Tools For The Advanced Home Mechanic
Most home mechanics won't need all of these tools, but the advanced ones will. With these, you could do most major repairs and overhauls.
- Truing stand with base
- Wheel dish tool
- [English] hex wrenches
- Torx hex wrenches
- Shop apron
- Bench vise
- Thread pitch gauge
- Headset cup press
- Spoke ruler
- Air pressure gauge
- Chainring nut wrench
- Third hand tool
- Fourth hand tool
- Chain wear checker
- Spoke tensiometer
- Spoke nipple driver
- Adjustable saw guide
Truing stand with base
If you've made it this far, you're ready to true wheels. For that, you'll need a good truing stand and possibly a tilting base to keep it steady. If you won't be truing a lot of wheels, go with a Spin Doctor or Minoura truing stand. For heavy use, go with the Park TS-2 with a tilting base.
Wheel dish tool
If you plan to build wheels or do serious truing, you will also want a wheel alignment gauge, or a "dishing" tool. This allows you to check if the wheel is properly centered over the hub. A good choice is the Park WAG-4.
[English] hex wrenches
In some odd circumstances, you might need some hex wrenches in "American standard" sizing, instead of the traditional metric.
Torx hex wrenches
For disc brake rotors and other small fasteners, you will need some Torx wrenches. They are similar to hex wrenches, but with more of a splined bolt pattern.
To keep your clothes clean and store common tools at your fingertips, you could consider a shop apron. Similar to a kitchen apron with extra pockets, you can get shop aprons from Park Tool and Finish Line.
There are so many times I've had to use a bench-mounted vise to hold something steady while I torque it - usually to loosen a stuck part on an old bike.
Thread pitch gauge
If you need to buy replacement bolts, you can use this to measure the thread pitch so you know what replacements to get.
Headset cup press
For pressing in traditional headsets, a cup press makes the job much easier. The Park HHP-2 is expensive, the Park HHP-3 is a little cheaper, and the cheapest option is to make your own.
A spoke ruler, such as the Park SBC-1, makes it easy to measure a proper spoke length when replacing spokes. This model also includes holes to measure ball bearing size.
Air pressure gauge
If you don't want to carry around your floor pump to check tire pressures, get a digital pressure gauge that will accurately measure the current tire pressure. I use a Planet Bike Airmate.
Chainring nut wrench
Even though they're small, chainring bolts can cause a lot of aggravation. Most of that comes when you don't have a special wrench to hold the chainring nut in place while loosening the bolt. The Park CNW-1 is a good choice for this specialty wrench, and it only costs a few dollars.
Third hand tool
The third hand tool acts as a "third hand" when you need one - it holds the brake pads closed against the rim, allowing you two free hands to make adjustments. The Park BT-5 is one choice, although you can also use a ViseGrip Quick Grip.
Fourth hand tool
This tool is for stretching cables tighter than you can do by hand. The Park BT-2 is a popular choice.
Chain wear checker
No more guessing or using a simple ruler to see if your chain is worn out. With one of these gauges, you can see if your chain needs replaced, or how close it is to being worn out. I like the ProLink Chain Checker.
Spoke Tension Meter
This tool checks spoke tension so you know the exact tension on your spokes, which is important because you'll need to set each spoke to the proper tension. The Park TM-1 is a popular choice.
Spoke nipple driver
...SW-15, Our innovative 3-way “Y” wrench featuring three different sized wrenches to fit internal spoke nipples. Featuring a 3.2mm square drive, plus 5mm and 5.5mm hex sockets that slip perfectly into the tight surroundings of most rims.
Adjustable saw guide
You can't just take a hacksaw and cut away at your bike. You should have a guide to keep the saw going in a straight line when cutting fork steerer tubes, seat masts, and other parts. The Park SG-7 does it all.
...The precision sized SW-7 fits the three most popular spoke nipple sizes on the market. Sizes equal to SW-0, 1, 2. The SW-7 is nickel plated for years of service. Designed for the home mechanic.
Now you should be able to accomplish just about any repair! If you aspire for something more, move on to the Shop Tools List, although that might be pushing it a little bit.