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Special Tools & Economics (Tips)
#1
The question I had is something to work out in terms of costs versus time used. Are there cheaper alternatives to many of the seemingly specialized tools that are used throughout the videos. I'm thinking that it might be okay to put money into those things if you're working on bikes all the time, but harder to consider it if you just have one or two bikes that you're wanting to keep going to ride (thinking the audience, primarily).

For example, are regular wrenches acceptable as an alternative to cone wrenches where they appear in the videos?

Or the specific one I've been dwelling on: Buying a large quantity of grease that may never be entirely used up in 10 years (along with the grease gun, it seems all grease I find either comes in big tubes for grease guns or big tubs) and will probably get old long before then. I know from watching my father regularly work on cars that a canister in his grease gun lasted a long time for that, probably much more so bikes. Or am I underestimating the amount of grease that might get used when it comes to overhauling hubs, the bottom bracket, and the headset?
Or if there's no alternative to some of those things, is there generally an acceptable way in most cases to find the tool to use it in the rare times that it might be necessary (I do know you can buy a chainwhip tool at the hardware store, so I know bikes aren't its only use).

Any thoughts?
Why is it that they make adult bikes that'll generally work for 5'9" or above, yet when you pedal these same bikes they only work for someone who is 5'4" or so?
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#2
Costs v. times used is the million dollar question. One way to think about it is this: if you consider the costs of buying the tools (and the grease), its still cheaper to do it yourself than to pay the bike mechanic to do it. And the second time you use the tools (and the grease) to do whatever repairs or tuneups you need, the tools (and the grease) have paid for themselves.

For some things, you will need the cone wrench (i.e., the pedals). The problem is that cone wrenches are not only weak (I've broken many a cone wrench) but they are not cheap. I prefer using the sears craftsman wrenches. (they have a lifetime warranty, and they mean it). However, those wrenches won't really help you out too much in terms of removing the pedals and headsets.
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#3
I agree with McLovin... it depends on how often you will use the tool. Some tools pay for themselves after one use, while others have to be used many times before they're worth it.

For each repair, find out how much the shop will charge (in labour). For example, they may say it will cost $20 labour to overhaul your hub. Try and guess how many times in your life you might need that done. If you think you might do that job fives times, that is $100. Now look at the cost of tools and supplies to do the job yourself. If some cone wrenches, bearings and grease only cost you $20, then it pays for itself on the first job, and you'll save another $80 over the course of your life.

Tools and knowledge will also enable you to help your friends fix their bikes and so on... in my opinion it's worth having a <a href="http://bikeride.com/basic-tools/">basic toolkit</a> if you plan to ride a well-maintained bike.
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#4
Actually, I just overhauled the front hubs of three bikes and did fine for most part with the regular wrenches. I lucked out and ended up with some odds and ends recently and one of them was a cone wrench. I can't say I really needed it on the cones (they seemed to be finger-tight for most part) but it was nice to have.
Thanks for the advice!

Why is it that they make adult bikes that'll generally work for 5'9" or above, yet when you pedal these same bikes they only work for someone who is 5'4" or so?
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#5
Many of the special wrenches for bikes (cones, pedal, etc.) are just narrower than a standard wrench. If you can find cheap used wrenches at yard sale, etc. you can often file them down a bit so they'll work for bikes fine. BTW, if you don't have the right size cone wrench, it is hard to get them adjusted right when you rebuild. If they're 'hand tight' they are going to lose their adjustment and need work fast. If you just tighten the lock nut with a regualr wrench without holding the cone in place with a cone wrench, you probably overtightened everything and it's going to wear out fast. Tools, bought or made, are always a good investment.

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#6
i look at tools like my wife looks at shoes, even if i never use it, i still gotta have it! i understand your point, and like was said before, some tools are necessary while others you can "cheat" to get by.
one thing Alex didnt mention in his theory is inflation. its always cheaper to buy it now than later, and that will save you even more in the long run. then its time to take that money and buy more toolsSmile
Get on your bad pedalscooter and ride!
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#7
(09-18-2010, 04:49 PM)X-RAY Wrote:  i look at tools like my wife looks at shoes, even if i never use it, i still gotta have it!

I'm right there with ya. I love getting new tools. Each time I get to a point when I need a tool, I just order it. I put a computer right here in my work shop and it has helped me a lot. Especially with watching the videos as I'm right here working on the bikes.
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