Metric Open End Wrench Sets


Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
What is a good brand of metric open end wrenches to get, in the sizes suggested by the Zinn's book? I've decided to get a bike stand and a few tools, and metric open end wrenches are one area where I'm sadly lacking.


BobCochran said:
What is a good brand of metric open end wrenches to get, in the sizes suggested by the Zinn's book? I've decided to get a bike stand and a few tools, and metric open end wrenches are one area where I'm sadly lacking.
HMmmmm ...

While it is probably good for you to have a set of "metric open end wrenches" in your toolbox ...

I think that you will only find a use for them when working on any of your bikes if one of them has nutted hubs (e.g., Track bike, an old "American" bike or a pre-1975 European bike) OR you happen to have a bike with VERY low-end Shimano components ...

A set of Metric sockets would probably be more useful (though also rarely needed, too).

Long shafted METRIC Allen Wrenches are useful ...

Some TORX drivers/bits may-or-may-not be useful.

Otherwise, if you are still inclined ...

If you have a HARBOR FREIGHT ... their's will do ...

Otherwise, SEARS tools ... CRAFTSMAN if you want to spend a little more for the same tool BUT with a warranty ...

MATCO or SNAP-ON if you can flag down one of their trucks & want to pay a hefiter premium.
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I have 3 sets - I have an older craftsman set, a brand new Kobalt set and I have the Park Tool set.

Basically all the same. I use the Park Tool ones the post just because they are hanging on the pegboard. The others are in a tool chest. The Kobalt set feels the best, they are heavy and seem like quality tools. should be. I got the nicer set. The Park Tool wrenches have the blue shafts with the printed sizing so they are super easy to read which is good for my old eyes. My Craftsman ones were bought in 1995. I've lost a couple of the small ones but they've lasted 2 decades.

I can't say functionally one is better than the other. None of them have stripped or bent on me.
@alfeng @ABNPFDR thanks a lot for your help with this. I like the idea of large, easy to read sizes printed on the tool shafts, too! My eyes need help at my age. Alfeng, your mention of long metric hex (Allen) wrenches is great because yesterday I discovered that my set of folding Allen keys by Topeak just isn't good enough for attaching a blinky light to my bike! I ordered a set of long Allen keys, the #16099 by Bondhus. (I wonder how the ball ends work? I'll Google on that.)

Thanks a ton! I will probably get sockets, etc. I ask myself "where from?" because I'm very inexperienced.

Ball-End hex keys are great for access at an angle to the fastener...not so great for applying torque with. Not many socket head cap screws used as bicycle fasteners require a boat load of torque, but their are exceptions. A Campagnolo 10MM UltraTorque Hirth joint bolt on the crankset is something I would never use the ball-end of a hex key to tighten to spec.

Neither will you often find a bike fastener requiring the length of a long handle hex key to tighten. There will likely be cases where the extra length comes in handy when trying to unscrew a seized or corroded fastener though.

Bondhus and Allen are really well made hex keys. Holokrome is another fine name brand in hex keys.

Any quality combination box end/open end wrench set is what I would recommend. The better Chinese combination wrenches are accurate enough and strong enough for homeowner bike maintenance. Sears Craftsman, Kobalt from Lowes, Allen brand from Menards, Snap-On-Matco-Wright-Blue Point-Cornwell-et al from the tool trucks...all are excellent choices. Some of the European wrench sets are just plain sexy!

With all the carbon fiber and light duty aluminum parts and fasteners used on modern performance bikes...and even found on bike not so performance might want to buy a couple of the CDI (Snap-On's torque product line of tools) pre-set torque hex key bit holders. These sell in the $25-$30 price range and if they save a guy just one snapped bolt or cracked piece of carbon, they've earned their keep.

The tool bits are interchangeable and the quality is good for being made in China. They come with certification traceable to N.I.S.T. I checked mine against our calibration masters at the shop and they were right on the money.
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Thanks a lot, CampyBob! There is a Lowe's close to my workplace, but I have this feeling that if I park my bike there (they don't provide bike racks, or safe storage), the bike will rapidly disappear into a truck. I may just do mail order.

Craftsman tools are now sold at one of my favorite chain stores, Ace Hardware.