The F15 is the most feature-packed option in Crankbrothers' F-series tool lineup, with, you guessed it, 15 functions (16 if you count the built-in bottle opener). One side of the magnetic case holds a tool with ten bits on it, and the other holds a chain breaker that can be flipped over to double as a spoke wrench.
The tool has 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex keys, a T25 Torx bit, along with Phillips and flathead screwdriver bits; basically, all of the most common bolt sizes found on a modern mountain bike. The chain tool is 8 thru 12-speed compatible, and the spoke wrench has slots for four different spoke sizes. The F15 weighs 163 grams, and retails for $42.99 USD.
Crankbrothers F15 Multi-Tool
• Magnetized carrying case
• 8-12 speed compatible chain tool
• Spoke wrenches: #0, 1, 2, 3
• Hex wrenches: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm
• Flat head, Phillips head screwdrivers
• T-25 Torx
• Bottle opener
• Weight: 163 grams
• Price: $42.99 USD
• 5-year warranty
A magnet in the center of the case holds the chain tool and the multi-tool in place.
When I was a kid I used to love Zippo lighters. No, I wasn't a chain-smoking 12-year-old – my affinity came from the way the metal case felt in my hand, and how satisfying it was to open and close the lighter's cover. The F15 has a similar feel – there's something about it that just feels right, and more than one rider handed it back to me with the question, “Who makes that?” after I loaned it out for a trailside repair. The F15 isn't overly bulky, but it's also not so small that it's frustrating to use. The multi-tool and the chainbreaker slide smoothly into the aluminum case, with a distinct 'click' when the magnet secures them into place.
I've spent a fair number of days in the bike park this season, and for those lift-served laps I usually took just the hex key portion of the tool with me and tucked it into a jersey or shorts pocket, leaving the case and the chain tool behind. That way it took up a little less room, but I could still make adjustments to the bike as necessary. Crankbrothers also sell that tool by itself – they call it the F10, and it retails for $29.99, but I'd say it's worth it to scrounge up the extra $13 to get the chain tool/spoke wrench and metal case.
The spoke wrench works well in a pinch, and is easier to operate than many of the other designs out there.
Once a bit is selected, the tool can be slid back into the case for more leverage.
The multi-tool by itself is handy, but the ability to use the F15's case for extra leverage is a nice feature to have, especially for installing and removing pedals. There are plenty of tools out there that include an 8mm bit, but in many instances it's basically useless due to the minuscule amount of leverage. Not so with the F15, and I was able perform tasks like swapping out pedals and even removing a crankarm without much effort. Of course, a full size Allen key is still a better choice for regular home or shop use, but for quick fixes on the road or on the trail the F15 performs very well. All of the bits, including the spoke wrench, fit snugly, and adjusting everything from stem bolts to B-tension screws has been hassle-free. The same goes for the chain tool - it's simple to use, and it'll push out a pin in a matter of seconds without any trouble.
I did run into one small issue after about three weeks of regular use – one of the bolts that holds the tool together began to work its way loose. There was blue Loctite on it, but apparently not quite enough. I added a few more drops before threading it back in, and it's remained secure ever since. Crankbrothers do back the F15 with a 5-year warranty, which is an extremely reasonable amount of time.
The chain tool is compatible with 8,9,10,11, and 12-speed chains.
While the 8mm bit is virtually useless on many multi-tools, the F15's case helps generate enough leverage to perform tasks like removing pedals.