building by bike repair toolbox

Among my Christmas presents were a few bike tools. The packages said they were from Santa, but I think my mom actually wrote that – the handwriting looked a lot like hers. Those tools were all Park tools: an FR-5 freewheel tool, a BBT-2 bottom bracket tool, and a CWP-6 crank puller. I was pretty excited to finally have a couple of tools, and a few days later I decided to see how much I remembered from class.

It went pretty well. I hadn’t completely forgotten anything, although I originally had the wrong tip in my crank puller and stripped a single loop of threading from my left-side crank. Oops. Apart from that, everything was fine until I tried to remove the bottom bracket cup. The recommended torque for a Shimano bottom bracket cup is roughly 600 to 700 inch-pounds. My ratchet was about six inches long, and bottom brackets don’t have a very deep keying, so producing 100+ pounds of force on the end of my ratchet was going to be too difficult and dangerous. I needed a longer lever.

I didn’t try using my freewheel tool, because I didn’t have a chain whip.

The next (or maybe the same) day, I ordered a chain whip (SR-1) and a really nice pedal wrench (PW-4). I don’t have those yet, so I still haven’t taken my rear cassette off.

Today, though, my dad took me over to Sears and I picked up some simple tools that I needed. I got a ten inch adjustable wrench, a deep 15mm socket (for turning the crank puller’s plunger), and a longer ratchet. At first, I was despairing my inability to find a long 3/8” ratchet with a solid (not a flex) head. I finally asked the Sears guy, who dug through a drawer and finally looked up and realize that there was on hanging on a hook right next to the one I’d taken. I felt dumb.

I later realized that I’d grabbed a 12-point, and not 6-point, socket. I’m not really concerned about that, though. I’m not going to be applying huge amounts of force to my crank puller.

I also picked up another socket. The freering tool has a hexagonal profile, so I figured that I could use a socket. None of mine were large enough for it, so I checked out the sockets at Sears. It as much to large for the 24mm socket and much to small for the 27mm. I tried the 1” socket, knowing it wouldn’t be a perfect fit, and it was just a hair too large. I figured it must be a 25mm hex, then, because all bike tools are metric. My dad and I hunted and hunted for a 25mm socket, most of which were found only in enclosed sets. Finally, he found an exposed 25mm box wrench, and lo! The freering tool didn’t fit. It must actually be a one-inch hex. What the!?

Later research showed that they expect me to buy and use a “freewheel remover wrench, which is basically a box wrench with a tightening nut. That seems completely ridiculous to me. The only reason I can see is that perhaps the standard 1” socket is too deep (the whole remover fits in the socket), but I don’t think that will be an issue in practice. I’m going to give it a try and find out. Failing that, I’ll call the local bike co-op and ask whether I’m missing something.

I’d like to get a nice chain checker (the kind that can tell you how badly your chain has stretched) and a new set of Allen keys – the Park set is nice – but other than that, I’m all set. I can get by with what I have for a good while, now.

Written on December 31, 2005
bicycle   repair   tool