The never-ending flux of new “standards” in the bike industry means that the walls and drawers of workshops are never quite complete. With that, new tools seem to be revealed every few months, while increased competition at the professional end has seen these shiny new things continue to improve in quality.
Similar to Pinkbike’s Pond Beaver 2020 tool coverage
, below is a small selection of new professional and consumer tools released recently that have caught my tool-obsessed eye (and suffering wallet).
It has been decades since the blue tool company released a wholly new derailleur hanger alignment gauge, but that’s exactly what the DAG-3 is. First covered on CyclingTips, Pinkbike's sister site, the DAG-3
(US$117) now sits above the pre-existing DAG-2.2 (US$80) and offers an extruded aluminium body that’s keyed for the sliding indicator. Tighter tolerances all around should provide for more accurate hanger straightening, while a number of the sliding components feature hidden wave springs to provide a reliable friction fit.
The most notable update, however, is how the indicator can be pivoted by 90-degrees, allowing the tool to clear chainstays and other obstructions without losing the measurement. This feature is comparable to what the likes of Abbey, Unior, and E.V.T achieve for quick usage, however, Park’s up-and-down approach is quite different.
Next up, the QTH-1 (US$57) offers truly one-handed operation and is a non-ratcheting quick change bit driver set intended for workshop use. The bits are held magnetically, while the lever on the side draws the magnet back to let the bits fall out for quick, one-handed bit changes. The bit holder itself can be mounted magnetically to the side of a (steel) workstand or bolted to any flat surface. Like the DAG-3, this one is made in the USA.
And finally, Park Tool has joined the likes of Feedback Sports by offering a universal handlebar holder (HBH-3). This simple device can be used for various tasks, such as holding the handlebar at a set position so that gravity can do its thing with brake bleeds. The US$43 price seems high, but it is built with workshop use in mind.
Pedro’s has announced a handful of updates to some staples of the range. Below are just a few of the standouts.
Pedro’s recently announced the Vise Whip II
(also first covered on CyclingTips), a revamp of its modified Vise-Grip plier that serves to replace the humble chain whip. This new model retains the rock-solid hold on just about any cassette but adds increased compatibility with the width and sizes of cogs it’ll clamp onto (it’ll now even fit some e-bike chainrings). It also adds a cog sizing scale for easy setting and an opposing notch lockring function (such as those found on older bottom bracket designs and fixed-gear cogs).
The Master T-handle Set II (US$215) has been completely overhauled, moving away from the previous generic out-sourced option to a unique design that’s produced in-house with S2 stainless steel. This set offers a few features to set them apart: colour identifiers for each size, a classy storage case and a combined 8/10mm hex that makes good use of the three tool ends offered by this type of T-handle. These are expected to be available by July, expect a review of them (and other T-handles) in the future.
Sticking with hex keys and Pedro’s has also overhauled the Pro T/L handle hex and Torx set (aka, P shaped). This US$100 set covers 2-8 mm hex and T10, T25, and T30 Torx, and does so with extended reach, easy size identification and an updated handle shape that’s said to be slimmer and more ergonomic. Additionally, the long legs of the keys are now covered for improved comfort – a feature that’s quite unique.
The new Demi torque wrench II and Bit Set is a 3-15Nm ratcheting torque wrench stored in a compact pouch. This US$199 set includes all the common sizes of hex and torx bits, and includes one wonderfully clever 8/10mm flare nut wrench for torquing those brake lever compression nuts.
Lastly, there are two new chain keepers to aid in drivetrain cleaning without the risk of splashing degreaser onto your rear rotor or into the hub bearings. First is the US$35 Pro Chain Keeper that works with both quick release and 12mm thru-axle dropouts. Another addition is the Travel Keeper that’s designed as frame support in travel (nobody likes a crushed rear end) that can double as a chain holder for washing.
PRO Bike Gear
The accessory branch of Shimano recently added the Pro Team Digital torque wrench to its tool range. This 2-25 Nm infinitely adjustable torque tool comes from the same manufacturer that produces the digital torque wrenches for Unior and Topeak, and the tool doesn’t differ a whole lot from those two proven options.
A recent review on CyclingTips
of this tool detailed that its accuracy is spot-on, while the speed of use is hard to match. The tool offers both a visual and audible warning when your desired torque is reached, while the tool can also be used in a live read mode for dialling in things like Shimano derailleur clutch break-away.
The ratcheting head is compact and works with regular 1/4in bits, while the tool’s handle is more comfortable than the Unior and Topeak versions. The tool comes in a blow mould plastic case with a few common bit sizes. It’s priced at US$250, which is a little less expensive than the direct competition.
Noble Professional Wheel Lacing Jig
This one isn’t all that new, but rather it’s made a recent transition from being extremely rare to reasonably available. It’s the Noble Wheel Lacing Jig produced by London-based Johnny Bell, and it does exactly what the product name describes.
Designed with professional wheel builders in mind, the stand is designed to support just about any rim and hub for easy spoke lacing. The stand can be quickly adjusted for various rim diameters and hub types, or completely compacted for easy storage. The tool is built from aluminium and stainless steel to withstand daily professional use, while the rim is delicately supported by angled rim rollers that turn on sealed bearings. Noble Wheels
sell the stand for £295.00, while those in North America can purchase it for US$450 through Wheel Fanatyk
(which is an amazing store and resource for the enthusiast and professional wheel builders).
Do you find yourself stripping Torx bolts all the time? Well, often the issue can come down to the tools you’re using. And when it comes to Torx tools, I’ve found it almost impossible to beat the fit offered by certain European brands.
The 100-plus-year-old Swiss tool manufacturer, PB Swiss, is one of the benchmark offerings and recently released a new knurled L-shaped Torx set (PB 3411 H). These feature an impressively positive fit with Torx fasteners and do so while offering perfect knurling and a longer than usual handle length.
Noticeably amiss are the T27 and T30 sizes (a deal-breaker for me, but hey...), but otherwise this T6-T25 is just about perfect. Perfection comes at a not-so-small US$70 price (approx), but hey, think about all those Torx bolts you won’t strip from here on out.
Abbey Bike Tools
The Oregon-based cycling tool maker has been busy catching up with demand, but that hasn’t prevented a few small tool updates, with more on the way. The latest release sees 38 and 40 mm Delrin inserts for use with the company’s suspension seal press tool. These are US$27 each.
Released last year, the TubiX is the first metal pipe cutter from the German plier specialist. This will cleanly and easily cut down aluminium steerer tubes and handlebars much like other pipe cutters, but it adds a unique quick-adjust feature that saves you from having to wind it in and out to match the tubing size being cut. The tube being trimmed has needle bearings to turn on, and once cut can be cleaned up with the integrated de-burring tool.
More versatile than a Swiss Army knife, the parallel-jaw Knipex Pliers is a staple in the toolboxes of just about every competitor of ToolBoxWars and/or mechanic working the World Cup circuit. Knipex has slowly been updating the tool range with a lightened construction that adds sizing markings, thumb grips, and a revised jaw shape. This new Pliers Wrench started with the 250mm length version, and Knipex has now trickled the update to the smaller 180mm version (my favourite size for general bicycle stuff).
Got a spare US$399 and have a desire to own 3.5 kilograms (7.7 lb) of wonderfully machined stainless steel? Well, Enduro Bearings has the blind hold bearing puller for you.
Yet another one first covered on CyclingTips, Enduro has overhauled its Pro Bearing Puller (BBT-222)
, moving away from the previously lightened and compact design and moving toward one that emphasises forceful persuasion.
The sliding hammer weighs 808 grams and slides on a 28.6 cm (11.25″) length shaft. There are nine expanding collets for bearings ranging from 6-30mm, and each one offers a trimmed-down profile for better clearance into tight spots.
And when not being used as a slide hammer the tool converts into a shop hammer. On one face of the stainless steel hammer head sits the choice of a polymer or brass threaded insert for whacking, while the opposite end is a socket holder to fit common 25.4 mm (1″) cassette and similar bicycle-related sockets. All items come wrapped up in a nice tool roll, and all told, the high price is surprisingly comparable to the blind hole bearing pullers made by Park Tool and Unior.
There you have it, 16 new tools sure to make any mechanic drool. Expect to see a few more tool-related pieces in the coming few months.