review by Gus Breiland
Some of you may recognize Park Tools from your bicycling days and question why we are promoting a company typically reserved for our lighter 2-wheeled cousin. There are a few reasons to promote Park Tools. One, they are a Minnesota company. Born and raised in Saint Paul, Park Tool has built its business making the useful tools bicycle shops and owners need that no one else makes. That started in 1963 and has grown into the largest bicycle specialty tool company in the world. Two, they have a tab on their web site that says motorcycle. Hmmm, Minnesota… Motorcycle… Tools… 2 wheels… I think you’re starting to see the connection.
I picked up a set of T-Handle Socket Wrenches, P-Handle Allen Wrenches and a Shop Apron while searching for some bicycle tools. I have wanted a set of T-Handle Wrenches for a while to supplement my scattered collection of useful tools in useless places.
The set includes a #2 & #3 Phillips head screwdriver and an 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, and 17mm deep socket wrench. The chrome-vanadium T-Handles are dipped in textured PVC for easy grip and the sockets are contact welded to the handle shaft. Measuring about 14 inches long these hang next to my tool chest in their optional coated wall mount for easy access.
The T-Handles are wonderful additions to your tool chest. Especially for pulling off bodywork and direct line of sight bolts. Their limitations obviously are in right angles and limited access areas, but they make stripping a bike down to its bare necessities as easy as putting gas in the tank. The hanging wall mount is simple and makes reaching for the correct tool quick and painless. There is no fumbling for sockets, no searching for handles and no lost extensions.
The T-Handles allows you to put a lot of force on the screw or bolt you are trying to loosen and/or tighten. It also allows you to lean on that stubborn bolt for that little extra twist it may need.
The P-Handle Allen Wrenches have a plastic handle that is molded to the shape of your palm and includes a trick little addition for easy spinning of the bolt. Each wrench (2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10mm) has a small plastic sleeve that fits between your thumb and forefinger over the hex shaft that allows you to spin a bolt on or off with ease. It is a simple little device, yet it makes the Allen Wrench set that much more useable.
If you are looking for some high quality hand tools and bench top vices used to hold tubular items such as fork tubes or pistons, head on over to www.parktool.com and see what they have. Check out their motorcycle tab. Here you will be able to look at the tools Park makes and find where they are sold either online or at a bike shop near you.
One local shop that would be glad to have your business is One On One Bicycle Studio (www.oneononebike.com) located at 117 Washington Ave N in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Give them a call at 612-371-9565 or head on down and have a mocha and sandwich while you buy tools. It’s a coffee shop / bike shop all in one.
The T-Handle Wrenches (TH-1H) run $85 with the wall-mounted rack. The P-Handle Allen Wrenches (PT-PH1) run $60, which includes a plastic holder. Make sure you pick up a Deluxe Shop Apron (SA-3) for $35 and Bottle Opener (PT-BO1) for $8 while you are buying too, as no shop is complete with out them.