Specialized SWAT EMT Tool - Review

Feb 2, 2015
by Mike Levy  
Specialized SWAT


SWAT stands for 'Storage, Water, Air, Tools', which pretty much sums up what Specialized is aiming to do with their SWAT gear: allow riders to carry the essentials in a more efficient and unobtrusive way than they might otherwise be doing. This includes a nifty topcap/chain tool combo, their integrated SWAT Box that holds a tube and other bits, as well as the Zee Cage II and integrated EMT multi-tool that's tested below. The cage, which is available in left and right-side access versions, and the EMT tool must be partnered together - the tool's plastic cradle bolts to the bottle cage via a bolt at its base and a metal bracket that shares the lower cage-mounting screw. The EMT tool and its cradle are shaped in a way that the tool slides into it firmly, and a trap door snaps down closed once it's in place. The Zee cage II and EMT tool combo retails for $60 USD, and they also come stock on Specialized's Expert-level and above bikes. www.specialized.com @Specialized

Specialized SWAT
The hinged trapped door snaps firmly closed, and it takes a good pull to open it.
Specialized SWAT
The EMT tool slides in and out of the cradle, and the fit is snug enough that it can't rattle around once it's in place.


The EMT tool is, as its name suggests, isn't intended to be the kind of multi-tool that you'd use at home to torque down your crank bolt or reach for when installing new components, but rather as a lightweight helper that goes unnoticed on your bike until you need it. It consists of a flat-blade screwdriver, a T25 torx, 3, 4, 5 and 6mm hex keys, as well as a clever 8mm that's been chopped down to only the bare minimum to take up as little room as possible. All of the tool bits are made out of hardened CRV steel, get an anti-rust coating, and are sandwiched in a one-piece aluminum frame.

Specialized SWAT

The bits on the EMT tool work as intended, but the fit is a bit sloppier than what you'll find with more purposeful tools. This makes it best suited for on-trail emergencies, which is exactly how it's intended to be used.



Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesI've ended up using the little EMT tool a lot more often than I thought I would, usually for minor things like headsets that have rattled loose or to make adjustments to shifter and brake lever positions on a test bike that I rushed out the door with. And for those tasks, jobs that don't require you to reach onto a confined space or to really snug a bolt up, the tool works perfectly fine. I rarely wear a backpack anymore, even on four or five hour days on the bike, and having the EMT means that I don't have to find a pocket to stuff a (likely heavier) tool, and because it's always attached to the bike, I never forget it at home. The fit between the cradle and the tool is snug enough that it can't possibly rattle, and it should never fall out so long as you've snapped the little door shut behind it. I did discover that the bottle cage and tool combo doesn't fit on every bike when in Sedona and transferring the kit between different test rigs, with the issue being that some bikes have their water bottle bosses low enough on the down tube that the cradle comes into contact with the seat tube. Something tells me that it'd fit on every Specialized, however, which seems fair. Compatibility aside, my only real complaint is that the tool bits fit a bit loose compared to the separate hex keys that I have at home, and that the cut-down 8mm doesn't have enough material left over to properly tighten down a crank bolt without worrying about rounding it out. Alas, the tool is short enough that I doubt I could ever get enough leverage to do any damage. Then again, the EMT tool isn't meant for performing surgery, but rather for minor issues. There's also no chain tool on the EMT, so you'll have to pick up Specialized's clever Top Cap Chain Tool if you really want to not carry anything on your person.

I fully realize that we seem to be going back towards seat bags and the like, but I'm a big fan of ditching the pack (yes, even my bum bag) so long as I can still carry the essentials that I might need out in the bush. The Zee cage and EMT tool allow me to do exactly that, and I now find myself moving it between test bikes on a regular basis so that I can put less stuff in my pockets. - Mike Levy


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86 Comments

  • + 164
 Quality tools. Something that deserves much much more respect. Pb should do a weekly tool, call it "tool up Tuesday". Feature both bike tools and trail building tools. Just an idea.
  • + 19
 That would be awsome
  • + 10
 trail building tools, i can resume it with one word ROGUE
  • + 1
 Dolmar.
  • + 4
 Stihl is the bees knees when it comes to power tools, havent tried a dolmar tho. Damn the rogue tools do look beefy, i seem to keep braking my metal rakes on roots and rocks. I need to pick one of those up, im guessing you can't get those at the local hardware store? The lowes near me has no fire racks or anything good like the rogue stuff.
  • - 4
flag gtreesong (Feb 3, 2015 at 7:43) (Below Threshold)
 What I do is buy semi quality tools, and reinforce them or modify them with my welding skills. Starting to market MTB specific tools within the next few years. Send any designs/ideas to: stevenscustomfab@gmail.com. for the two I feel are the best, I will send you a tool when they are put into production. Happy trail building!
  • - 1
 dolmar, it look interesting you need to carry less gaz you don't smell 2 strokes oil i'm a jonsered user!
  • + 2
 @MDRipper

I have quite a few rogue tools..they are ok..the shape of the blades could definitely could be improved but they are super sharp and the price is right
  • - 1
 where does this EMT shit made from? China?
  • + 41
 Never thought I'd be this guy, but: Hydration packs 4 life!
  • + 8
 First Aid kits too.
  • + 5
 i can't believe specialized got away with naming their products S.W.A.T. and E.M.T. i'm sure its just so they can own the rights and sue every city in the U.S. for using "their" acronym haha.
  • + 36
 Modernized copy of the 1980s Joe Murray Combo cage. That cage held a bottle, a pair of tire levers and a patch kit (which was placed at the bottom of the cage, just like this EMT tool is).

fcdn.mtbr.com/attachments/vintage-retro-classic/1401d1074864854-voodoovoodoovoodoo-combo.jpg
  • + 22
 They should sue specialized, wouldnt that be a hoot!
  • + 4
 Well Joe Murray was employed by Kona at the time, who marketed the combo cages as one of their aftermarket accessories, so it'd be up to them to sue.
  • + 17
 That was my attempt at a joke since specialized likes to sue everybody.
  • + 1
 Murray!!!
  • + 31
 next will be a spare tube that mounts in your tire
  • + 1
 Ha ha!
  • + 13
 can the hospital please sue them for using EMT

can shimano sue them for using Zee

can SWAT sue them for using SWAT

please?
  • + 2
 Only if those people have a trademark in bicycles. So the only likely candidate out of those is Zee. Zee is short and generic enough that they probably were unable to secure a trademark.
  • - 3
 but E.M.T. and S.W.A.T is pretty messed up. one is a medical responder and one is a counter-terrorism branch of the police.
  • + 7
 Unfortunately the medical responders and police specialty unit will no longer be allowed to use these abbreviations as Spec now owns them.
  • + 12
 Does this mean my enduro bum bag/fanny pack is now officially 'last season'?
  • + 30
 fanny packs have always been last season
  • + 9
 IMO the desire to ride without a hydration pack isn't about weight - it's about comfort, and the desire to avoid having something strapped to your body. Having said that, I only ride without a pack on the road. I always need a pack to carry beer when I'm mountain biking.
  • + 7
 I thinks we all just need to eats a can of spinach....BAM!! Toughen up peoples, hydration packs are not heavy (unless you let your mom pack your ride lunch........which I do).
  • + 7
 Why toughen up when you can enduro up?
  • + 3
 packs don't let your back breathe. Hot and sweaty... no sale.
  • + 4
 The most clever ways to store tools/better bottle access on bikes actually occurred 25 years ago, before we were even riding full suspension bikes and had to deal with oddball shaped tubes and frames with limited space for extras. The reason was primarily that hydration packs didn't yet exist really (camelbaks were brand new and didn't really do more than hold the water bladder, which was fragile and prone to leaks as is, nevermind with tools stuffed in next to it). So if you wanted water AND tools with you, and didn't feel like stuffing your pockets or wearing a fanny pack/backpack, you needed ways to get more stuff onto your bike than just the couple bottle mounts most came with. Of course what's old is new again if you slap a specialized logo onto it, and file a trademark and patent for an existing idea...


Some examples...

www.ebay.ca/itm/More-On-Bottle-cage-mounting-bracket-adapter-/331443077399?ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT

www.ebay.ca/itm/NOS-Cool-Tool-Seatpost-Quick-Release-Multi-Tool-Vintage-Retro-/231466350648?ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT

www.cyclebabac.com/our-store/bike-accessories/mirrors/clubroost-wacky-plug-detail.html

www.bikepro.com/products/pumps/suprflat.html

Modern take on a park road wrench, mounts the same way to the bottle cage holes except includes wing-nut bottle cage bolts so can be removed fairly quickly by hand.

www.ebay.com/itm/Pedros-TRIXIE-CHROME-Bike-Tool-Fixed-Gear-Multi-Tool-8-function-Wrench-Hex-NEW-/331368435516?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d27190f3c
  • + 1
 I love how it was the 90's so of course the seat post plug had to be "wacky"

But really... taping $20 into my handlebar end tonight.
  • + 1
 Yep, of course paper money is also good because being stronger it can be used as an emergency tire boot also.
  • + 4
 Wacky Plug? That's for stashing weed, man.
  • + 3
 haha wow I had a superflate. it was so awful.
  • + 2
 I still have mine, still works fine and still forms a part of my main hydro-pack's tool load.
  • + 1
 Got any Milk levers?
  • + 3
 yes, original beige colour ones, they're in the pack I use when fat biking.
  • + 5
 Fricking love the SWAT gear. With a tube rolled or taped to the frame + been meaning to figure out a good way to hold two CO2s and a nozzle under the seat to leave pockets pretty much empty. So nice!
  • + 2
 There are mounts available to fit co2 cartridges under the bottle cage.
  • + 2
 As slick as it gets. I've got one and i stuff my multi-tool and tube in there. www.barflybike.com/hopper-saddle-bag
  • + 1
 Lezyne makes a sweet saddle roll that holds all you need pretty nicely. Speedsleeves are also a decent option.
  • + 1
 I put my 2 CO2 cartridges and tire levers between my tube and grab all at the bottom of my SC Nomad top tube with a Profile Racing velcro strap done for carry the same items in TT bikes below the seat, worked like a dream for many years.
  • - 2
 Lezyne products have done nothing but suck ba!!s when I've owned them. and not mine. plus their warranty department blows
  • + 1
 @peterdaam That's a pretty cool use of some webbing straps. They are a bit overpriced but whatever. I still think small seat bags are useful but if they're not stuffed to the gills they're a swinging nuisance.
The site mentions using the straps with coffee bags - brilliant. I have an empty one at home. Perfect use here. Also great for a waterproof storage system for a hydration pack.
  • + 2
 @sngltrkmnd The price is a little on the steep side and because of that I was going to try to make one myself, found some straps but no good quality d-loops that fit the straps... ended up just buying it and have been happy ever since. It's nice because you can stuff as much stuff as you want and tighten it right up so there isn't any sway. Also no extra compartments and zippers like a usual seat bag. I use a coffee bag flipped inside out (couldn't find a black no logo bag), works great!
  • + 3
 The bottle cage is also really cool. It's side access so you get the bottle out easerly on frames with little clearance. I struggle to get my bottle out on a lot of cages on my enduro. You just need to work out if you want a left or right side opening.
  • + 4
 yeah- that sounds way more easerly!
  • + 5
 "...they also come stock on Specialized's Expert-level and above bikes." That's pretty nice Specialized!
  • + 3
 My shop must have screwed me as my 2014 Enduro Expert didn't come with one. @mikelevy where does Specialized say this? I'm thinking they owe me one.
  • + 1
 @ryan83 the Enduro doesn't come with SWAT bits. I guess the Big Red S thinks people riding and Enduro are either in the bike park or are carrying a large backcountry pack anyway....at least if we consider the target user group for the Enduro.

If your bike shop screwed you, it wasn't on the SWAT cage.
  • + 1
 Great idea. Some people have done this for years. But use tape to told the tool. The tape is useful too. Where does the tape go now? I have a tiny topeak tool. It also has spanners (although nearly useless), tyre levers, and you choose the 4 bit's that fit in the tool. I currently use pockets to store my stuff and don't find them too bad but...
I think next time (maybe very soon) that I buy a bike with a decent bottle location I look at getting one of these.
  • + 3
 Or you know just put the tool in your pack with your tube, pump, food, spare bits, first aid kit, etc.
  • + 2
 Pack? I don't wear one unless it's a six hour+ day, or water is scarce.
  • + 2
 I think you should have pointed out that the holder is an open design resulting in the tool getting covered in mud. not visible from your side on photos.
  • + 4
 Store it in the bottle if you have a hydration pack and you don't use the bottle for such. Bottles are great for a spare rag and other small tools you don't want wet or muddy but can't afford to store anywhere else. Even an energy bar or gel pack will fit.
  • + 2
 ya. thats how l did it back in the day. l had two water bottle cages. put water in one and stuffed the other one with patch kit, granola bar etc. l didn't like how the under seat bag got all wet and muddy.
  • + 2
 This appeals to me since i'll be ditching the hydration pack this year for park riding. I figured i'd pocket everything, but I may be able to ghetto rig a multi tool mount.
  • + 3
 Is it bad to want a new bike for the sole reason of having a water bottle mount?
  • + 2
 I won't buy a bike if it doesn't have at least one, good usable holder that will hold a larger water bottle I won't buy it.

See kona process for exactly what i hate in a water bottle mount. (Under side of a downtube with a tire throwing mud on it constantly)
  • + 4
 Anyone else here have more than one bike? Just sayin...
  • + 1
 I used to have a multi tool that fit into the head tube of my cannondale lefty, snug fit never came loose very clever in my opinion
  • - 1
 I still don't get the point of these. So where's your tube? Where's your pump or CO2? Oh that's right in another bag some where, so why not just carry a better muti-tool there with everything else.

They solved a non problem.
  • + 1
 I hope isn't too small like the old Mini6 from Crank Brothers. Some places are impossible to reach, and it got no leverage at all.
  • + 2
 Will this tool/case mount up under a different bottle cage? I'm pretty committed to my king ti cages.
  • + 3
 Mike, on a 4 or 5 hour ride with one bottle, how do you drink enough?
  • + 1
 I usually plan my longer rides around water stops. In the spring/fall i can get by with one bottle.

In the summer i need more water inbetween stops so ill carry a pack.

Works well for 30-40 mile rides, especially when you're riding a canyon you can lap.
  • + 2
 @brownstone - I'll bring a single large bottle if my ride is around two hours (I'm aware that's less than ideal), and put another bottle or two in my bibs if I'm doing a big day. Also, there's usually places to refill, be it fast-moving creeks or just a gas station. That obviously doesn't work for all riding zones, though. I'll always have a pack in my closet.
  • + 1
 Hows the clearance with the EMT tool on the Ripley? Do you contact the rear triangle under full compression?
  • - 2
 I don't know about everyone else, but I want my bike to be as light as possible (DH Bike would be an exception but this product wouldn't really apply there). I'll readily admit that I'm probably not going to feel the weight of a multi-tool and bottle cage on my bike. However, when you look at the entire SWAT system you're adding the weight of water, water bottles, multi-tools, a chain device, a CO2 inflater, tyre levers and a tube onto your bike. This seems strange to me as I quite like my bike to be able to hop over things and be very manoeuvrable on the trail. I have always found it easier to do this with a bag on my bag instead of extra weight on my bike. Surely this would make that more difficult?

Just my thoughts.
  • - 1
 Nothing quite like ditching the backpack! I am sure this SWAT tool will get better with time and other companies will develop similar products...hooray for innovation...even if its retro.
  • + 1
 www.gransforsbruk.com/en just saying.......
  • + 1
 And then where would you put your car/house keys, your wallet, your phone?
  • + 2
 In your SWAT bib! Plus a water bottle. Maybe a roll up jacket. Really though, I love my bib. I havent found a reason to get the above mentioned tool though.
  • + 1
 What Specialized frame is that one in the photo?
  • + 1
 I believe that's an Ibis Ripley shown in the photo.
  • + 0
 say what you want... this is a good idea! why carry weight on your back??
  • - 1
 Its great, until it falls out on your first ride. Ask me how I know.
  • + 7
 Because you forgot to clip it closed? I honestly don't know how you could lose it. That tool is damn secure.
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