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Bike tools,..? Best brand,..?

29020 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Ol' DirtDawg
I am looking to purchase a selection of bicycle specific tools, and I was wondering which brand would give the best quality for my money spent. I am familiar with "Park", "Pedros", "Lifu", and "Spin Doctor".

I would sincerely appreciate any comments and suggestions from the members of this forum (re) tool brand and quality vs cost, (from personal experiences)

My goal is to have a selection of tools that would give me the capabilities of building a bike from the bare frame up, as well as performing repairs of all types.

I am an aviation mechanic by trade, as I allready own a large selection of "Snap-On" and "Craftsmans", tools, so when I do decide to make my bike tool choice,and purchase, quality, warranty, and tool performance will be high on my priorities.

Thanks in advance for everyones input.

Ol' DirtDawg
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I'm surprised to hear you say you've got Craftsman in your tool box. I'm not a A&P, but have worked in and around the industry for a while now, and I've yet to hear any of 'em speak positively about Craftsman. I, personally, am happy to have drawers full of Craftsman stuff -- that's my "good" stuff as a home mechanic.

Oh, but I digress...

It's hard to beat Park, but not impossible. Gotta love Park and Calvin Jones for hanging out here and giving great advice, as well as for putting up their excellent website that really gives a good book such as Leonard Zinn's a run for the money -- er, except that the Park website is free (Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance is still money well spent, though).

Oh, did I digress again?

Pedro's gives Park some good competition. It's hard to spend $25 on a Park pedal wrench, for instance, when Pedro's sells one for $15. Or $35 on a Park torque wrench when it's the exact same rebadged wrench Sears sells for $20. I've always been a little leery of Lifu, mainly because I don't know who or what Lifu is, but for ten years I've been using one of their bottom bracket tools -- perhaps the hardest working tool in the box? -- and it's held up great. Spin Doctor sells a really great inexpensive chainring nut driver that I've not seen from Park or Pedro's, and their $40 wheel truing stand got me through my first few wheel builds like a champ.

If you're going to get in to the shop-type stuff such as headset presses and derailleur hanger alignment guages, Park is the automatic choice. That is, unless you want to improvise a $3 headset press out of a 6" bolt and a stack of fender washers, or a headset cup remover out of a short section of PVC, which have both been working great for me for years now.

As far as work stands go, everyone has their preference, and I prefer Ultimate's stable and portable tripod base and spinner clamp over what I've seen from Park's vast selection.

Unless you're committed to buying everything in one shot in kit form to save a few bucks on a quantity purchase, I'd suggest buying stuff as you need it, or as you see it on sale. The kits, as I'm sure you already know, tend to come with some stuff you already have, and some you will never ever need.

Anyway, that's my 2¢, for whatever it's worth. It sounds as if you have 20x the wrenching experience I do and I'm sure you know a good (or bad) tool when you see one.
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You can't go wrong with Park tools but yes they are expen$e

I'd have/had several Pedro's tools. The allen key set does not feel right in the hand, too many sharp corners. And i had to return a Pedro's BB tool because it didn't fit "right". The Park tool i exchanged it for fit perfectly. I prefer Lifu over Pedro's.
the "best?" or just shop quality

most shops use Park tools because they're shop quality, made for use day after day. Most other brands, like the ones you mentioned, are "consumer" quality, fine for occasional home use, but they won't hold up for years and decades like Park's stuff.
If you want the "Best," track down a Campagnolo complete tool kit, or if you don't need its frame prep tools, the Campy "reduced" tool kit. Both come in a nice wooden case with cutouts for each individual tool, so you know instantly if somebody borrowed one.
I think prices start at around $3,000, if you can find one. Not sure they're still made. But boy are they sweet tools to use, oh yeah!
I would rank them

1. Park - You can't go wrong, I've still got every park tool I ever purchased and they still work great (well the cable cutter is a little dull after 8 years)
2. Pedro's - as commented above, some good value there but they don't have the range of products Park does
3. Spin doctor - Performance house brand - I got one of their truing stands and it is all I've needed for truing to full builds. Generally no frills stuff that will get the job done but cheaper look and construction
?. Lifu - Life who? No experience with them, looks to be on a par with spin doctor

As for stands I like Park there as well. If I didn't already have a Park PCS 1 I would take a hard look at ultimate and pedro's offerings though

My $.02
Pedro's Tools

Thanks for starting this thread. It is great to hear your opinion and see what has worked and not worked for you. Here at Pedro's we use this info to help us create better products.

I have a few quick things to add about Pedro's Tools.

1. All Pedro's hand tools come with an unlimited lifetime warranty. This warranty covers everything, NOT just workmanship and materials. If you ever have trouble with a Pedro's tool we will take care of you.

2. Pedro's flat wrenches are through-hardened not case hardened like others. If you visualized an M&M as case-hardened (Hard on the outside - soft on the inside) and a Jolly Rancher (hard all the way through) as through-hardened you can see how through-hardening makes a better wrench.

3. Our Hex Wrenches are 15% harder than most of our competitors. On our T-Hex Sets we put the ball end on the low torque end and a flat end on the high torque end.

4. Innovation and ergonomics. With all our tools we think about the mechanic. The hanging hole on our flat and pedal wrenches is at the top of the wrench near the opening so it doesn't take you two motions to use the tool. Just take it off the hook and use it, not take it off the hook, flip it over in your hand and use it. Also, our 30 degree off set on our pedal wrenches keeps your knuckles away from your chainrings.

I hope this helps you understand more about Pedro's tools. If you have any questions feel free to post them or check out our website

No go ride your bike!

Karl Wiedemann
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I want to sincerely thank everyone for their input, experiences, and their suggestions.

I have decided to make my purchase of a combination of "Park" and "Pedros" tools.

These two brands, (I have found) have the best reviews, consumer loyality, warranty, and above all, quality.

Now then,....

What bike stand to purchase,....??


Thanks again ya'll


Ol' DirtDawg
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