Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bicycle Repair Tools Review

Hello and Welcome, During my journey into the world of bicycle repair and restoration I have acquired a few tools. If fate allows me to continue on this journey it is likely that my tool inventory will continue to grow. From time to time I like to share with you what is working well for me. And also what is not working out all that well. And as always "These are Just My Opinions" which when combined with one dollar and twenty five cents will still get you a small coffee at Speedway. Enough mindless babble, lets get started.
Above: Here are my two bicycle cable and housing cutters. I was excited when my new Park (blue/black) cable and housing cutters arrived. The Park cutters can also crimp ferrules. They did not cut cable very well originally. On closer inspection I noticed they were a little loose. So I tightened them up a little bit, and all was well "for a while". Eventually they loosened up again so I re-tightened them. This time they did not stay tight very long, maybe a few months or so. And when I went to re-tighten them again it was no longer working as the threads were now stripped. While waiting for the Pedro cable cutters to arrive I forcefully threaded on a smaller nut . And so far it has worked pretty good. Now the Pedro cable cutters, (yellow) they cut cable really great. I am talking about quick, crisp cuts. But being they are still new, I will have to reserve judgement. I will get back to you on a future tool review. As for now, well... when they are both sitting there side by side, I grab the Pedro cutters.
Above: As for this Park Tool 3-Way Wrench, they hit this one out of the park! "pun intended" This little tool is a real time saver, and a handy bring along tool as well. If you work on bikes this is a Must Have tool for sure.
Above: This Avenir three way wrench is another Must Have tool. I am sure Park Tool makes one of these as well. The Avenir tools tend to be a little cheaper and hold up fairly well.
Above:I use this Avenir Pro Spoke Wrench Set. If you are still using the multi. size round spoke wrench, Log off now and order a set of these now. I am 100% sure that Park also makes a similar set.
I resisted purchasing one of these Irwin Quick Grip clamps for bicycle work for a long time. But then again I was the kind of guy who drove a stick shift truck while talking on the cell and drinking coffee and eating a doughnut. What is the clamp for?
Above: If you have ever tried to hold a brake closed with one hand while trying to pull the slack out of a cable and tighten the anchor point with the other hand. Then you can plainly see the advantage of using a clamp. Some use a slide clamp, I like this one for it's one hand operation. Anyway if not a "Must Have" tool it certainly is a "Should Have" tool. The pads on the clamp could be attached a little tighter. But I have been able to work with it without much trouble.
Above: A complete set of Park Cone Wrenches. A little extravagant? maybe. But worth their weight in gold. These were a gift from my wife who knew I wanted them. But also knows I am way too cheap to ever purchase "the set". Is the full set a must have? Probably not for everyone. But I give them a big thumbs up!
Above: A set of 3/8 drive Allen wrenches which also includes some star and other uncommon types. I do not use these as much as I once did. But for mechanical work in general they are a must have. Very handy for a stuck stem bolt and other tough applications.
Above: An Large adjustable wrench is always a Must Have. Along with one or two normal size adjustable wrenches. A triple Must Have!!! I have said this before, Do not buy a cheap adjustable wrench. The cheap ones are sloppy and will do more damage than good.
Above: My Park square taper crank puller / crank arm remover. I have had three different versions of this tool and the Park Tool version is by far the sturdiest. Definitely a Must Have tool!
Above: A Sealed or Cartridge type Bottom Bracket removal Park Tool BBT-22 tool. Definitely a Must Have tool. This one is manufactured by Park and is for removing Shimano sealed bottom brackets.
Above: A Hozan lock ring tool is an absolute Must Have Tool. A large and small tool is even better. Without a doubt you should have one. Your screw-drivers will thank you :)
The Park Tool spa 2 Spanner is a Must Have tool. This one has round pegs. I need to get another one with square pegs as well. Like the Lock Ring tool this tool is often used to break down old style three piece cranks. This one is made by Park Tool and has held up very well. Which is saying a lot. Because the life of a spanner is no walk in the Park.
Above: This is a Shimano/Sram cassette removal tool. This particular one is for a Shimano or Sram cassette. A Must Have tool for sure. I am not certain how many different cassette tools there are. But I imagine like Free wheel tools there are several.
Above: Do not be fooled by the small size. This little Park Tool CT5 Chain Tool is a little work horse. You can feel the the quality of the manufacturing the first time you use it. And by design it does not feel uncomfortable when using it. (unlike every other small chain tool I have ever owned) I have only owned it about 6 or 8 months, but I am sure it will last a long time due to the quality of the construction. This tool is designed for typical 3/32 multi speed chains. It may be possible to use this tool on a larger 1/8th chain but I would not recommended it.
Above: This Park Tool Screw Type Bicycle Chain Tool - CT-7 is also an excellent quality tool. And unlike the smaller one can also be used for the larger 1/8th chains. Due to it`s larger size it is more of a "in shop" tool. All the fixed gear bikes I have built-up or overhauled so far have all had 1/8th chains. And many 3 speeds and single speed bikes have the heavier 1/8th chains as well. So it will get plenty of use. This is also one of the newer tools around the shop. And like the CT-5 I expect it will be around for a long time. It has been my experience that cheap chain tools do not last. After destroying about 3 or 4 cheaper tools in relatively short time it was time to purchase a set of quality Park Tool chain tools.
Above: I purchased this set of T handle Allen wrench set at one of the better hardware stores in the area. Several companies make good quality T wrenches. Park and Pedro both offer quality T handle Allen wrench sets. Allen wrenches are one of those tools which I like to have access to every type. I have many typical L shaped Allen Wrenches. And the three way quick Allen wrench as well as the T Handle and the Ratchet driven set. There are times when it is helpful to have the type that works best for what you are doing. That certainly doesn't mean I think you should run out and buy all four types at once though.
Above: Park Tool Free wheel removal tools. Which ones should you buy? Well that depends on what you work on the most. I would suggest you purchase these as needed. I find the Park free wheel removal tools to be of excellent quality. If you get in a rare bike to restore or overhaul, one you won`t likely be seeing again anytime soon. You might just want to pay the 5 bucks and have your local bike shop remove the free wheel for you. This goes for single speed free wheels as well.
Above: Chain whips are used for removing and installing fixed gear cogs. Also used on free-wheels (tightening) and (removing) cassettes. How often you use these depends on what type of gears you are working with. But when you do need one they are certainly well worth having around. Since the design is so simple some people like to make their own. I don`t think this is a tool you need to spend a lot of money on. I have two reasonably priced Avenir chain whips. I think the best set up would be to have two 3/32 chain whips and one 1/8th chain whip. I am only one chain whip away from the perfect set-up. If you normally have your cogs and freewheels/cassettes removed and replaced at a shop you may not need these at all.
Above: A Park tool RR12 metric tape measure is an absolute must. I usually use mine to quickly size up a frame, especially if I am searching for a frame for myself. Or if someone calls looking for a particular size bike or frame. It seems silly to rate a tape measure, as they are all pretty much the same. But I will say I have had this Park Tool tape measure for quite awhile and it is holding up fine. You might even say it "measures up" to the competition.
Above: A The Classics 12-Inch Stainless Steel Ruler with Cork Backing is also a must for measuring parts and hub widths etc etc. This one has a cork underside side so it wont scratch the paint.
Above: A sliding measuring caliper is also a must. I like this one because it can measure both inside and out side diameters. This is a really cheap one and is not all that easy to read. "Some day I will purchase a caliper of a higher caliber". (Try saying that ten times really fast)
Above: A good pair of pliers with a side cutter. For a long time these were my only cable cutters. I actually bought these at an Ace Hardware and they turned out to be better than I expected. The handle covers will loosen up after a while. A little Permatex # 2 Hardening Gasket (in a tube) will fix it. Just squeeze some inside the grip and slide it back on and let dry. To many uses to list. That is why you will find a pair in almost every tool box.
Above: Needle-nose pliers also a must have tool. And also too many uses to bother listing. Nice for holding small parts while low speed brass wheel brushing. Also found in any well stocked toolbox.
Above: bull-nose puller nippers. These do come in handy. Example: Trying to cut-off a tight zip-tie without scratching the paint. I just slip this over the little box on the zip tie and cut it right off. You can also crimp cable tips with these. Also good for pulling out small foreign objects from rubber or wood. Maybe not a "must have" but at times a very handy tool to have around. And that's No Bull.
Above: Bicycle Alloy Set Tire Levers. Do you know why I do not have any plastic ones? Because eventually, They all broke. So unless you "never tire" of breaking plastic levers, you really should have a set of these.
Above: The Stanley "Quick Slide Sport" Utility knife. One end a razor knife the other a jack knife. For safety only one end can be opened at one time. Tool-less blade change, but no extra blade storage. But still the best damn work knife I have ever owned. These knives are still available for $18.65 The single blade version is 10.65 CAUTION! When cutting or stripping something with a knife Always cut away from yourself. Someone close to me cut them selves pretty severely about a week after I told them this. And no I did not say "I told you so" But I sure as hell was thinking it. Both of these knives are available in Hugh's Online Bike Shop. Path > bicycle shop tools > page 14
Above: A good tool for any toolbox. At least one pair of Locking Vice-Grips. These come in several sizes and shapes. I am sure there is at least one design that will suit your needs. A must have tool for sure.
Above: A good set of ratcheting wrenches. I have filled out my Metric and S.A.E. sets and these are still among my most prized tools. Mine are "Metric Gear Wrench" brand. Craftsman make a really nice set as well. A 100% Must Have tool set.
Above: The Topeak JoeBlow Sprint. This is a well designed floor pump with a plunger handle lock down feature, sturdy base and easy to read top mounted air gauge. A few other nice features are it's Presta and Schrader lock-on valve. It also has a lower hook and upper clip for keeping the hose out of the way when not in use. And the rotating yellow arrow indicator on the gauge that makes the gauge even easier to read. And it has good air capacity for quick tire inflations. A good floor pump is a "must have" tool and I highly recommend this one.
Above: Most people have no idea what this little tool is when I show it to them. This is a Schrader Valve tool. If you have a inner tube with a Schrader valve and it has a slow leak. You might want to check and see if the Schrader valve is loose. Even "with inflation" these are still very affordable. A "should have" tool for sure.
Above: Probably the most important tool any of us will ever own, our computers. Chances are pretty good if you need some help doing a repair or finding a part. There is someone out there who can help. Some of the best people I have ever met, are people I have never met.
This post could have gone on forever. But for now it will end. I will continue with power-tools, larger tools and "work and truing" stands in the near future. Until next time, RIDE SAFELY and Remember to Always....RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!....... Cheers
Above: 1963 My first bike. Photograph taken in front of my folks house in the old neighborhood 50 years ago. That old bike was in rough shape when I got it, but I loved it just the same.
Thanks again to those of you who have been using and checking out Hugh's Online Bike Shop. It is pretty well stocked now, with more to come in the future. If you would like to see it there is a link in the right column just below the Followers/Members. It doesn't cost anything to look, so please do. Cheers, Hugh

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Diamondback Overdrive 29'er. A Second Look

Hello and Welcome, Just a few months ago I did a Blog Post titled "Searching for the Best Cheap 29'er?". One of the 29'ers that impressed me was the 2012 Diamondback Overdrive.
The following is the description and what I had to say about the 2012 Diamondback Overdrive 29'er then. The 2012 Diamondback 29er. Brakes Tektro Novela Disc w 6 inch Rotors. (2013 Diamondback Overdrive base model no disc brakes) Shift Sram x4 Trigger. Tires WTB. Front derailleur Shimano. Fork SR SunTour. Rear derailleur Sram. This is a nice "resell able" brand name bike that makes the cut easily. The 549.00 price is a little out of my specified range. If I was going to spend that much money I think this would be a real good choice. If you found it on sale for 500.00 then yes definitely a winner.
Left: Advertisement introducing the Overdrive 29'ers in 2008. Now I was certainly not in the market for a new 29'er Mountain Bike. After all, this was just a favor for a friend and something to blog about. But "what if" I found a NEW 2012 Overdrive 29'er for say about $350
Above: Me showing-off my Awesome new Cycling Jersey that I received as a gift along with a bag of gourmet coffee (which by the way is excellent) and some really cool stickers from my friends Laura and Brian at "Roos Roast Coffee Roasters" in AnnArbor Mi. Thanks again guys! You Rock! OK back to the story. Well shortly after the BIG Holiday. I found myself with an extra 500.00 . So I decided to go back and take a second look at the Diamondback Overdrive 29er. When I spotted the 2012 Overdrive on sale for a mere 354.00 (m.s.r.p. 600.00) I just could not resist. Even my darling wife thought it was a good idea (and that never happens) Well how could I walk away from this fantastic deal? I couldn't. Here is just one example of why I think this is a really awesome deal. On Oct. 29th 2012 a damaged one of these (including frame damage) was sold on the e bay for 227.50 + 21.42 shipping That is about 106 dollars less than I just paid for this brand spanking new one Still in the box! I hate to say it but.. With the shipping industry being what it is, this was at best "a roll of the dice". Fortunately this box showed up at my front door in near perfect condition. Here's to you Mr UPS Guy! Well done!
Above: Here I am installing the mtb pedals. For the first ride I thought it best to just go with stock pedals with no toe clips and straps. This will be my first time riding a 29er, so I am going to keep it "as simple as possible". Besides, while we are having a thaw right now, I am not sure if the paved trail will be free of snow and ice once I get back in the woods.
Above: As always I did apply a wee bit of grease to the pedal threads before threading them in by hand. It is my belief that everything should be screwed or threaded in by hand (for starters) to avoid cross-threading. For now I will install the stock saddle and change it latter if necessary. The assembly (what there is of it) instructions are pretty good. I did have to be sure the tire and brake disc rotation matched when installing the front disc. The front caliper directions show an adapter, but that does not apply to this bike. Which is a good thing, since I could not locate one anywhere in the box or parts bags. Both the disc and caliper bolted into place without a hitch.
Above: Here I have mounted the front wheel. I left the caliper just loose enough that I could still maneuver it (the caliper) into position while sliding the disc into place between the two pads inside the caliper. Once the wheel is on I can adjust the caliper position using a LED Flashlight to make sure the gap between the pads and disc looks good. Once I am satisfied with the caliper position I tighten the mounting bolts. Now I can connect the cable to the caliper. It rubbed a little (disc to pads) when I first spun the wheel. Then I realized they (The Calipers) are self adjusting. After a few good pulls on the brake lever while spinning the wheel the caliper adjusted itself quite nicely. The cable routing and hook up are simple and the directions are pretty clear.
Now I can trim the brake cable and crimp-on a cable tip. Since I still have handlebar and possibly shifter & lever position adjustments to make, I will not trim the cable too short. For now I will tilt the handlebars close to what looks correct and snug up the clamp. I will take a few wrenches with me on the ride to make final handlebar and saddle adjustments on the spot. I suggest that If you want to re-grease the front wheel bearings you do this before you install the disc. Then wipe off any excess grease and clean any grease off your hands before handling the disc.
Above: The trail map picture taken in the summer. This is a short trail marked in yellow. I like to ride the outer perimeter (RED) usually 4 or 5 laps. This combined with the ride to and from the park is about 8 or 10 miles depending on the route taken. The first ride went really well. I was able to make all my final adjustments in the parking lot before entering the trail. One part of the trail was very hard slush and snow. The kind of partially melted ice that breaks up under your tires. The bike handled it really well, and so did I for that matter :) It brought back memories of riding through the snow and slush on my paper route as a boy.
Above: This is what the trail looked like on my last visit. This was obviously before the thaw. This powder was not too deep and would actually have been fairly easy to ride through. That is if you can stand the cold. The soft half frozen ice is tricky because as it breaks under the weight of the tires the bike gets pushed around a bit. Your weight is constantly shifting to adjust. It is sort like riding a unicycle on a bumpy surface.
Above: Now back at home I will start to make some equipment changes to suit my needs and riding style. I was not able to find a comfortable riding position for the stock saddle. And I was wearing my padded Canari Cycling Shorts under my long Adidas jogging pants. So I just went ahead and installed the Speed V Comp Saddle. Nothing fancy, just very comfortable and not bad looking either. And the W.T.B. logo matches the same on the WTB Wolverine 29'er tires. How fitting "Wolverine" tires, and myself only 3/4 of an hour away from the "Big House". Home of the UM Wolverines football team, Go Blue!
Above: Another change I made right away was to install the clip-less pedals. Now that I feel confident riding the 29'er and I enjoyed it immensely, no sense delaying the inevitable. I have a feeling this is going to be my "main ride" for quite a while.
Above: I will also be replacing the grips. These just are not wide enough for my large manly hands..ltms.... Seriously, they really are not wide enough. And they need more padding. I will order some phat clamp-ons tomorrow.
I will also be ordering a new wedge tool bag. I think I will get a detachable bag. Hopefully I will be able to find one similar to my old red Cannondale wedge bag. I really should have kept that one for myself. But it really did look good on that chrome framed Raleigh Teton.
Above: The suspension fork has dampening adjustment at the top of the fork legs. And rebound adjustment on the lower (bottom) fork legs. This suspension is "no big deal" by today's standards. But should easily handle anything my 56 year old and tired body can throw at it.
Above: I could not help but notice, that looks like the same rear derailleur I installed on Laura's bike. And I think the shifters and levers are the same as well. AND!! Is that a pie plate I see behind the cassette? Have I lived so long that they have come back into fashion? Cool!! Because I have a boat load of vintage pie plates laying around the shop / garage. UPDATE: The 2012 Diamondback Overdrive is no longer available on Amazon. If they do not sell out, I would imagine the 2013 Diamondback Overdrive will be marked down after the 2013 holiday season. It might be worth the wait.
Above: I really do love the new jersey. But Please, take the bloody picture already! How long do you think I can suck in my gut? My God I look like I`m about to fall over...LOL.. Until next time Please RIDE SAFELY and Remember to Always....RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE Cheers, Hugh
A sincere Thank You to those of you who have been using or just checking out "Hugh's Online Bike Shop". It is pretty well stocked now and it is getting a little more organized every day. If you have not visited it yet and would like to. The link is in the top right column just below the Followers
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