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Old 09-08-19, 11:32 AM
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chuckschreiner
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Newbie questions

I know from golf that if you learn how to work on your gear, it makes the whole relationship with your equipment more intimate. Im not a natural work-with-hands guy but I am persistent.

So I am about to jump back into cycling. And I want to be able to maintain my bike. I spent last night on YouTube seeing how to build a bike work stand. Next is: what basic tools do you really need to maintain a bike? I have nothing other than chain cleaner stuff. Id like to be able to tune brakes and shifters.

Last edited by chuckschreiner; 09-08-19 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 09-08-19, 11:58 AM
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alcjphil
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You took a good first step. Learning how to repair or replace parts of your bike by looking up videos online gives you the knowledge for doing the job. As a bonus, when you watch the video, you will see the tools that were used. As a good first step, a set of metric hex wrenches will end up being the most frequently used tools in your kit. Tire levers for when you repair flats are also needed. Specific tools may depend on the ones needed for the actual bike that you own, for example, buying a headset wrench is of no use if your bike has a threadless headset, or buying a crank extractor if your bike doesn't need one to remove the crank in order to service the bottom bracket. Many of the most specialized tools needed to work on your bike will depend on the specific components that were used to build it.
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Old 09-08-19, 01:19 PM
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mpetry912
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So basic hand tools which you already may have (sounds like) plus:

A good set of metric Allen keys in the 3-4-5-6-8 sizes. I prefer the Wera allens available from WheelFanatyk.com. they are excellent and have "cupped" flats like the Snap-On flank drive tools. Excellent. A 3 way allen tool is a nice addition to your toolbox, but not a replacement for discrete allen keys. Silca makes a great 3 way tool with 1 leg that accommodates 1/4" interchangeable bits for additional flexibility.

https://silca.cc/collections/workben...silon-y-wrench

You will want a cable cutter. Maybe a spoke wrench. Specialized tools for the freewheel, cassette lock ring, and possibly crank extractor and headset spanners IF NEEDED for your bike.

Good set of tire tools, get the VAR tool it is better than any plastic "tire lever". these are NLA in the US but SO worth it.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/VAR-tyre-le.../163302362872?

also the Kool Stop bead jack saves a lot of cussing and swearing.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Kool-Stop-T.../322135681551?

A good tire pump ! even if you have shop air, a real pump is important. I recommend the Silca, can be had used for under $50 and fully rebuildable. Or buy one fully rebuilt from me, better than new !

So that's enough to get you started. A good shop manual, Barnett's or Delong's books are very useful.

And last thing you might consider is a pair of 8" lab tweezers! Indispensible for placing ball bearings and rummaging thru your junk box. The large tweezers are mong the most used items in my toolbox !

Mark Petry
Bainbridge Island, WA USA


Last edited by mpetry912; 09-08-19 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 09-08-19, 01:30 PM
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3rd hand for adjusting brakes.
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Old 09-08-19, 03:15 PM
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My basic/most frequently used tools include:
  • Metric Allen keys
  • Small torque wrench with Allen bits (for carbon fiber frames/parts)
  • Small screwdriver
  • Cable cutter
  • Needle-nosed pliers (crimping cable ends)
  • Chain breaker
  • Tire levers
  • Pedal wrench (not necessary, but nice to have.)
My metric hex wrench set mainly gets used on vintage bikes, but is good to have. I've collected other tools for specific jobs, like wheel truing, cassette/freewheel/cog removal and replacement, crankset service, and bottom bracket service.
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Old 09-08-19, 03:36 PM
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All good suggestions, but if you need a bead jack to mount your tires you need to carry it with you on the road or you will be stuck if (when) you get a flat. I will only ride on tires I can mount by hand. Also suggest carrying the select few hex L-wrenches and open-end wrenches that your bike requires in lieu of (and they are lighter than) a multi-tool, which I find frustrating to use; try using one to mount a bottle cage. Wrap the tools in a cloth that will keep them quiet, you can use it to wipe your face and hands. Along with the suggested tweezers, an ear polypus (medical tool) is very handy for picking up small objects from tight spaces and routing and holding wires and cables. https://www.ebay.com/b/Alligator-For...7/bn_115422850
Buy specialized tools like bottom bracket and crank remover tools as needed, borrow them from a bike co-op, or consider having those jobs done by a shop unless you find yourself doing that work often, or are/become a tool junkie.
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Old 09-08-19, 04:37 PM
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alcjphil
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
My basic/most frequently used tools include:
  • Metric Allen keys
  • Small torque wrench with Allen bits (for carbon fiber frames/parts)
  • Small screwdriver
  • Cable cutter
  • Needle-nosed pliers (crimping cable ends)
  • Chain breaker
  • Tire levers
  • Pedal wrench (not necessary, but nice to have.)
My metric hex wrench set mainly gets used on vintage bikes, but is good to have. I've collected other tools for specific jobs, like wheel truing, cassette/freewheel/cog removal and replacement, crankset service, and bottom bracket service.
I bought a cable cutter early on. I already owned needle nosed pliers and seldom used them working on my bike. "Chain breaker" is a crude name for the chain tool needed for working on chains for bicycles for 9 or more rear cassette cogs. Tire levers are almost universal for any bike. Not all pedals can be removed using a pedal wrench, many most recent pedals cannot be removed using a standard pedal wrench. before buying tools, make sure that you need them. EG: many pedals can be removed using an 8mm hex wrench, not a 15mm pedal wrench
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Old 09-08-19, 10:09 PM
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chuckschreiner
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Thx guys. That gives me a great starting point. I went to wheelfanatik and drooled over tools.

Question about pump... I have your basic all-purpose big 5 pump that I have used. What is the advantage of a better pump?
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Old 09-09-19, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by chuckschreiner View Post
Question about pump... I have your basic all-purpose big 5 pump that I have used. What is the advantage of a better pump?
The main thing is to get something above dime store quality. From there, I like to think about suitability and features. For example, I mainly use so-called high-volume pumps because most of my bikes run large tires and low pressures. I'd rather have a pump with a gauge that reads 0-60 than one that reads 0-220. If the pump you have is suitable and there are no pain points in using it, then you're golden.
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