Thursday, 12 January 2012

Long Term Test: Park Tool Shop Cone Wrench

Length of test period so far: got it 11 January 2011
Product obtained from: Chain Reaction Cycles via Internet
Product obtained by: personal purchase through "regular" sources
Price paid: approx. £8 sterling (c. $12 US, 10 Euros), including delivery
Second Gear rating (marks out of 10): 8, but only used it for one job

The shipping box was rather big for one spanner!

I ordered it on Sunday over the internet, and it arrived Wednesday (yesterday). Great work, Chain Reaction Cycles!
The first thing to note is that the box is quite big for the contents - I thought they might have sent the wrong item until I opened the box and found it lurking amongst the packing!

Anyway, onto the tool itself. Park make two types of cone wrench ("spanner", to those of us living this side of "the Pond") - a cheaper, double-ended type, and a supposedly higher quality "Shop Wrench" for professional use.
This is the "Shop Wrench", indentifiable by the matt black head, although it is listed on Chain Reaction Cycles as a "Park Tool Cone Spanner - 15mm Single". The "Double" listed is the silver coloured, lower quality, wrench/spanner, with two heads, one at each end.

As you can see from the pictures above, the "Shop Wrench" I bought has a decently long handle (that is a 6 inch / 15 cm metal ruler in the picture).

So, I took apart the rear wheel bearing on my wife's old bike. It was a toughie! I had to use a LOT of force to get the locknut and the cone nut apart. You can see the wear marks from the job on the tool in the picture below.

wear marks on cone wrench/spanner after 1 (tough) job
Overall, then, I have given the tool a rating of 8 out of 10 (so far).
The good points are:
  1. The tool did the job I bought it for (getting off that really stuck cone nut!)
  2. The cost was moderate (£8 / $12) including shipping
  3. The thin head should fit on those difficult nut (like cone nuts) that a standard spanner is too fat for.
The "not so good" points are:
  1. Significant wear, even after the first job (admittedly, a difficult job!)
  2. Not as durable as I'd hoped
But, overall, still worth the money - the most important thing is that it did the job!

Update 10th February 2013:

Not much to say, as I haven't used it since the last report!
I guess I don't take many wheels apart!

Update 10th August

I really don't take many wheels apart! I guess for my "ocasional use", the Park Tools cone wrench is fine enough - after all, it did the job I bought it for.
It would, perhaps, have taken less wear if I had used copious amounts of WD-40 (or similar) the night before I did the job, but I can only test what I have and in the way I have used it, and therefore, about 18 months reflection, I have decided to leave my original rating of 8 out of 10 unaltered.

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