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!