Choosing the Right Bike Multi-Tool for Your Needs
Bike multi-tools come in a variety of types and have different configurations. Deciding between an all-in-one or a minimalist tool is the best place to start when choosing a multi-tool. Below, we’ll go over the differences so you can decide which will work best for your needs.
- All-in-One Multi-Tool – An all-in-one tool comes with a wide selection of tools to help in any emergency. They might include chain tools, Allen wrenches, and even screwdrivers. While this kind of tool has the advantage of versatility, it also tends to be heavier and bulkier to transport. Some may barely fit in the saddlebag under your seat and be better off in your backpack.
- Minimalist Multi-Tool – Minimalist tools are smaller and can make only simple repairs. They often come with the most common Allen wrenches along with a Phillips and flathead screwdriver. In some cases, this might be enough. The benefit of choosing this tool type is that it will be small and lightweight.
Functions Available with a Multi-Tool
Now that you know the difference between bicycle multi-tool types, we wanted to go over the functions they tend to offer. You can get an idea of what you should expect and which tools to look for to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need for the purchase price.
- Allen/Hex Wrenches – Almost any mountain bike or road bike is going to have Allen screws on it to adjust the seat or the brakes or both. That makes this an essential tool to have available. Having a variety of sizes is a good idea with Allen wrenches.
- Chain Tools – A road biker may need this tool, but it is going to be most useful for those who ride on mountain bikes. This is the ultimate tool to have available when you need to remove a chain link that has broken.
- Screwdrivers – You are going to want to have both a Phillips and a flathead screwdriver to be prepared. Pretty much any bicycle is going to have both of the screws located somewhere on them.
- Torx Screwdriver – While not all bikes use Torx screws, it is becoming prevalent, especially when you have an expensive bicycle. The Torx 25 is the standard size, so this is likely the only size you will need.
Quality of the Bike Multi-Tool
While there are inexpensive tools out there and some are decent quality, this isn’t always the case. It might come with all the tools you need, but if it isn’t high-quality, the tools have a much higher chance of breaking when you use them. Nobody wants to deal with that when there is an emergency going on.
If and when a tool breaks, it can also damage your bicycle by stripping a bolt or screw. It also makes it possible that you can be injured. Anyone who has gotten a scrap due to a tool of poor quality can corroborate how frustrating this can be.
Size and Weight of the Multi-Tool
Most people are going to want a light tool, but it’s a bad idea to sacrifice durability for this. You also want tools that are strong enough to handle major repair jobs if there is a need. You also want to consider the size of the tool since one that is too tiny is going to make it hard to use to turn bolts and screws. However, if you plan to place it in a saddle bar, you should be sure you have enough room for it.
You also want to think about the size of the protective case if the bike multi-tool comes with one. This is going to increase the bulk and size that you need to transport. If you have a tool with a case, it may not fit in an under-seat saddlebag.
There are tons of bike multi-tools on the market, but they can vary in quality, price, and the number of features. The multi-tools listed above are likely to meet your needs and offer a variety of features so you can choose the one that best fits your needs. If you want to research on your own, consider the tips above so you know what to watch for and how to prioritize various things about the multi-tool!