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Home Mechanic "Must Haves"

HOME FORUM RIDING FEELS GOOD FORUM TECH TALK Home Mechanic "Must Haves"

This topic contains 58 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  FastTimes 1 year, 10 months ago.

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  • #799468

    BlurredLines
    Participant

    Well. It’s nearly holiday season and gift giving and receiving is nearly upon us. This year to avoid getting another sweater I have to roll the sleeves up on and pretend fits, or hat and scarf I wear from the car to hall closet at the inlaws I thought it would be handy to come up with a simple list of odds and ends that anyone who rides a bike and fancies themself even remotely handy should have.

    On my personal shortlist of can’t live withouts…

    • Floor & Shock Pump
    • Metric Hex Set
    • Tire Levers
    • Apron

    What do some of you guys think? Got a great tool? Something that simply lives in your riding pack?

    #799471

    theguynextdoor
    Participant

    Every ride I have a full suitcase/toolbox of just about everything to fix just about anything that can arise on a ride.

    I don’t leave home without…

    Beer opener
    M5 bolts
    Park tool allen set
    tubes and tires
    zip ties

    I had a lovely 3+km hike back to the truck from the top of Whiteface with a flat tire once. The blackflies were so bad I wore my helmet and gogs, so needless to say I carry tubes on rides that are far from the truck now. lol.

    I am most proud though of my brake bleeding kit I made. After my daughter was born we had some feeding tubes and feeding syringes left over…made a sweet bleed kit that works like a charm out of them. lol.

    #799476

    secret agent
    Participant

    I carry both a mini pump and a co2 pump and cartridges. Chain tool and pins. Of course spare tube levers Allen keys and folding multitool. I also carry a set of surgical gloves for any messy job. Zip ties too. As for home, I like having a folding work stand with removable tool tray. Way better than havin my wife hold stuff.

    #799480

    Matty F
    Participant

    “Home mechanic” might be something of a misnomer for me, because I do pretty much no wrenching at home at all. But no less, I have my essentials…

    # Indicates good gift idea.

    In the Camelback:
    – Bottle opener. Currently one given to me by Push Industries. I actually keep a bottle opener in every bag I own. You can never have too many.
    – # Silky Fox Pocketboy 7″ folding trail saw. I probably use this more than any other tool in my Camleback except the bottle opener. Enormously handy, and I don’t think is something found in nearly enough riding packs.
    – # Multi-tool. An obvious choice. I have a kind of mediocre Lezyne one right now, but I think I plan to get Park’s best MTB-3.2 Premium Rescue offering soon. The extra $20-$30 you spend to get the top end tool with the most features is easily worth the reduced risk of having to walk out of the woods.
    – Park triple-spoke wrench. When you really screw up your wheel, the crappy spoke wrenches on a multi-tool don’t really cut it.
    – Derailleur hanger, tube, pump. More obvious choices.

    In my shop:
    – Bottle opener. This one is a Park BO-2, and it’s attached to a chain and screwed into the wall so nobody takes it – an essential measure in a bike shop.
    – Park AWS-10 folding allen key set. I have at least six different sets of allen keys, but this is the most important and the one I cannot do without.
    – # Knipex flush-cut Super Knips cutters. A recent but essential tool for me. These cut the end of zip-ties completely flush so there is no sharp end sticking out.
    – Phil Wood Spoke Cutter. This tool is prohibitively expensive for home use, but I think essential for any decent bike shop. I would find it extremely frustrating to have to custom order specific lengths and quantities of spokes every time I had to build a wheel. Or to have to keep stock of 30+ different lengths of spokes.
    – # Park HMR-4 hammer. Without a doubt the best hammer for bike use. For $30 this is easily accessible for home mechanics.
    – # Park SZR-1 scissors. I never really cared about what scissors I had before these. I’d just go buy whatever was at the hardware store for $10 and replace them a year later when they wore out. However, these Park scissors work so well I won’t get anything else, and will probably buy a set to bring home. With a retail price of $12, these are very practical for home use. In fact, buy two.
    – “Stickey Pokeys”. That’s just my name for these tools that I make myself. They are just spokes with brake housing slid over them, then ground sharp at one end and bent into a comfortable shape. I have one sharpened to a point, and one sharpened flat, with a different colour spoke and housing for each so I can easily tell them apart. I use these probably more than any other tool, other than my allen keys, and always for a miscellaneous purpose. They are often used for poking open housing ends, an essential tool for lacing wheels, often used as seal picks for suspension and brakes, handy for digging cable ends, and countless other uses. Spokes are $1.50 each, a foot of brake housing is $1.50, and the end result is worth its weight in gold (though admittedly they don’t weight much). Photos below if want an idea of how to make your own:

    #799485

    secret agent
    Participant

    I made one of those pokey things for derailleur and brake casings after cutting. Mine is just a long nail with a bunch of duct tape at the end. Works well enough. On that note, I cut all my casings with a Dremmel tool and cutting blade. it does a clean job and never collapses the casing. It needs a little bit of poking of the insert sometimes.

    #799487

    Renegade Hardware
    Participant

    Park tool’s spoke tension meter is an awesome, Sub $100 tool. Keeps wheels strong even if you don’t have a truing stand.
    Their cutters are also great.

    Good alen keys are found from machinery supply stores. Save a bundle by not getting park or pedros, and get equally good if not better tools. Wiha drivers are the best of the best. Bahco files and wrenches.

    A good bike stand is key too. I got a Pro one, because I got a good deal on it.

    #799488

    fietser
    Participant

    @MattyF our Camelbacks look surprisingly similar in their contents.

    A few things different:
    I prefer cans to bottles – less breakage factor.

    I have this saw – http://www.lowes.ca/garden-hand-tools/corona-folding-pruning-saw_g1195629.html?ProductSlot=1
    Relatively inexpensive, replaceable blade and by far the most used tool in the pack. VERY sharp and makes quick work all but the largest branches .

    My ‘Multitool’ is actually a Leatherman – I like to have the option of pliers. However, that Park MTB 3.2 just made it on to my Christmas list!

    At home my can’t live without is actually my work bench. I like being able to spread things out and have them close by if needed. After I built my garage last year I had some wood leftover so I used the following plans as a base ( http://www.eaa1000.av.org/technicl/worktabl/tablefig.htm ). I built the base out of 2x6s, which is overkill, but I had them lying around and the thing is ROCK solid albeit a little less mobile. I can store spare parts etc. in bins below which helps keep things relatively organized and out of the way. Bottle opener is mounted on the leg of the bench just under the top – conveniently located next to the mini fridge.

    **Note: Bench is not usually that messy on top – I am a little OCD about a clean workspace.**

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    #799490

    secret agent
    Participant

    I also bought a set of Allen Keys that have a handle on them and the handle also has an Allen key at 90 degrees to the long portion. They come in handy sometimes. I have bought cassette tools, that handle with the chain on it, bottom bracket tool thin spanners and a couple of Park tri keys. Being at this a long time. I also have a set of feeler gauges for setting up disc brake distance. If I don’t have a tool, I wont bother with it anymore and just take the bike in. I don’t do wheels apart from small tension adjustments and never screw with shocks. I used to bleed my own brakes when I had one bike, but now I have 4 different sets of hydro brakes and I am not going to get kits for each.

    #799491

    micah356
    Participant

    Pedro’s tire levers: A friend of mine went crazy and ended up buying way too many of these levers, and gave me a couple of pink ones. I keep ’em in my bag because it makes it so much easier to do a quick flat repair on the road (or trail).

    Lezyne Pressure Drive portable pump: Lezyne pumps are awesome, and you can get replacement parts for them. I’ve been carrying the same one in my bag (commuting, trail riding, touring) for at least six years. I had to replace the hose for$10 about a year ago. The Pressure Drive is the smallest one, if your arms tire easily go for one of the slightly longer ones. I just have the cheap floor pump from MEC, but it has been working well for quite a few years. I would like to replace that with a Lezyne or something similar though.

    Scissors: Lee Valley tailor’s shears. Not cheap at $30, but they are beautiful. The only scissors I’ve handed to people and they say “Wow.” Have you been to Lee Valley?

    Work stand: I have a folding Park work stand. I don’t use it often, but there are times where it makes a huge difference. Plenty of DIY work stand options work as well.

    Park TM-1 spoke tension meter: Makes wheel truing easy for people who aren’t very good at it. Whenever I get a machine-built wheel, I give it a once (or twice or three times) over with the TM-1 and a spoke wrench, and it makes a huge difference.

    #799495

    FastTimes
    Keymaster

    I love tools and have pretty much everything I need to completely tear down and rebuild the bikes I own. For me its also about the storage and the workbench. Love to have stuff organized and be able to grab whatever bike or tool I want with ease. I am looking to double my bench space this year as it is getting quite crowded. I like to be able to lay everything out when rebuilding a fork or shock.

    i am using an old solid wood desk which is great for the vice and truing stand etc but I would like to stretch it out and also raise it up a bit.

    #799496

    Matty F
    Participant

    Good alen keys are found from machinery supply stores. Save a bundle by not getting park or pedros, and get equally good if not better tools. Wiha drivers are the best of the best. Bahco files and wrenches.

    I must disagree somewhat about the allen keys. While I admittedly haven’t tried every folding allen key set, the Park ones are the best I’ve used. And you surely won’t save much money by trying to get something cheaper. They retail for $13, and I get 1-2 years out of them as a full time mechanic. That equates to at least a decade of use for a home mechanic. My own home set is four years old. You could maybe get another folding set as cheaper as $5, but considering the quality you are guaranteed for $13 I would certainly think it is not worth the risk.

    I agree on the Wiha drivers and Bahco files, though. Great stuff.

    I have this saw – http://www.lowes.ca/garden-hand-tools/corona-folding-pruning-saw_g1195629.html?ProductSlot=1
    Relatively inexpensive, replaceable blade and by far the most used tool in the pack. VERY sharp and makes quick work all but the largest branches .

    I did quite a bit of research before getting mine and ended up with a Silky Fox Pocketboy: http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=69153&cat=2,42706,40721&ap=1 The Corona seems very nice, as well, but I am something of a sucker for things made in Japan. I also like the multi-angle feature of the Silky. It’s twice the price of the Corona, but for something I plan to keep for many years, I think $40 is pretty reasonable for getting the best option I can find.

    Pedro’s tire levers: A friend of mine went crazy and ended up buying way too many of these levers, and gave me a couple of pink ones. I keep ‘em in my bag because it makes it so much easier to do a quick flat repair on the road (or trail).

    Pedro’s are easily my choice of tire levers. I haven’t found anything else I’d even consider using.

    #799497

    micah356
    Participant

    Oh I forgot what has probably made the biggest difference to my home repairs – the toolbox! It makes everything so much easier to have all your tools laid out and organized, allowing you to reach quickly for the right tool at a moment’s notice.

    Having just moved into my own apartment, I no longer have a basement to keep my bikes and tools in. So the toolbox is now in the living room next to the couch. It works for me.

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    #799499

    Cracker
    Participant

    I would agree with most of the tools listed and the need for a good tool box to house it all, I’ve got a classic red stack like Micah.

    Also recommend:
    – a folding bike stand, got an Ultimate for Christmas many years ago and its great for home use and bike racing
    – decent mechanic gloves from Home Depot, helps grip and protects from busted knuckles
    – Pedal tool
    – Cone wrenches, great investment, don’t use them much but when I need them they’re there
    – Various BB tools and crank pullers
    – Spoke wrenches

    For the riding pack I’ve got this and its pretty awesome when coupled with a simple Park Tool folding allen key set.

    http://www.amazon.com/Wenger-16948-Swiss-Evolution-Pocket/dp/B000NC2BKW

    #799502

    Nick Boers
    Participant

    Good alen keys are found from machinery supply stores. Save a bundle by not getting park or pedros, and get equally good if not better tools. Wiha drivers are the best of the best. Bahco files and wrenches.

    May not save much but you’ll get quality stuff. I picked up a Bondhus non folding set (don’t like the folding ones) from the local store a few years ago. Bought the Gray first, but they weren’t as good a fit as I expected. I hate poorly sized allen keys that strip screw heads.

    #799503

    Buck
    Participant

    for gift ideas:
    – Bike Stand ( a must)
    – Good chain cleaner (I have the MEC one, works great)
    – cleaning pic/brush tool
    – those Pedro tire levers
    – chain lube, a dry and a wet variety

    Because I wrench on my motorbikes often, I have 3 sets of Phillips screwdrivers. Standard, Pozi & JIS. Having the right tools saves from stripping those screw heads.

    In my garage I have a peg-board over my work bench. All commonly used tools are there for easy access.

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