For those who plan or already built their own bikes
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  1. #1
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    For those who plan or already built their own bikes

    What toolkit did you get to do your job?

    I own nothing and wanted to buy a set from a place like Parktool. I know that instead of buying individual tools, you can buy a beginner's set or a more advanced set.

    Does anyone recommend a set for bike building? By build I don't mean making any of the components (e.g. wheels from scratch). I just mean getting all the peices together and attaching them with the right tools. What toolkit do you recommend?

    Also, I noticed some tasks require a hacksaw? What bike assembly requires you to cut things with a hacksaw???

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Cutting the steerer to length (hacksaw) and facing and installing a modern headset (special tools) are two things that I personally leave to a shop tech to do, and am willing to pay the labor for getting those done right. I guess newer BB's also require some special facing of the shell, which I would also let the tech take care of. These tasks require some special (and usually expensive) tools that you probably won't find in your basic bike tool kit, and or some special knowledge/skill/experience to complete them.

    Otherwise a basic tool kit is at a minimum going to need hex key sets, spoke wrenches, pliers and tubing cutters for brake cables, etc.., screwdrivers, a chain tool, appropriate BB and cassette installation tools, maybe a chain whip if you ever plan on removing that cassette yourself, tire levers, pump, electricians tape (the stuff they send with the bar tape sucks), pedal wrench, and maybe cone wrenches if you ever intend to service your hubs yourself. Can't think of a whole lot else you absolute need, except maybe some basic spray lubricant for your cables, shifters and derailleurs.

    I bought a nice set in a toolbox that contained all the above and them some for about $45 on ebay a couple years ago and have not been unhappy at all with it. It is identical to some I have seen advertised at nashbar or performance for over $125. No specific brand name on it though, but the parts look identical, right down to the colors of the toolbox and wrench handles.

  3. #3

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    Probably need some sort of crescent or pipe wrench big enoug to grip the BB/cassette tools, or the appropriate size ratchet driver. Forgot about that detail.

  4. #4
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    Honestly, you could get the job done (speaking from experience) with a metric allen wrench set and a good pair of cable cutters. That'll get 95% of the parts you want to be messing with on the bike- brakes, stems, seatposts, derailleurs.

    Non external bearing cranks usually bolt on with a big allen wrench. that's a tool worth having. if you buy the big allen wrench, you might as well buy a basic crank extractor as well- otherwise, that crank ain't coming off...

    I've never messed with the fancy new-style external bb cranks. I'm going to assume they require some specialized tools.

    Bottom bracket- for cartridge-style bbs, there's a tool you can get that'll fit on a wratchet- takes no time to install, assuming the bb is already cleaned and faced. If not, have the bike shop prep and install your bb, get the tool later.

    Headsets- are you going to install enough headsets in your lifetime to justify getting the right tools? probably not- leave that to the bike shop.

    Good luck- it won't take too long for your tool collection to grow right out of control...

  5. #5
    Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
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    If you want to cut your own steerer tube, and it's not carbon, I recommend a plumbers pipe cutter. It doesn't work anything like a hacksaw. It's hard to mess up the job, and you'll get a very clean, perfectly straight cut. It takes a touch of patience, but it works great.

    Also, I just checked, and Nashbar sells a headset press (probably not a great one, but it works, I'm sure) for something like $50. Not bad--since I seem to build at least one bike a year, maybe I'd better get one.
    "jazz gives you large testicles"--aliensporebomb

  6. #6
    cmg
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    here are several tool kits less than $60. be sure you get a set of cable cutters. have the shop install the head set and bottom bracket. those require alignment. Or at least thats what they told me when i went there.
    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...egory_ID=4218# or http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...egory_ID=4218# or http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeboy389
    If you want to cut your own steerer tube, and it's not carbon, I recommend a plumbers pipe cutter. It doesn't work anything like a hacksaw. It's hard to mess up the job, and you'll get a very clean, perfectly straight cut. It takes a touch of patience, but it works great.

    Also, I just checked, and Nashbar sells a headset press (probably not a great one, but it works, I'm sure) for something like $50. Not bad--since I seem to build at least one bike a year, maybe I'd better get one.
    Pipe cutters tend to expand the outside diameter at the cut--I'd stick with the hacksaw and guide method. You can make a great headset press for less than $5 with a thredded rod and some washers and nuts. That's what I use and truthfully like it as much as the $100+ Park tool.

    Otherwise besides the obvious/basic tools you really just need a bb tool and a cassette tool and some allen wrenches and a cable cutter.

  8. #8
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    I would decide first on what bike you are going to build and how you are going to equip it. Then you can decide what tools you need. If not, you are going to buy a lot of tools you won't need or can't use. If you are just wanting to work on your own bike, then buy the tools as you need them.

  9. #9
    n00bsauce
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    It's really the head tube and bottom bracket faces that need to be aligned. It's called facing. If the head tube and bottom bracket are properly faced then the headset will be in alignment when it's installed. As Henry said, you can make a perfectly serviceable headset installer from a threaded rod and some nuts and fender washers. Facing is not difficult but requires a fairly expensive tool(s) and just isn't worth it for the casual builder. If I take a frame in for facing (not all frames need it because some are prepped well by the manufacturer) I usually just have them install the headset. It doesn't cost any more and only takes them another minute. I usually like to do a BB install myself. One of the reasons is to make sure it's adjusted properly. A headset install doesn't require adjustment.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire

    There are your fog people & your sun people, he said. I said I wasn't sure which kind I was. He nodded. Fog'll do that to you, he said.

    "We are all ignorant about most things."
    Mel Erickson

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Dockrey
    I would decide first on what bike you are going to build and how you are going to equip it. Then you can decide what tools you need. If not, you are going to buy a lot of tools you won't need or can't use. If you are just wanting to work on your own bike, then buy the tools as you need them.
    Good point. So here's what I plan to do.

    I am planning on getting a Specialized SW Tarmac SL 2007 frameset. Their frameset alread has a headset and a seatpost installed on it.

    I plan to get either Record or Chorus groupset and the Camp Eurus wheelset. I'll also get a quality stem and bars, but don't know which ones yet. I'm considering the Specialized carbon models on the SL.

    So it sounds simple right? No cutting with the hacksaw required right? I agree if there is any cutting then I'll definately send it to the LBS. Still, if I plan on replacing the headset for whatever reason, can I do that on my own or should I send that to a LBS as well?

    I know there are a million other things to consider. For example, I just read in another thread that you have to be specific about which Specialized frameset you want: there is the oversized BB and the normal size. If you get the former then you have to buy parts from Specialized for your parts and frame to be compatible. If you buy the latter type (the normal BB) then there is more flexibility in purchasing from other brands. I would get the frame with the normal BB. This is one of the reason why I hate Sony...because upgrading means you have to buy their components. One of the joys of bike making (at least for me) is to learn about the various parts and its unique qualities. Another issue is cable installation. That sounds like it could get tricky.

    So I hope that I gave you guys more info. I know it's gonna be hard, especially putting together the groupset, consideration of compatibility, and making sure the cables were installed correctly. Those three issues are what concerns me most. I'm hoping that I can get the right toolset to start my project.

  11. #11
    n00bsauce
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    I wouldn't advise buying a kit. I'd just pick up the tools you need as you need them. Get good tools and you'll never regret it. In a kit you'll always get stuff you'll never use. Even if you get a quality tool kit (like a Park kit) there are just some tools you may want from another manufacturer because they work better or are better quality or you simply prefer something about them. Sometimes you can buy tools for a lot less money that are just as good.

    After years of tool collecting you may end up spending more but you've got exactly the tools you want and like.

    P.S. Buy a torque wrench and learn how to use it. I like a clicker. If you get a clicker make sure it works in both directions as some threads (BB and pedal) are reverse threaded. Use proper torque settings as recommended by the manufacturer. Make sure the torque wrench has the proper range for bike building purposes. I've actually got two, a clicker for lower torque settings and a beam for higher torque settings. Most parts that need high torque have a recommended range which may be within 10-20 ft. lbs. You can easily get within the range with a beam wrench. Many parts that have lower torque settings are more specific. That's where a clicker comes in handy.

    Since many parts require hex wrenchs you will probably want a metric socket hex wrench set to go with the torque wrench. Sears has them for a pretty reasonable price and they are good quality. Just one example of something most kits don't include.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire

    There are your fog people & your sun people, he said. I said I wasn't sure which kind I was. He nodded. Fog'll do that to you, he said.

    "We are all ignorant about most things."
    Mel Erickson

  12. #12
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    Torque wrench types

    Stupid question, but is this the beam type?

    http://www.parktool.com/products/det...t=13&item=TW-1
    http://www.parktool.com/products/det...=13&item=TW-2#

    And is this the clicker type?
    http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...orque+Wrenches

    With the last one, I noticed that you can get them in 3/8th, 1/2-in. drives, and possible various other sizes . Do you have to get them in all different sizes to do the different kinds of work you plan to do on your bike? In other words, do you own more than 3 torque wrenches of various drive sizes?

  13. #13
    n00bsauce
    Reputation: Mel Erickson's Avatar
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    You've identified the beam and clicker torque wrenches correctly. As to size of the drive, a 3/8ths is just fine for a bicycle. The two most common sizes are 3/8 and 1/2. If you have 1/2 " sockets all you need is an adapter to use them on a 3/8" wrench and visa versa. A 3/8" wrench is just easier to handle and most of your sockets used on a bike will be 3/8". My set of Sears metric hex sockets will do anything from the stem to the crank bolt and all the sockets are 3/8".
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire

    There are your fog people & your sun people, he said. I said I wasn't sure which kind I was. He nodded. Fog'll do that to you, he said.

    "We are all ignorant about most things."
    Mel Erickson

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkdvsm
    Good point. So here's what I plan to do.

    I am planning on getting a Specialized SW Tarmac SL 2007 frameset. Their frameset alread has a headset and a seatpost installed on it.

    I plan to get either Record or Chorus groupset and the Camp Eurus wheelset. I'll also get a quality stem and bars, but don't know which ones yet. I'm considering the Specialized carbon models on the SL.

    So it sounds simple right? No cutting with the hacksaw required right? I agree if there is any cutting then I'll definately send it to the LBS. Still, if I plan on replacing the headset for whatever reason, can I do that on my own or should I send that to a LBS as well?

    I know there are a million other things to consider. For example, I just read in another thread that you have to be specific about which Specialized frameset you want: there is the oversized BB and the normal size. If you get the former then you have to buy parts from Specialized for your parts and frame to be compatible. If you buy the latter type (the normal BB) then there is more flexibility in purchasing from other brands. I would get the frame with the normal BB. This is one of the reason why I hate Sony...because upgrading means you have to buy their components. One of the joys of bike making (at least for me) is to learn about the various parts and its unique qualities. Another issue is cable installation. That sounds like it could get tricky.

    So I hope that I gave you guys more info. I know it's gonna be hard, especially putting together the groupset, consideration of compatibility, and making sure the cables were installed correctly. Those three issues are what concerns me most. I'm hoping that I can get the right toolset to start my project.
    Does Specialized not equip their Tarmac with Campy gear? I learned the hard way that it's usually much cheaper to buy the bike as close to where you want it, and swap out the few components you don't like. That would eliminate having to purchase many expensive (quality) tools. I recently built up a C-dale frame with modest components that I bought new off various sites,(including this one) only to find out that I could have purchased a new comparabale bike for 1/3 less than the build. This may not always be the case, however, in the day of $1050, 20 speed Ultegra full carbon bikes, I'll allow the bike industry to use their buying power to cut the cost of my next project.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Erickson
    A headset install doesn't require adjustment.
    Do you mean that when you buy a frame some of them will come with a headset and that in those cases you don't have to adjust it?

    Thanks,

  16. #16
    n00bsauce
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    No, I meant you don't have to adjust the races after they've been properly pressed into the head tube. You'll always have to adjust the headset after you install the fork.

    Frames come in a variety of ways depending on how they're made and marketed. Some use an integrated headset while some use a conventional headset. Most frames that use integrated headsets don't come with a headset. Some frames that use a conventional headset come with the top and bottom races installed while some don't. A few frames use an internal headset (these usually come with the parts of the headset that are in the frame already installed because the type of headset is dependant on the frame).
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire

    There are your fog people & your sun people, he said. I said I wasn't sure which kind I was. He nodded. Fog'll do that to you, he said.

    "We are all ignorant about most things."
    Mel Erickson

  17. #17
    Lemur-ing
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    I plan to build a bike up too by getting a new frame first...But.... I totally have no clue as to how to do it... I might go to my LBS and ask them to show me how they do it (I have a good rapport with the owner and mechanics there) when they do a full service or something of another bike.

    Coincidentally, I was thinking of picking up the S Works Tarmac SL as well!!

    But my LBS owner did say that since I ride a Madone, why ride a Specialized? He told me to go with sth different say like a colnago or so. Anyway, I haven't decided but that's another story for another time.

    To the OP, well, yeah, I would advice getting the headset,BB and crank installed by the LBS guys. Maybe you might be able to ask them how to run the cables or so since you're a little worried by this and they could show you on a bike they're working on.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

  18. #18

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    To everyone that is thinking about building a bike. I suggest getting "the big blue book of bicycle repair" item number BBB-1, it is from park tools and the best thing you can get for yourself.

    here is the website for the book http://www.parktool.com/products/det...9&item=BBB%2D1

    I have built up 4 diffrent bikes for a friend my father and 2 for me, and numours repairs for friends.

    I have cut my steer tubes with a pipe cutter, but it is true it will bulge the metal and you will need a file to make sure taht you get rid of the bulge and make it smooth agian. I have also cut my easton EC 90's carbon steer tube witha hack saw. If you try this, tape the tube and make sure that it is straight all the way around and make shallow and carefull cuts.

    buy your tools as you go along is a good ideal. I jumped right in to it and got a kit from nashbar and have used everything in the kit except one tool so far. Make sure you get a good set of alen wrenches. A 5mm wrench will do the magority of the work fallowed by a 4mm wrench.

    But that book will help you with everything. It is the best book that I have found out there.

  19. #19
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    If you buy a kit you'll buy a bunch of stuff you'll not need. Just buy the tools you need.

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