It's Bicycle Repair Man!
January 8, 2010 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Bicycle repair - help me build a toolkit.

The sum total of tools that I have to fix my bicycles are two hex wrench multitools. I haven't really done any sort of maintenance on my bikes beyond cleaning and replacing tires, and I'd like to change that. So, I need recommendations on tools and references to get started.

At first, I'd like to be able to do a tune-up on my own. From there, a complete overhaul (replacing bearings, etc.). After that, start with a used frame and build a bicycle around it. What do I need for each of those activities? What's the best (printed) resource on bicycle repair?

Note that I currently have a relatively modern hybrid commuter (aluminum frame) and an old Raleigh (steel frame, internal hub). I assume I'll need a set of metric and a set of standard tools, but are there other specialized tools I'll need for the different bikes?
posted by backseatpilot to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I like Lennard Zinn's books. I've built and rebuilt mountain, cycloscross, and road bikes with them.

Sheldon Brown (RIP!) has an incredibly comprehensive online library of information. This is mostly what I used for my first wheel builds.

Speaking of wheel building, you'll know you're in too deep when you crave this book.

Off the top of my head, you'll want a torque wrench for anything serious. A repair stand, chain breaker, cassette/cog tools like a chain whip and lockring tool, spoke wrenches, crank puller, degreaser, bearing grease, Loctite (blue), housing cutters (or a Dremel), bottom bracket tool, and pedal wrenches (depending on the pedals) are all pretty basic. The only thing I never do is cut my own steerer tubes and set the crown races, since those are tools I rarely need and it's easy to mess up and ruin the fork forever.
posted by kcm at 7:42 AM on January 8, 2010

Park is sort of the gold standard in bike tools; they make most of the tools you'll see in a pro shop. Here is their standard kit, and the deluxe. Their book is also quite good, but there are many others, including Zinns, which has a big following.

If you're going to roll your own kit, you'll need a set of metric wrenches, tire levers, a patch kit and pump, a chain tool, a hex set, probably cone wrenches, a freewheel tool or two, matched to the freewheels you have, a chain whip, bearing grease, chain lube, a spoke wrench, and a screwdriver set. The more specialty tools you can pick up as you need them.

Enjoy; it's a rewarding hobby.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:44 AM on January 8, 2010

Response by poster: Well, all the answers disappeared into the ether. I ended up buying the Zinn book, an adjustable wrench, and a set of metric open wrenches to start. I took the advice of buying tools as needed.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:57 AM on January 10, 2010

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