Tools For The Intermediate Home Mechanic
With the addition of these tools, the beginner home mechanic can perform most minor and some advanced repairs.
- Repair stand
- Torque wrench
- Cartridge BB tool
- BB lockring wrench
- Pin spanner
- Crank puller (for square taper BB types)
- Crank puller (for pipe billet BB types)
- Headset wrenches
- Pedal wrench
- Cassette lockring remover
- Chain whip
- Drive train scrubber
- Rubbing alcohol
- Loctite (#242 blue)
- Cable end tips
- Magnetic tip pen
- Hack saw
- 3/8″ ratchet and sockets
- Plastic/rubber mallet
- Ball peen hammer
Continue reading for more details on each item…
Get a good repair stand to hold the bike in the air for easy repairs (then you can spin the wheels freely, don’t have to bend over, etc.) There are good stands from Park, Ultimate, and Spin Doctor.
Once you start working with delicate parts, especially carbon fiber, it’s a good idea to make sure you are applying the proper amount of torque. You might want to start with a 3/8″ drive wrench, but a 1/2″ drive wrench will also come in handy for a range of parts. Try a torque wrench from Craftsman, Park, or even Sette (for just $40 at PricePoint.com.)
Cartridge BB tool
Bottom brackets rarely need serviced or replaced, but when they do, you’ll need one of these tools to remove the bearing cups. Depending on the type of BB you have, you’ll need a different tool, such as the BBT-22 or BBT-18 from Park Tool.
BB lockring wrench
Sometimes you will also need a tool to install and remove the bottom bracket lockring. One tool for this is the Park BBT-7.
Bottom brackets and cranks also call for a pin spanner sometimes, to remove hanger cups with pin holes. I use an adjustable spanner that works on numerous size parts – the Park SPA-6.
Crank puller (for square taper BB types)
To remove crank arms, you’ll need a tool known as the crank puller. Crank arms don’t need removed often, but they will need to be removed when replacing chainrings. If you have a square taper bottom bracket, the best tool is the Park CCP-2.
Crank puller (for pipe billet BB types)
If you have a somewhat newer bottom bracket, such as a Shimano Octalink or ISIS Drive, you will need the Park CCP-4 tool instead.
Headset wrenches come in very handy if you are doing any repair or maintenance on older, threaded headsets. Get 32, 36, and 40mm sizes. The HCW-7, HCW-15, and HCW-9 from Park Tool are good choices.
Pedals get cranked down tight, and pedal wrenches are made specifically to provide the force required to loosen them. Getting a poor-quality pedal wrench or using an adjustable wrench instead will result in many headaches and bloody knuckles, so I highly recommend getting a good pedal wrench. The Park PW-4 is a good choice.
Cassette lockring remover
Another very useful tool on this list, you’ll need a cassette lockring remover any time you change the cassette. The Park FR-5 is a great choice, and it’s relatively inexpensive.
The chain whip is another tool that is required for cassette removal. I recommend the Park SR-1 as it works well and also includes a hex opening that fits Park’s freewheel and cassette removers.
The more riding you do, the more important it is to keep everything clean without wasting a lot of time. If you just picked up the sponges last time, now you should grab the full deal. You could get a Park cyclone, Finish Line Chain Scrubber, or get the entire Pedro’s Super Pit Kit.
Rubbing alcohol comes in handy for cleaning sensitive parts, such as disc brake rotors. It also works for removing and installing handlebar grips, since it cleans and then dries quickly. Grab a bottle at the local department store or pharmacy and keep it in your workshop.
Loctite (#242 blue)
You don’t need Loctite that often, but I’m sure you’ll need some for something. Get the #242 blue Loctite that’s rating for temporary applications.
Cable end tips
It’s a good idea to have cable end tips on hand, because you’ll need them every time you install new cables. They usually come in a big jar, and can sometimes be found at Nashbar. If not, try BikeToolsEtc.com.
Another general tool that comes in handy in random situations. Get one that is made for metal.
Magnetic tip pen
This nifty tool comes in handy if you need to pull out ball bearings or hold small metal parts in place.
A hacksaw will come in handy for various jobs, including cutting steerer tubes. Just be careful!
3/8″ ratchet and sockets
Sometimes it is quicker and easier to remove bolts with a ratchet and socket. This is especially useful when dealing with older bicycles without quick release skewers.
If you need to bang on certain parts but don’t want to damage your bicycle, a soft rubber mallet is a good idea.
Ball peen hammer
Sometimes you need a metal hammer though.
That should keep you on the right track. Along with the basic adjustments and maintenance, you can work with cranksets, bottom brackets, headsets, and more. If you will be doing even more repairs, move on to the Advanced Tools List.