When we start out in the world of bike maintenance and upgrade, it is a good idea to start with a good set of tools. But what is a good set? The answer to this depends upon what you are planning to achieve with it. If, you are the DIY Cyclist who just wants to repair then the very minimal kit that you should get is a small tool Kit containing some basic tools. These do not have to be the Highest quality tools in the world but it will pay you to get a better quality set.
The three sets below are from a good quality manufacturer and are based on 3 levels of home mechanics. The cost of tools can be astronomical and if you are considering becoming a professional mechanic then I would urge you to look more towards Park Tools. Park tools are expensive but, they are of an amazing quality.
1/ LifeLine X – 18-piece bike toolkit £34.99 Wiggle
This is a nice basic starter kit. I have chosen LifeLine X because they are of a decent quality and are available from many retailers. This kit is aimed at the home mechanic and to be taken to days out at the trails in its formed carry case. You get a nice selection of tools here to cope with most maintenance jobs that you find.
My only reservation with the cheaper tool sets, is the cheap chain tool. If, you have to use this regularly, there is a chance it will fail.
The kit consists of
- Workshop Tyre Levers
- Chain Whip
- Shimano Compatible External BB Spanner
- Pedal Spanner 15 mm Box Wrench with 14 /15 mm socket end
- Shimano Style Hollow Tech 2 Tensioning Tool, features unique twist top for extra grip
- Ball Ended Allen Keys (2, 2.5, 4, 5, 6)
- Flat Bladed Screwdriver
- Philips Head Screwdriver
- 2 double ended Cone Spanners (13, 14, 15, 16 mm)
- Chain ring Bolt Tool
- Puncture Repair Kit
- Spoke Key 3.2, 3.3, 3.5
- Crank Extractor
- Cassette Tool
- Splined BB Tool
- Torx L Wrench
- Chain breaker Tool, with replacement pin
2/ LifeLine X – Tools 37-piece Bike Tool Kit Wiggle £49.99
We Move Slightly up the range to the next kit from the same manufacturer. With this kit the tool are of a better quality as it is aimed more at someone who works on bikes on a more regular basis. If, you are looking to maintain your own bike or wanting a mobile tool case to take on the road, the LifeLine 37 Piece Bike Tool Kit will become a firm favourite for accomplishing your maintenance.
The kit consists of
- Puncture repair kit: rubber cement, sandpaper, 2 bits of rubber, 6 small, 2 medium, 1 large patch
- Chain rivet extractor: compatible with MTB/road chains and some single speeds
- Crank extractor tool
- Large double ended headset spanner: 30/32/36/40
- Shimano compatible external bb tool (Hollowtech II)
- Shimano compatible crank cap removal tool (Hollowtech II)
- Double ended spanner: 8/10 mm 15 mm pedal wrench with 24 mm hex in centre
- 2 double ended cone spanners: sizes: 13/14/15/16 x 2
- Chain whip
- Spoke key ring: 3.3/3.5/3.2/13G/14G/15G
- ISIS bottom bracket tool
- Cassette lockring remover tool
- 3 tyre levers
- Bit and socket set compatible with L shaped tool: Flat bladed screwdriver 5/7, Torx: T25/T30, Philips PH2/PH1, Socket 8/9/10 plus adapter
- Ball ended Allen key set: 2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8/10
3/ LifeLine X-Tools Performance 39-Piece Tool Kit £89.99 Chain Reactions
This is a more advanced tool kit from the same manufacturer but with better quality components. Ideally this is aimed at the serious home user or maybe a mobile bike mechanic. You have everything you need for bike maintenance and over haul. These are a great set of machine engineered tools with coated ergonomic handles which are designed to be used more often.
The Kit consists of
- 2 in 1 crank extractor – Square taper and splined cranks
- 15 mm pedal wrench
- Cable cutter
- Cartridge bottom bracket tool
- Cassette cleaning tool
- Cassette remover
- Chain cleaner
- Chain rivet extractor
- Chain whip (7 to 10-Speed compatible)
- Chainring nut wrench
- Cleaning brush
- External bottom bracket wrench – Shimano Hollow Tech II®, Campagnolo®, Chris King®, FSA®, Race Face®, SRAM®, Truvativ®
- Measuring tape
- Magnetic collector tray
- Torx 25 wrench
- Tyre levers
- Spoke Wrenches: 3.2, 3.3 and 3.5 mm
- Screwdrivers: Philips 1, Philips 2 and 5 slotted heads
- Cone Spanners: 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 mm
- Hex Wrenches: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 mm
- Durable carry case for convenient storage
Now that we have our tool kits, we will require some way of holding the bike in position as we work. This is where we should be looking at a bike Maintenance stand. There are hundreds of stand on the Market varying in cost dependent on size, shape and weight. Again the different manufacturers aim their products at different areas of the market so what do you need.
1/ Oypla Heavy Duty Black Pro Home Mechanic Folding Bicycle Bike Cycle Repair Maintenance Stand Amazon £29.99
For this Example I have literally just searched on amazon and this was a result that came back for the lower end price bracket. Now £29.99 is very cheap for a bike stand and you may even find cheaper on eBay if you look. I would not really recommend a cheap stand but, I am sure it will work. There are a lot of reviews on this and most are positive. The major issues are with the quality of the hardware.
The unit itself is built from cheap materials but it does what it says on the tin. It folds away for easy storage and it holds your bike while you work on it. Personally it is not for me as it looks like it might fall over but, it is a bargain.
2/ LifeLine X-Tools Home Mechanic Workstand Wiggle £59.99
I like this unit, it is a nice robust design with a slight lean forward to support the weight of the bike over the feet of the stand. As you can see from the image, the v shaped feet are virtually flat giving you more scope to move around the bike. The Cycle clamp works on a 2 point quick release system. This is very handy for adjusting and moving the bike around. I like the way that the clamp pressure is fully adjustable to ensure no damage to the fragile tubing, and the clamp arm rotates through 360 degrees.
- Adjustable height from 102 to 154 cm
- Clamp opening adjusts from 30 to 80 mm
- Prep stand folds down to 100 cm long for easy transport and storage
- Manufactured from lightweight aluminium for strength, durability and easy transportation
- Mat size: 900 mm x 2080 mm
- Subtle graphics
- Quality waterproof PE plastic material
- Easy to fold
Whatever you decide just remember that false economy can be the downfall of us all. Today bikes represent major investments and a lot of people now have bikes that are worth thousands. The examples I have given you for tools and repair stands should show you that quality equipment is not that expensive. A home mechanic can use their head and get a quality tool set for a reasonable price. We can of course jump ahead and buy the most expensive equipment out there and if you can afford to do it then, I am happy for you. For us people on restricted budgets there are still some very good pieces of equipment available within our price brackets.
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