Ex­pand your wrench­ing abil­i­ties with these in­stru­ments

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Nick Di Cristo­faro

Five es­sen­tial tools for the new home me­chanic

What are the most im­por­tant tools a bike me­chanic should own? The an­swer can vary greatly from one me­chanic to the other. A pro­fes­sional who works on a va­ri­ety of bikes ev­ery day will need a wide as­sort­ment. It is overkill, how­ever, for the hob­by­ist/home me­chanic to mimic the pro. So what tools should en­thu­si­asts have i n their home garages? Well, that de­pends. What bikes do you have? How of­ten will you per­form cer­tain jobs?

First, let’s look at the ba­sics tools be­fore we get to a list of five essen­tials. For the ba­sics, you need a good floor pump. Check­ing air pres­sure be­fore ev­ery ride is a habit ev­ery cy­clist should have. A set of met­ric Allen wrenches – rang­ing from 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 – will suf­fice in most sit­u­a­tions. Nee­dle-nose pli­ers al­ways come in handy. I use them mostly to hold ca­bles taut while tight­en­ing them down to brakes or de­railleurs. I like to have a goodqual­ity set of tire levers in my shop and a com­pact set for your jer­sey pocket. You need a Phillips No. 2 and JIS No. 2 (Ja­panese in­dus­trial stan­dard) screw­driver for de­railleur limit screws mostly. You can get by with a Phillips but a jis screw­driver will work and grip a lot bet­ter for Shi­mano parts.

Now on to the essen­tials. Rear de­railleur-hanger align­ment gauge A Proper in­dex­ing of the rear de­railleur starts with an aligned rear hanger. Even a new frame has to be checked be­fore mount­ing the rear mech. If you are go­ing to tackle shift­ing is­sues on your ma­chine, this tool is nec­es­sary.

Pedal wrench You need a good qual­ity pedal wrench es­pe­cially if you are trav­el­ling with your bike. You can get by some­times with a 15-mm open-end wrench or 8-mm Allen wrench, but hav­ing a pedal-spe­cific tool al­lows you more lever­age. Most bi­cy­cle tool mak­ers pro­duce a long 8-mm with a han­dle that works great for this pur­pose.

Chain tool C and quick-link pli­ers D You can’t cut a chain with­out a chain tool. In­vest in a good qual­ity in­stru­ment if you plan on re­plac­ing your own chains. Quick-link pli­ers make life eas­ier when re­mov­ing quick links – sram calls them Pow­er­lock and the 11-speed Shi­mano chains now come with a mas­ter link.

A qual­ity torque wrench I can’t rec­om­mend the torque wrench enough for a new or home me­chanic. It takes lots of ex­pe­ri­ence to get a feel for how tight to twist down dif­fer­ent sizes of fas­ten­ers. You don’t want to tighten down a $400 car­bon han­dle­bar with­out this ex­pe­ri­ence and with­out a torque wrench. The most com­mon “click type” wrench will give when the de­sired set­ting, usu­ally in New­ton me­tres, is reached. Your wrench should be able to mea­sure from 2 to 8 Nm. The range will let torque down han­dle­bars, stems and seat­posts.

Cable cut­ters Cable cut­ters are es­sen­tial if you are go­ing to re­place ca­bles and hous­ing. Us­ing reg­u­lar side cut­ters will work in a bind. But to get a good, clean cut on ca­bles and hous­ing, bi­cy­cle-spe­cific tools will work bet­ter. Hav­ing a tool that has jaws to crimp cable ends is nice, too.

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