Remember back when you rode with a hydration pack? That bacterial experiment faithfully always carried your mini pump, spare tubes, multi-tool and that off-coloured Clif bar.
However, hydration packs simply aren’t as popular as they once were. We’re now in the age of hip-packs and bottles, and an unhindered and breezy feeling body. And with that has come a flurry of methods for carrying spares and tools on your bike. OneUp's EDC
, Specialized SWAT, Topeak Ninja, WolfTooth EDC, and the list goes on.
Add Granite, the accessory arm to the Funn brand, to that list. With a tool that fits into most common fork steerer tubes, and tubeless tire plugs and a chain breaker that go in the ends of your bars - there’s some good stuff here.
Stash Multi Tool
• Steerer-based multi tool
• Anodized aluminum construction.
• No specialist tools required.
• Colors: Black or Orange
• Weight: 127 grams
• MSRP: $55 USDStash Chain Tool
• Bar-end based chain breaker
• Weight: 48 grams
• MSRP: $25 USDStash Tire Plug
• Bar-end based tubeless tire plug tool
• Weight: 35 grams
• MSRP: $20 USD
Multi-tools located in the fork steerer are nothing new. Cannondale did it with its Lefty back in the 2000s, and OneUp and Specialized have only recently renewed the idea.
Granite’s new Stash tool works in a similar way to the Specialized SWAT conceal tool by using the full length of common straight and tapered suspension fork steerer tubes, all with no special tools required and without causing irreversible harm to the fork (or requiring a new stem). It can also be used with headset spacers left above the stem, but does require an opening at the bottom of the fork crown (forks with carbon steerers are out).
Granite’s approach is to run a plug-like cylinder from the top of the steerer, and a plate underneath the fork crown (the tapered fork version uses a larger diameter plate). With the fork star nut removed, a long M6 bolt is tightened with a 5mm hex key to draw it, and your headset preload, together. Two bolt lengths are provided for the tool to fit bikes with “bottom of fork crown to top of stem” lengths between 150 to 240mm.
Installation into both a RockShox SID and then Fox 34 fork was as simple as correctly preloading a headset, and Granite even supply the needed hex key. Admittedly it’s not so easy if you’re dealing with a pre-installed fork. You’ll need to remove the starnut entirely before you can begin. Still, a hammer and the supplied long bolt should make short work of the task. Personally, I used a M6 rod, the tool’s bottom plate and a M6 nut to create a makeshift tool that pulled the starnut out of the fork – a hammer would have been easier and quicker.
The bar end tools are even simpler to put into place, and simply use an expanding silicon wedge and 3mm hex key bolt. Granite supply two different sized bar end caps to suit the diameter of your grips. These tools work with alloy and carbon handlebars that feature an internal diameter of 18 to 21mm and a 10cm straight section from the bar end. Your grip choice will need to offer an open-end, too. What’s Included
Granite sell the Stash multi-tool, the bar-end-based Stash chain tool and Stash plug tool all individually. This allows you to mix and match as you please.
The Stash Multi-tool steerer tool retails for US$55, and includes the required headset compression assembly. Missing are specific tools in case you need to remove the star nut, but using a hammer with the provided bolts and/or some M6 threaded rod should do the trick.
The MultiTool itself offers 2-6mm hex keys, a T25 Torx and a flathead screwdriver. There are also four common sizes of spoke wrenches and a tubeless valve core tool. All items work, but obviously leverage is limited in such a fun size tool.
That compression assembly weighs 67g including the plastic top cap. The tool alone is 60g. That’s a 127g combined figure (with the short bolt), and keep in mind that this also replaces the regular star nut, top cap and bolt assembly which typically weigh about 27g.
Priced at $25 USD, the Stash Chain tool features a threaded handle and requires a 5mm hex key to drive the chain tool pin. It’ll work with 9 to 12-speed chains, has a surprising amount of leverage on hand and offers storage for a spare quick link. This tool weighs 48g, including the aluminium bar plug.
The tubeless tire plug tool sells for $20 and includes both a hole opening awl/file and the usual rubber-strip fork. These tools are enclosed within an aluminum barrel that can hold the four included plug strips (1.5 and 3.5mm plug sizes provided). This one weighs a scant 35g. Rattle-Free Ride
Like a mongoose's relationship to cobras, I equally loathe rattles in my bikes. And so I was pleased to find that neither the bar-end or steerer tools made a single peep. Ok, the chain breaker’s handle actually did rattle, but that was quickly remedied by making sure it was tight. After that, the silence was bliss.
These tools easily go unnoticed, and if it weren’t for the small orange ring on my steerer nobody would know I’ve got tools stashed away. And even that’s an unfair comment given Granite offer these tools in black.
With just an O-ring for retention, the multi-tool is simple to grab and put back into place. However, gaining access to the common sizes is a slight fiddle - and you will surely be left with at least one small piece that you must not lose. Thankfully that piece is magnetic, so it tends to hang around.
Similarly, the multi-tool works as well as any other tiny tool. It’s comparable to the OneUp EDC tool in function, although OneUp has it beat in both leverage and length of the bits. The OneUp also has a makeshift 8mm hex, which may be helpful. Sometimes those stubby bits may present issues, such as reaching into recessed rear derailleur mounting bolts, but generally, the tool does what it needs to. The tool bits themselves are surprisingly good quality, and a micrometer proves they’re sized rather ideally and won’t do fastener damage.
As side notes, the plastic top cap plug can be used without the tool installed, while the aluminum cap at the bottom of the fork (used for the headset compression) aids in preventing muck from getting into your steerer.
The bar end tools go in and out easily, but you will need that 3mm hex key for the task. This isn’t a problem if you need the chain breaker - but I found it a fuss when frantically seeking that tire plug kit. First, you need the multi-tool, then you have to dig out that 3mm bit which is weirdly at the back of the tool, then get the plug tool out, then open it... it’s honestly a heap of fuss compared to my preferred Dynaplug Racer that’s simply a jab-and-go item.
The chain breaker offers plenty of leverage (more than most emergency chain tools) and is easy to use. Like most emergency-based chain tools, this one has a low chain shelf and so care is needed to make sure the tool’s pin is making square contact with the chain pin. I’m typically a fan of bit-based multi-tools which rarely include a chain breaker, and so this Stash tool was my favourite of the trio.
Quality construction, no rattling+
Easy install (after you remove the fork star nut)+
You can buy just the tools you want
Bar end tools are slow to get out (but secure)-
Bit length on the multi tool may be limiting-
No 8mm on the multi tool