Category: Tools

Pressing Issues: How To Install A Press-Fit BB

I really gotta stop posting these ‘red-herrings’. I just like fucking with you people though. For the record; not a press-fit BB…

You kick your front foot back hard, scooping the pedal back and flicking the cranks around underneath you with your battered Vans.  Something is wrong.  Your cranks squeak to a halt a mere 180 degrees from their original position.  Your feet slap down anti-climatically upon the asphalt.  Your heel-bruise worsens.  The attractive woman who was showing mild interest as she walked past looks away in embarrassment and quickens her pace.  Your peers nonchalantly look back down to their smartphones in silence; Courage Adams just posted on Insta and he actually lands his tricks… You try again- you kick back harder, grunt a little, people can smell your desperation now.  This time you get a better grip of the remaining three pins left in your pedal.  ‘This is the one…’ you think, ‘the fist bumps are coming my way.’
As you lay there, tangled among steel tubes, bleeding from a chunk missing from your Achilles tendon (probably caused by a Schrödinger’s pedal; a pedal that paradoxically seems unable to grip the bottom of your shoes yet will savagely butcher any part of your body it may end up touching) with your pride in tatters, thinking ‘Maybe I should make crankflips easy for myself and just ride a cassette…. like Courage.’  you might be better off by simply lubing your chain and changing your bottom bracket.

There are plenty of crank installation videos out there, this Merritt one being the latest example.  While it gives you some good pointers on crank installation, it completely skips the BB installation stage so today I’m going to take you through what it takes to properly measure and install your new bottom bracket like a goddamn… god!  We’ve all seen a number of wrong ways to fit a BB; some accidental, some on purpose, and with the evolution of the BB slowed down to a halt on the extremely efficient press-fit Mid sized BB shell, I’d say it’s high time to explain how to install the sucker correctly. Continue reading

The Quintessential BMX Wheelbuilding Guide

I’ve laced up a fair few wheels in my time and always felt tutorial videos always fell a little short in the way that there’s just so much more to our wheels than meets the eye.  So without making too much of a song and dance I’m going to pass on to you, O’ faithful The Merged reader, pretty much everything rattling around my cranial cavity on the subject of building BMX wheels.  Stick the kettle on…

Yep… (pic nicked from Google)

Safety First.

Building wheels is potentially extremely dangerous and life threatening if done without caution.  The amount of tension stored within a single spoke can often exceed 150 kgf- effectively turning every spoke in your wheel into a makeshift crossbow bolt.  If one of those spokes gives way suddenly at the j-bend and there’s nothing to stop it, it will fire out of the rim and through anything in it’s path.  A fired spoke can very easily impale your hand so it can and will do the same to your brain if a spoke fires toward your eyes.  When working on your wheels, you must always have a decent rim strip on at the bare minimum, a tyre left on the rim isn’t a bad thing either.  If you have neither of these or can’t use them because you need to use a nipple driver, wear eye protection (your granddad’s angle grinder googles will do) and never look directly into the rim cavity while tightening spokes.  Now that I’ve scared the living shit out of you, let’s build! Continue reading

90East H.N.I.C Bars and Skatestopper Kit

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The guys at 90East have been mighty busy of recent, coming in from the streets into the shops with these fine offerings of their H.N.I.C (use your imagination…) V2 4 piece bars and a set of the most popular skatestopper tools.  The bars are post weld heat treated, multi butted 4130 chromoly and come in at 8.75″ rise, 28″ width, 10 degrees of backsweep and 4 degrees of upsweep; a modestly yet functionally sized bar for the streets.
The 90East Skatestopper tools come with a 3/8″ socket adapter for ease of use with your normal 3/8″ socket wrench.
Both of these can be found at any of 90East’s worldwide dealers now.

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Exclusive: Saltplus Mini Foldable Pump

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Last week in our Tooling Up article we briefly touched upon the subject of how very little there is in the way of BMX specific/marketed pumps, then Dave at WeMakeThings hit us up to prove us wrong and show off Saltplus‘ new addition to their expanding tool line, the Mini foldable track pump;

“Flats suck. What sucks even more is having a flat and not having a pump with you to fix it. Well now you wont have an excuse not to have a pump with you next time you head out riding. The Saltplus Mini Pump is a micro sized version of a traditional track pump, but folds up to almost 1/4 of the size and will fit in your backpack with ease. Despite its small size, the Mini Pump packs a punch and will inflate your tires up to 110psi much quicker than you would think. With durable internals and designed to work with both Shrader and Presta Valves, this little guy will save your bacon next time you’re in a tight spot. Available October at Saltplus dealers worldwide.”

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Material: high strength nylon and alloy internals
Color: black
Features: super small foldable design, can work with Shrader or Presta valves
Inflates up to 110 psi

Go follow Saltplus on Instagram, there’s a good lad.

Tooling Up- A BMX Survival Guide

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Its been said before and I’ll say it again, bikes are getting easier and easier to maintain, repair, dis-and re-assemble at a moments notice.  Most bikes can be chucked into a golf flight bag in ten minutes with little more than a six millimetre allen key and a 17 mm socket if pegs are your bag.  Bikes are nigh on perfect now but what about the tools you use to work on them? Are you still riding around with several pounds of ring spanners, a rubber mallet and your granddad’s old cross wrench in a military grade canvas rucksack or are you carrying something a little more subtle in your back pocket?

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In my mind there are two types or riding; sessioning and cruising.  With sessioning you find something good to ride (whatever that is in your mind, in mine it’s a wall ride…) put down your bag and jacket and you tend to stay in one area.  With cruising you’re just rolling down the street, hopping curbs and generally not stopping too much; a bag isn’t really something you want here. Both of these situations influence your decision on what tools you carry on your person but unfortunately your bike usually has other plans…
Being caught short can rue the day and there’s nothing worse than slipping your bars and having to ride home with your chin on your stem.  Or walking.  Especially if all you need is a spoke key.

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So what is the least you can get away with carrying? While I personally carry a yellow spokey, a six millimetre allen key and a puncture kit and pray I can find a shop or petrol station with a pump if the worst happens, this is probably not the most sensible option.
Lets start with the obvious; the ‘multitool-with-everything-you-could-ever-want-on-it’, namely the Shadow Conspiracy multitool, DK Random Wrench, Animal Kotulak, Eclat E-Tools and Salt Plus Tool Tube. While they vary from the all-bells-and-whistles of the Animal and Shadow tools with built-in chain splitters, and imperial allen keys to simpler offerings like from Eclat which could definitely tuck away in a winter coat.  The main drawback is that you need something to carry it in as you generally wont fit it into your jeans pocket without looking like the bassist from This Is Spinal Tap.

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The next kind of tool to consider is a pocket tool, Alfaro or Stolen’s Piece tool is a good start if you’re pegless, with a five (or 1/4″ in Alfaro’s case) and a six millimetre, tyre lever and a spoke key it’s got the bare bones of what you need to get going again and you never notice it in our pocket.  Salt Plus’s Flip tool is another good example, with a chain splitter and multiple allen keys you could strip a pegless bike to the bare bones.  If you ride pegs, Merritt’s Trifecta tool is a handy little telescopic 17mm socket with a 6 and an 8mm allen key attachment, it folds away to a mere 5 inches and even comes with hook and loop straps to carry it on your frame.  The cons of such tools is that there’s always a chance you wont have the particular tool you need on you at the time.

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That’s most people catered for but there are still some people out there who just can’t deal with a pocket full of stuff ruining the cut of their jeans or wearing the same backpack they used at school to carry tools you MIGHT need to fix your bike later.  I know, it’s hard.  Thankfully BMX has your back, companies like Kis and Wethepeople are turning the very same seatposts we sit above into 17mm sockets, so all you need to carry is a six to get that sucker out…. And you don’t even need to carry THAT if you have a Wethepeople Smuggler seat, well, if you can fit an allen key in beside all the weed you probably keep in there.  If aesthetics are your thing then you should watch out that your post doesn’t get too scratched up by reinserting the post into the frame.

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Other than the subject of pumps (of which this offering from Vocal was the only thing I could find worth half-mentioning) that’s about the long and short of it, there are plenty of BMX tool solutions out there to suit everyone so get tooled up, get out there and ride untill the wheels fall off.  Then screw them back on again.

Stolen Piece Multi-Tool Review

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The BMX multi-tool is a product that hasn’t been around for a great deal of time and unlike the skateboard equivalent, it hasn’t yet found a ‘perfect’ archetypal design.  DK’s first incarnation of the Random Wrench was a great first go despite it being a tad large and rather cumbersome; like a car’s cross wrench.  Fast forward a few years and there are now a plethora of various multi-tools designed to aide with quick fixes like Merrit’s Trifecta tool or a full strip-down with Shadow, Eclat or Animal’s offerings.  While attractive, I personally never bought any of these tools because they simply don’t just fit in your jeans, they still require a backpack and if that’s the case, the tools I already have are sufficient…  difficult to find amongst the loose chilli peanuts and ominous black fluff at the bottom of my bag, but still… sufficient.

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One day in my old workshop I sat down and put some thought into a small pocket multi-tool that you could pop in your 501’s and forget about until you needed it.  I came up with a first draft.  It included a 6mm allen key, a spoke key, a tyre lever and for no good reason, a 10mm spanner (who uses a 10mm for anything other than holding a cable pinch bolt in place?) It looked good.  A few days later I found an almost identical, albeit slicker, design on Zodiac Engineering’s Instagram account.  Dumbstruck that someone had already beaten me to it, and that I would probably never own one due to them being out of stock, I retreated to lick my proverbial wounds.

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Last week while researching various BMX retailers (read; procrastinating on Dan’s Comp) I stumbled across the Stolen Piece multi-tool, of which until that moment, had eluded me completely.  Bar a couple of finishing touches and a 5mm hex bit end instead of a 1/4″ one, it’s almost exactly the same tool as Zodiac made, and all for 20 bucks.
While you’d have a hard time getting your wheels off with it if you have pegs, it’s absolutely amazing for pegless riders like myself as most wheels, stems, cranks, seats and clamps all typically run off of 5 or 6mm bolts these days.  The tyre lever and spoke key are also welcome features, trashing your rims or tubes without either can be a total nightmare and result in a very long and wholly miserable walk home, but even if you are stuck walking home, at least you have a bottle opener to help drown your sorrows.  The spoke key is where this tool excels though, the typical ‘slot’ type 3-sided key adopted by many has been ditched in favour of a 4-sided one (like the yellow Spokey ones) which has a greater surface contact area to prevent the rounding-off of nipples.  It’s solid, steel construction makes it practically bombproof and what’s more is that the Piece tool has been in my back pocket since I started typing this review and I’m still yet to get a numb left buttock. ‘Nuff said.

Fits: 3.45mm (.136″) nipples
Width: 18mm
Length: 90mm
Colors: ED Black
Weight: 2.7 oz

THE D KEY – Kickstarter Project

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The D Key is essentially an regular allen key, but features a flat “key-like” end which not only lets you to clip it to your car keys, but also allows you to put double the force than you would with a regular box standard allen key. We featured the D-Key last month and a lot of you got really stoked on the idea.

If you are wanting to get behind this project and own your own D-Key, the Kickstarter account is now live! Head HERE to find out more!

The D Key

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This got sent to me by a friend and to be honest it’s a really simple but clever solution to carrying tools around with you. The D Key is essentially an regular allen key, but features a flat “key-like” end which not only lets you to clip it to your car keys, but also allows you to put double the force than you would with a regular box standard allen key.

Find out more about the D-Key HERE…

Continue reading

Eclat E-Tool

The guys at Eclat have released their own do-it-all tooll called the E-Tool, which features pretty much everything you could need to fix your bike, all in one small package.

The E-Tool is the Swiss-Army knife for your BMX. All the functions of the tool are hidden inside the anodised tube. Throw it in your bag and make sure you don’t lend it to anyone, as you’ll never get it back!