Check Out: Utility Belts, Tools, & More

Nov 3, 2023
by Dario DiGiulio  


A lot of gear comes across our desks here at Pinkbike. Check Out is an occasional round up of everything our tech editors have gotten their hands on. Sometimes it's products we're doing long-term tests on, other times it's stuff we're stoked on but don't have time to fully review. And, sometimes it's crazy shit someone sent us unsolicited and we're having a laugh.



RMU Utility Belt

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Waterproof exterior.
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And some neat organization.

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The metal closure is a nice touch. The waist strap tail loop never seems to stay put though.
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I usually use this pocket for a layer, as bottles wag around a lot.


Features

• 420D nylon with PU coating
• 1L capacity
• Black w/ reflective hits
• 1 main pocket, 2 stretch pockets
• Aluminum buckle
• Hook and loop waist adjuster
• MSRP: $49 USD (on sale for $32)
mtnculture.com




bigquotesThe hip pack is dead, long live the hip pack. This summer was something of a backpack renaissance for me, as the carry method of choice for long rides where surplus water was a must. Despite that, wearing a full-on hydration vest at the bike park led to the local kids making even more fun of me, so I've deferred to this slightly stealthier method when there's less to haul. The construction of the RMU pack makes it very easy to wear under a shirt, keeping your upper layer airy and comfortable if it's hot out. No fun in strapping in the sweat when you're just trying to feel free.

The organization is just enough, and the 1L size is big enough for a jacket and a little shock pump, which to me is the max for something of this sort. It's not replacing my Chase Vest, but for keeping my pants pockets from overflowing it's been pretty ideal. Bonus points for the easy-access pass pocket and the waterproof main pocket, both are simple and well considered.



Radar Labs Loob Toob

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Syringe tip and Phil grease for bearings.
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Brush tip and Park Polylube for the nasty spots. Even this gluey thick grease pushes through the brush.

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I've been using the big dog 100ml for sucking up sealant.
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Skookum.



Features

• Syringes for any semi-solid goo
• Various tip attachments
• Luer-lock compatible
• Dosing/locking nut on metal pushrod
• Rebuildable internals
• $8-15 USD
radarlaboratories.com




bigquotesSince I first got a job at a bike shop, I've been a practitioner of the finger-wipe method of applying grease, as those ten digits are probably some of the last tools you'll lose on a messy workbench. However, in the name of a more organized home shop, I'm trying to use the "right tools for the job" more often, which means my fingers will also stay slightly less greasy over the course of a trip to the garage. Enter the Loob Toob, a clever combination of high quality syringes and some tip accessories well-designed for all the nooks and crannies of the bike.

With brush attachments of varying size and precision applicators to match, these handy kits from Radar Labs are a smart way to handle semi-solids around the shop. Probably overkill for the hobbyist home mechanic, but if you're working on a lot of bikes on a regular basis then it can be very nice to have a clean and controlled way to apply the right lubricant for the job. There's even a sealant sucker that I can finally replace my little squeezy Schwalbe bottle with. 




Cannondale x Dynaplug 11-in-1 Multitool

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Features

• Hex Keys: 2.5 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 8mm | Torx: T25
• Screwdriver tools: Phillips #2, Flat # 5

• Valve core tool
• Double-ended Dynaplug tool
• $65 USD
cannondale.com




bigquotesDespite waxing poetic about the value of preparation, the beauty well-curated fixit kit, and the basic importance of not getting stranded in the woods, I typically leave home with little more than a multitool in my pocket. Partly, I trust that I've spent the time making sure things won't break from regular use, and if catastrophe should strike, then it's fodder for an interesting story when I finally get home.

Enter this handy little tool, which not only features all the hex keys you could want, but also the stabby little plugs so many have come to rely on. Dynaplugs are usually enough to keep a little tire cut from ruining a ride, though they have failed me on a couple occasions - typically when the head pops off mid-installation. That said, they're still my go-to, so having two baked into the convenience of a pocketable tool is all the more welcome. The body of the Cannondale tool is long enough to apply real leverage to just about everything, though it might fall short of the 35Nm you'll need to torque your Transmission up if you decide to install things trailside.




Bookman Volume 1500 Light

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Features

• 1500 lumens, 4000 mAh battery
• Garmin / GoPro / Strap mounts
• Aluminum body, mode control knob
• 3 to 34 hour runtime
• $162 USD
bookmanvisibility.com




bigquotesFor a long time, bike lights were awkward, battery-tethered things that lasted about 40 minutes on a full charge and never quite mounted right. Luckily that's changed, and I'm happy to add Bookman onto my list of excellent light manufacturers. While the Volume 1500 probably isn't going to replace my Outbound Lighting setup for night rides, the Bookman has definitely become a go-to for commuting and stashing on rides that might stretch late. The slim profile is easy enough to throw in a pack, and the simple mounts work well.

The beam pattern is flatter and better on trail than other simpler cylindrical lights, but again won't compare to something specifically trail-oriented with a very wide beam pattern. This makes for a better all-round use, and with battery life that stretches well beyond the quick ride home it's easy to keep mounted to the daily driver. The hi-fi inspired knob seems a little funny, but it really is a nice alternative to the click-through settings other lights use, and gives a nice visual representation of where you stand in the brightness range. 




Chromag Brick

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Features

• 50mm extrusion
• 25.4 clamp diameter
• Very thick
• Quite heavy
• Rounded edges
• Symmetrical in nearly every direction
• $69 USD
chromagbikes.com




bigquotesI found this handsome hog at our local community-run bike shop - the Hub - while digging through the bins looking for shiny objects (a favorite pastime). While the 25.4 handlebar standard has long been eclipsed by decidedly less scary 31.8 and 35mm variants, there could still be a place for some very compliant aluminum in my life - so here's hoping. The 50mm length is still bang-on, and the looks are undeniable.

I really like this charismatic little brick, and am currently trying to finesse it into a Staff Ride build for sometime later this year. Stay tuned. 




Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
194 articles

121 Comments
  • 95 1
 le brick
  • 25 0
 Gros brique.
  • 2 0
 @ShredDoggg: j'aimerais le tenir
  • 12 1
 la bonne grosse brique sa mère
  • 3 0
 @ShredDoggg: Why is this so funny to me?
  • 4 0
 Goes perfectly with Le Baguette
  • 2 0
 @two-plank: Vous aim mon gros brique???
  • 1 0
 Price is nice
  • 1 0
 The best brick
  • 4 0
 Re-bore slighty offset - towards the brick to 31.8
  • 62 0
 Utility belt had zero flashbangs, knockout gas or bat-a-rangs. Looks suspiciously like a fanny pack with better branding. Thumbs up for the waterbottle holder though.
  • 16 0
 Exactly what I thought. Utility belt? Who are we? Batman now?
  • 1 0
 @TheR:

Well...that bat-a-rang could surely improve my climb times.
  • 2 0
 There could be some shark repellant bat spray in that water bottle.....
  • 1 0
 At least it has a chicken in the bottle holder now
  • 1 0
 Best critique of a review I've ever read!
  • 1 0
 Smoke screen FTW
  • 60 5
 Fuck
  • 9 0
 why don't they have a link to that?
  • 6 5
 Now I have to ban my kids from Pinkbike.
  • 9 3
 @SJP: Ah man, that's a real f*cker.
  • 4 0
 Did a vice just swear at me?!
  • 29 0
 Can we get a review on the vice please? Gripping strength, handle comfort, paint quality, lewdness of stickers - that kind of thing.
  • 40 0
 Harbor Freight special: holds things fairly well, I do not feel bad hitting it with a hammer, price is right. 8/10
  • 3 1
 If money is not a problem the German Heuer 100100 vice with the additional 100mm rotary table is amazing. Add the magnetic jaw set and you can grip and sort of part without marring. That's as small as they come and go up in size and price from there. It does everything bike/home related for me.
  • 2 1
 @dariodigiulio: don’t use for automotive work, it’ll break in half.
  • 2 0
 You should call the Vice Squad and offer to pay then...
  • 2 0
 @IMeasureStuff: if money is no object, I'm getting me a fireball tools hardtail. I wanna hit stuff with a hammer.
  • 2 0
 @IMeasureStuff: I'm not the end-all-be-all, but as an industrial tradesman I've yet to see anything better than a Yost DI-750. Plenty of knockoffs out there too. If I could find one with a more domestic manufacturer (sorry I'm still skeptical of asian quality) and a reasonable price tag I'd have two at home.
  • 1 0
 @schofell84: I have that Yost and I'm happy with it except for the detents for spinning the head. I don't like having to hold the pin back to rotate it. Can't really see why I'd need the detents in the first place.
  • 1 0
 @dariodigiulio: Ye olde Record brand or go home
  • 23 0
 I never would’ve imagined the cheapo American lager I brew would get a glamor shot on pinkbike of all places, thanks Dario!
  • 6 0
 Great work Vnasty
  • 19 0
 That control knob on the light is MONEY! No more clicking through all the modes (especially sucks if your light always goes through the flashy modes) to verify your brightness, which is also really verifying how long the light should last. Also going to be awesome for winter gloves!
  • 20 1
 If you don’t have that brick bored out for modern bars you are as dumb as I look
  • 6 0
 Fancy engineering brick tolerances be dammed!!! Who ever broke a brick?!
  • 12 0
 how amazing would it be if chromag made a bmx sized 22.2 stem (or ''oversized'' 25.4)
  • 5 0
 The bikepacking scene is calling for it. 22.2 for custom bent steel comfort bars and low-rise S&M BMX bars.
  • 3 1
 I can’t tell if this is sarcasm or not, as obviously there are lots of bmx companies that make 22.2 stems and “oversized” 25.4 stems (funny stuff), but I’m solidly of the opinion that there is no need for anything even as big as 31.8 in mountain bike, aside from aesthetics and maybe weight. I also would legitimately love if some mountain bike companies would make a top load stem, ala bmx, as I still see no reason why everything has to be so low and 0 rise
  • 2 0
 @panthermodern: user name checks out. Check out the race face D2 stem from 15 years ago. It is a top load 31.8mm stem. I wish I'd never sold mine.
  • 2 0
 There are 31.8 BMX racing stems too, and a couple are top load
  • 1 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: seemingly hard to come by now. I wish they’d bring that thing back
  • 1 0
 @AndrewHornor:
They do indeed. I have been tempted to run one in the past, but have been concerned about strength just given that often bmx race bikes have weight limits associated with them
  • 2 0
 @panthermodern: I can imagine, it was bloody expensive at the time. Great place to sit a can while chatting though, with a 65 degree head angle the top was almost perfectly flat.
  • 1 0
 @GTscoob: NS bikes makes the district bars, 22.2 chromo. Also makes the proof bars in 25.4 aluminum and the chemical stem in 25.4, I run that combo on my dj, they are really nice.
  • 2 0
 @shami: those look cool, just a shame that they don’t have any slightly lower rise options
  • 13 0
 Some good ad-vice here.
  • 2 0
 Clever, there Wink
  • 3 0
 gripping commentary.
  • 2 0
 Don't be a tool...
  • 3 0
 @VtVolk: Jaw dropping.
  • 1 0
 Always room to squeeze in an extra joke
  • 6 1
 First multi with a Dynaplug, for the price of that tool by itself. That's good thinking.
  • 3 0
 Big dynaplug guy here, but I do like being able to tote 4 plugs in my Racer. Plus... it looks like a one hitter.
  • 1 0
 @Hogfly: I think its two-sided. You unthread-flip-rethread to get the second plug.
  • 5 0
 That skookum beer poster! I need some skookum swag asap. Ps the lube tube is cool too
  • 6 0
 Pretty sure that's just a can label carefully peeled off and stuck to the wall, lol. Does look sweet though
  • 3 0
 I bought a couple $1 syringes at Ace hardware a couple yrs ago and cut the nozzle to different lengths (diameters) and they work great for different greases. I believe they were horse syringes.
  • 16 0
 Bit tough getting enough force on the plunger to get a horse through the needle
  • 1 0
 @NZRalphy: you're defo a smart guy LOL
  • 2 0
 @NZRalphy: about the same as getting a camel through the eye of a needle?
  • 1 0
 I never understood why the Evoc 1L hip pack didn't include a water bottle sleeve, as shown on the RMU. Sure, they flap around when holding a heavy bottle (as stated in the article), but I don't want it all of the time... I just want it for those big days out with friends, when speed is secondary to adventure. I love Evoc's products, but I always thought this was a simple and easy option that they simply missed on.
  • 2 1
 @mcharza: which is great, but having one on the 1L hippack (which I already own) would have been perfect.
  • 4 0
 I've got a Dakine Hot Laps 1L and it holds a 750ml bottle really well, very little movement, I pretty much forget about it when riding.
  • 1 1
 Just buy a regular bottle holder and put it on your belt instead of your bike m8
  • 1 0
 About the Loob Toob: I simply got a normal tiny grease gun from Hazet. Its small enough to reach all places on a bike and most important: Its entirely made out of shiny metal.
www.hazet.de/de/produkte/werkstattbedarf-arbeitsschutz/schmieren-reinigen-pflegen/2364/mini-fettpresse?c=128928
  • 1 0
 @roxtar: Not all of these syringe kits are made the same. Thanks to you and GuinessRCD, i have some ideas for my trip to harbourfrieght later today ;-)
  • 1 0
 @minesatusker: I know and these amazon ones are surprisingly decent.
I spend $ on good quality syringes for reusable things like brake and suspension bleeding.
For things like grease or other uses where you are most likely not going to be cleaning them out for reuse, it doesn't really make sense to spend on higher end syringes. This is especially true for epoxies or any one&done applications.
  • 1 0
 @roxtar: Yes, very true. The ones i got off amazon didn't have a large enough needle bore to allow my grease to easily flow through. I am the same and have specific ones for specific jobs so i don't get cross contamination. I now want to cover greasing linkages, headsets and wheels. I didn't find what i wanted in HF. I will Loob Toob their dues, they do have a reasonable dealer network.
  • 4 0
 Nobody needs a flathead screwdriver blade anymore on multi tools.......
  • 2 1
 kids' V-brakes say otherwise
  • 3 0
 How else will we clean our derailleur pulleys?
  • 1 0
 @sfarnum: @tb927:

Do you guys really use multi-tools as actual at-home tools?
  • 1 0
 @roxtar: The only spoke wrench I own is on my crankbros tool
  • 1 0
 @sfarnum: Rounding off nipples is one of wrenching's worst nightmares.
A good quality spoke wrench is essential if you do your own truing and costs, what, $5 or so?
  • 1 0
 @roxtar: Nothing wrong with the CB one. And they’re closer to $10.
  • 2 0
 Olight RN1500 is a very similar light ( nice pattern, real 1500 output, can be used as power bank and has GoPro mount) is about 129 CAD and is often on sale
  • 3 0
 Dangerholm has been looking for that brick!
  • 2 0
 It's shocking how heavy some of those big old stems can be.
  • 2 0
 Those syringes look like they would work well to bleed my sram brakes.
  • 1 0
 Clearly someone bought the superior off-brand bleed kit with the metal-shaft syringes
  • 2 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: i bought a bleed kit off amazon and the syringes are garbage
  • 4 0
 That's what Costco uses to pump salt water into turkeys and their 2-inch thick steaks! Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans getting turkeys soon. Look for that hole in the turkey breast!
  • 1 0
 You just have to be sure the seals are DOT compatible.
  • 2 0
 Just looked. They are not DOT compatible.
  • 1 0
 Would love one of those artsy restoration videos for that stem. Bring it back to it's former glory!
  • 1 0
 Hey Dario, I think SURLY still has some cool handlebars that might fit the block stem.
  • 2 0
 Utility Belt.... fanny packs for people who think they're Batman.
  • 1 0
 Why are we spending so much money and time to be able to spend our money and time on the bike?
  • 1 0
 That Radar Labs Loob Toob looks exactly like my SRAM bleed kit syringe with different tips.
  • 1 0
 Imo, a utility belt is way sicker and more marketable than a fanny pack. The more batman the belt, the better.
  • 1 0
 NO mater how you present it...... it's still a geeky bunny pack that could be used on a beach in Florida
  • 2 0
 The Chromag stem would pair nicely with a Doom bar.
  • 1 0
 I’ve never seen a bike stem on the hub
  • 1 0
 Chromag needs to being back the Cutblock stem!!!
  • 2 0
 Skookum.
  • 1 0
 It's ok to just call them fanny packs.
  • 1 0
 Nah, it doesn't make you feel like a super hero.
  • 2 1
 who takes minimalistic hip pack and put there shock pump on the trail?
  • 1 0
 Where's the splinter camo top from? Looks great!
  • 1 0
 Chromag Brick or Tioga stem anyone?
  • 1 0
 Was that a f*ck for scale?
  • 1 0
 Credit cards can finally get past max.
  • 3 5
 OK I've never understood this.. you wear the hip pack under your shirt? So, right against your skin? Does that not get gross and chafe?
  • 1 0
 Enve pants eh?
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