Author Topic: Tool choices  (Read 2786 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Tool choices
« on: December 03, 2018, 11:26:35 pm »
Fixing my handlebars yesterday, I chose to use the tools from the bike bag to fix it, to see if I was able to fix it easily using the tools I carry with me, had I decided to fix it at the side of the road. Even tho I had a box full of "proper" bike tools just a couple of meters away.

I wondered if anyone else did similar things to test their tools/skills for when out on the road.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Tool choices
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2018, 11:47:25 pm »
Yes, particularly with regards to tightening things like axle nuts and cassette/disc rotor lockrings.  It's all very well doing them up bastard tight with a proper tool with loads of leverage, but you need to be able to get them off with the one you're carrying.

Other things I've been caught out by are allen bolts that you can't actually reach with the bit on a multi-tool (old-style Minoura SpaceGrip, IIRC), and assuming that a bicycle brake requiring a torx bit for adjustment would take a T25, because for fuck's sake.  Tyre levers are another favourite:  It's all very well using your sturdy metal levers at home, but you need to prove the plastic ones in your tool kit aren't just going to snap when faced with your particular combination of tyre and rim.

And of course the right time to learn how to fit and remove that unfamiliar gears-inna-can or e-motor hub is in the warmth of a well-lit living room, not in the pissing rain after a visitation from the p*nct*r* fairy.

Loosely related:  Standardise your tyre valves.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Tool choices
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2018, 11:53:42 pm »
it depends whether you carry tools on the bike that just 'tighten loose stuff when necessary' or intend to be able to carry out more serious maintenance.

The former will probably do for day rides but anything longer than that and having good quality tools with you  on the bike is a good idea. 

Years ago, for my touring tool kit I built a few special tools, eg

- a small (eight sided) wrench that fits onto the octagonal locknut of a 1" threaded Campag headset.  This tool was cut from sheet Ti and is designed to be knocked round using a drift and a rock. To fit it to the locknut, the quill stem has to come out first. It weighs very little (about 12g or something).

- a hollow 10mm allen key tool which can be used to retighten or remove a bolt-secured shimano freehub body. The tool comprises two short lengths of 10mm hex key which are brazed to a short length of steel tube. It weighs about 20g.

These are not workshop quality tools but they work well enough to get me out of the poop, certainly well enough to get me to a better-equipped workshop, should the need arise when on tour. They have been tested of course but in point of fact I have not had to use either tool in anger.

I recently discovered that one of the (cheap, probably came with a new bike tool kit) allen keys I was carrying on day rides was a) slightly undersize and b) made of cheese.  I'd been carrying it around for a couple of years and I am sure I'd used it before, to tighten something, but then I made the mistake of trying to loosen a tight bolt with it.... ::-)

cheers


Re: Tool choices
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2018, 12:03:03 am »
I mostly do this accidentally because they’re easier to find!

I did have the fun of discovering in a hotel room the night before an event that my portable chain tool doesn’t open far enough to push single speed chain pins back in. Obviously I only found this out after disconnecting it. That was a fun one to improvise around - I believe various pliers and brute force were applied.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Tool choices
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2018, 12:05:58 am »
Years ago, for my touring tool kit I built a few special tools, eg

- a small (eight sided) wrench that fits onto the octagonal locknut of a 1" threaded Campag headset.  This tool was cut from sheet Ti and is designed to be knocked round using a drift and a rock. To fit it to the locknut, the quill stem has to come out first. It weighs very little (about 12g or something).

- a hollow 10mm allen key tool which can be used to retighten or remove a bolt-secured shimano freehub body. The tool comprises two short lengths of 10mm hex key which are brazed to a short length of steel tube. It weighs about 20g.

Murphy's Law dictates that having the right tool or spare means that you're unlikely to suffer the problem that requires it, so this sort of thing makes a good deal of sense.

Group rides can short-circuit this effect.  People think I'm mad for carrying a 6" adjustable spanner and a lockring tool (rather than the traditional NBT2, which only works on cassettes), but the spanner gets more use than my puncture kit, simply because it's the sort of thing that other people sometimes need and don't think to carry.  The lockring tool's seen action in the field a couple of times:  Once to tighten a disc rotor that could have waited until I got home, and once to save a tandem rear wheel from a severe spoke-mashing after chain entanglement.  (Obviously I've never broken a spoke that required removal of a rotor or cassette to replace while touring.)
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Tool choices
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2018, 12:07:28 am »
I did have the fun of discovering in a hotel room the night before an event that my portable chain tool doesn’t open far enough to push single speed chain pins back in. Obviously I only found this out after disconnecting it. That was a fun one to improvise around - I believe various pliers and brute force were applied.

An annoying trend in muti-tools is having a chain tool that's only designed for removing pins (presumably on the assumption you can put the chain back together with a quick-link).  That's another good thing to discover before you need it.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Tool choices
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2018, 12:33:05 am »

Glad I'm not totally crazy. I don't carry a 6" spanner (Is that a 150mm spanner?), but I do carry a wolftooth components cassette tool, which is one of their uber light weight tools. I don't carry it on the basis that I'll use it on my own, but rather if stranded in middle of nowhere, I can ask a kind farmer to lend me a big spanner. Tho I may add the wolf tooth components light weight pack wrench to my frame bag. It's only 88g, and would mean I can do things a bit more on my own. I also have their funky quick link pliers in the tool bag, along with leatherman, tyre leavers, bead jack, topeak ratchet rocket, topeak ultra compact uber light shiny torque wrench, puncture repair kit, spare tubes... etc... I may carry too many tools... maybe. There's also a petzl e+lite for use as either an emergency don't get fined bike light, or so I can see to fix the bike in the dark...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Tool choices
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2018, 12:42:43 am »
Yeah.  The spanner went into my touring toolkit before the DunRun many years ago, and I've not got round to removing it; it's not like I'm going to notice the weight.

The tool that's conspicuously absent from my kit is anything resembling pliers/wire cutters (although a subset of pliers jobs are covered by an adjustable spanner, of course).  I'm sure that's going to be my undoing one day, though I maintain that if a Swiss Army Knife was good enough for MacGyver, it should be enough for anyone.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Tool choices
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2018, 01:51:27 am »
Yeah.  The spanner went into my touring toolkit before the DunRun many years ago, and I've not got round to removing it; it's not like I'm going to notice the weight.

The tool that's conspicuously absent from my kit is anything resembling pliers/wire cutters (although a subset of pliers jobs are covered by an adjustable spanner, of course).  I'm sure that's going to be my undoing one day, though I maintain that if a Swiss Army Knife was good enough for MacGyver, it should be enough for anyone.

I've always preferred a leatherman to a swiss army knife. Tho I realise this may be blasphemy to some. It works for me. I have quite a few (Original Wave, New Wave, Juice CS6, Squirt PS4). The Waves don't leave the house (not legal every day carry in .uk). The Juice lives in the bike top tube bag, and the squirt lives in the breast pocket of my jersey.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Tool choices
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2018, 03:08:55 am »
I mostly do this accidentally because they’re easier to find!

I did have the fun of discovering in a hotel room the night before an event that my portable chain tool doesn’t open far enough to push single speed chain pins back in. Obviously I only found this out after disconnecting it. That was a fun one to improvise around - I believe various pliers and brute force were applied.

In a similar vein; removing the ring spanners from my saddle bag to save a bit of weight on a long ride made sense as they wouldn't be needed on my geared bike which has quick release wheels. Twice I've done this, then swapped the saddle bag back to my single speed the next day, headed of on a ride and realised some distance from home that the tyre levers and tubes I'm carrying are of little use when the spanner I need to remove the wheels is still sitting on the garage shelve!

I now just leave them in the saddlebag all the time and carry them regardless of which bike I'm using.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Tool choices
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2018, 08:27:29 am »
i usually carry 4mm and 5mm allen keys as they fit 90% of all the screws on the bike. for the mega trips and the ones involving airports i add a chain tool and 8mm allen key to (re)install pedals.

Re: Tool choices
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2018, 08:55:05 am »
Fixie riders have special needs.  Unless you"re running QR hubs, which is unusual (although Goldtecs can take a QR and conversions using freewheel hubs can too), you need a big 15mm spanner; a 14mm and a 15mm, if you chose axle nuts unwisely.  Some hubs take allen bolts but the rear ones usually need a proper mullering and a long right-angled key, preferably with a handle, is useful.
Never tell me the odds.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Tool choices
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2018, 09:17:56 am »
allen bolt hubs was a primary consideration when building my ss wheels as i didn't want to carry heavy spanners. standard length (~9cm) allen key is enough to tighten - never had a wheel slip on alloy track ends.

KM

Re: Tool choices
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2018, 09:36:47 am »
I carry a spare rear derailleur hanger, but after checking if my multitool could remove the rear derailleur on one bike I noticed that the 5mm hex key couldn't get deep enough in to the recessed hole to undo the derailleur from the hanger.  And the multitool didn't have a small enough (2mm?) hex key for the two tiny bolts that fasten the hanger to frame.  So a couple of loose Allen keys are thrown in to the underseat pack mix. 

Re: Tool choices
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2018, 10:41:03 am »
I am quite likely to carry a 6" adjustable spanner on any ride longer than half a day; yes it is fairly heavy but it has so many uses that it is worth the weight.

For shorter rides I am less fussy; I am wont to carry something small and light even if it is not particularly good, on the basis that something larger and heavier might well get left behind. For example I usually carry a cheap pressed steel spanner that does at least fit the track nuts on my IGH; this is highly unlikely to be good enough to get the wheel out with, but it might get me out of the poop if one comes loose (as has happened with new paint on the dropouts for example).

cheers

Re: Tool choices
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2018, 11:02:29 am »
It depends what I am doing.
 
Day rides is a multi-tool, tyre levers, patches, pump and a tube. 
A tour would be above plus another tube, chain tool, spoke key, chain oil, quick link, spanner with lots of sizes incl 15mm for pedals, scissors, cable ties, tape.
A faster solo ride (600km+ audax or ultra-race) would be day ride plus a couple of things from tour list plus, with current bike, Di2 charger. 
I don't carry spare spokes or cables but do a bit of preventative maintenance.  I don't carry masses of tools as there is a tendency to pack for what you would have needed on past trips rather than what is probable I'd need on the next one. 

Multi-tools not being able to access certain bolts has caught me out before.  I remember a Di2 bar end shifter coming loose and, luckily, I had the right size, but there was too much bulk, so needed a bit of bending and forcing.  There is an argument for individual keys vs a multi-tool as gives more options (ie 2 ends!). 

Ultralight Igor has some good thoughts on tools (vvv towards the bottom of the page):
http://ultralightcycling.blogspot.com/

Re: Tool choices
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2018, 11:53:01 am »

Other things I've been caught out by are allen bolts that you can't actually reach with the bit on a multi-tool (old-style Minoura SpaceGrip, IIRC),

This is one that's caught me out, though thankfully non-critically. I wanted to adjust the stop on a Di2 front mech. but the 2mm allen key was unusable as the larger body of the tool prevented the correct positioning of the key.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Tool choices
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2018, 01:40:11 pm »
The tool that's conspicuously absent from my kit is anything resembling pliers/wire cutters (although a subset of pliers jobs are covered by an adjustable spanner, of course).  I'm sure that's going to be my undoing one day, though I maintain that if a Swiss Army Knife was good enough for MacGyver, it should be enough for anyone.

I've always preferred a leatherman to a swiss army knife. Tho I realise this may be blasphemy to some. It works for me. I have quite a few (Original Wave, New Wave, Juice CS6, Squirt PS4). The Waves don't leave the house (not legal every day carry in .uk). The Juice lives in the bike top tube bag, and the squirt lives in the breast pocket of my jersey.

I'd be inclined to agree.  It's mostly that the SAK has sentimental value, and I've been carrying it since I was 14.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Tool choices
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2018, 05:51:39 pm »
Yeah.  The spanner went into my touring toolkit before the DunRun many years ago, and I've not got round to removing it; it's not like I'm going to notice the weight.

The tool that's conspicuously absent from my kit is anything resembling pliers/wire cutters (although a subset of pliers jobs are covered by an adjustable spanner, of course).  I'm sure that's going to be my undoing one day, though I maintain that if a Swiss Army Knife was good enough for MacGyver, it should be enough for anyone.

I am not sure that wire cutters come in the set of substitutable tools. The day I have to buy a brake cable in a supermarket and the only one available has nipples at both ends I will find out  ???

Does anyone remember the time when derailleur cables had a choice of nipples, one at each end? Of course in those days we had double sided hubs so you could always convert to fixed or ss on the side of the road.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Tool choices
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2018, 05:55:42 pm »
Yeah.  The spanner went into my touring toolkit before the DunRun many years ago, and I've not got round to removing it; it's not like I'm going to notice the weight.

The tool that's conspicuously absent from my kit is anything resembling pliers/wire cutters (although a subset of pliers jobs are covered by an adjustable spanner, of course).  I'm sure that's going to be my undoing one day, though I maintain that if a Swiss Army Knife was good enough for MacGyver, it should be enough for anyone.

I am not sure that wire cutters come in the set of substitutable tools. The day I have to buy a brake cable in a supermarket and the only one available has nipples at both ends I will find out  ???

Hm, yeah.  I carry spare brake and gear cables (they're small and light, so silly not to, especially when tandem-length ones are required).  The one time I broke a gear cable twice on a tour I managed to find a) a bike shop   that was  b) open   in c) the middle of Wales  on d) a Sunday afternoon.  I  assume that means I've used up all my karma.

On the other hand, any shop that sells bicycle brake cables probably sells cheesy pliers, too.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Tool choices
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2018, 06:09:16 pm »
Someone on urc,  possibly Peter Clinch,  broke a cable while island hopping off the edge of Scotland. He phoned his LBS back home and got one posted to the post office he'd be passing in the next couple of days.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: Tool choices
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2018, 09:24:23 pm »
I am not sure that wire cutters come in the set of substitutable tools.
The only lightweight wire cutter I've seen was a DIY job - a hardened cylinder with a screw thread driven plunger that cut the cable against the side of a hole (or slot?) though which the cable was passed.

The Leatherman style tools I've tried (4 different) wouldn't cut a stranded cable cleanly, ending with strands jamming the jaws so the handles just folded when you tried to open the jaws for another go.

I take rear cables, and coil up the excess if I use it on the front. Remember to trim it properly when you get home - if you don't, the weight of the coil bouncing up and down will eventually break the cable flush with the clamp bolt (DAHIKT)

Re: Tool choices
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2018, 09:36:05 pm »
doubtless some folk will say that genuine leatherman tools are better than copies and they are probably right.  I try to avoid cutting cables by the side of the road; spare cables have welded ends, and (on tour) I carry a small triangular profile swiss file which can be used to

a) cut and dress spiral wound cable housing
b) clean threads up which are damaged

etc.

I have a few times on tour (with a group so a shared load is more tolerable) carried a small (4-5") pair of Elliot-Lucas engineers pliers with me, like these



these have cutting jaws which will just about work on cables and housing, but to use them you need to hit the pliers with a hammer (or rock...). The notches which work as 'wire cutters' built into many similar pliers (near the pivot) are next-to-useless on bike cable and housing IME

cheers

Re: Tool choices
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2018, 12:00:17 am »
I wasn't referring to shortening a cable that is too long, that wouldn't normally bother me (except perhaps a front mech cable which goes into your legs if it is too long). I was referring to those universal cables that have a nipple both ends (and which some cycle instructors advocate as spares on group rides 'cos they're universal). Without a tool to shift the unwanted nipple cleanly you're stuffed! A frayed end doesn't help matters either.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Tool choices
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2018, 12:11:07 am »
Indeed.  Excess cable can be coiled up at the mech/brake end, and tidied up when you get home.

As well as double-nippled cables, I can conceive of a cable becoming damaged in a way that might require you to cut it cleanly in order to easily extract it from the shifter / outer cable.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...