Tools & Maintenance Equipment

Prestacycle Prestaratchet Kits

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In case you didn’t notice the 5-star rating above, I really like these mini ratchet toolkits from Prestacycle (I have both tools; see the other photo, below). In fact, they’ve become among my most-used tools because of their convenient size, nice action and wide assortment of bits. I even use them at work. You might think that ratchets have to be full size to work well and hold up. And there are plenty of high quality standard-size ratchets to choose from. But for bike work, Prestacycle’s mini models outperform the bigger ratchets in several ways.

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Wheel Fanatyk Mitutoyo Digital Spoke Tensiometer

WheelFanatykTensiometer.WEBNothing is more important for the integrity of bicycle wheels than spoke tension. Too loose or tight and wheels are unstable, or worse, they may fail. Because Ric Hjertberg is a longtime friend, who owned Wheelsmith and now owns Wheel Fanatyk, I decided to look into his newer and superior tensiometer. Ric sent me the Mitutoyo Digital along with the optional Foot Pedal Data Output System to try out. Let’s look at the Tensiometer first.

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Pedro’s Super Prestige Professional Floor Pump

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I like Pedro’s Super Prestige Professional pump so much I bought two of them. One resides in my home bike shop and the other lives in my van. I’ve been using these pumps for a couple of years now and they still perform like new. I actually have a compressor in my garage, but these pumps work so well, I usually reach for them. I like to point out good floor pumps because the most common maintenance task is topping off your tire pressure. And, unfortunately, even many so-called “shop-quality” and expensive models can perform sub-par.

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Otto Tuning System

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Otto is for checking and tuning your rear derailleur alignment and adjustment. There are two parts to the system: an iPhone app plus a tuning kit composed of 2 plastic pieces – engineered gauges that allow checking alignment. One fits onto the back of your rear derailleur and the other fits onto the back of your cassette. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you follow its great videos and spoken directions through a series of steps to use Otto’s Check function that quickly tells you (in Siri’s voice) if your derailleur is A-OK.

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Aergun X-1000 Floor Pump

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Why shouldn't a pump just work? You grab it, stick the single pump head that fits any valve stem (Presta or Schrader) on the stem, close the lever to lock it firmly in place, inflate the tire to whatever pressure you wish and, if you happen to overinflate it, just press the built-in bleed valve on the pump head to dial back to the desired pressure. In short, that's exactly what the Aergun does: It just works.

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Guru Experience Total Bike Fit System

GURU photo.web The underlying principle of the GURU Experience fit system is that it fits a bike to the rider, not the rider to the bike. This system will accommodate a person new to cycling, as well as a seasoned racer. In other words, both a new rider who has no idea of what size, type, shape of bike, saddle, bars, etc., are most suited to them -- as well as someone who has raced the last 20 years and has long-held notions of what equipment works best.

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GloveBucket

Remember those science-fiction films, where scientists in white lab coats stood behind a glass wall, stuck their hands into sleeved gloves built into it and safely worked on radioactive gizmos on the other side? That's what Bikin' Bob Snelling's ingenious GloveBucket lets cyclists do - minus the radioactivity business. The GloveBucket is an industrial-strength square 5-gallon plastic bucket with heavy-duty sleeved rubber gloves built in.

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Park Tool 100-3D Professional Micro-Adjust Repair Stand Clamp

The clamp has nice rubber jaws to safeguard your frame and seatpost (They're replaceable, too). There are also openings for the cables, should you need to clamp a bike by the top tube. But it's the shape of the jaws and how wide they open that changes everything. They will hold "tube" diameters from 7/8 of an inch to aero "tubing" up to 3 inches wide (23-76mm). Plus, the clamp sports a handy cam lever closure to rapidly close/open the clamp once it's set to the right width.

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Park Tool CC-3 Chain Wear Indicator

This one is a no-brainer. The Park CC-3 Chain Wear Indicator could be the perfect tool. it's so helpful, affordable and easy to use that it belongs in every roadie's tool box -- even if it's the only thing in there because you're so mechanically disinclined. You won't have any trouble mastering the CC-3. Just hook the curved end inside a link with the 0.75% scale on the bottom edge. Lower the tool to the chain.

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Cobra Tire Tool

Unlike traditional levers that come in sets of 2 or 3, you get one Cobra tool for your money. It's made of a tough glass-filled nylon so it won't break or mar the rims or your frame (keep reading). It has the same hooked tip found on tire levers and slides easily on the rim. But that's where the similarities end. The Cobra's handle is U-shaped. And that, plus the way you use it, is what sets this tool apart.

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Park Tool PRS-20 Team Race Stand

If you maintain your bikes fastidiously and own a truing stand to do wheel work, you'll find Park's Team Race Stand the perfect complement to your home and traveling tool kits. Like all of Park's tools, it's built to last a lifetime. It's reasonably priced for a pro-quality stand. Plus, it's nice to know that no matter how much of a rush you're in, you can't accidentally damage a frame tube or rip a decal by clamping too tightly or in the wrong place.

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Effetto Mariposa GF Torque Wrench

The Effetto Mariposa GF (GiustaForza) torque wrench has been reviewed by several other websites and magazines, but has it been tested in a real shop in busy working conditions? It has now. The GF is designed and marketed mainly for personal use in a home shop, but I figured that if it can do the job in my Cascade Bicycles repair dept., it can do the job in your garage or basement. It can.

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