In life most individuals try to prepare for any hard times that may come their way. As cyclists, we must also prepare for anything that might happen while we are out riding. When it comes to fixing any minor problems with your bike, you can’t go wrong by carrying a bike multi tool with you. The best bike multi tool can mean the difference between riding smoothly or carrying your bike back home.
So what is a bike multi tool? They look very similar to a standard utility knife, but are a little wider and fit more tools. A standard bike multi tool will come with Allen Hex keys, a Phillips screw driver and a Torx key. Every bike’s standard adjusting and tuning needs revolve around these tools and a few others.
Let’s take a deeper look into how owning a bike multi tool can really add to your biking excursions.
If you rely on your bike for transportation or just for weekend get aways then you should familiarize yourself on how to handle some minor maintenance and repair. Below are some basic repairs that will come up when you ride and what tools are needed to fix.
- Adjustments – If you are receiving a new bike or just need to make some adjustments on a current one, then you will need to have some Allen hex keys handy. You should loosen the screw in your seat to lift it up or down for height adjustment or to tilt it forward or backwards. The same concept is used when adjusting the handle bars.
- Disc Brakes – When tampering with your brakes, it requires a Torx key to remove the bolts. Not to be confused with the above mentioned Hex key, which is shaped like a 6-sided hexagon, the Torx key is a six-sided star shape. A T25 socket wrench is also a great addition to have to take care of your disc pads.
- Accessories – When installing or taking off your accessories you will need a wrench. Most items such as fenders and racks are held on by nuts and bolts. An open wrench is a good tool to keep on hand for maintaining and tightening the nuts and bolts. Some multi tools will offer different sized wrenches to fit various nuts.
- Tires – A tire lever is a must-have in case your tire becomes loose or needs to be removed altogether. While it’s a stand alone tool, some multi tools will have a smaller version of it. You can choose between a plastic or metal version. Some prefer the plastic because it does not scrape or leave harsh marks on your rims. Others prefer the metal because it has better leverage and durability.
- Chain – You will need a chain tool which will make fixing and adding links and pins to your chain much easier. This is also a stand alone item, but some manufacturers will add a smaller version into multitools for convenience. Also there is a chain breaker you can use if you get into a sticky situation. This specialized tool breaks the chain in a way that it can be easily mended with the chain tool.
Maintaining your Bike
Experts highly suggest that you do a 6-month or yearly maintenance on your bike, whether you use it daily or only on the weekends. When your bike is properly maintained then it keeps a high safety rating and you can avoid any damages that could occur that lead to you being stranded while riding. You could take your bike to a shop and have a mechanic work on it, but more of the tasks are fairly simple and you could save money by doing it yourself. There are a few guidelines when you decide to take this route.
- Don’t cut corners – This refers to what your bike maintenance calls for and what’s cheapest or easiest to find. Take the time to find the right sizes or special lubricants for bike chains, versus using household or motor oils that will get sticky and attract debris that wears out a chain fast.
- Work in a well-ventilated area – If you will be using any lubricants or sprays to clean or maintain your bike, then it’s better to do this outside or in a well-ventilated garage. Some sprays or lubricants can give off an odor that can make you nauseous, dizzy or make your head ache.
- Wear gloves – Whenever you are cleaning or using tools on something, it is a good idea to wear gloves to protect your hands from cuts and chemicals. Especially if you will be working with the bike chain, slip on a light pair of gloves for protection.
- Keep it clean – When you are lubricating parts such as the chain or your brakes, be sure not to use too much that it drips on other parts, especially your wheels and rims. Lubricant on the wheels can affect your brakes, cause them to fail, and potentially lead to a crash.
- Not too tight – After adjusting or cleaning, make sure all nuts, bolts and screws are put back on tight, but not too tight. You don’t want to strip away the screws. Turn until you feel resistance and make sure the bolt is not poking out unnaturally.
- Cover – When you aren’t riding your bike, the best maintenance you can perform is to keep it sheltered from the elements. Bike parts are easily prone to rust which can damage it. Keep your bike inside, in a shed or simply under a tarp. The drier it stays the better you can fend off rust.
Now that you are ready to get hands on with your bike, here is a list of some simple bike maintenance tasks that you can do yourself to keep your bike road ready. If you are very unfamiliar but eager to learn, then you can look up popular websites for how to videos to get you pointed in the right direction.
- Remove, clean and re-lubricate chain and gears.
- Re-lubricate and check brakes and gear cables.
- Take apart, clean and re-grease headset.
- Take apart, clean and re-grease front and back hubs.
- Clean cluster with a solvent dampened cloth.
- Check handlebars and head stem for and unnecessary movement.
Before shopping take a few moments to look over all the nuts, bolts and screws on your bike. Figure out what size hex keys, wrenches and Torx keys you will need to fix or adjust each item. This will give you a better idea of what to look for and can help weed out some multi tools that don’t provide the sizes or tools you need. If you’re not sure, look at products that offer various sizes of the aforementioned tools so you’re guaranteed to have one that fits. Now on to the reviews.
Topeak Alien II Multi Tool
Size: 3.39 x 1.69 x 1.61 inches
Features: 26 tools; 2 piece body; 0.60 lb, Hardened steel tools; Includes nylon bag with clip.
Have every bike tool you need on hand with the Topeak Alien II Multi Tool. Fitted with 26 tools made from hardened steel, this pocket tool won’t let you down. The body is made from Engineering Grade Plastic and comes with a nylon bag with a clip.
When you open the multi tool up you will have multiple sized Allen wrenches (2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8/10mm), a Torx wrench, box wrenches (8/9/10mm) and spoke wrenches (15g/14g). There is a built in knife, bottle opener, tire levers and a chain hook/tool. Also included are a number two Phillips and flat head screwdriver bits.
If you want to carry every tool you will need, then this is the multi tool for you. You can feel secure leaving the house knowing that you have all you need if you break down.
Pro Bike Tool Bike Multi Tool 8-in-1
Size: 3.7 x 1.5 x 0.3 inches
Features: Fantastic design; Superior quality materials; Slim, compact and lightweight; 8 Strong tools.
Simple yet strong, the Pro Bike Multitool is an eight-in-one tool that you must have when riding. This tool features a stunning design with a high polished, smooth and durable finish. Also the bars that hold this tool together do not unscrew. This means that over time it will not become loose and need adjusting or tightening.
The tools are made from a full, high strength SUS420 stainless steel corrosion resistant surface treatment. Included in this mini tool are five different sized Allen/hex tools (2.5/3/4/5/6mm), two star shaped Torx tools (T25/T30) and a Phillips head screwdriver.
Your tools stay secure by locking into sidebars with a rivet system, at 90 degrees this automatically catches each tool and holds it steady to create leverage. This tool is compact and lightweight at only three and a half ounces. Included is a lifetime guarantee on the product.
Crank Brothers Multi Bicycle Tool
Size: 3.5 inches
Features: 19 tools; Lightweight aluminum hard case; 6061 T6 aluminum frame; 6150 high tensile steel tools; Stainless steel and polymer carrying case.
The Crank Brother Multi Bike Tool is a tool kit in the palm of your hand. Boasting a lightweight design and heavy duty tools, this will help you get the job done. Reviews state that with this tool you can fully assemble a new bike out of the crate with ease.
The tools are made from a 6150 high tensile steel and are incased in a 6061 T6 aluminum frame house. Included in this multitool are seven hex wrenches, four-spoke wrenches, small and large Phillips and flat head screwdrivers, T-25 Torx driver, universal chain tool and two 8 and 10 mm open wrenches.
Made to last for years, this product comes with a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty. It weights 6 ounces and comes with a stainless steel and polymer carrying case.
Park Tool I-Beam Mini
Size: 6.2 x 3.2 x 0.8 inches
Features: Unique I-Beam Handle; Strong, compact and lightweight; Multiple sized hex wrenches.
Affordable and perfect for on the go, the Park Tool I-Beam Mini is a great option for everyone. It has everything that you would need in a bike emergency, a tire repair or chain breaker. This multi tool is made with stainless steal for a strength and longevity.
This tool holds 8 various size hex wrenches (1.5/2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8mm), a T25 Torx wrench and a flat head screwdriver, it does not include a Phillips screw driver. It features I-Beams unique handle which is the bar in the middle and tools that fold out on either side with incredible ease. This proven design also gives the tool a structural rigidity to hold strong while in use.
Topeak Mini 9 Bike Tool
Size: 2.6 x 1.2 x 0.8 inches
Features: High quality materials; Tested for quality; 9 tools; Super light folding; Hardened steel; Aluminum body.
The Topeak Mini 9 Bike Tool gives you high quality tools in the palm of your hand. Topeak tests its tools for quality and durability, so that you are always receiving a well-made product. This multi tool can withstand a drop onto asphalt without breaking.
The tools are made from hardened steel and incased in an aluminum body. Included are 7 Allen wrenches (2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8mm), a T25 Torx bit and a Phillips head screwdriver.
At a great price, this multi tool is a must have for everyone. It takes up little to no room and fits in almost any pocket or bag. This tool also comes with a handy neoprene case to stay in when not in use.
SKS-Germany 11235 Tom Multi Hand Tool
Size: 8.66 x 5.98 x 1.18 inches
Features: Included neoprene storage bag; 7 tools included; Lightweight at 3.10 ounces.
The SKS-Germany 11235 Tom 7 Multi Hand Tool is lightweight and able to fix your basic bike needs. Weighing only 3.10 ounces, you’ll hardly notice carrying it around.
Included are five various sized hex wrenches (2.5/3/4/5/6mm), a T25 Torx bit and a Phillips head screwdriver. This tool also comes with a handy neoprene case to keep it safe when not in use.
If you are looking for a basic multi tool then this is a great option. It includes most of the common tools you would need to repair or maintain your bike without carrying around a bulkier tool.
Size: 3.9 x 1.2 x 2 inches
Features: 16-in-1 repair tool kit; Good quality, durable and full function; Includes 3 piece nylon pry tire rods.
Every tool you could ever need right in your hand, that is what the WOTOW 16-in-1 offers. At an affordable price and with high reviews, this tool stands out among competitors.
This tool comes with six Allen hex keys (2/2.5/3/4/5/6mm), Three socket hex wrenches (8/9/10mm), a slotted and Phillips screwdriver, a socket extension rod, solid wrench (8/10/15mm)and three hex key wrenches (2/2.5/3/4/5/6mm). Also included are six spoke wrenches and a three piece nylon pry tire rods.
This multi tool is heavier and larger than most on the market. It is an excellent and affordable addition to any biker’s bag, however it won’t fit into your pocket as well as other slimmer models.
EyezOff 18 Function Multi Tool
Size: 3.46 x 1.73 x 0.7 Inches
Features: Lightweight; Includes 18 functions; Solid steel and aluminum materials.
Made from solid steel and aluminum casing, the EyezOff 18 Function Multi Tool gives you a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to value. This tool is lightweight at 7.7 ounces and is made to fit in your pocket or other small spaces.
Inside this tool has seven hex keys (2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8mm), a Phillips and flat head screwdriver, a chain splitting tool, a torque T-25 bit, three open wrenches and four spoke wrenches that include a Mavic and Shimano wrench. These two special wrenches are made for replacing or adjusting your spokes.
This multi tool is sturdy and hefty, which gives you excellent leverage as you are tightening bolts and screws. The price is very affordable and it includes special tools that are not always built into various multi tools.
So what should you choose?
When it comes to figuring out which multi tool to purchase, you must really rely on your best judgement. Most of the tools listed are in a close price range to one another. You have to decide what you are comfortable with fixing if stranded alone.
Some individuals prefer the simple pocket multi tools and have large full scale additional tools they carry with them, while others want the convenience of everything in one small package. Only you know what best fits you and what will make you feel more confident while out on the road.