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Once installed and adjusted, today’s bike components are likely to perform as intended for a long, long time. But as amazing as they are, they still have three major enemies: vibration, which, over time, can loosen bolts and connection points; impact, which can break, bend, and twist things; and neglect, which can lead to rust, corrosion, and other nastiness. These enemies can sometimes catch you by surprise and ultimately leave you stranded on a ride—unless you have a great multi-tool handy to patch things up and get you rolling again.
In reality, that’s what a good multi-tool is supposed to do: provide the tools to fix your bike well enough to see you home. And much like today’s components, today’s multi-tools are marvels of engineering that provide lots of problem-solving options.
What Type of Tool Is Best for You?
Our selection of some of the best multi-tools on the market breaks down into four categories: Super-Minimalist, All-in-One, Hidden, and Bench-Worthy.
Super-minimalist tools contain the bare essentials—mostly hex wrenches. You’ll likely need to augment them with a set of tire levers and/or a chain tool to have an all-situations fixer. They are small, lightweight, and simple.
All-in-one tools contain pretty much everything you need, including tire levers and a chain tool, to fix most any malfunction. (You likely could completely assemble or disassemble a bicycle with one if you wanted.) They can be bulky—likely best carried in a backpack or seatbag—but will let you ride worry-free.
Hidden multi-tools attach to or slot into existing openings on your bike, so you don’t need to carry them in a pack, seatbag, or jersey pocket. These are great set-it-and-forget-it options.
Bench-worthy tools tend to come in roll-up pouches and include removable handles that allow extra leverage. They are also high quality and comfortable enough to use on a regular basis—as at home on a workbench as they are in a backpack or jersey pocket.
Cool Tech to Look For
Some tools are magnetized to help hold bits in place on the tool itself, or to hold the tool in place on the bike. Some disassemble and reassemble in ways that offer more leverage or to keep the tool from flexing in use for more precision tightening. One of our favorites includes a small torque wrench to help prevent overtightening bolts and potentially damaging sensitive parts, like carbon handlebars. Another has an integrated CO2 dispenser that works with both presta and Schrader valves.
How We Chose These Multi-Tools
Bicycling’s test team has certainly experienced no shortage of roadside and trailside repairs and adjustments—from loose cleat bolts to saddle-height tweaks to flats and more. We haven’t tested all the tools on our list, but we’ve used enough to know what you need (and don’t need). That’s why we included multi-tools that offer only the bare minimum as well as those that can make just about any midride repair. Every tool on our list features a selection of hex wrenches, though not all of them carry the larger 8mm hex necessary to tighten a pedal in a crank arm. Screwdrivers are another standard feature, as are Torx bits (you’ll often find these bolts holding rotors to hubs). Think about what you need, how in-depth you’re willing to go with repairs, how bulky of a tool you want to carry, and your budget. That will help you decide which tool is best for you. Here are 13 to get you started.
Park Tool MT-10
Tools: 3, 4, 5, 8mm hex wrenches; T25 Torx-compatible driver; combo cross/straight-tip screwdriver; key-ring holder
This bare-bones tool is small and lightweight, with forged aluminum side plates that are ergonomically shaped to be comfortable as the wrench puts pressure on your palm while in use. If you’re looking to carry or replace a simple but long-lasting set of hex wrenches (including that 8mm hex for your pedals) in a pack, seatbag, or pocket, this could be a good choice. Note that it does not include tire levers or a chain tool.
Topeak Mini 9 Pro
Tools: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5mm hex wrenches; T25 Torx bit; #2 Phillips screwdriver; tire levers (1 hardened steel, 1 foldable polymer
Similar to the MT-10 but with a slightly different mix of tools, the Mini 9 Pro features a forged aluminum shell and a compact shape. The key differences over the MT-10 are the lack of an 8mm hex, but with the addition of a folding plastic tire lever and a hardened steel tire lever, tight-fitting tire beads are no match for this tool. It’s available in black, gold, and silver and comes with a neoprene bag.
Bontrager Elite Multi-Tool
Tools: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex wrenches; T25 Torx bit; Phillips and flathead screwdrivers
The Bontrager’s aluminum body has cutouts on the side that reduce its overall weight—it just looks like it was trimmed down to carry only the essentials. The Elite has a few more hex wrenches than both the MT-10 and the Mini 9 Pro—10 tools in all, including separate Phillips and flat screwdrivers. Just like the MT-10, the Elite does not include tire levers or a chain tool.
Soma Fabrications Woodie 8 Multi-Tool
Tools: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6mm hex wrenches; #2 Phillips and #5 flathead screwdrivers
If you want minimalism with a dash of class, you can’t go wrong with the wood-bodied Soma multi-tool with chrome-vanadium steel tools—which are stronger than carbon steel tools and better able to withstand high fatigue and wear. The Woodie 8 is the least expensive tool on our list and offers only the basics—no 8mm hex or tire levers—but you can get this beauty in a 20-tool version that includes a chain tool, tire lever, bottle opener, spoke wrench, and more.
Pedro’s Rx Micro-20 Multitool
Tools: 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm hex wrenches; T25 and T30 Torx bits; flathead screwdriver; chain tool; box wrenches; spoke wrenches; Shimano crank cap tool; presta valve core tool; tire levers with quick link storage
It’s the little mini-tool that could: The Rx Micro-20 carries every possible tool you’d need for a road- or trailside repair—including a quick link chain repair link hidden away in the micro tire levers that attach to the sides of the tool. There’s a chain tool, spoke wrenches, a Shimano crank cap tool, and even a presta valve core tool. Pedro’s even includes a lifetime warranty against corrosion and breakage. Throw this in a pack or a seat bag and never sweat a roadside repair again.
Crank Brothers F15
Tools: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex wrenches; T25 Torx bit; #2 Phillips and #1 flathead screwdrivers; chain tool; spoke wrench; bottle opener
Though it’s not quite as loaded as the Rx Micro-20, the F15 stands out for its fine finish and the magnetized case that helps lock pieces into place. It includes all the necessary hex, Torx, and spoke wrenches, plus screwdrivers and a chain tool—all it’s missing is a set of tire levers. But it does come with a cool built-in magnetized bottle opener on the case.
Unior Euro17 Multi-Tool
Tools: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex wrenches; T10 and T25 Torx bits; #1 Phillips and 1x5mm flathead screwdrivers; chain tool; spoke wrenches; presta and Schrader valve core tool
Unior is a European manufacturer known for high-quality tools, and the Euro17 lives up to that billing. Case in point: The tips of the individual tools on the Euro17 are black oxide coated for durability and a solid fit. The average multi-tool doesn’t see daily use, so this might be overkill, but it’s a nice touch. The Euro17 doesn’t have tire levers, but it does have pretty much everything else.
Lezyne Rap 21 CO2
Tools: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm hex wrenches; T25 and T30 Torx bits; Phillips and flathead screwdrivers; chain tool; spoke wrenches; brake wedge; tire lever; bottle opener; integrated CO2 dispenser
Want to be the one who saves the ride? Keep this feature-packed tool tucked inside your seat bag. It’s the only one on our list that has a built-in CO2 dispenser (it fits onto the 5mm bit). Simply remove the internal sleeve from the chuck to reveal the engagement port, which works with threaded CO2 cartridges and can be used on both presta and Schrader valves. That’s one tool. There are 20 more, including all the hex wrenches you need plus a tire lever, brake wedge, bottle opener, and more.
OneUp EDC Tool System
Tools: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex wrenches; T25 Torx bit; flathead screwdriver; chain tool; spoke wrenches; presta valve core tool, EDC top cap tool, spare chainring bolt, CO2 cartridge storage; tire levers
The EDC (Every Day Carry) is a great idea: It fits into your fork’s steerer tube and carries pretty much every tool you need—even a spare chainring bolt. Installation is a complicated multi-step process, however: It involves removing the steerer’s star nut, tapping threads into the steerer (with the $35 tap, though you could have a shop do it), and replacing your current top cap with a special $25 one that holds the tool. Oh yeah, your bike needs to have a 1.5-inch tapered aluminum steerer of the right inner diameter, too. Too daunting? OneUp also sells a pump that bolts to a bottle-cage mount that will hold the EDC Tool System—you’ll still have a hidden tool, just in a different disguise.
Wolf Tooth Components EnCase System Hex Bit Wrench Multi-Tool
Tools: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex wrenches; T10, T25, and T30 Torx bits; #2 Phillips and #3.5 flathead screwdrivers; spoke wrench; valve core wrench
This slim tool stows inside most mountain and road handlebars (even typical drop bars, as long as they don’t have any unusual bends in them). You do need to purchase the EnCase System storage sleeve ($35 for two), which holds the tool in place so it doesn’t rattle and has bonus storage in the bar end for a presta/Schrader adapter and valve core or master link. The tool has 14 functions in all, including an 8mm wrench, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, and a swivel head to reach tough spots. Not sure what to do with that extra storage sleeve? Buy the EnCase System Chain and Tire Plug Multi-Tool and slip it into your other bar end.
Fix It Sticks Blend Edition
Tools: 2, 2.5, 3, 6, and 8mm hex wrenches; T25 Torx bit; #2 Phillips screwdriver
While the Fix It Sticks could easily fall into the “super-minimalist” category on our list—the set includes only hex wrenches, a T25 torx bit, and a Phillips screwdriver—it comes with a bracket that lets you mount it behind your bottle cage, making it a better candidate for the “hidden” grouping. The system works by inserting the bit you need into the end of one Stick and using the other to make a T-handle for better leverage. No worries if you don’t want to mount your tool to your frame; the set also comes with a soft, compact carrying case.
Blackburn Big Switch Multi-Tool
Tools: 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm hex wrenches; T25 and T30 Torx bits; flathead screwdriver; chain tool; spoke wrenches; disc-pad spreader; presta valve core tool; ratcheting handle
Sometimes an L-shaped hex wrench is an odd fit, and sometimes it doesn’t provide enough leverage. The Big Switch Multi-Tool offers solutions for both scenarios: The tool handle can hold bits like a screwdriver, or a T-handle wrench for a bit more leverage, or an L-handle wrench for a lot more leverage. The Big Switch has more features than the older Switch tool—the number-one addition being a chain tool that also includes a presta valve core tool, spoke wrenches, and a disc-pad spreader. It’s all neatly contained in a small cloth case that folds flat and fits neatly in a jersey pocket.
Silca T-Ratchet + Ti-Torque Kit
Tools: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6mm hex wrenches; T10, T20, and T25 Torx bits; 2mm Philips screwdriver; Ti-Torque Beam for 2-8Nm; ratchet with magnetic extension; steel bit extender
Tightening bolts to the proper torque is crucial with high-end carbon fiber components—too loose and pieces will slip, too tight and you risk damaging the parts. What’s needed: a torque wrench, which is what makes this toolkit from Silca so remarkable. It includes the Ti-Torque Beam that can measure torque from 2 to 8Nm, which will cover you for most stem, shift/brake lever, and seatpost bolts. Easily fits in a jersey pocket, but will look good on your workbench, too. Chain tool and tire levers not included.
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