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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've seen a few "essentials" threads for what items are a necessity to take with you on the road, but I'm more interested in what I'll be needing to maintain/repair my bike. I'd like to eventually learn how to do most basic repairs myself beyond the replacing/repairing of a flat.

First, what tools do you suggest? Are there any good starter kits (I notice park tools has a few "essentials" and "starter" tool kits, but I'm not sure how essential everything in them is)? Are there any good sites/books/videos that you'd recommend for general maintenance?

Thanks!
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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A from Il said:
That kit has everything you will need alright. And a bunch of [email protected] you dont. Piece together what you need from quality tools and you will be fine.
I agree. IMO kits aren't the best way to go because they normally contain some items you don't need, and are missing some you do. It's better to pick and choose tools based on the bike(s) - more accurately, components/ wheelsets - you'll be working on.
Some examples:
2-6 mm hex wrenches
Cone wrench set - 13 mm to 19 mm (or just the sizes to fit your current wheel hubs)
Cassette/ freewheel tool
Chain tool
Cable/ housing cutters (or a Dremel)
degreasers/ lubes/ brushes
 

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Captain Obvious
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if you can get a bigger kit on sale, do it. it will be cheaper than piecing stuff together. otherwise, buy tools as you need them. good hex wrenches, cable cutter, chaintool, cassette tool with chainwhip, crank wrench, and lube/grease. look for sales and buy what you need. those are the ones you'll need the most. pick up others as you need them.
 

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skip the beginner kits. Just start buying tools as you need them for work you want to do. In no time you will amass a large collection of tools.
 

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One more vote for buying things as you need them. You'll probably pay a little more per tool, but you won't have stuff you don't use. I bought a "beginner's" tool kid at least 25 years ago, and there are a couple of things in there (bottom bracket fixed-cup wrench, for instance) that I've never touched.
Of course I've replaced BBs over the years, but that fixed cup takes so much force to remove and install that I've just had a bike shop do it rather than wrestle with the cheap wrench. It's a 30-second job they'll do for a couple of bucks, or for free if you're a regular customer.
One thing that's handy is one of those cheap (like 5 to 8 bucks) socket sets you see sometimes in hardware stores. They're not much good for working on diesels, but they last forever doing bike repair.
Also, you don't have to buy everything in a bike shop. Allen wrenches are allen wrenches, for instance, and they're cheap at places like Sears or Home Depot..
 

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"Are there any good sites/books/videos that you'd recommend for general maintenance?"

The Park Tools site is a great source of information for bike repairs. Just click the part of the bike you want to work on and it takes you to a series of articles, each beginning with a list of tools you need to do the job. All the tools mentioned are "Park" branded, of course, but for some of the bike specific items like a cassette lockring tool or a BB tool, theirs are hard to beat. Hex wrenches, etc. you can get anywhere although I do have one of their Y hex wrenches on my bench and use almost everytime I need a hex wrench for my bikes.. Agree with the others on buying tools as you need them to take on a specific piece of work. Even then, for things like setting and removing headsets its cheaper to let your LBS do it for you than to buy the specific tools as they are relatively expensive and seldom used unless you are building a lot of bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Ah, thanks. After I asked that question I found another great video library of maintenance tutorials:

http://bicycletutor.com/

It's great, it has everything from bike assembly to truing; which is nice, because I don't even know what the hell truing is, and still don't after seeing the video, so I'll probably have to have my LBS do that. Is there an easy way of telling whether the weeks are trued?

Oh and thanks to everyone for tool tips. I've decided to go with the "buy 'em as you need 'em" advice and am ordering, with my starter gear and bike, a pedal/headset combo wrench, tyre levers, and grease. That should be everything I need for a basic assembly. I'll grab some tubes from LBS and anything else. I have a set of hex wrenches and all other universal tools. Hopefully, until I find I want to fine tune a bit more, that should get me through the first couple weeks of my cycling.
 

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Another vote for buying stuff as you need it.

The problem with kits is that there are a variety of tools for accomplishing what appears to be the same task, but only one will work for your setup. Take cassette removal for instance. Shimano has one tool, and Campagnolo has another. Bottom brackets are another; depending on what bottom bracket you have installed, you need a different tool to get it off. You want to adjust your hubs? Seemingly every hub manufacturer out there has their own tools needed to get hubs open.

Just about the only universal tool I've found on the various bikes I've worked on is a 5mm allen wrench. You can pick up a T-handle'd one from any hardware store for a few bucks. Start there.
 
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