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what's the best multitool and why? - nm(30 posts)

what's the best multitool and why? - nmMJ
Dec 11, 2001 7:33 AM
Too Easy.muncher.
Dec 11, 2001 7:39 AM
Food processor, obviously.
er, the best multitool for the bikeMJ
Dec 11, 2001 7:46 AM
Topeak Alien (nm)Money D
Dec 11, 2001 7:57 AM
Topeak Alien (nm)MJ
Dec 11, 2001 8:03 AM
I've got a biggish Park multitool but have hear good things about the Ritchey CR17 I think it is...

any comments on the Topeak would be appreciated - stocking stuffer (not for me)
I've been carrying the Alien for several years, but I havebill
Dec 11, 2001 8:26 AM
begun to realize that all I've ever used are the hex wrenches and the screwdriver. I don't think I've even ever used the tire levers (I don't know; call me stupid but I keep a set of bigger ones not attached to a bunch of metal in my little saddle bag). I think that if you are carrying a single tool that you intend to use off the bike, too, like on a tour or something (I personally have never opened a bottle at speed), the Alien is great. For the average joe on 50 mile out and backs, it's a bit of overkill.
I've been carrying the Alien for several years, but I haveMJ
Dec 11, 2001 8:30 AM
the person it's for doesn't have any bike tools so maybe it's just the thing - I hate trying to fix their stuff and deal with sorting through loose American sized hex/allen keys and improvising for a tyre lever out of their 'toolbox'

agree though - less is more - I've only used my chain breaker tool on my Park once - and it wasn't even for me - I've got a Campy permalink
you said tool! huh, huh, huh.Js Haiku Shop
Dec 11, 2001 8:04 AM
have no basis for comparison, but i'm using the topeak alien. bought one at $30 or so 2 years back, liked it enough to buy two more when i caught them on sale at nashbar in feb '01 for $14.95 each. carry it on road/mountain/whatever riding i'm doing.

two problems (only one that bothers me) with this tool: (1) it's heavy, or so many here claim, but this isn't a concern for me. (2) it will rust. i've used scotchgard on the nylon cases before packing them into my seatpacks, but i do ride in rain and crappy weather. the next step is to remove the rust (only slight surface rust on one of them at this time) and apply wd40 or another lubricant/water displacement solution to the rust-prone parts.

i've had use for most, if not all of the tools, while on the road on solo and group rides (mostly group)--including the chain tool on several occasions. it's amazing how many people ride without tools, tubes, pumps, patch kits, etc.
re: what's the best multitool and why? - nmStampertje
Dec 11, 2001 8:37 AM
I have a Pedro's multitool - allen wrenches, screwdriver, chain tool. That's it. I've only used the allen wrenches so far. I've got seperate tire levers.

I like the way the Pedro's handles. The only thing missing is a phillips screwdriver, but I have the only phillips-head screws on my bike fastened with lockbond anyway.
all you needJack S
Dec 11, 2001 8:55 AM
...are some allen keys, usually a 4-5-6, maybe some tire levers if your tires are tough to get off. Perhaps a chain tool if you're a brute or want to be a good samaritan to someone who didn't maintain their bike. You will never use most of those tools, and some won't even fit a part on your bike. Do you really need 3 spoke wrenches, 6 box wrenches, 4 different sized screwdrivers, a knife, bottle/can opener, tweezers, wire cutter, ruler, magnifying glass, nail file, fork, spoon, fish scaler, expresso grinder, etc.?
all you needDINOSAUR
Dec 11, 2001 9:22 AM
I pack a Ritchey CPR-13 Mini Tool stashed in my seat bag. I purchased it about two years ago and I have yet to use it. Mini tools are meant to be used in emergencys and I've never encountered one. On the other side of the coin I'm a firm believer if you don't carry something you are bound to need it sooner or later. The "later" has never occurred. The Ritchey is so small that it's hard to get leverage. If I had to do it over again I'd go with a Topeak Alian XS, at least the design makes it practicable.
Dec 11, 2001 11:09 AM
Allen wrenches, tire levers, patch kit or extra tubes (or both)and a pump. For road cycling that is. If you're going on a five-day tour go ahead and bring extra spokes while you're at it. But for the normal training ride the Alien is overkill.

I have one, it's nice, but I only carry it on mountain bike trips.

Just an opinion. One could argue it is always better to be prepared for the worst.
re: what's the best multitool and why? - nmtarwheel
Dec 11, 2001 9:44 AM
I use (or I should say carry) a Topeak Alien, but I've rarely every had an occasion to use it on the road. On one of the few occasions where I tried to use it, it didn't have the tool I needed -- an Allen wrench that would fit the adjusters on my cleats. Lately I been seriously considering replacing the Alien with a few well-selected tools to save some weight. However, Murphy's Law dictates that I will need the Alien as soon as I quit carrying it. That's what happened when I quit carrying a frame pump and went to CO2. I got a flat (my only one in 8,000 miles) the first time I left the frame pump at home, and I didn't have enough CO2 cartridges with me to refill the tire (didn't realize it takes more than one). The Alien is awfully heavy, and it seems like there must be a lighter alternative. It is well-made, though, and is useful to have around.
Blackburn - it weighs nothing.grzy
Dec 11, 2001 9:48 AM
You talking about the Race Tool, Grzy?nigel
Dec 11, 2001 4:17 PM
If so, I had one for about two days earlier this year. I tried it out at home and it did nothing but piss me off. I returned it for my money back before even taking it with me on a ride. It's geared to the road rider/racer (of which I am now both), and is SUPERLIGHT and SUPERSMALL (which attracted me to it immediately), made for sticking in your back pocket in a race, just in case. Too good to be true? You bet. I have small hands, and it was TOO SMALL and poorly fashioned for me to even grip properly and utilize. I could loosen virtually nothing on my bike--not the seatpost binder bolt, not the stem bolt, and I had to struggle to get anything else loosened/tightened enough to be safe. Plus, my palm was KILLING me after trying to use the T-shaped hex wrench tool; it dug right in.

Great design (idea), but horribly ineffective tools.

I still go with the minimal approach (which has worked perfectly so far), and I agree with another poster: two tire levers and 5- and 6mm L-shaped hex wrenches (both which I rubberband to a spare tube), and a glueless patch kit. I don't need all the other gizmos--or haven't YET--that all the heavy, bulky multitools include, and what I carry (in my pocket) weighs nothing (important since I don't carry a pack on my bike) and isn't bulky at all.

Good luck out there,
Dec 12, 2001 9:52 AM
Been running the Blackburn tool for years on my MTB. If you need more leverage then you use the main handle slipped over your tool (sounds erotic). I will say that trying to fix a 9 speed chain with it is VERY hard, but that's true of any tool except for a full sized Park unit. Most of the mulit-tools today have eqally tiny length handles and sharp edges. Still, there's nothing wrong with a couple Allen wrenches and some tire levers, until you need to tighten a nut, repair a chain, adjust a spoke, tighten a crank arm, or tweak a deraileur adjustment. Then you need to carry a handfull of tools from your tool box. Topeak makes a cool little race style setup, but I'm not talking about the Alien, however I find it harder, at times, to use than the Blackburn. I can always figure out a way to make the Blackburn work. I get a chuckle out of the people that carry the mondo hunk o' tools, but can't use any of them, much less put them back together.
and does virtually nothingnfm-
Dec 14, 2001 6:38 AM
Park MT-1Galibier
Dec 11, 2001 9:59 AM
The Park MT-1 is a single, compact, lightweight wrench that includes just about everything you're likely to need on the road: 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, and 8mm hex wrenches; 8mm, 9mm, and 10mm socket wrenches; and a flat blade screwdriver. I also carry a couple of tire levers and a spoke wrench.
Me too - Park MT-1S. Lehman
Dec 11, 2001 1:29 PM
The Park MT-1 with a spoke wrench and a mini chain tool. The chain tool might be overkill as I've never had to use mine while on a ride. But then again, the one time I don't have it will probably be when my chain breaks.
re: what's the best multitool and why? - nmdanuk
Dec 11, 2001 10:10 AM
macgiver, I have one and I never use it. I use to have the cool mtn tool. Someone stole it so I assume it was the right tool. the Mcgover does have the fish scaler though, and it weighs 4 lbs.
It Depends On What You Ride...Greg Taylor
Dec 11, 2001 10:11 AM
I carry a Topeak Alien in my bag when I commute. I have used just about every single tool on it one time or another. Yes, even the chain tool and spoke wrench.

I've put together a lighter-weight tool kit for Sunday Rides with the gang -- allen wrenches (4-5-6), Park mini-brute chain tool, tire levers, wrapped in a bandana.
road: spoke wrench, tire levers, $$$, mtb: Ritchey nmgtx
Dec 11, 2001 10:45 AM
I still use seperates...ohio
Dec 11, 2001 12:34 PM
This is mostly for MTBiking:
screwdriver with 2 reversible heads (2 philips, 2 flat)
park folding allen tool 1mm-6mm
park mini chain tool
2 specialized pry babies
patch kit
topeak minipump
8mm allen (I just switched to ISIS, which seems to loosen all the time. This is the only tool I wish were a little smaller, but the leverage is nice)

For the commute (all my road riding), I add batteries and drop the 8mm wrench.

I've been considering carrying a minimal first aid kit also.

Oh yeah, the "and why" part:
I don't mind the weight. I've either got a water bladder or my work clothes on my back, anyway. Any bike work I have to do during a ride annoys me enough as it is, so I like having simple quality tools to do it as fast and effectively as possible. I started carrying the 8mm wrench after ruining a crank with an Alien. When I first got the cranks, I installed them to spec, but the ISIS splines sort of need to work into place, and didn't fully press on with the recommended torque. So by the time I got to to trail they'd loosened. I retightened them with an Alien (the only 8mm) we had handy, and they felt snug, but it wasn't quite tight enough. Left arm came flying off mid ride and gouged the splines, rendering the crank pretty much useless. Probably my own fault for incorrect installation (though I still can't figure out what I did wrong other than assume I could ride on them after installation), but I think they would have been fine if I'd been able to torque them all the way on at the trail, once discovering they went through this "fitting" stage...
Topeak AlienApplejuice
Dec 12, 2001 4:38 PM
Had my first one for three years. Probably used it every single day. Awesome. Indestructible. Saved my butt many, many times. Very highly recommended. They've also made some incremental improvements since it first came out.
if you
Dec 12, 2001 6:21 PM
Crank Bros multi-17........ got all of what you need, little of what you don't. trick looking too. But all you need are tire levers and allen keys
WHY IS IT THAT NO ONE SEEMS TO MAKE... (bit of a rant)nigel
Dec 13, 2001 9:19 AM
...a small, lightweight, and FUNCTIONAL tool for the road with the bare essentials?

Looking over my bike (with the exception of the front-derailleur mounting screws, which are 3mm hex), I only need:

4mm hex
5mm hex
Philips-head screwdriver
15g spoke wrench
tire levers

In years of riding, I haven't needed a chain tool (maybe I'm jinxing myself here); 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 6mm, 8mm hexes; bottle opener, box wrenches (on a road bike? I don't think so); or half of the tools that come with most "mini" tools (making them not really "mini" at all, and weighing them down considerably).

Does anyone know of a LIGHTWEIGHT (about 50g) and small minitool with equipment large enough to provide leverage when needed? The Blackburn Race Tool LOOKED just perfect, but a) wasn't large enough for function--for me, anyway; b) only had a flathead screwdriver, which I can't use; and c) had ball-ended hex wrenches which threatened to strip my hex bolts.

ANY advice is most appreciated.

Cheers, all.
Dec 13, 2001 6:12 PM
fer cryin out loud, ya spaz. If all you need is a 4,5, phillips, spoke wrench, and a couple of levers, the carry them. they will probably be much lighter, and why spend the dough if you don't have to? here's a hint for a neat, ultra lightweight little carrying case- rubber band.

If you've just gotta have one the crank bros multi-5 would be the ticket... Heavier at 75gm and no spoke wrench, but only 10 bucks.
First off, I'm NOT spastic. ;)nigel
Dec 13, 2001 6:41 PM

If only the Multi-5 had a spoke wrench in with it (Why couldn't they just do that? It'd be so simple, but NOOOOOO....), it'd have it all (plus a couple of extra wrenches).

You clearly didn't read my earlier post in this same strain. I use the very same "case" you suggest--a rubber band. I was simply wondering if anyone out there knew of something with the "essentials" (which included a spoke wrench and Phillips-head screwdriver. I rubberband my 4 and 5mm L-shaped wrenches, along with my two levers, to my spare tube and stick the whole bit in my back pocket. Today, I found an offset (L-shaped) Phillips in my local hardware store for a buck. Now all I have to do is to tie in a spoke wrench (which I've never needed, knock wood), and I've got practically everything I could possibly use.

First off, I'm NOT spastic. ;)DA
Dec 14, 2001 5:56 AM
why can't you just file a notch- that matches your nipple size- in the "case" and... ta-da, spoke wrench. You are a spaz. No creativity either.
btw, i've used the alien box wrench on my roof rack nmJs Haiku Shop
Dec 14, 2001 6:18 AM