The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New Goodies from Park Tool (INF-1, CRP-2)

So what's the biggest difference between our shop here at Freewheel and the shop that you have set-up in your basement?  Most likely the following:

1) Less beer.
2) A collection of expert, professional mechanics.
3) Shop quality tools.

As mechanics tools are our lifeblood, having the proper well-made tools can make all the difference so whenever possible we avail ourselves of the best there is.  It is with this in mind that you can understand our - kid on Christmas morning - excitement when our friends across the river at Park Tool release their new catalog of goodies every year.  This year we managed to get our hands on a couple of new items that we are smitten with so we figured that we would share them with you.

Swivel Head: Silver-Presta, Black-Schrader
Park Tool Shop Inflator (INF-1) During the busy parts of spring and summer we fill tires with air constantly, which means there isn't a tool in the shop that gets used more often.  While it isn't the most glamorous tool having a good inflator in the shop can make or break your day so we are constantly in search of the best inflation tool on the planet.  While we have tried many, very few meet our needs or last long enough to be considered "Shop Quality", the INF-1 is here to change all that.  The usual failing point of inflators is when it takes a nose-dive from it's perch on the work stand and lands squarely on the pressure gauge.  While the inflator usually continues to fill tires after that, without knowing the pressure it is next to useless.  Another gripe with the majority of inflators out there is that you either have to make a choice between the presta and schrader head or you have to use an adapter both of which are a major drag.

Replaceable Parts.
The INF-1 is here to change all that.  With a solid body this thing truly feels like a tool that is going to last for a decade of shop abuse (and can double as a self-defense weapon).  It has a presta/schrader swivel head, so you only need one tool in your hand no matter the valve on the tire.  When you do manage to drop this thing on the face and shatter the gauge it is fully (and easily rebuild-able) and if you wreck the head, you can replace that too!  The only gripe that we have is that it takes it sweet time to fill-up a tire, but based on the (so far) decreased number of blow-outs, maybe this is saving us from ourselves.  If you have an air compressor at home and are looking for a major upgrade, look no further.  This is available today and runs $140.99.       

Park Tool Adjustable Crown Race Puller (CRP-2); As you can probably figure out from the name (CRP-2) this is Park Tool's second crack at a crown race puller.  While it is often overlooked the crown race puller is a very important tool in the shop.  In the days when many of us first started wrenching fork crowns were made of steel and crown races were robust so a razor blade, screwdriver flat blade and hammer was all that was needed to get an old crown race off.  But in the era of lightweight headsets and carbon fiber forks and steerer tubes, its has become a delicate process.  The CRP-2 is a great re-boot of the original CRP-1 and adds some much needed updates.  The first advantage of the CRP-2 is that they have moved from two adjustable pieces to three individual planks for the delicate task of getting between the crown race and the crown of the fork.  This allows for even distribution of pressure once the removal process begins.  The same tool works for 1”, 1-1/8”, 1-1/4” and 1.5 forks (suspension or rigid) and crown races with outside diameters up to 64mm and can handle steering columns up to 430mm.  Apparently the small tabs will wear out with time and will need replacement, but to be honest so did the tabs on the CRP-1 so it won't be too big of an adjustment.   
CRP-2 and Well Loved CRP-1 Side by Side.
These aren't available yet for purchase but are on track for mid-month availability so if you want one let us know and we can get it on order for you.  In the mean-time here are some pictures of it in use;

Fitting over the crown race.

CRP-2 and CRP-1

Fitting under the Crown Race


That's all for now!