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Whats In Your Tool Box?

 
gardener
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I'm trying to get into working on bikes with my 11 year old daughter.
We have lots of tools, and I have turned plenty of wrenches, but I don't know what tools we need to work on a bike.
I'm sure one can get by on not much, and I don't think we will be building wheels from the spokes up, but when we sit down to work on a bike, I don't want to be stymied by getting up to look for the right tools.
Experience has taught me that keeping a set of tools for each broad task saves time and effort.

So, bike people, what kind of tools should we keep at hand for working on bikes?
 
pollinator
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We usually use socket wrenches. We've done a bit of modification of a few things which required a saw but for the most part, if you have a socket wrench set you're good to go.
 
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Take a look at the bike screws. find a tool for every screw and place it on the bike tool box. Bikes now normally have allen bolts. 1 vise pliers a tool for removing the sprocket. I also have a spoke wrench I align my wheels every now and then.
 
steward
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the tools I use most frequently are combination wrenches (box on one end, open end on the other) and hex keys (both metric). those two are pretty indispensable. beyond that, it depends on what you think you'll work on.

other handy tools that come to mind:

- cable cutter/crimper
- cable stretcher
- pedal wrench
- spoke wrench
- cone wrenches
- crank extractor
- chain breaker
- cassette lock-ring tool and chain whip

there's really no end to useful bike tools, but odds are good that by the time you need a bottom bracket facing tool (for example), you won't need our advice about it.

a few companies sell basic home mechanic kits that might be worth looking into. if not to actually buy, at least to get an idea what you're missing. here's Park Tool's (I picked Park Tool just because they're well-known, not because I recommend them.)
 
gardener
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I do basic bike maintenance myself and my bike kit contains:

-Decent hand pump for tires
-Bike tire pressure gauge
-flat repair kit- including tire levers, patch kit,  and often also a new spare innertube. The self healing ones that prevent leaks on small punctures are worth the extra money
-a chain cleaner device, (an old toothbrush and rag works for starting out), degreaser, and chain oil
- socket wrench set and also adjustable wrench
- Allen key set (mine are all attached and look like a multitool, which means you can't lose pieces - probably a good idea for a kid, and also really convenient to quickly switch sizes)
-Multi screwdriver set
- hand degreaser for after I am done

You can buy bike stands for holding a bike on to work on them. I would love one if I had space, and could do a lot more tasks if I had one, aND some thinges a lot more easily.

Easyish bike tasks that i would suggest she learn are changing inner tube ( I learned while at university biking over lots of broken glass), cleaning and lubing the chain (at min, start and end of season, ideally more frequently), pumping tires, and replacing brake pads, and adjusting the brake cables. Before she sets off too far with her bike, make sure she knows how to get the chain back on her bike if it falls off somehow (walking home afew times with my first bike with real gears was not fun).
 
William Bronson
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Just popped in to say thank you for all the advice.
The kid is 13 now, and good with tools,to the point that the trike rehab was mostly thier work.
We still need some tools, the Walmart chain breaker just about ended our endeavor, but we made it work!
 
pollinator
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I am aware of the old clique, rubbish tools are rubbish.
But I build and race motorcycles, build hot rods and rebuild engines.
I have a mixture of good and bad tools, but sometimes the good tools are worth the added cost.
IE
- circlip pliers that dont bend
- screwdrivers that dont chip or break
- punches that dont burr over
= chain breakers that last for years
- chisels that hold and edge
- metal files that actually work
- adjustable spanners that adjust after 2 years
You know what I mean.
 
master gardener
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Hi John

You approach a good point.  While I do have many quality tools, sometimes I buy tools with the idea they will be broken.   An example would be some cheap 18v battery tools that I use when I am on a ladder or a roof.  If I drop them, I am less tempted to try to save them.
 
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