Park’s Hydraulic Barb Tool has rapidly become an indispensible part of my tool box because it does it all when it comes to installing disc brakes, quickly and easily. I can cut a hydraulic hose, clamp it solidly in place, and install a barb in seconds. The Hydraulic Barb Tool is so clever and convenient it makes my other hydraulic brake installation tools obsolete.
Basics: Hydraulic hose cutting blade; hose clamp; barb press
Pros: Everything you need to make clean cuts and barb installs is integrated into one tool
Cons: It doesn’t store well in a toolbox due to its awkward shape
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Park Tool has wisely made the pivotal parts of the Hydraulic Barb Tool replaceable. You can order replacement blades from Park Tool, but you’re likely to get a lot of cuts from the stock blade if you’re only using this tool occasionally in the garage. The barb fitting is also replaceable, but again, as long as you’re careful with it, you’re likely to get a lot of use out of the stock barb fitting pin before you’ll need to think about a replacement.
The cutting blade sits within a hose guide, which makes it easy to get an accurate and clean cut, simply by puling on the Hydraulic Barb Tool’s handle. Once your hose is cut, you can secure it in the tool’s clamp. Simply slot it into the clamp jaws and tighten them by turning the handle.
Now the Hydraulic Barb Tool has a solid grip on your hydraulic line. Pop the barb on the barb fitting, and once again pull the handle. The tool will push the barb into the hose quickly and straight so you get leak-free operation.
The whole process takes less than 30 seconds, and your chances of making a mistake are greatly reduced thanks to the Hydraulic Barb Tool’s clever design. You can execute the entire process with the brake already mounted to the bike or off the bike entirely; since the tool itself can clamp the hose in place, you won’t find yourself searching for a place to set up, clamp, and clumsily align small parts.
The CNC machined aluminum body makes the Hydraulic Barb tool light too, so it won’t add too much bulk to your toolbox. The only drawback is the tool’s awkward shape, which doesn’t exactly slim down nicely to fit in your toolbox’s pockets. If the handle locked in the closed position, the tool would take up far less space. You could probably simply put an elastic band around the arm before tossing it in your toolbox, but that could potentially wear out the spring faster.
Still, aside from that small drawback, the Hydraulic Barb Tool packs in all the things you need to install hydraulic disc brakes quickly, into a svelte package devoid of small parts. The replaceable pin and blade make this one a tool you’re likely to have in your toolbox for years to come.