I don't know about you, but when I think of a multi-tool, I picture some sort of folding gizmo that probably includes a really awkward to use chain tool. Topeak's $34.99 USD Ratchet Rocket Lite DX is not that, however, with it being more of a pint-sized socket set for bikes than a 'how many hex keys can we squeeze onto this tool' widget.
The tiny wrench features a reversible ratchet mechanism, and Topeak includes all of the most commonly required hex bits, two different torx bits, a phillips, and a socket extension. Oh, there's also two mini tire levers to boot, and all that is tucked away in a Nylon case that can be mounted on a belt or the strap of a backpack.
Ratchet Rocket Lite DX Details
• Ratcheting socket wrench w/ bits
• 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm hex keys
• T10, T25 Torx, phillips
• Reversible ratchet mechanism
• Magnetic bit holder
• Socket extension
• Nylon case w/ Velcro strap and enclosure
• Case dimensions: 12.8 x 6.3 x 2.5 cm
• Weight: 155 grams (inc. case)
• MSRP: $34.99 USD
Nokia phone case for your belt or Topeak's Ratchet Rocket Lite DX?Design
Topeak has a bunch of traditional mini-tools in their catalog, but the Ratchet Rocket Lite DX is more like a socket set for your bike that you can easily take with you on a ride. The wrench itself is 9.3cm long and is made out of chrome vanadium steel that should resist rusting and corrosion, even if it's been left in the bottom of your stinky pack for a few seasons. As small as the wrench is, the fine-tooth ratcheting mechanism still makes use of both a knurled thumb wheel and a tiny reverse lever, and there's also a magnetic bit holder at the end of the handle that's good for spinning a bolt quickly or for keeping a spare bit from rolling away.
The wrench snaps into a plastic clip that's been riveted onto the Nylon case, and the hold is firm enough that it shouldn't ever be able to rattle out.
It might be tiny, but the Ratchet Rocket still includes a knurled thumb wheel and a reverse lever.
When it comes to hex keys, Topeak has included separate 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm bits, as well as both a T10, T25 Torx and a suitable phillips, all of which are stored in little elastic pockets that hold them tightly in place. There are also two (short) tire levers that might be next to useless if your rubber fits quite tightly, and a little pocket that you can use to store some glueless patches or a few coins.
The Ratchet Rocket's Nylon case looks like something that someone's dad would strap to his belt to carry around an old Nokia cell phone, but it also feels very sturdy. It folds open and closed, so it's not going to keep water out or anything, but it should hold the wrench and all of the included tools without issue.
Stretchy pockets hold each bit separately.Performance
Topeak's pint-sized ratchet wrench kit can be easily attached to a belt (why do you ride with a belt?) or one of your backpack's straps, meaning that won't need to go digging through a jersey pocket or the dark, scary recesses of your backpack when you need to tweak something on your bike. That might also make you the go-to guy in your group when someone needs a tool, and you'll want to keep a close eye on this little sucker if you're lending it out: it feels like it'd last forever, or at least many years of use, and I could see someone wanting to nick it for their own good.
The Ratchet Rocket wrench and separate tool bits make some jobs easier - threading in a long bolt, or working in a tight spot that doesn't allow you to spin a multi-tool all the way around - but it also means that there are ten tiny bits to lose. Unlike many multi-tools, the hardened steel bits fit bolt heads snuggly and I can see exactly zero deformation, and they snap into the working end of the ratchet wrench tightly enough to keep them from falling out. So tight, in fact, that I had a hard time pulling them out and sometimes had to resort to using another pit to push it out from the opposite side.
My one concern was the wrench's ratcheting mechanism. Have you ever been using a cheap ratchet wrench and had its internal working bits give up the ghost? It usually ends up in a big surprise and set of skinned knuckles, but the tiny ratcheting guts inside Topeak's wrench gave me no such scares. Then again, you're using a short tool on a bike part, not torquing down your car's wheel nuts, so there shouldn't ever be an issue.
The Ratchet Rocket Lite DX is designed as a trail-side tool, but it feels so well made that it's like a shop-quality wrench that was left in the dryer for too long.
While the tool itself is near faultless, the stubby tire levers that Topeak includes are near useless. They're too short to provide much of a leverage advantage if you're working on a really tight tire bead, and a tire that's loose enough to see them be helpful probably doesn't require levers anyway. Pinkbike's Take: