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Small Products, Big Features - A Look At The Some Of Our Favorite Pint Sized Parts

Nov 3, 2010
by Mike Levy  
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Let's be honest here, there are loads of similar multi-tools out there to choose from, some are massive and seem to include everything except a headset press, while others aim to be small enough that they should include a warning about it being a swallowing hazard for infants. Pro's Mini Tool 6 falls on the small side of the scale with its super slim body and light weight, but still has sturdy and usable tools that make sense. The 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 mm hex wrenches, along with the phillips screwdriver, are all made from nickel plated steel that feel sturdy in use, unlike some tools that are far too flexible or round out easily. The aluminum body is also made in such a way to only let it fold and unfold one way, therefore preventing the Mini Tool 6 from looking like a rubik's cube made of allen keys. I've only found one fault with the pint sized Mini Tool: the screws that hold the tools in place do have a tendency to loosen off despite the lock washers on each side. A touch of blue Loc-Tite does the trick though. There are smaller tools and there are tools with more functions, but the 69 gram Pro Mini Tool 6 lives permanently in my short's pocket and for $24.99 USD you could easily have one in your pocket too.
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At the opposite end of the spectrum is Tyler's favorite tool, the Topeak Mini 18+, which looks like it would be the only tool you may need for a self supported mission to the moon. The Mini 18+ is a little bigger than some, but includes (take a deep breath here) both a straight 2 mm and a bent 2 mm to get into hard to reach places like lever reach adjustment screws, as well as 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 mm allen wrenches, a T25 torx, both 14 and 15 gauge spoke wrenches, a chain tool with a fold out handle, and phillips and flat blade screwdrivers. Last, but not least, there is a bottle opener hidden in there as well for when your body needs some post ride wobbly pop. All that is packed into a neoprene case to keep it safe or from putting a hole in the tube that it's tucked up against in your bag. While I may prefer the smaller and lighter options like the PRO Mini Tool 6 shown above, I'm sure that one day soon Tyler is going to save my ass with this bad boy. The Mini 18+ retails for $37.99 USD.
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Pretty much every 9 speed chain available comes with some sort of link that lets you install or remove it from your bike without needing to use a chain tool, but Wippermann's $5.99 USD Connex Link has always been a favorite of mine. It is super easy to remove, even when your chain is covered in mud or dry enough to be considered a fire hazard, and in my experience is less likely to come apart while out on the trail than some other options. If I had to nitpick I would mention that it does need to go on in a certain manner in order to work correctly, which some who lack reading comprehension skills may have trouble with. Peruse the the instructions first, install second.
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I'll preface this by telling you that not only is this little feller intended for moto use, but it isn't even made anymore. So why am I including it? Because the DMC Moto Timer is a great tool for improving your riding and adding another dimension to trails that may have gotten a bit stale over time. It's basically a super small stopwatch that goes around your bars next to your grip that you can use to record run times or even split times. It can even calculate your fastest, slowest, and average lap times with the push of a its button. It's light enough that I nearly always leave it on my handlebar and use it when I'm feeling rowdy and wanting to see my times on a particular trail. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued so if you see someone parting with theirs don't hesitate to pick it up.
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The Quik Stik certainly looks a bit different from other tire levers out there, but there are good reasons for this. The round design not only makes it stiff as hell, but it also greatly reduces the chances of me pinching the tube if I'm struggling with a big downhill tire and wuss out of using only my fingers. It retails for $3.99 USD, which is more than some, but I'll happily pay it. This is my all-time favorite tire lever.
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I swear that I get more flats than anybody should, and while I despise patching tubes as much as anyone, it doesn't make sense not to with the price of tubes these days. I usually stockpile all my punctured tubes for a cold and rainy day that I'm off the bike, put on some good tunes, and spend the afternoon sealing holes and getting a buzz from using too much glue. While I don't trust the instant stick on variety, these glue on patches from Park refuse to fail me. Inside you'll find six patches, sand paper and glue - everything you'll need to get the job done. Even though I always have a few tubes in my backpack, I also have this little box buried in there as well. The VP-1 patch kit retails for $4.75 USD.
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We've all been there... Way out in the boonies and riding along having the time of your life, when a rouge branch or rock decides to completely ruin the day. Your hanger may have done its job of protecting your frame from damage, but it is now completely bent at an acute angle and won't ever be the same again. If you're smart you'll have a spare hanger in your bag, but if you're really smart you'll have Wheels Manufacturing's $28.99 USD Emergency Hanger in your bag that fits pretty much every bike that doesn't use a thru-axle to hold the rear wheel in place. Use your hex keys to remove the bent hanger and derailleur (a chain tool will go a long way towards making this job easier as well) and use your bike's quick release nut to hold the Emergency Hanger in place. Just remember to double check your derailleur's limit screws to keep from shifting past the point of no return with the new hanger installed. Keep in mind that this is only to get you out of the bush and that setting some full suspension bikes up as a single speed isn't an option. The Wheels Manufacturing Emergency Hanger is available by itself or as part of a multi-tool that includes hex keys, screwdrivers, and a T25 torx wrench. Put this little guy in your pack and forget he's down there until you really need him!
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Sure, I'd rather watch an entire episode of The Hills than see more poorly edited (or not edited at all) helmet camera footage, but you can't deny that it is rad to be able to watch yourself shred after a ride. With the advent of small, high definition cameras like the GoPro that can be mounted nearly anywhere and everywhere you can not only watch your entire run after you are done, but they are small enough that they are basically invisible during riding. The GoPro HD Hero shown above can record in 1080p, 960p, and 720p HD resolutions as well as record at 30 and 60 frames per second (60 fps in 720p). Hell, it even takes still photos and comes with a water resistant case. What's not to like? They all seem to struggle a bit when the lighting gets low or if you are riding in and out of shadows, but it is still impressively good for how small the total package is. The Hero HD can be had for $339.99 USD.
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North Shore Billet is what happens when you take mountain bikers who have CNC machines and want higher quality parts, not to mention more bling than what may have come on their bikes as stock. Any shop worth their salt should have a catalog handy with NSB derailleur hangers in it. Not only do they have a model to fit any bike that you've ever heard of, but also to fit bikes that you've never heard of! Considering that their hangers are usually not only nicer than the stock piece that came on your bike, but also likely stronger, they make a lot of sense when the time does come. Also shown above is their great looking CNC'd brake adapter to fit international standard rear mounts. They also do models to fit both I.S. and post mount front fittings, with all available in an anodized black, pewter, red, gold and retailing for around $34.99 USD. NSB says that they are both 10-20% lighter than the OEM adapters that your bike came with as well as having machined surfaces that allow for better caliper alignment and a more rigid brake set-up. All claims aside, they look damn cool and it's hard to argue with that! Looking for to coordinate your colors a bit? They also do some of these sweet little hose guides to replace the plastic jobs that come stock with your Fox fork. Also available are guides that fit Marzocchi models as well. They can be had in black, gold, pewter, red, and blue anodized finishes, and go for $19.00 USD.


Did we leave out your favorite pint sized bike part or accessory? Disagree with our choices? Let's hear what you have to say below!



Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

48 Comments
  • 12 0
 You can get the same product as the DMC mototrainer from www.sportcount.com - it's a swimming watch. Great bit of kit.
  • 2 0
 Thanks so much dude. i have been looking for something like this for so long!
  • 7 0
 Crispy5449, I think you just made a lot of people very happy.
  • 1 0
 just buy a $5 wrist watch, cut the band off and zip tie it to your handlebar, or modify the band to be shorter.
  • 1 0
 Nice find Crispy!!!
  • 1 0
 cgi.ebay.co.uk/SportCount-Combo-Lap-Counter-Timer-Sport-Watch-Run-Swim-/190463360500?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c58803df4#ht_2182wt_789

Available from ebay for sub $30 posted, DMC timers are basically rebranded Sportcount ring watches. Cut a strip of innertube to wrap tightly round the bar before fitting to stop it sliding when you go to press start/stop and pop a small zip tie through to stop it coming undone and perfect. Didn't take it off the bike for 2 years.
  • 9 0
 got that topeak mini 18+ for £3 at a car booty
  • 4 0
 I think one of the lezyne pumps or multi tools should have been included. I know that they are unbelievably expensive but the hand pumps work wayyyyyy better than any other hand pump ive ever used
  • 1 0
 +1
  • 1 0
 There's a review of some Lezyne gear coming up.
  • 1 0
 sick man, their stuff is sooooo nice.
  • 1 0
 Man, I wish that someone would make a multitool with decent a lock washers to keep the tool together, every one I have bought slips more often than not. I'd be better off carrying the tools I'm trying to replace!

www.heico-lock.u
  • 5 0
 how about a hand pump for flat tires?
  • 2 0
 There will be more of these type of articles coming up, possibly one that focuses solely on pumps. For the record I'm a huge fan of Blackburns Mammoth hand pump, works very well.
  • 2 0
 Bontrager Mini Charger for me Smile
  • 1 0
 7 Eleven free air pump for me haha
  • 1 0
 Topeak Mountain Morph. I've had the same one for 8 years now...
  • 1 0
 do you actually use the footpeg on that? My colleagues one broke after just a few months. Otherwise i would agree with you. The mini morphs are sick as well but they have the same problem. Topeak do tend to make good pumps though - i've got a topeak track pump which for the price, works much better than similar pumps.
  • 1 0
 Hmmm. Mines intact... I just got a Mini Morph for my XC pack, but I haven't had to use it yet. In your friends case, he may have luck to try their warranty dept.
  • 1 0
 true, but when i've used one before i has felt and looked a big on the lightweight side, so i'd guess his problem is more than just a one off ?
i dunno. if it weren't for the footpeg on the topeaks, i'd have one myself (even though i did get my bontrager pump RIDICULOUSLY cheap Big Grin )
  • 1 0
 brilliant idea but having not used one i can't tell you if they work well or not, though my guess is that it won't be as good as a seperate shock pump and pump for tyres (that's a guess.)
  • 1 0
 "If you're smart you'll have a spare hanger in your bag, but if you're really smart you'll have Wheels Manufacturing's $28.99 USD Emergency Hanger" -- why not just carry a spare hanger that only cost $19.99 from North Shore Billet? Albeit, as a ride leader you might want one for the rider who doesn't carry a spare in your group.
  • 4 0
 That's what I was getting at. I have both a hanger for my personal bike in my bag AND a Wheels Mfg. Emergency Hanger that will make someone's day at some point, as well as earn me a case of beer.
  • 1 0
 How about the glueless park tool patches? They are $0.75 cheeper canadain and comes with 8 patches instead of 4. It also comes in a much smaller pack so if you dont carry a big bag (dirtjumpers and bmxers) you can still have a pack and mini pump with you. And personaly I have had more success with them then any glue on ones.
  • 1 0
 I'd probably only buy one of the 2 multi-tools....the Park tool patches would be handy though...though I already have like 20+ patches because I bought the kits just for the glue in them Lol and have only used 4 or so patches in total...

and I tried the glueless patches before and they suck.

and I only have 1 bike so I would have no use for the universal hanger...when I would just go out and buy the replacement hanger I needed for like 33% less then the price of the Universal hanger

the Go-Pro Hero cam though is cool...I'd buy it...as there's so many things it can be used for other then just biking
  • 1 0
 I picked up a red anodized cable guide for my 2011 Fox 36. It certainly doesn't do anything that the plastic Fox jobbie does but it definitely looks bling. I plan on getting the brake adapter to top off the look of the fork.
  • 1 1
 i just dont understand why anyone would buy that emergency hanger, why not just carry a spare hanger specifically for your bike rather than a hanger than will fit any bike and generally costs a lot more, i just dont get it :/
  • 1 0
 I carry both, one for my bike and the emergency hanger for someone else. I'm also on a lot of different test bikes throughout the year so it's hard to always have the proper hanger in my bag. As long as it uses a QR rear wheel it'll fit.
  • 1 0
 yeah I didnt think of looking at it that way, im sure it will be useful to use if someones else breaks theirs or like you say you ride multiple bikes.
  • 1 0
 I'm with you Tyler on the topeak mini 18+...this tool has been saving me for about 4 years now, yes 4 years without having to use a lighter to open beer!
  • 1 0
 I gotta say that I actually LOVE the instant Park Tool patches. Ultra tiny, you can throw one in your pocket. I've been using them lots and haven't ever had one peel off.
  • 1 0
 and what if your mate brakes a hanger? wouldnt you rather help them on your ride back? emergency hanger would be a good idea for tour groups etc.
  • 1 0
 love your writing style! nice to see a chatty sounding review of some bits, need me a new multitool...
  • 1 0
 $476 for a GoPro HD??? its $299 on their site and everywhere else in the world
  • 2 1
 sweet! have most of that stuff, but the nsb stuff will look good in red
  • 1 0
 it looks great in red, I've had the red brake mounts.
  • 3 0
 That wheel mfgr thing is amazing...I am definitly getting on for my QR bikes. Great write up! Looks like I have some shopping to do...Just what I needed, an excuse to go to the bike shop! Big Grin



Question: The wipperman links look very different from the links I currently use, what is the advantage of their design over the normal kind? Looks like they would come apart WAY to easily, though you said differently...will give them a try.
  • 1 0
 the wipperman chain i owned was the only split link that didnt take hands of steel to open! My current ybn chain has an okay split link though
  • 1 0
 yeah and it disintegrates !! dont buy them stick to the KMC ones or sram with the straight fitting sleeve.. these whipperman things dont get any stars from me !
  • 1 0
 still have the GoPro HD at the wrong price.
  • 1 0
 Correct price for Canadian shops - it is set by Go Pro and we have to adhere to it. Thanks for the first catch though, that was a typo from no idea where.
  • 1 0
 quick release rider??
  • 1 0
 quick sticks rule!
  • 1 0
 Great article!







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