I ____ to Fix My Bicycle: Tool time

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Box wrenches, allen keys, third hands, fourth hands, chain-breakers: talk about tools here.

Laurel, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 13:53 (sixteen years ago) link

I have a crush on a double-ended box wrench with ratchets on both sides -- one is 10mm and one 11. It's compact, convenient, and shiny.


Laurel, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 14:01 (sixteen years ago) link

Am considering filling out my collection with complete bb tools, starting with a cotter pin press from bikesmithdesign.com -- since Park stopped making theirs, I think Bikesmith is the only place to get one at all (besides ebay). Pash and any other shop people: your thoughts?

Laurel, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 14:31 (sixteen years ago) link

I SPANNER to Fix My Bicycle

Heave Ho, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 14:34 (sixteen years ago) link

Do you really need a cotter pin press? Cotter pins are pretty rare.

I must admit I use some cheaper tools in my workshop - hozan & lifu are 2 brands I see on a lot of them. I used to use Park, but the ones I have are more economical - a Park tool costs x number of $ and will wear out in so many years/months depending on tool, a lifu one costs half the price and lasts me 2/3 as long, so it works out cheaper.

The best tools I have in my workshop (IE most useful/longest lasting) are a park double-ended ratchet spanner that does 8mm and 10mm hex heads that isn't on their site anymore as far as I can see here is a site selling it and a hozan ratchet spanner that does wheel nuts on one side and old-style crank bolts on the other. It has a long handle so you can tighten LH crank bolts up good & hard. I've had it for 20yrs & will probably cry when it eventually breaks.

Pashmina, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 14:50 (sixteen years ago) link

heh, I have images off & didn't see the snapon spanner linked above. 8mm is a more common size than 11mm, so the Park might be more useful.

Pashmina, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 14:51 (sixteen years ago) link

Both my bikes have cottered cranks. :) I guess I could buy a bag of replacement pins and hammer them out ruined every time, it's probably cheaper than a $50 press in the long run.

Laurel, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 14:55 (sixteen years ago) link

I've always hammered them out with a support under the BB end of the crank, never used a press I must admit, then again, it's a rare thing to need to do now, so I couldn't justify spending on a press tool.

Pashmina, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 14:58 (sixteen years ago) link

Not a big deal, just that seeing how disgusting my bb was last night tells me I should be cleaning it more often, and the two loose chainring bolts tell me I have to check this shit regularly or I'll regret it. Maintenence ahoy.

Laurel, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 15:08 (sixteen years ago) link

What tools would you say a maintenance beginner should own themselves? I have a 30-ish piece general-purpose toolkit, but there seem to be loads of other things I should get. A chain whip would've been useful when I got a new pair of wheels in March, but I naively assumed it would be expensive and/or complicated so I never got round to even looking at them, and spent the whole summer riding around on crappy wheels and fat tyres. I must've wasted at least an hour of my life riding slower, I'm sure.

I also seem to have buggered up my headset by trying to tighten it with my adjustable wrench. Oops.

Bocken Social Scene, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 16:27 (sixteen years ago) link

a chainwhip and cassette tool are very very useful imo. Good cable housing cutters even more so.

Hunt3r, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 16:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Agreed. I bought one of those box sets you see on ebay, not the best quality but I make good use of the chain whip, crank puller, cassette tool (also works on my BB) and allen keys most of all.

Ed, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 16:54 (sixteen years ago) link

I like my ratchet ring spanners as well but they were bought separately for a different job.

Ed, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 16:54 (sixteen years ago) link

Depends on what your bike needs -- there's not a single allen fastener on my whole bike because of its age, so I have box wrenches in a few sizes, plus a few adjustable ones.

My headset race (the big ring) is SO WIDE that I need a special wrench to grab it (or a giant pair of grips as below but those tend to scratch/mash/fuck up the outside of the parts).

I have basic pliers and heavy-ish wire cutters for cable and housing cuts (bad or lightweight ones will just give you grief). A chainbreaker is useful, seeing as how there's no other way to get a chain off, and not expensive. A spline or cassette tool is the only way to get to your rear hub, so that's important.

Bottom bracket tools & cone wrenches & third/fourth hands are useful but maybe not so basic...?

Laurel, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 17:04 (sixteen years ago) link


ddb, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 17:08 (sixteen years ago) link

I do! The bike shop literally doesn't have anything else big enough to fit the outside of the race ring.

Laurel, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 17:10 (sixteen years ago) link


ddb, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 17:11 (sixteen years ago) link

I'll measure it and see what I can find. Pretty sure even the 40mm standard is too small.

Laurel, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 17:16 (sixteen years ago) link

Laurel, that's the same tool I've used on my headset..

Most basic jobs on mine can be done with either Allen keys or spanners (10mm or thereabouts. I make sure they fit, like). I'm not even sure if I want to be taking the BB apart, really, but then I think "how bad a mess of it can I make myself, and how much would they charge in a shop", and then that gets too much for me, so I carry on riding it as it is.

Bocken Social Scene, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 17:59 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh also for consumables: chain lube (Tri-flow or similar), bearing grease (Park makes some and so does Phil Wood -- everything else probably falls somewhere in-between), SimpleGreen or other cleaner-degreaser, WD-40 or other penetrant (to loosen stuck things), and an endless supply of shop rags and old toothbrushes.

Laurel, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 18:25 (sixteen years ago) link

I get mocked for using White Lightning only. I did have a season where I used only Dumonde Light, but reverted. And Simple Green. Standard white lithium for grease. I've never used wd40 on my bikes.

Hunt3r, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 18:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Why is White Lightning mockable?? I got a tube of white lithium at a hardware store one day when desperate, but it turned out not to be thick/slick enough for hubs (which is where I was putting it); I had to take apart again and re-grease with regular stuff later. I'm happier if grease has approx the consistency of Vaseline.

WD40 is prob only for things that are rusted or caked together, I don't know that you'd ever need it on a new bike if you kept up with maintenence...?

Laurel, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 18:56 (sixteen years ago) link

The same wrenches who almost beat me when I told them that I use a car pressure washer to clean up my bike after cx races advised me that WL does not nearly adequately protect the chain from wear. ("what do you want me to use, a toothbrush?" "IF NECESSARY!") They also didn't generally like white lith.

I am very bad about overhauling hubs-like almost never. :(

Hunt3r, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 20:42 (sixteen years ago) link

If you want to know a secret, I have a phobia about cleaning parts: they don't feel clean enough unless they've been run under hot water and scrubbed with dish soap & brushes. This naturally strips EVERY BIT of lubricant out of moving parts and requires total re-protection. I mean technically Simple Green does the same thing (de-greases), but I need to feel that all the grains of dirt have been carried away on a tidal wave of hot water. Gritty threads give me OCD.

Laurel, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 20:52 (sixteen years ago) link

For instance, to clean chains I am in favor of chucking them into an old water bottle 1/3 full of SG solution and SHAKING THEM MADLY. People who worry about top performance argue that you can never truly get the pins re-lubed again if you do that but I don't like the alternatives (miles and miles of pipe cleaners?).

Does anyone use those self-contained clip-on chain cleaning kit thingies?

Laurel, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 21:00 (sixteen years ago) link

Back before White Lightning, I went through a phase of waxing my chains. Getting them utterly spotless as you describe was a prerequisite.

Hunt3r, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 21:13 (sixteen years ago) link

Laurel, you are a woman after my own heart.

Ed, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 21:25 (sixteen years ago) link

maybe she'll wax your chain?

cutty, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 21:30 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm looking for someone to strip my sturmey archer right now....

Ed, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 21:45 (sixteen years ago) link

Does anyone use those self-contained clip-on chain cleaning kit thingies?

I have one, used it once, haven't used it again. Was pretty shit. I didn't really have a good go at it though. I couldn't get it to clip on to the rear mech preoperly, I kind manually held it in place, it didn't really clean very well.

W4LTER, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 22:28 (sixteen years ago) link

I use one, it works for me. Not that I actually clean my chain very often at all ever. As for "overhauling hubs"... what? Greasing parts - huh? Most I ever do is an occasional chain oil and random wd-40 squirts everywhere. Oh, I grease bolts. That's it. Am I bad?

ledge, Thursday, 25 October 2007 11:35 (sixteen years ago) link

Quite a lot of modern components are sealed and don't need overhauling (can't be overhauled) the manufacturers just expect you to buy new ones. Older onesan can be stripped down, cleaned, regreased, bearings replaced, etc.

Ed, Thursday, 25 October 2007 12:36 (sixteen years ago) link

True, true. Everything on my bikes is made with loose bearings only, so I have to get in there every -- well, I should do it every few months. Haha.

Ledge, can I gently suggest using your chain oil on the places where you're putting WD-40 now? Because the latter is NOT a lubricant -- I know they say it is, but it's not good enough for bikes -- it's too thin and breaks down fast under friction. Use it for cleaning, then dry parts well and apply your other oil instead.

Laurel, Thursday, 25 October 2007 14:07 (sixteen years ago) link

four years pass...

Oh hey look me again. I have a sealed bb on my bike now. If I'm going to buy the uh spline tool thing to take it apart with to replace the cartridge, are the tools one-size-fits-all or do I need to know exactly what size is on there?

The thing is I want to order tools now so when I take it apart I have everything--don't want to get halfway and realize I'm lacking something.

how did I get here? why am I in the whiskey aisle? this is all so (Laurel), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 20:18 (twelve years ago) link

Never mind that I don't know what kind of cartridge to buy to put in there, I don't even know how to tell WHAT it is.

how did I get here? why am I in the whiskey aisle? this is all so (Laurel), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 20:20 (twelve years ago) link

Count the splines - it's most likely a 20-spline shimano-type bb cartridge, which means the basic bb tool is what you want for removal and replacement, no complications - none of the shell width, threading, spindle-taper stuff should make a diff.

If splines ≠ 20, it's beyond my (v v basic) understanding, ask an expert.

woof, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 21:00 (twelve years ago) link

Okay so I need: allen key sized for the crank bolts, a crank puller, and the 20-tooth spline tool. And I need to know what bb to replace it with.

how did I get here? why am I in the whiskey aisle? this is all so (Laurel), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 21:22 (twelve years ago) link

yup, that sounds right. the old one will almost certainly have identifying info on it, but you'd have to get it out to see that properly iirc.

woof, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 21:50 (twelve years ago) link

I could get it out and put it back and at least clean & regrease and write down the brand/model. So I guess I'll spring for the tools first.

how did I get here? why am I in the whiskey aisle? this is all so (Laurel), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 21:58 (twelve years ago) link

I don't even want to think about what it's going to cost because judging from online forums if I don't get the exact thing that's there now, I'm headed deep into chainline measurement/alignment territory and I don't know shit about that shit.

how did I get here? why am I in the whiskey aisle? this is all so (Laurel), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 22:04 (twelve years ago) link

Your plan sounds right. It's what I'd do.

If it's square taper, you should be able to find an affordable match - if you can't find the exact model, I think the basic variables are shell width, threading, spindle length + spindle taper (JIS or ISO). It feels complicated, but it is manageable.

woof, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 22:18 (twelve years ago) link

outboard uber alles

catbus otm (gbx), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 22:38 (twelve years ago) link

internally splined BBs seem so arcane to me now (let alone loz's beloved cotters; a friend stopped by my house recently and wanted my advice on a loose cottered crank and i had no fucking idea what the problem was, so i said 'hit it with this hammer'. it worked.)

catbus otm (gbx), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 22:40 (twelve years ago) link

it's occurred to me recently that all the money i've spent on parts/maintenance should've just been spent on tools. i am a terrible mechanic, but at least i would've learned something. srsly: a G on repairs in the last five years (nb i get a mid-winter overhaul annually), probs. i have the equivalent to an ak-37 now, plus stand, but all those tools would've been a whole lot more useful years ago

catbus otm (gbx), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 22:43 (twelve years ago) link

Fuck, my 3-spd is STILL in pieces because I never got that drive-side crank apart and I know anyone I take it to now is going to want to shoot me.

how did I get here? why am I in the whiskey aisle? this is all so (Laurel), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 22:43 (twelve years ago) link

"we don't do that here"

catbus otm (gbx), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 22:44 (twelve years ago) link

I'm embarrassed to even watch them r-their-de at me.

xp to be honest it really helped that I hardly needed any specialized tools to start? For older bikes, you can get everything you need (or at least a make-shift solution) at yr average decently stocked hardware store.

how did I get here? why am I in the whiskey aisle? this is all so (Laurel), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 22:45 (twelve years ago) link

by which you mean "a hammer"

catbus otm (gbx), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 22:57 (twelve years ago) link

but yeah, the simplicity of old stuff is nice. tho i think that modern mountain bikes (more than fusty ol road bikes) have done a lot to standardize things. a tri-tool can do a whole lot these days. and almost all adjustments can be handled by a single set of allens: shifter/levers, brakes, stem/headset, pedals (installation and removal), cinch bolts on cranks (outboard), seat/post, derailleurs (mounting). funny splined wrench, headset press, truing stand, spoke wrenches, philips-head (several), stand, "small parts (including cable/housing)", yr set.

i'm leaving out tools for hub work because that shit is alchemy to me

catbus otm (gbx), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 23:04 (twelve years ago) link

^^^ gbx's shopping list

catbus otm (gbx), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 23:05 (twelve years ago) link

otm about allen keys but pedals without spanner grip are disgusting, savage.

ledge, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 23:14 (twelve years ago) link

eggbeaters are allen only!!!

catbus otm (gbx), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 23:25 (twelve years ago) link

I've got some Candies that are, but my regular ones ain't!

ledge, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 23:28 (twelve years ago) link

weird, mine are

they old-ish

catbus otm (gbx), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 23:29 (twelve years ago) link

apparently only the chrome ones take a spanner. whhhhhhyyyyyyyyyy.

ledge, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 23:31 (twelve years ago) link

I bought a really good basic toolkit from rei for ~$50 which had all these tools in. Presumably it would duplicate a bunch you have but it was cheaper than buying odds and ends. Plus it had things like a cable stretcher which I'd never considered I needed but it turns out to be super useful.

There's a bunch on eBay as well.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 03:30 (twelve years ago) link

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