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  1. #1
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    Planning for 1st Build (Tools)

    I just got into mountain biking a little over a month ago, but my wife, two boys, and myself are all hooked. I purchased some lower priced bikes to get started, one, because I had to buy four bikes at once, and two, because I did not know it was going to be this much fun. I'm not one to leave things stock for long, but it looks like with bikes I may be better off getting another bike than spending money to upgrade what I have, plus it would be nice to have something around for friends to go with us. Anyway, I think I want to build my own bike after I spend some time figuring out what I want. How much should I expect to spend on tools in order to do this? I have all the regular mechanic type tools as I do all my maintenance on my cars, boat, atvs... but what bike specific stuff will I need? Is there a "kit" I can buy that will cover what I want to do or will I need to figure out components first and then buy tools? Is this too ambitious of a task for a beginner? Thanks

  2. #2
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    As far as 'bike specific' stuff, you will need a chain whip, freewheel/cassette remover, crank puller (probably square taper, but maybe octalink) and the proper splined tool for bottom bracket installation/removal (probably the standard Shimano spline pattern, but maybe an external pattern). You should buy a pedal wrench, even a cheap one, as it will serve best to remove/install pedals, even though a 15mm combo wrench may work.

    It goes without saying that you should have a set of metric hex head wrenches, a variety of screwdrivers, and a set of metric combo wrenches (and a 1" combo for the freewheel/cassette tools). For the purposes of my suggestion of price paid, I will assume you already have these things. Expect to spend at least $100 for the above items, though many can be had for cheaper than I assumed.

    The above tools will be a fine basis for working on bikes, but some more expensive tools (facers/taps/presses) may be necessary. Likely, you will find that it is more worth your time and money to have a shop perform those functions, as tools that work well and last will cost multiple hundreds apiece.

    It sounds, at first, anyway, to be a daunting task to 'build' a bike, but for the most part, it is a lot of 'insert round peg into round hole', and there are many good guides here and elsewhere (and lots of willing people to help!).

    A last bit of advice...avoid tool kits, as they give you many things you have, some things you don't need, and the few that you do. Buy as you go, and get good quality tools.

  3. #3
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    Don't forget the the repair stand... and a cooler for beer.

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys. A repair stand will be my first purchase. What I'm seeing is prices starting around $130. Is there a low end model you could recommend?

    It sounds like I should just buy the tools I need as I need them.

  5. #5
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    That's about right for a stand. The Park PCS-9 or PCS-10 are both good starting out stands. If you have the space, though, consider one of the wall/bench mounted clamps, as they are a bit cheaper (compared to a stand) and have a more secure connection with the ground. The do not take up much wall space at all. Bear in mind, that if you have a hanging-style bike rack for your car/truck, you can use it as an impromptu stand to start out.

    Also, I forgot one very important tool for working on a bike: a chain breaker. Whatever you buy, get one with a replaceable pin.

  6. #6
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    I recently picked up a pcs-10 for about $150 and love it. Best thing I've bought for my bike yet.

  7. #7
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    I am 100% for owning and knowing how to use your own tools. Also- building a bike frame up can yield the best ride around if done right. However, be aware that going this route can be one of the more expensive ways to go. Price a new XT (or whatever) equipped bike and you'll often find that you can't even buy the parts for what the complete bike costs.

  8. #8
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    OP, mate you can buy an X-TOOLS kit for 60 bucks for the 18 piece kit and about 80 bucks for the 30 piece kit, it will have every tool you need, i have the 18 piece kit it has everything i need for a complete strip down.
    You dont need to go the park tool route for what your doing, the X-TOOLS are well made and will last you just fine.
    You can order them from chain reaction cycles (CRC) google either and you will have a great kit at your door, CRC has 10% off everything atm, free shipping on orders over $99 to anywhere.
    Id get the 30 piece and save heaps on buying the park tools seperatly, yes the park tools are fine tools, but for what your doing the Xtools are just fine, well made and do a great job.
    cheers
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  9. #9
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    P.S imo dont buy the tools one by one, its a waste of money, buy a kit and you will have everything you need and more at your finger tips, every person i know thats bought the XTOOLS kit has been blown away at the quality and build, ive never heard a bad word about them and its all most of the riders i know buy as we all order everything from CRC.
    I havnt checked the price in the last few months but for under 100 bucks for a 30 piece kit you cant go wrong mate.
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  10. #10
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    +1 on buying a repair stand. I started out with a simple Park bench-mount stand. Like others have said, it is going to be sturdier than a tri-pod type stand. As for buying tools 1 by 1 or a complete toolkit...I'm torn. I bought all my tools 1 by 1 as I needed them, but in the end have a complete tool kit that cost much more and took a few years to make. If you plan on sticking with the sport, buying and building more bikes or even learning how to do some repairs and doing tune-ups for friends, I would get the kit. If you think you'll build a bike or two, maybe stick with it, maybe not...just buy what you need and make the decision on more tools later. It's something to think about. If you really plan on sticking to cycling for awhile, a big tool kit may come in handy.
    Last edited by sasquatch rides a SS; 11-25-2012 at 10:47 AM.

  11. #11
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    I would also add Parks Big Blue Book to the list as well. It doesn't cost that much and may save you from eventual headaches.

  12. #12
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    If you do that much work on non bike stuff you will appreciate quality tools. I've got 3 bike brand tools in my box; a set of Pedros cone wrenches, Shimano chain tool and a pair of Park master link pliers. Oh and of course the cassette lock ring tool I make. But as far as tools from bike brands that is it. The bike companies make decent stuff but it's consumer grade IMPO and it certainly gets the job done.

    I would cherry pick bike specific tools as you need them. No one company makes the best of everything. I make hands down the best cassette lock ring tool called the Crombie Tool (Hands On: Abbey Bike Works Crombie Cassette Tool - Bike Rumor) But it is one of a couple of tools I make. You can buy a set of general bike specific tools, but if your a tinkerer and by association a tool guy I think you will be better off mixing and matching your own set of bicycle specific tools.

    Fwiw, I'm a freelance race/event mechanic and work on bikes to put food on the table.

  13. #13
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    Thanks guys.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    If you do that much work on non bike stuff you will appreciate quality tools. I've got 3 bike brand tools in my box; a set of Pedros cone wrenches, Shimano chain tool and a pair of Park master link pliers. Oh and of course the cassette lock ring tool I make. But as far as tools from bike brands that is it. The bike companies make decent stuff but it's consumer grade IMPO and it certainly gets the job done.

    I would cherry pick bike specific tools as you need them. No one company makes the best of everything. I make hands down the best cassette lock ring tool called the Crombie Tool (Hands On: Abbey Bike Works Crombie Cassette Tool - Bike Rumor) But it is one of a couple of tools I make. You can buy a set of general bike specific tools, but if your a tinkerer and by association a tool guy I think you will be better off mixing and matching your own set of bicycle specific tools.

    Fwiw, I'm a freelance race/event mechanic and work on bikes to put food on the table.
    Quality stuff bro, very nice tools, rep comin your way, cheers mate
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  15. #15
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    Congrats and welcome...

    ...learning how to use the tools is as good as getting them.

    Lots of good stuff here on MTBR as well as checking out youtube vids for tips and tech as to "how to" stuff!

    Also grab a few mt biking mags and have a read. Lots to view and your new world is yours to explore!

  16. #16
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    actually, I have to disagree with buying the kits, especially since you already probably have 90% of the basic stuff from car work.. Also there are decent "mid grade" tools that are always on sale... if you were running a shop, yes get Park tools everything, but for the home owner/weekender work most of the Pedros, Ice, and other mid level branded tools are just fine and will give you yrs of service.

    my very favorite tool is a super cheapo 1/4" drive socket/driver set I got at Lowes was under 10 bucks and has all the bits and sockets to do the day to day type stuff.. I actually got it when on a trip and didn't have my tools with me and it had everything I needed to do a quick minor repair.. I use it now more than anything else in my tool box. My point is that you really don't need a $100 wrench ... the $20 one will work fine for the general stuff...

    HD has pretty close to the same thing for 5 bucks... just make sure it's metric...
    19-Piece 1/4 in. Drive Socket Set-010-012-HKY at The Home Depot

    like has been mentioned, some specialty tools for Bottom brackets, cassette rings, pedal wrenches (though most pedals now have a hex in the end also)

    guessing you have torque wenches.. a 3/8" will work with adaptor to 1/4" sockets/bits but a decent 1/4" drive torque wrench is a good idea if you'll be doing carbon parts anywhere...
    Going to try and bring Trail Tire TV back. go take a look... http://trailtiretv.blogspot.com/

  17. #17
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    Good advice all around. I fall into the "get what you need when you need it" camp, since you said you have a lot of the basic mechanics tools already. However, I have a different take on some of the workstand recommendations, in particular:

    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    ... If you have the space, though, consider one of the wall/bench mounted clamps, as they are a bit cheaper (compared to a stand) and have a more secure connection with the ground.
    Both Park and Feedback make excellent stands (I'm partial to the Feedback, which goes up and down incredibly fast, and with it's tripod design is happy on uneven ground). But if you have the $$ and space to store it, I would suggest getting some sort of folding stand over a bench-mount (and I have one of each). The folding stand can be set up wherever you want to work--in the garage/shop, at your bud's house, or outside on the lawn when you want to wash down the bike. A folding stand with an adjustable height clamp will let you position the work where it's most efficient/convenient for you (up high to work on the drivetrain and brakes, lower if you want to tweak the saddle or bar/stem setup, etc.) And you have access to both sides of the bike, something that may not be possible depending on how you mount a bench stand. Lastly (and I probably come across like a broken record on this point, if you were to search this forum for my other posts), the extra "stability/solid mounting" of a bench stand is not all that important, IMHO. I agree that you don't want to be chasing the bike around while you are working on it (like when it is hung from the rafters, and yes, I've done that too.) But the little bit of wobble that you'll get in a portable stand is not a problem in actual use. When you are applying any serious amount of force to a fitting or fastener, you'll always be applying the counter-force against some other part of the bike, not through the bike against the stand. (For example, if you are cranking hard on a bottom bracket cup with the wrench in one hand, you'll be holding a frame part--downtube or chainstay--in the other hand. You wouldn't/shouldn't crank against the stand directly (via the seat tube and seat post). So all you really need the stand to do is hold the bike at a comfortable height and not sway around every time you touch the bike. All of the quality portable stands are more than up to this task, the the benefits you get from portability/adjustability far outweigh the stability of a bench stand.

    Whew! Now that I've got off of my chest, let's continue...

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I am 100% for owning and knowing how to use your own tools. Also- building a bike frame up can yield the best ride around if done right. However, be aware that going this route can be one of the more expensive ways to go. Price a new XT (or whatever) equipped bike and you'll often find that you can't even buy the parts for what the complete bike costs.
    I was waiting for someone to say this. JB has captured my thoughts exactly here...if you want or need something special, a custom build might be the only way to go (and for some high-end frames, is the only way to go whether you build it up or your bike shop does it for you). But you'll pay for it... So there's no right or wrong answer...just be aware that building your own may come at a price, so do it for the right reasons.
    Dad is sad.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    Quality stuff bro, very nice tools, rep comin your way, cheers mate
    I've shipped ~20 of them to Australia. Perhaps you'll run across one.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    Quality stuff bro, very nice tools, rep comin your way, cheers mate
    ya.. have to agree, those are pretty nice and a well designed/thought out setup, surprised, it's such a simple thing/tool but many aren't designed well (mine included, seems to pop out all the time ) nice job Customfab... you need to do more tools
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomllama View Post
    ya.. have to agree, those are pretty nice and a well designed/thought out setup, surprised, it's such a simple thing/tool but many aren't designed well (mine included, seems to pop out all the time ) nice job Customfab... you need to do more tools
    What tool do you make?

    I'm working on more stuff. A bearing press and pedal wrench are in prototype form. I've got truing stand adaptors that are going on the site today. Plus about a dozen other things on the drawing board.

    Personally I feel the quality of tools available for bike applications is lacking. It's definitely way below the quality of the bikes being produced these days.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    What tool do you make?

    I'm working on more stuff. A bearing press and pedal wrench are in prototype form. I've got truing stand adaptors that are going on the site today. Plus about a dozen other things on the drawing board.

    Personally I feel the quality of tools available for bike applications is lacking. It's definitely way below the quality of the bikes being produced these days.
    I don't make any.. it's my Cassette tool sucks
    Going to try and bring Trail Tire TV back. go take a look... http://trailtiretv.blogspot.com/

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