Many basic repairs on your bike can be performed with just a simple set of hex wrenches (I prefer the Park Tool P-Handle Hex Wrench Set). Advanced repairs usually call for a combination wrench or two, and unless you are working on a vintage American-made bike you are going to need a set of metric wrenches—and my favorite is the Park Tool Metric Wrench Set.
I own several sets of combination wrenches, but I have to tell you this is the most beautiful set of wrenches I have ever seen! They are forged from Chrome Vanadium Steel, then chrome plated and beautifully polished. The center of each wrench is coated with a thick layer of vinyl and provides a secure, yet comfortable, grip.
This set has twelve box/open-end combination wrenches. When Park Tool first introduced this set they only included 6mm to 15mm wrenches. However, the set that is now sold (item #MW-SET.2) also includes both 16mm and 17mm wrenches.
The Park Tool Metric Wrench Set retails for $80, but if you would like to save a few dollars you can buy it online from Amazon.com. However, I prefer to support my local bike shop when I buy bike tools for my home workshop, and I hope you do too! Park Tool guarantees these tools for life (see their Website for complete details).
If you spend much time in home improvement stores you are probably wondering how the Park Tool wrenches compare to other brands. I think they stand up well against the competition. Sears sells a similar set of Craftsman wrenches for nearly half the price, but those wrenches lack both the vinyl center and the beautiful polished chrome finish. You might think less of me for what I am about to say, but I judge mechanics (at least in part) on the quality of tools they use—if they don’t take pride in their equipment they seldom take pride in their work. If you are going to buy a set of combination wrenches then I hope you get the Park Tool brand—it is just another case of getting what you pay for.