New Tools From Mineral Design - Review

Mar 28, 2017
by Richard Cunningham  
Mineral tools


Justin Dodd and Mike Manzione founded Mineral Design with three products: The "Mini Bar" multi-tool and the "Barstow System," which is a pair of handlebar end-caps—one that houses a chain breaker, and another tipped with a Quik-Stik tire lever. Each is sold separately, but I thought I'd lump the trio together, because they are well made and so cleverly designed that, after you bought one, you'd probably be inspired to collect the set—if not for their intended purpose, then for trail-side show and tell. Mineral's tools can be purchased directly from their web store, with prices ranging from $34.99 USD for the Minibar to $54.99 for the Barstow chain breaker and tire lever combination.



Mineral TIG-welds the Mini Bar's L-handle from lightweight steel tubing, which is then nickel plated. All three ends of the L-handle accept standard 1/4-inch tool bits, retained by powerful neodymium magnets. The Mini Bar comes with ten popular bits, so you can customize its six-tool plastic carrier to suit your bike's hardware. Like the L-handle, the carrier has magnets to retain each of the six bits, and magnets on each end of the tool carriage secure it to the L-handle when stowed. The advantage of the Mini bar is that it offers much more leverage than a folding tool for jobs like removing a pedal or a crank arm, and far more dexterity for accessing hard-to-reach hardware or for tedious jobs, like changing brake rotors. Weight is 112 grams for the kit, including six tool bits.


Mini Bar Details:
• L-handle: TIG-welded steel tubing, 3.8" x 1.3" (97 x 33.5mm), 1.4" driver - 3 places
• Durable electroless nickel finish
• 10 standard 1/4" bits: (carrier holds 6) 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm, Torx T25, Phillips, flat screwdriver
• Bits and L-handle secured by powerful neodymium magnets
• Safe, rounded shape when stowed
• Weight: 112 grams (4 ounces)—tool carrier and 6 bits
• MSRP: $34.99 USD

Mineral tools
Magnets on either end of the tool carriage lock the L-wrench snugly into position when stowed.

Mineral tools
Stored bits reside inside the L-handle's holes.
Mineral tool
Powerful magnets also keep the bits in their proper receptacles.

Ride Report

Mineral's Mini Bar tool feels good in the hand and is a joy to work with. The kit is heavier than I would like it to be, but the trade-off is its usefulness in the most common situations that give cause to reach for a multi-tool when I am away from my workshop. I can use foot pressure on the sturdy L-handle to remove a stubborn pedal, and I can spin the long end of the L-handle like a slim screwdriver to adjust rear derailleur stop-screws, tighten a pedal cleat, access fussy seat rail clamps, or to speed up the task of switching brake levers (I ride moto style). What the Mini bar lacks are the seldom-used essentials that come on better folding multi-tools, like spoke keys, valve core removers, and a chain breaker. You'll have to carry those extras or wager that you won't need them. That said, the Mini Bar is like using a pro-quality tool while making trail-side repairs, which is a treat.




The Barstow system begins with a pair of machined aluminum bar ends that grip the inside of the handlebar with expandable wedges. The wedges fit most handlebar inner diameters and are secured with a five-millimeter Allen key, which means that you'll need to have at least one tool on the outside of the handlebar to access your secret stash on the inside. The tire lever is the famous Quik-Stik, which is the weapon of choice for tire-changing competitions because only a single tool is required to lift the tire bead free from the rim and then off in one powerful sweeping motion. Should you break your modified Quik-Stik, Mineral Designs sells replacements for $11.99. Weight is pegged at 30 grams (1.1 ounces) and bar ends are available in red, black or silver.


Barstow Tire Lever Details:
• Anodized aluminum cap with internal expander wedges
• Replaceable, modified Quik Stik tire lever
• 15.9mm OD fits inside most aluminum and carbon handlebars
• Requires 5mm Allen key to install/remove from handlebar
• Colors: red, black and silver
• Weight: 30 grams (1.1 ounces)
• Replacement lever: $11.99 USD
• MSRP: $39.99 USD (includes two end caps, one with tire lever)

Mineral Barstow tire tool
Mineral Design image

Mineral Barstow tire tool
The Barstow tire lever remained rattle free.
Mineral Barstow tire tool
A 5mm Allen hex expands the wedges inside the handlebar.

Ride Report

Mineral Design's bar-end tire lever is not ground-breaking, as there are a number of similar products available. What makes theirs stand out is partnering with the Quik-Stik lever, which is the only solo tire lever I have used that can do the job well. I can work most tires off with my bare hands, but having an emergency lever in the handlebar is insurance that I won't get caught in the middle of nowhere with a stubborn tire and no easy solution to remove it. If you ride heavy DH tires on your trail bike, the Barstow could be a day saver. The downside is that a conventional tire lever is easy to carry and extremely lightweight—about a third that of the Mineral bar-end. So, forty bucks to have a tire lever stashed in your handlebar is more stylistic than practical.




As chain tools go, the Barstow option is one of the better solutions for riders who want to at least appear that they travel light. It's a class act, from the O-ring insert that keeps the swivel handle in position while you are using it (and rattle free when you're not), to its sturdy cast steel body. The swivel handle has a magnetized quick-link storage feature that retains the link, unlocked. Operating the chain tool requires a five millimeter Allen key, and the pin plunger doubles as the bar-end's expander bolt. Weight is 47 grams (add another 15 grams for the second end-cap that comes with the kit), and the MSRP is $44.99.


Barstow ChainTool Details:
• O-ring prevents swivel handle from bouncing inside handlebar
• Long-wearing cast steel body
• Replaceable pin plunger doubles as the expander bolt
• Magnetic quick-link storage feature
• Requires 5mm Allen key to operate
• Weight:47 grams (1. 4 ounces)—one side
• Colors: Red, black, silver
• MSRP: $44.99 USD (tool including second end-cap.)

Mineral Barstow chain tool
Quick link storage feature. – Mineral Design image

Mineral Barstow chain tool
The chain breaker operates with a 5mm Allen Key
Mineral Barstow chain tool
A tiny magnet between the holes retains both sides of a quick link.

Ride Report

Anyone who has wrestled with a bad chain tool will appreciate a good one. The Barstow chain tool operates smoothly, so its user can successfully press a pin through a side plate for an exact distance, and it doesn't require excessive torque to manipulate. Much of that is due to Mineral's choice to use a steel body, which creates a smoother sliding surface for the threaded plunger than a lighter-weight aluminum body would. The diameter of the chain breaker body interfered with one house-brand carbon handlebar in my collection, which reminded me to mention that the Barstow's expanding plug design may not interface with some handlebars, and grip designs with closed ends. I had no issues with the swivel handle clanking around inside the bar, but I question how long that O-ring is going to last in the Southern California heat. For the minimalist rider, the Barstow chain breaker allows you to stash a pro-quality tool discreetly inside your handlebar, so all you need in your pocket is a small, basic folding kit.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesMineral Design has obviously put some time and engineering into their first three tool offerings. My favorite is the Mini Bar because its L-shape driver makes repairs much simpler than fussing with a folding kit's stubby, hinged tools. I am a fan of the Barstow duo, partly because they are so functional, but mostly because of their elevated cool factor. Hidden behind the handlebar end caps, they remind me of my first Swiss Army knife—waiting in my pocket for that moment when a friend says: "Gosh, I sure wish I had a magnifying glass and some tweezers right now."  RC



Must Read This Week

75 Comments

  • + 97
 Pretty cool, but, where do I keep the tool that I'll need in order to get to the tools that I'll need?
  • - 35
flag meesterover (Mar 28, 2017 at 8:29) (Below Threshold)
 If you are riding without a multi-tool already, then you are not even in the targeted demographic for their products.
  • + 72
 Its an infinite paradox that is enduro struggle
  • + 12
 @meesterover: I ride with a multi tool and I have no need for any of these products as my multi tool and a couple of plastic tyre levers do more than all of this so who is their target audience?
  • + 7
 The Bar is the tool to remove end caps, that would be in your hip pack, back pack, or zippered pocket or straped to your frame. You only need a tool for tire lever, and chain tool Smile
  • + 2
 @Paul7189: Racers who really strive to have little or no items on their person.
  • + 2
 Get a Syntace X12 axle. Has 5mm allen (X-Fix) inside.
  • + 1
 Beat me to it!!!!
  • + 5
 The way I ride and wreck the Barstow tools would quickly become inaccessible. The hex bolt would be filled and packed with mud turning to shale within weeks.
  • + 0
 @H3RESQ: what's the point even doing a review on here then. Review things people will actually need such as what's the best normal multi tool not one of these gimmicks.

I bet there are more people who are on here that are riding for fun and not profession.
  • + 3
 Duct tape it to your frame
  • + 29
 With all these tools coming out that hide somewhere on the bike, whats next? I hear there's lots of space in my rear air shock, can I just store my tools there? what about all that empty space between my tire and rim?
  • + 23
 Bottomless tokens that double as tools although you will need a shock pump and 24mm socket and 1/2" drive
  • + 29
 Correct, I keep 2 tire levers ziptied to my Huck Norris inserts for on the fly tire repair.
  • + 11
 For some people inside their heads might be just enough storage room too Big Grin
  • - 1
 @KuroHada: You're an idiot !
I store my tyre levers in the space between my inflated tyre and rim. The Stan's keeps it from rattling too much.....
Thought there has been trouble accessing them at times.
  • + 4
 You could store some spare tubes between tyre and rim - just in case, you know?
  • + 2
 @Tamasz: genius. Then they're ready when you need them
  • + 16
 I just put a few tools in my hydration pack when i ride. that's it. Also, don't you need to put a hex wrench some where just to unscrew/ take out the steer tube tool. I don't see the point of this tool.
  • + 4
 Those tools go inside the bars. Like bar plugs.
  • + 12
 @usaraceteam my thoughts exactly. It says a 5mm hex expands the bar plug, so you would need to carry a 5mm anyway just to remove it.
  • - 16
flag Schmittr86 (Mar 28, 2017 at 8:23) (Below Threshold)
 @Nairnster: Pretty sure the intent of the 5mm is to adjust the plug so it fits snugly and the O-ring keeps it in place. You shouldn't need to loosen it to remove it once you initially set it up.
  • + 6
 their intent is that you buy all 3 pieces even though they sell them individually . one bar end is a chain breaker , the other 1 single lonley tire lever combined with the L / bar of soap tool you have in your pocket you can remove the other tools to use them . its G.T.W.A.T ghetto tool wack attempt thing
  • + 8
 @chillrider199: 5mm hex key for the butt plug...
  • - 2
 @lee-vps-savage: Awe f*ck yes...
  • - 6
flag excavator666 (Mar 28, 2017 at 9:12) (Below Threshold)
 I wonder if they are developing a tampon tool, to use along with the tyre lever?
  • + 0
 @chillrider199: That is some excitement for butt plus mon!
  • - 7
flag chillrider199 (Mar 28, 2017 at 9:28) (Below Threshold)
 @excavator666: I need you to do something. Step 1. Stop. Step 2. Unplug your computer (Read the rest of the directions first.) Step 3. Take your computer, and toss it out the window. Step 4. Burn it. Step 5. Profit.
  • + 2
 @lee-vps-savage: That's the actual product name of the bar ends I have haha. A mate used to machine up products such as bar ends years ago. Makes it even better when the "company name" was RSole, funny until he had kids himself saying such.
  • + 2
 @Drawn: I bet you had a bunch of Rsoles Wink
  • + 7
 The Dimension 10 in 1 tool costs about $20.
It has every hex and torx bit on my bike that I might ever want to mess with on the side of the trail.
It is the only chain breaker I own and works great the 3 or 4 times a year I need it.
Its weight is imperceptible. Takes up zero space in my pack.
I use it all the time. Has all the leverage I need.
I love it.
  • + 2
 I carry a similar sized tool, simply zip tie or tape it underneath your seat or frame and you're done.
  • - 9
flag passwordpinkbike (Mar 28, 2017 at 12:01) (Below Threshold)
 I just ride in my backyard, if something fails on my bike I got my workshop right there. No need to spend money on these fancy, overpriced and gay multi tools.
  • + 6
 I do kind of like the idea of having everythiung you need on the bike, water bottle cages and some tools hidden here and there. but the reality is I've 99% of the time bringing a pack with tools, snack, water, sunglases/ case, phone, wallet, etc.
  • + 3
 This reminds me of the Samuri Sword product I got to put into my bars for tire plugs. Great idea, but the first minor brush with a tree snap the cap off the end. Now I had a very sharp nub sticking out of the bar and no way to deal with it on the trail.
Pulled them out and replaced with normal caps that take abuse. I'll keep my tools in a pack now or on a frame bag. I'd suggest looking how chewed up the ends of your current grips / plugs are before going this route.
  • + 1
 the endcap on this is aluminum at least, should stand up to impact better. I learned the hard way on one ride that the older ergon grips with one plastic clamp on the outboard side of the grip was a terrible idea.

edit: also, on the tire plug thing, you could do what Jerome Clementz does: taped inside the bottom of the steerer with gorilla tape.
  • + 3
 I own the minibar and the Barstow chain tool, but I decided to omit the tire lever. I bought the minibar first almost on a whim and purchased the Barstow separately after using the minibar for a month or two. The minibar really does let you put a lot of torque on bolts, the magnets hold strong, and the welds are clean. It fits nicely into my tool pouch that lives in my hip pack, and I find myself reaching for this tool to make quick fixes at home instead of my other y-tools and long handled Allen wrenches.

The Barstow chain tool lives on my road bike, and from what I've experienced so far, I can confirm that it doesn't rattle. It fits inside my Salsa and SixC carbon bars without issue. Luckily I haven't needed to use it yet so I can't comment on how well it breaks a chain; hopefully I'll never need it. The end caps are nicely finished and look quality.

Note to riders on Spank Vibrocore bars: the foam core gets in the way so you can't insert the chain tool (and I'm assuming the tire lever as well) all the way in, so this is a no-go for those.
  • + 7
 will wait for one up steer tube tooling kit
  • + 5
 As cool as well made tools are, I honestly don't understand to what problem this is a solution.
  • + 2
 Nice stuff.Super cool "Bond" effect on the trail.....but the storage that makes the most sense to me is on the specialized carbon frame....the down tube storage....still not cool enough to actually ride a spesh. These 3 items $120 Canadian plus shipping....that works out to ......about 6 -12packs of after ride brews. This system still needs a pump,tube,duct tape,haywire,patch kit,first aid,extra layers,etc,etc.
Super cool "Bond" effect on the trail but I will still wear a jumbo pack.....and it may protect my back if I fall down. PS. $120 should buy a good pack. Now what if I have 2 or more bikes...do I buy 2 or more sets?
  • + 1
 I heard a story about a MADD video against drinking and driving where they measured the distance between stops in beers drank. Kind of like a "Hey, everyone get comfortable, it's at least 3 beers before we get to Kevin's house." You used beers as a measurement tool too...might you be from the same province as the MADD video I saw? Alberta perchance?
  • + 1
 @VwHarman: yep....you got it ,Alberta. Beer are too heavy for my pack so rides are measured in lefty breaks. Back in the day before I sobered up it was about 8 Bs to Calgary on a ski trip and so on....now I use this 6 or 12 pack measurement to convert dollars saved into ......beeeerrrrr! I am old and retiring may have to out my time into brewing and growing as beer $$$ is trending up like bike parts in Canadian dollars.
  • + 1
 @benviebikes: ha! Too good. Hadn't heard that unit of measurement out here on the island, I like it though!
  • + 1
 Combine that Chain tool and tire lever with a set of Fix it Stix and you've got a pretty light combo. Just know that 2 fix it stix are going to bounce around in your jersey pocket and make quite a racket, so maybe some gaffers tape will keep you sane.

fixitsticks.com
  • + 2
 My only concern with these is that one handlebar tool weighs 30g while the other weighs 47g, so you're going to have a 13g difference. Is this noticable? I'm not sure.
  • + 6
 No. Most riders have one shifter one on side and not the other, do you notice that?
  • + 4
 I wonderif they would fit in my SWAT compartment?
  • + 1
 I don't see why it wouldn't; if you can fit a tube in there, this will definitely fit.
  • + 2
 I've got a Fabric Chamber multi-tool. Give me a hammer and I'll see if it fits in the end of my bars....
  • + 1
 The L bar needs a 10mm hex for tightening a loose crankarm. It looks like a very cool tool (remember those?) to have on a travel tool box.
  • + 1
 The multi tool looks kinda slick. As much as I like the Quik-Stik, I won't be spending $40 on one. Seems strange that it costs more than the multi tool.
  • + 1
 One comment - the bar end chain tool would make quick link storage better. I have the specialized swat stem cap tool -any link stored in it eventually rusts up.
  • + 1
 What you'd need is one of these from Syntace. Fits into the rnd of their X-12 axle and has a 4 & 5mm hex on..
www.pinkbike.com/photo/14553418
  • + 2
 I can picture having rattling issues with some of these tools sooner than later, specially when going through rough spots
  • + 1
 Bottle cage that can hold co2, tube and a multi tool, yes please.. post to Pigman , The Sty, Hamshire
  • + 1
 Anyone remember article about trail crew tools a month or so back? Anyone got a link by chance?cheers
  • + 1
 Have they ever been to Barstow? At least the one I'm thinking of in the Mojave. Just saying. Tools like nice, though.
  • + 1
 I want the tyre levers cos I always lose mine! But i ride with vibrocore so they won't fit!!
  • - 1
 I had a Swiss army mutlitool that looked very similar to the mini bar, lost it during a endurance race. I really liked the design, the mini bar looks like an improvement on that though. Nice.
  • + 2
 simple + smart + practical in application = want
  • + 1
 $11 for a replacement tire iron? GTFOH...Pedro's replace for free and you prolly wont even need to warranty them..
  • + 2
 How's the Sawtooth tire? Thinking of picking up a pair for myself.
  • + 1
 sounds great for casual rides and what not, but I can already see how awful it would be in a race. I think I want one.
  • + 2
 Haven't used a tire lever sine 'Nam.
  • + 3
 I miss my Ritchey CPR13.
  • + 2
 It's all downhill once you lose that little o ring. All I've got left of mine is the body. Rattles around in the bottom of my tool box as it holds too many fond memories for me.
  • + 1
 Figured SBC had a patent on the top cap chain tool.
  • + 1
 nifty
  • + 1
 any UK importers?
  • + 1
 Added weight. No go.
  • - 1
 cool way to make your bars unbalanced
  • - 1
 Nice but I'll wait for the oneup edc tool
  • - 1
 So I need a tool like a 5mm hex to open this tool and use it?
  • - 2
 very nice....at least rider has a forgot to place the tool on bike Big Grin
  • - 1
 pointless !!!

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