Prod­uct re­views

Australian Mountain Bike - - Contents - WORDS AND PHOTOS: MIKE BLE­WITT

Bike main­te­nance and re­pairs needn’t be a mys­tery. The ma­jor­ity of bike me­chan­ics have reached their level of skill through train­ing, prac­tice, ed­u­ca­tion, pa­tience – and us­ing the right equip­ment. In no way am I her e to dis­count the skills of a trained bike me­chanic, but I would like to cast a light on what is re­quired to per­form a few ba­sic main­te­nance tasks and bike build­ing pro­cesses. PRO, Shi­mano’s ac­ces­sory arm, make a myr­iad of tools avail­able sep­a­rately that will suit the home me­chanic, and they now have op­tions for tool col­lec­tions from the Es­sen­tial Pack we have here, all the way to the ‘XL’ Tool­box that sells for $739.

UNROLLING THE ES­SEN­TIALS

The Es­sen­tial Pack con­tains a ro­bust chain tool, three tyre levers, a chain ring nut tool, disc tru­ing tool, ca­ble cut­ters, 15mm pedal wrench, chain whip and cas­sette lock ring tool. All in all, a great set of tools that should help you re­move or fit new driv­e­train es­sen­tials, and keep your brakes and shift­ing run­ning smoothly. I think the strength of any tool col­lec­tion is based around a chain tool, ca­ble cut­ters, 3-way Allen key set and t-han­dled Allen keys. This prod­uct doesn’t have those last two. But they wouldn’t roll up nicely in a tool roll ei­ther. The 15mm pedal wrench will be per­fect for many, but if you use a higher end Shi­mano pedal like the M540, XT or XTR units then you are bet­ter served with an 8mm Allen key. Sim­i­larly with the chain ring lock nut tool, higher end Shi­mano crank sets re­quire a Shi­mano T27 Torx tool. But if we con­sider this is a small es­sen­tials pack that you will add to and cus­tomise, it’s a very good se­lec­tion. The chain tool is bet­ter than some I have used in work­shops, and the same can be said for the cut­ters. Sure, there are higher qual­ity pro­fes­sional tools on the mar­ket, but as the tools in this pack are un­likely to be cut­ting dozens of ca­bles, or break­ing and join­ing count­less chains per day in a busy work­shop, com­par­isons aren’t worth mak­ing. As it stands they both work re­ally well, and the chain tool has a re­place­able pin, so you should have it for a long time. The chain whip and cas­sette lock ring tool are func­tional, and the ro­tor-tru­ing tool is very use­ful – as long as you have the pa­tience for the task. All in all, the se­lec­tion and the roll it­self make a very neat pack­age. It is easy to roll out onto your workspace at home, and keep stored out of the way. And with a fold­ing Allen key set, and a ded­i­cated 8mm in­stead of the pedal wrench, plus a mini shock pump, rag and small bot­tle of lube, I found it per­fect for trav­el­ling with, ei­ther to the trail head or in the bike bag. If you are look­ing to build up your tool col­lec­tion and your me­chan­i­cal knowl­edge – this is a great place to start.

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