Not-So-Clever Multi-Tools - Sunday Comics with Taj Mihelich

Dec 1, 2019
by Taj Mihelich  
I like multi-tools a lot. I especially like them trail side when some part on my bike has rattled loose and one of my friends remembered to bring one along.

Last week’s news about Wolf Tooth’s cool new hide-in-the-handlebar toolkit got me thinking about what a triumph of engineering design a good multi-tool is. It also got me thinking that good design takes a lot of time and evolution to come to fruition. There must have been a lot of not-so-great ones along the way. And so, for your entertainment, I present some slightly flawed multi-tools.

Possibly the most common bicycle multi-tool is the bike mechanic standard 3-way Allen wrench. Convenient and easy to use you’ll find one on every mechanic’s bench in the world. However, the 3-way wrench does have its limitations; only 3 sizes per wrench! To solve that striking design flaw the 6-way Allen key wrench was developed. It also comes with a handy belt loop chain so you won’t lose it during a rough ride.

The T-handled Allen wrench is another bike shop favorite. The long reach and adequate leverage make them efficient tools when working on bikes. The only real flaw they have (aside from the plastic handle not being durable enough to be used as a hammer) is that you need a different one for each size. Why not make a T-handled Allen key with TWO sizes!


The Holy Grail of product design is a product so elegant it includes everything you need to fully utilize it. This pedal and pedal wrench combo achieves this lofty design goal. You don’t need to buy a special pedal wrench to install these pedals, a wrench is built right into the pedal itself!


The recipe for most folding multi-tools is the same: Pack in as many vaguely usable tools as you can into the smallest space possible. But, have any of them ever included a pro level truing stand? Yet we know rough trails can play havoc on your wheels. Never again let a strava time be blemished by the increased rolling resistance of a wobbly wheel.


Bikes have always been a quirky marriage of cutting edge technology and simple mechanics. How often do you need to delicately measure a bearing face and then in the next step, bash it with a hammer? Save time with this unique multi-tool.


This tool is actually very popular but is illegal in most countries. Cashing in on the known love professional bike mechanics have for wearing a sword at their belt (I think maybe it gives them comfort when dealing with annoying customers) this Torx® Sword is an epic multi-tool. See a bike with improperly tightened disc rotor bolts? Whip out the Torx® Sword and save the day!



80 Comments

  • 90 7
 Just to be pedantic; That is a digital caliper, not a micrometer. Micrometers are typically shaped something like a lower case b, and are considerably more accurate.
  • 37 1
 Glad I'm not the only boring pedant
  • 3 1
 Said the same thing to myself...
  • 134 1
 I have no tolerance for that kind of error.
  • 11 0
 It's good to be precise.
  • 4 1
 full pedant> Accurate, or precise? You can get very accurate vernier calipers (digital or otherwise) \full pedant>
  • 8 0
 @JVance: Personally, I’m within a +\- .5% tolerance for that kind of error...
  • 5 0
 I thought they were fancy C-clamps.
  • 2 0
 @DirtbagMatt: I’m looking for more like .0001” increments!
  • 7 0
 Only matters if you are splitting hairs
  • 2 0
 Glass half empty, half full... It is definitely a hammer alright!
  • 1 0
 Not if you use it as a hammer as well?
  • 4 1
 If you are going to be pedantic, at least call it by its full name - "Digital Vernier Caliper" Wink
  • 2 0
 @hardcore-hardtail: there’s quite a difference between digital calipers and digital vernier calipers..... just sayin.....
  • 4 0
 @hardcore-hardtail: "Digital vernier calipers" are not a thing. They are either digital calipers or vernier calipers. Vernier implies that they use a vernier scale to read your measurement, which digital calipers do not have.
  • 4 0
 See! everyone loves pedantics!
  • 2 0
 @scotttherider: I don't see a vernier scale on those
  • 1 0
 @scotttherider: as mentioned, that's a fine adjust dial with no actual measuring gradients, let alone a vernier scale!
  • 1 0
 Over full pedantic mode-- When using them they look more like a p. Not piss a p.
  • 1 0
 @techride: Close enough when it reads .0001" gradients on a digital readout. Don't have much need for the Vernier scale at that point. Personally I prefer non-digital precision instruments but the newer generation of engineers and workers go nuts for digital shit. They could have included a Faro arm on the tool instead of calipers or even a Faro laser tracker but that might take it a little to far.
  • 1 0
 I learned something new about calipers at least. I think that there is value in being able to use both digital and analog measuring devices.
  • 1 0
 @hardcore-hardtail: the world of precision metrology is insanely large. I have bubble levels that read in gradients of .0002” over 10”. I also use digital strain gauge levels that read .2 arc second gradients or 1/18000th of a degree. .000012” gradients over a 12” span.
  • 67 2
 The truing stand multitool went on my christmas wish list
  • 3 0
 Yes, but it also needs a couple of spoke wrenches obviously.
  • 27 2
 Ok,so who hasn't at least once used the micrometer as a hammer? I know I have.
Shut up and take my money.
  • 5 0
 Sold my 12" shifter ( Adjustable spanner) but my new metric one is not as good!
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr: got ride of my scriber when I saw microhammer
  • 3 0
 Does this hammer come in both metric and imperial versions?
  • 2 0
 They make even better wrenches. They just slide to the right size!
  • 4 0
 I winced thinking of what that poor caliper went through
  • 2 0
 @racerfacer: plus they have a little button that can select either metric or imperial sized bolts!
  • 1 0
 @keeqan: Do not know any one that uses imperial bolts?
Even 9/16" pedals use a 15mm spanner!
  • 2 0
 @aljoburr: Unfortunately I live very close to about 300 million people who still use Imperial fasteners. Hopefully not on their bikes but everyone up here has to have 2 sets of wrenchs, sockets, and allen keys in the toolbox.

9/16" and 3/4" might as well be metric though Wink
  • 17 0
 Get the Torx Sword on Kickstarter now! Plus you could have a internally routed top tube scabbard for on the bike storage.
  • 3 0
 I am also here for the early bird discount on the torx sword.
  • 13 0
 The Torx Sword needs to be multifunctional. At the bottom of the hilt their needs to be a bottle opener and include hand guard disc rotor truing slots. Otherwise this seems to be the most promising of tools - ESPECIALLY FOR URBAN COMMUTERS.
  • 10 0
 "I especially like them trail side when some part on my bike has rattled loose and one of my friends remembered to bring one along."

The real Taj shows himself. Everyone hide your tubes too...
  • 7 0
 I'd let Taj use my repair stuff.
  • 12 0
 Enjoying the paradoxical nature of the spanner pedal very funny
  • 7 0
 I always wondered what people were carrying in their (ridiculously oversized) bike packs... it's the truing stand and allen keys!
  • 3 0
 1 kg/L adds up, but so too does 1 L/kg.
  • 6 0
 Torx sword is a must have for the rider/larper in your life this Christmas
  • 5 0
 You, sir, have outdone yourself! This is amazing! Can we buy prints?
  • 4 0
 I think the best (worst) multi tool would be a set of Torx wrenches where every one you choose is the wrong size.
  • 1 0
 I'll have you know that the upper links in the rear triangle of my Practical Hilltamer are detachable. They combine with the removable rear axle to make an excellent bearing press!
  • 6 2
 The micrometer should have indicated 28.99 mm
  • 2 8
flag colincolin (Dec 1, 2019 at 15:41) (Below Threshold)
 OK Boomer.
  • 4 0
 Still waiting on the metric adjustable wrench from Park Tool
  • 2 0
 Should be an auto adjusting allen key set that automatically picks the wrong size every time... 2 or 2.5, 4 or 5mm who knows!!
  • 3 0
 I want that Torx sword so bad Frown
  • 2 0
 Emagine high siding and having the 6-way buried into your rib cage, OUCH ! Smile
  • 3 2
 How about the industry standard is just 3 allen key sizes. 2.5, 5 and 8. No more Torx. We no longer have hex bolts and nuts so it could be done.
  • 1 1
 Didn't they introduce T25 for disc rotor bolts just because the allen bolt heads would be too tall? Why not have a set with 2.5, T25 and 8?
  • 1 0
 Has no one thought of the shop mechanics faverite tool, the portable digital tea kettle/truing stand/blu tooth speaker/peanut butter wrench multi tool yet ?
  • 3 0
 Brilliant
  • 2 0
 the most clever guy on mtb?
  • 2 0
 Nice work! This is my favorite of the Sunday Comics yet.
  • 1 2
 Yep, he finally hit oil.
  • 1 0
 I can tell these aren't real bike tools... there are no super-cool bottle openers on any of them.
  • 1 0
 @Tajlucas ... I swear you wrote the Klutz Book of Brilliantly Ridiculous Inventions ... lol tup
  • 1 0
 Great comics! But be careful, I didn't think anyone was allowed to design blue bike tools except that one company...
  • 1 0
 Christmas ideas for the mechanic - I like it !
  • 1 0
 Love it, especially that sword!
  • 3 1
 Pedal wrench is perfect
  • 1 0
 Really love the ad texts to all those inventions! Brilliant Smile
  • 1 0
 Torx Sword is illegal in most countries per the Geneva Convention
  • 1 0
 Taj, you are the true Escher of bike tools.
  • 1 0
 Agreed. Brilliant
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.035334
Mobile Version of Website