked great, a pump that seemed pretty hinky but worked the one time, and a stamped combination wrench for the wheel nuts and pedals; the pedal end bent open when used. The intent of the package is that it includes everything you need to assemble the bike. I got feedback from the company, they intend to change the design of the wrench for the next run.
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Old 05-11-16, 12:21 PM
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Park tire levers are 100% junk

When I was a pro mechanic I used a cable puller pretty much everyday as well as the dummy pedal but now that I just home mech I never use those things. I even bought a cable puller after thinking it would be useful but it actually makes things take longer.
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Old 05-11-16, 12:29 PM
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I don't regret buying any tool that I own. If I used it just once then it did what is was suppose to do. BTW I own one of the those handlebar holders and love it. I have tools that I may never use again but if I do, at least I own it.
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Old 05-11-16, 12:34 PM
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I once had three different designs of "Third Hand Tools" and never used any of them. This was true of caliper, cantilever and V-brakes. I was always able to adjust the brake cable slack by holding the pads in contact with the rims with one hand and snugging down the clamp bolt with the other.

However, a "Fourth Hand Tool", which I got for free along with a used bike but never planned to buy, has turned out to be very useful for taking the slack out of shift cables and for tightening zip ties.
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Old 05-11-16, 12:38 PM
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There are very few tools that I regret buying. The first two that come to mind were really inexpensive initial purposes but ended up causing more problems than they solve.

(1) a Spin Doctor chain checker -- cheap little tool that gives you a quick and easy answer as to whether or not your chain needs replacing; great idea except that it almost always tells me my chain needs replacing well before it actually does. We've had more than enough threads about this, but it was the first tool that came to mind.

(2) a Park SW-7 "triple" spoke wrench -- Y-wrenches are a good idea, right? So when I bought my first spoke wrench I thought this would be a good idea. Little did I know that very nearly every nipple I'd come across would be the same size. Meanwhile, I rounded off more than a few nipples using the wrong size before giving in and getting the SW-0 (and then rounding off a few more even though it was the right size until I got the SW-40).


As for tools I can't see myself buying...mostly just things that are too expensive to be practical and even those I can't entirely rule out. I'll probably never buy a headset press because I can do the same job with $8 worth of parts from the hardware store for run-of-the-mill headsets and I'm willing to pay the LBS to install really expensive headsets. I'll probably never buy facing tools because dang those things are expensive. At the low end of the price scale, I'll probably never buy a nipple driver because I have a Dremel tool and a drawer full of old screwdrivers (and the tips on most retail nipple drivers seem to be too short).

Finally, I'll probably never buy a Abbey Bike Tools Team Issue Titanium Hammer, because I'm not the U.S. government so I can't justify spending $180 on a hammer, but if anyone wants to get me a Christmas present I'd really love to have one of these:

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Old 05-11-16, 12:44 PM
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Finish Line Chain Cleaning Tool. "Drip-free design" they say. This thing will make a mess of your bike, the floor and anything else around.., and it does a terrible job of cleaning a chain.
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Old 05-11-16, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
However, a "Fourth Hand Tool", which I got for free along with a used bike but never planned to buy, has turned out to be very useful for taking the slack out of shift cables and for tightening zip ties.
I have a fourth hand tool and tightening zip ties is pretty much the only thing I ever use it for. It is really good for that though. For shift cables, I prefer a pair of pliers.
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Old 05-11-16, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
Finish Line Chain Cleaning Tool. "Drip-free design" they say. This thing will make a mess of your bike, the floor and anything else around.., and it does a terrible job of cleaning a chain.
True. I've actually got two chain cleaning tools, because I guess I'm a slow learner. I started off with the Performance house brand, it didn't work well and eventually broke. I thought maybe the Park machine would be better and I guess it is...it hasn't broken. It's still somewhat less effective than a clean rag and a spray of degreaser.
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Old 05-11-16, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I have a fourth hand tool and tightening zip ties is pretty much the only thing I ever use it for.
I love me the Hozan C-356! I find it nearly indispensable for cantilevers and centerpull brakes. But I never use it for side pulls, and I have never even tried to use it for derailleurs; that would be pointless.
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Old 05-11-16, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
Finish Line Chain Cleaning Tool. "Drip-free design" they say. This thing will make a mess of your bike, the floor and anything else around.., and it does a terrible job of cleaning a chain.
When I worked in retail shops, I would always steer people away from buying those things.
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Old 05-11-16, 01:29 PM
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Got these decades ago for my Shimano 600 headsets. I've never encountered another headset I could use them on.



As mentioned before, multi-size spoke wrench means multi-frustration. Just get a red Spokey.
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Old 05-11-16, 01:35 PM
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I must be the only person that builds wheels with the Park SW-7 triangle spoke wrench. I have two "dedicated" spoke wrenches that work much better on really tight spokes (final tensioning). But for me the SW-7 is easier to add a full turn or two to every spoke.

Worthless tools? The Park chainring bolt holder. I bent mine up pretty bad the first time I ever tried using it on a tough chainring bolt that would turn but wouldn't loosen. Any tool that isn't as strong as my hand is pretty lousy.

Originally Posted by melloveloyellow View Post

Got these decades ago for my Shimano 600 headsets. I've never encountered another headset I could use them on.
I need a pair of these for my 600 headset! I used normal wrenches very carefully with a rag underneath, but would like to have the correct tool.
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Old 05-11-16, 01:35 PM
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My 3rd chain whip?
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Old 05-11-16, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
I must be the only person that builds wheels with the Park SW-7 triangle spoke wrench. I have two "dedicated" spoke wrenches that work much better on really tight spokes (final tensioning). But for me the SW-7 is easier to add a full turn or two to every spoke.

Worthless tools? The Park chainring bolt holder. I bent mine up pretty bad the first time I ever tried using it on a tough chainring bolt that would turn but wouldn't loosen. Any tool that isn't as strong as my hand is pretty lousy.



I need a pair of these for my 600 headset! I used normal wrenches very carefully with a rag underneath, but would like to have the correct tool.
+ 1, I'd like that special tool for my 600 headset as well, lol.
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Old 05-11-16, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by melloveloyellow View Post



As mentioned before, multi-size spoke wrench means multi-frustration. Just get a red Spokey.
I like the multi-size spoke wrenches for carrying with me. That way I don't have to worry about having the right size, and I can even assist others if the need arises.

And, if a nipple has been replaced... I don't have to worry about it being the wrong size.
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Old 05-11-16, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
Worthless tools? The Park chainring bolt holder. I bent mine up pretty bad the first time I ever tried using it on a tough chainring bolt that would turn but wouldn't loosen. Any tool that isn't as strong as my hand is pretty lousy...
^ this. I just sheared one end from mine. Does Park offer a Craftsman-like warranty?
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Old 05-11-16, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
My 3rd chain whip?
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Old 05-11-16, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Finally, I'll probably never buy a Abbey Bike Tools Team Issue Titanium Hammer, because I'm not the U.S. government so I can't justify spending $180 on a hammer, but if anyone wants to get me a Christmas present I'd really love to have one of these:

That's way too beautiful to use as a hammer, that makes it a Pope tablecloth..

My grandmother hand made the most beautiful lace tablecloth that I've ever seen. It has never been used as a tablecloth because it was too good. It's always been reserved for when the Pope or somebody like that comes to visit. The Pope never came and now my grandmother (and mother) are dead. One of my kids has it now. To my knowledge it has still never been used.
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Old 05-11-16, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by melloveloyellow View Post


As mentioned before, multi-size spoke wrench means multi-frustration. Just get a red Spokey.
If you can use that tool your fingers are a lot tougher than mine.
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Old 05-11-16, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
Worthless tools? The Park chainring bolt holder. I bent mine up pretty bad the first time I ever tried using it on a tough chainring bolt that would turn but wouldn't loosen. Any tool that isn't as strong as my hand is pretty lousy.
Yes, I just replaced the chainring bolts on my bike with ones that take hex wrench on both sides, just so I didn't have to use that damn tool. Note I was replacing a chainring at the same time, so it was a opportunistic swap, before anyone says "well you had to use the tool to change the bolts anyway!
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Old 05-11-16, 02:52 PM
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I can't think of any bad tools I bought but years ago we got a shipment of made-in-Taiwan lock ring wrenches that said on them "Rock Ring Wrench".

I wish I could find the one I kept...
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Old 05-11-16, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
^ this. I just sheared one end from mine. Does Park offer a Craftsman-like warranty?
Park USED to have a good warranty. However I'll no longer buy a Park tool unless it's the ONLY tool made for the job. The Park warranty sucks and they refused to replace two tools i have that broke in use.

A warranty is only as good as the company's willingness to stand behind it. My experience is that Park does everything it can to get out of a warranty replacement of a tool. Other's may have had better luck but I've blacklisted Park tools as far as any of my future purchases go.

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Old 05-11-16, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by melloveloyellow View Post

Got these decades ago for my Shimano 600 headsets. I've never encountered another headset I could use them on.
I was REALY luck to get a pair of those DUra ACE Ax headset wrenches recently for ONLY $12.50 U.S. I got hen for my Dura Ace AX headset.

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