Bicycle Repair ToolsBy Captain Dondo at
Part 1 - The Home Shop Tools You Need
Spend a little money on home shop tools now
and youll save oodles down the road (or trail). With the basic tune-up
tools outlined here and a bottle of chain lube, you can make sure your machine
is at its best every time you ride. Then, add tools and supplies to your
collection gradually as it comes time to repair, overhaul, or replace parts.
And if you really have an independent streak, check the advanced tools for a
look at some of what youll need to be a master wrench someday.
Top-of-the-line basic tools (wrenches,
screwdrivers, pliers, etc.) are made for the rigors of repairing and
maintaining machines much less delicate than bicycles. Ive found
home-shop-worthy models at the dollar store. If they dont last, I replace
them with better ones. Save your bux for the bike-specific tools that
arent made in as many levels of quality.
Click on the tools that are underlined to
see what they look like in the Performance Shop. In some cases the exact tool
you need may be different, depending on the brand and model of your
FOR BASIC TUNE-UPS
Floor Pump - Get a good one with a
built-in pressure gauge.
Allen Keys - I like a ball-end set
(allows working at odd angles) with 1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3 to 6mm, 8mm, and 10mm,
plus a long-handled (6 to 7 inches) 8mm for crankarm bolts.
Screwdrivers - Three flat-blade
(small, medium, large) and two phillips (small and medium).
Wrenches - One set of metric open-end
wrenches (not box/open). The deluxe version includes 6mm to 24mm, but you can
get started with 8mm to 19mm.
Park Chain Checker or Steel Ruler -
Important for assessing chain wear.
Pliers - Needlenose, regular, and
reversible lockring/circlip. All medium.
Cutters - Medium diagonal cutters
plus bike-specific cable cutters.
Spoke Wrench - Three-way to fit most
size spoke nipples.
Headset Wrenches - 32mm for 1-inch
steerers; 36mm for 1 1/8-inch. None, if you have a threadless
Pedal Wrench - Save $$$ and buy one
mated to a headset wrench.
Crank Bolt Wrench - Usually 14 or
15mm, if you dont have the allen key type bolts.
Chainring Nut Wrench - One size fits
Third-Hand Tool - A big help when
doing brake work, if you don't have three of your own.
Shop Apron - Often overlooked. Handy
pockets. Fewer trashed clothes.
FOR OVERHAULS, REPAIRS, REPLACEMENTS
Chain Rivet Tool - Fancy or simple --
your choice, same results.
Cone Wrenches - 13, 14, 15,16mm. Two
of each size.
Cassette Lockring Tool - To fit your
brand(s) of cassette(s).
Chain Whip - With headset wrench
attached, if you want to economize.
Crank Extractor - Removes crankarms
from the bottom bracket axle.
Tire Levers - One pair.
Derailleur Hanger Tool - An absolute
must for trail riders.
Bottom Bracket Lockring Tool - For
your BB brand.
Sealed Bottom Bracket Tool - Also for
Adjustable Wrenches - In 6- and
12-inch sizes for truing chainrings, turning cassette removers, and other odd
Flat File - One 8-inch mill bastard,
with handle, should do the trick.
Mallet - Plastic or hard rubber. It
just aint a bike shop without a "persuader."
Chain Lube - Your favorite dry and
Grease - One tube, lightweight,
Degreaser - One small trigger-spray
(non-aerosol) bottle for spot cleaning, and a big bottle for soak jobs and
refills. I prefer non-petroleum.
Cable End Caps - Crimp them on to
Sandpaper - Coupla sheets of medium
Handlebar End Caps - Always getting
lost, but for safetys sake dont ride without them.
Hair Spray - For retro-Mohawks and
sticking grips to mountain bike bars.
3M FasTack - For ornery grips and
gluing tubular tires in hurry (remember them?).
Shoe Goo - For saddle
Thread Locker - Mild, such as blue
Small Bucket - To catch/soak small
parts. A coffee can works.
BIG Coffee Cup - Hang in there. It
always takes a little longer than you think.
Repair Stand - Most people wouldnt
put this here. I do because I believe you can improvise a way to prop up your
bike for simple maintenance and that its more important to spend money first on
the right tools. When you get ready for a stand, dont buy a cheesy one. Decent
ones start around $50. The best ones are several times that amount. Meanwhile,
hang your bike from an overhead floor joist or screw a couple of 2x4 arms to a
bench or exposed wall studs and hang your bike there for now.
Truing Stand - For major truing,
repair, and wheelbuilding.
Dishing Tool - For wheelbuilding.
Centers rim on hub.
Pipe Cutter - For sizing
Hack Saw, Saw Guides, Bench Vise -
For sizing steerer tubes on new forks.
OK, now where are you going to put all of
this stuff? In the
next installment, Captain Dondo discusses three
home-shop setup scenarios.