37. Basic Bike Repair Tools
An overview of the tools needed to perform basic maintenance and minor repairs at home.
Today we’ll learn about some tools that every home repair shop should have in order to perform basic adjustment and maintenance procedures. I’ll cover more advanced tools in a future tutorial.
The most important tool in any home shop is a repair stand. Park Tools makes an economy stand called the PCS-9 that will do the job, but if you’re going to be working on bikes regularly I’d recommend the PCS-4 because of the superior clamping system. If you’re not ready to invest you can always hang your bike from the ceiling, and for minor adjustments you can also use a bike display stand to keep your rear wheel off the ground. If you’re adventurous you can always build your own stand.
Both flathead and phillips (+) screwdrivers are essential.
For pliers you should have a good set of wire cutters for trimming inner cable ends. The 4th hand tool is also invaluable for adjusting brake and derailleur tension and attaching zip-ties. If you plan on replacing cable housings, a proper cable cutter makes a clean cut every time.
Most of the components on modern bikes are fastened using 4mm, 5mm or 6mm allen bolts. One of my favorite tools is the Park triple hex wrench, which includes all three basic sizes. I also find it useful to have a set of long allen keys on hand, as they include some extra sizes like an 8mm for crank bolts, and a ball-end that makes it easy to quickly spin long bolts.
For wrenches, most components are between the sizes of 8mm to 17mm, so having a good set of open-end wrenches is a must. It’s also a good idea to have a couple of adjustable wrenches on hand for odd jobs, but I recommend using the proper size whenever possible as adjustable wrenches often slip and can damage your bolts.
A 15mm pedal wrench is necessary for tightening or replacing pedals. They come with a long handle which helps loosen pedals that are often very tight. If you have an older threaded headset you should have either a 32mm or 36mm headset wrench for making adjustments. A set of 13&15mm cone wrenches are also often needed to adjust your front and rear hubs.
For tire repairs you’ll need a set of plastic tire levers. Never use a screwdriver or metal tool to pry off your tires as you’ll run the risk of pinching your tube or damaging your rim. For installing very tight tires I recommend the Kool Stop tire jack, which makes it really easy to pull them on. Of course every home mechanic should also have an air pump, tire guage and if you have presta valves, a presta valve adapter.
The last thing you should have are some basic wheel truing tools. Spoke wrenches come in 3 common sizes which you can get individually, or as a combination tool like the one from Park. You can usually make minor wheel adjustments on your bike using your brake pads as a guide, but if you want to be more precise you’ll need a truing stand. Park makes a great economy stand called the TS-8, but if you’re looking for a shop-quality stand that will last a lifetime, it’s worth investing in the TS-2. Once you’ve invested in these tools, you’ll be ready to tune up your bike and take care of minor repairs yourself!
I have been part of the Biketutor gang long enough to know that we have some pretty slick people here. I wanted to start a forum for everybody to share a tip or trick or a little known secret that we all may be able to use that has to do with bicycles of course ! So I will start with one of my little tips on how to make your bike a truing stand on the fly, this works great for most any bike to keep your wheels in check for about the cost of a spoke wrench. A couple plastic spoons or popsickle sticks and a couple rubber bands.... Read more >>
[attachment=4154][attachment=4153]heres a cople of pics of stand i built using reclaimed bits mainly. main frame is old exercise bike, height adjustable upright is from project that got design changed on. rear triangle is from racer and can be turned 90deg to use for truing up wheels, used widest one i had, will be making up some adaptors for bolting in narrower wheels. pillow block bearings are for truing up axles on some trikes i built for kids. frame on stand is old yunkyard one that im converting into trike for eldest girl... Read more >>
Hi I got some Halfords vouchers for christmas and went out and got myself some ratchet spanners, very happy with them but the 17mm spanner had a slipping ratchet, the rest of the set are good, very well made and almost Snap On quality. Dug the receipt out yesterday and finally took them back for what I thought would be an easy refund, well it was an awful lot of hassle, the young girl on the till went off to get a replacement spanner and came back with a wobble head one, I said it's not from the same set and she said does it matter, well I told her I would have bought individual spanners had... Read more >>
Weren't a few of you (nfmisso too) liking the wal mart marine lube & grease gun for BB & wheel bearings? Is it the 3oz tubes with this mini grease gun?... Read more >>
Hi, My father have an old '72 schwinn cruiser bicycle with springer fork, is not really vintage but it uses old parts. He saw my Topeak Alien II Multitool and he really like it but must of the tools were not needed or usefull for him. What other multitool will you recommend to be use with the cruiser?... Read more >>
Hello All, New to this forum (great stuff!). I want to start custom painting bicycles in my garage for needy kids and to kill time while I am out on disability. I saw something that used drop cloths hung over PVC pipe with space for a fan and air filter. I was hoping to build a structure that would collapse (or at least take down easily) in case I needed the space for another project. I even thought of those accordion gates you see at Home Depot, but they are not high enough. You know...,stretch out a gate on two sides and one on the back and hang plastic film or drop cloth over it. I s... Read more >>
I recently acquired a Vertical Drill press. It is used but works really nice. Granted this may be a little off topic from bicycle specific tools but if you are like me these are nice if one does any wood or metal fabrication to make a part or accessory for a bicycle! This came in quite handy for my bike stand I am working on. Mine looks like this..... Read more >>
Got to say after years of messing around with a hand pump on my bike I went out and spent some birthday money I had on a Bontrager track pump. Best thing I have ever purchased for the bike, so easy to use and even the end valve does presta without having to mess around swapping bits around. Makes a difference being able to actually get some air in my tyres... Read more >>
I have been finding out some work in my spare time, so decided to make a chain fixing tool. In the past while removing chain links with punch & hammer, many chain links permenantly bent attempting removal of fit press pins. Got some idea from park tools & finally managed to make one tool to fix all types of chain. tried out on Shimano HG-53 chain & on one of old Raleigh chain with 1" pitch. Working perfect. The handle belongs to old broken DEWALT grinder. Rest of the stuff ofcourse from junk yard. My best friend Mohan helped me doing all this.... Read more >>
Looking for a whipless cassette removal tool. I heard Pedro's makes one.... Read more >>
Hey guys this tool slips on the bottom bracket lock rings on two different bikes now and is now mashed up real bad. I do not recommend this tool for removing the 30mm BB lockrings found on older bikes.... Read more >>
Management has told me I'm not building bikes fast enough. I have only hand tools to work with except for one power drill. Please recommend tools (including power tools when necessary), techniques and table configurations conducive to building 30 bikes per day. If I fail to reach this goal by the end of the month there's a vague 'or else' attached. I can current build a 12" or 16" bike in about 45 minutes. Adult bikes take longer due mostly to the brakes.... Read more >>
I'm looking for an older style pump hose with a head that screws onto the filler valve. This is a very old style - some 20-30 years back - that came with an 18 inch silver hand pump made to be fit in the frame of a bicycle. The barrel of the hose fit inside the barrel of the pump. Any idea where I can buy that? I have a modern hand pump with a similar hove and head, but the end is too long to fit between the thick plastic spokes of a child's bicycle (12.5 in wheel). Regards, Lou... Read more >>
I am learning bicycle repair and have noticed that some tools I have do not fit so well with the 29ers, for example the chain whip, Trueing stand, etc. I am sure there are a few more that I haven't mentioned yet. Any suggestions as to where and If I really need additional tools to work on the 29ers. Thank you in advance.... Read more >>
Am I correct in thinking all bicycles (or at least all bicycles sold at major retailers) require metric-based tools? Is there any reason to keep or use Imperial-based tools at a bicycle work area?... Read more >>