What piece of kit would you buy?


Dirt Disciple
I have just started on a1984 PH10 Peugeot renovation, and I am interested to hear from some more seasoned retro enthusiasts.

So assuming that as a long term cyclist and bike tinkered, I have the usual set of spanners, and Allen keys. And discounting obscure tools such as helicomatic hub extraction gizmo....

If you were going to spend up to £50 on something to make life easier what would it be? A bench polisher? Repair stand? Dremmel? Bench vice?

Genuinely interested as I go on this journey for the first time....


Retro Guru
Approach tool buying as the need presents itself - if you need to do a ton of polishing, then sure, a polishing motor is a great investment. In this example, you can make do with mops on a drill however! A Dremel is a super useful tool, but for light use you can get a cheaper imitation.

A quality bike repair stand is a really great place to start, useful for every refurb or maintance project you will undertake from this point on, as well simple things like washing bikes. A good one will last you many years if not many decades! You may want to up the budget a little, as ever with tools, buy the best possible you can afford. A decent Park or the Feedback Sports options would be my picks if budget allows.


Retrobike Rider
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All four.
My order of purchase;
Bench vice
Polishing bench mop


Senior Retro Guru
A vice is very handy. My only ad-vice (see what i did there!) would be, buy an old one. A record 2 or 3 will be plenty big enough.

The quality is far far far far ( dont know how many more of those i can add) better than the cheap crap that now is sold . Even the modern name brands are poor......unless you spend a couple of hundred quid!

A second had one should set you back no more than £20 and will outlive all of us.

As with all tools there's a point where spending stops getting you anything much better! Whilst a set of £5 chinesium steel spanners is a waste of time and money, spending £50 a spanner on Snap- off is equally as pointless imho. I worked all my life with either britool or (old 80s) kamasa kit. If you use tools correctly they will last......a screwdriver is not a chisel etc...


Retro Guru
bike work stand. I've spent to many years working on bikes without one to want to do it any more.

a vice is great, it doubles up as a press, clamp, anvil, puller...... but it isn't going to get used as much as a stand if all you are doing is restoring, so I'd put that second.
everything else just makes the process quicker, a dremal good but isn't needed until it's needed, a bench polisher is a luxury that can be done without for almost everything.

as to 20 quid for a second hand vice, good luck with that at the moment via normal, non boots on the ground routes. A Record no. 3 is selling for anywhere between 40 and 150 quid at the moment, time spent scouring the local car boot might turn one up for 20 quid though.

so for me, in order
soft faced hammer
cheese grater
stanley knife
box of frogs
air brush
plastic bags
bench polisher


Dyna-Tech Fan
Valid advice on the bench tools, I have that sort of stuff from general DIY so haven’t got those on my list.

The things that have made the most difference to me/if I had to start buying tools from scratch again. You haven’t mentioned any bike specific stuff so I’m looking at this sort of thing

- the best cable cutters I could afford - Shimano TL CT12 expensive but remembering I’ve thrown out various pliers;Park and the lesser Shimano one over the years. It never fails to cut clean without fraying. When I first started a pair of pliers hit with a hammer was the way!
- the best chain splitter I can afford, must have replaceable pin.
- Crank;bottom bracket and cassette extractors for the bike I’m working on. May only be used a few times if they are niche but you’ll thank yourself when it means you don’t have to scrap what you’re trying to remove or at best gouge it trying to remove
- best workstand I could afford/fit in the space. I started off hanging stuff from the rafters with inner tubes, that was fine until I had filled the space and could play a tune on the frames knocking in to each other. Then a wall mounted jobbie outside that I could remove when not in use. When we moved years ago and I got more space a Kestrel stand appeared on eBay for £50 and I snapped it up.
- cone spanners, if you’ve got spare spanners can grind those down but the cyclo cone specific ones aren’t expensive.

If you’re prepared to wait it out on eBay and even on here occasionally you’ll pick up decent tools for not too much money. I rarely buy new ones as the quality brand ones last and last so I’m happy buying secondhand.

Record vice all the way. Bench polisher I’ve got but rarely use, for heavy polishing larger areas I use angle grinder with felt wheel for everything else the dremel and a bag of those felt buffing attachments off eBay.


Orange 🍊 Fan
Good shout on ebay.

I can't emphasise what a game changer it was for me getting a workstand. I got the base level Park one, and it has made an incredible difference.

Good quality cable cutters will last a lifetime, I'm not sure how I got by using what I had.

I try now to buy the best tool I can when I need it, though my £15 headset press from Amazon has done me a treat when used carefully and there was really no need to but a Park one for ten times the price.

A digital vernier guage has been added to the toolbox, and is surprisingly useful (and reasonably cheap)

jim haseltine

Retro Guru
My Suntour cable cutters were bought in the 1970s and are now just starting to wear out. They've not just been used on bike stuff either - electrical cables and even fencing too. My policy has always been that if it's a tool that's going to be used a lot then buy quality (either new or second hand), if it's for a once-in-a-blue-moon job then buy cheap and replace it if it breaks. The house clearance section of auction houses are a great hunting ground - you might end up with a load of stuff to drop at a scrap yard in order to get your hands on something specific but they rarely cost much. Facebook market place is another hunting ground and never, ever turn down tools that are offered by friends/neighbours/family who are tidying sheds or garages - the guy across the road offered me a load of tools, fancy molding planes (which I didn't want so sold on) and a box of old taps & dies. It was only months later when I took a good look at the box that I discovered that they were BSC cutters including 9/16x20tpi in both right and left threads. I gained the larger of my vices in much the same way, a friend was tired of having to move it around his garage - and tripping over it too - so he asked me if it was 'any use' to me. well, duh, yes it is....
If you end up with multiples of the same tool it's a benefit, it gives you the option of a 'sacrificial' tool for awkward jobs and also allows you to lend out one without worrying if you'll ever see it again.


Dyna-Tech Fan
Agree with Jim - local auction and relatives! I once thought I had bought a stabila level in a case for £5, I had and with it a calibrated 1200mm straightedge in the case.
I always think particularly with relatives who are offering stuff that they’ve probably had to work hard to buy that piece of equipment or tooling so giving it a new lease of life within the same family holds such great value.