Bicycle Mechanics - Multitool Question
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04-01-01, 10:51 PM
Hi, I tried to doing a search for this, but the page wasn't available anymore. Anyway, can someone recommend a good multitool that I should have when I'm out on the road? There are sooooo many out there.
thanks in advance!
Well I am partial to Topeak. The multi 21 is a good compact small very light has tire levers comes in a case, that can be strapped to you rseat post etc. If you want many functions the Alien is real good. For the be all end all the Mc Guyver is king, it is like a Swiss Army knife for bikes.
04-02-01, 05:18 AM
The allen keys of Topeak 21 multitools are badly sized and difficult to use eg adjusting brakes if you have a rack. I tried it, but didnt like it.
Some of their penknife-style folding tools are better (The Alien?)
The jaws of Cooltool are pretty lose, but the multi-sized allen keys are cool. With a new Campy hub, you dont ever need a spanner.
All the chaintools are for emergency use only.
A mini-Leatherman (the one with pliers and a handle that folds in half) is perfect, but shops in the UK have stopped stocking it. Do Leatherman still produce their smallest useful tool ?
I find that a Cooltool and a Leatherman together get me out of most jams.
One thing I would take into serious consideration is how the handle/grio feels in your hand and also its size. Multi tools with small handles are a real pain to deal with especially when you are useing a twisting motion.
04-02-01, 05:23 PM
I agree with Michael about the Alien allen keys being awkward to use because of the shape of the handle, even when it is opened up. I use the folding type of tool from Lifa, just allen keys and a couple of sizes of phillips and common screwdrivers. That along with a chain tool and some sort of Leatherman clone, really just for the pliers should see you through most roadside repairs. Most bikes now only need allen keys for almost every adjustment. A small adjustable wrench will be necessary if you have any hex nuts on the bike. Of course flat repairs need to be addressed as well.
04-02-01, 06:07 PM
Thanks y'all! I'll check out the different tools you mentioned. Makes my life so much easier!
Technogirl, I say, skip the multi-tool. They are a gimmick.
You need so few tools when you are on the road that you might as well get a dedicated tool for the job.
Any mechanic will tell you that to do a job, you need good tools. Multi-tools are a compromise at best.
Make your own excellent tool bag with the following:
1) at least one 6" adjustable wrench (check to make sure your bike even has a use for one first).
2) Tire patch kit with tire irons or "Milk Levers"
3) Allen wrenches specific to your bike's needs (probably two or three is all you need)
4) multi-head screw-driver.
5) chain tool and a couple of spare links that match your chain.
6) Check your brakes and derailures to see what tools you might need to make adjustments.
7) Give your bike a good look-over and look at every fastener (nuts and bolts). Make sure you have a tool for each of them.
8) Wrap some duct tape around a pencil so you have both some duct tape and a pencil when you need it.
9) a couple of plastic zip tabs (electical fasteners) come in handy and weigh nothing. Get them at the hardware store.
It looks like a long list and a lot of stuff, but it will all fit in one hand. If you are a weight-freak, then this list might seem insane, but there is nothing worse than being stuck on the road without the tools to fix a simple problem.
Well Mike, thanks for that kindly ment negativity. No, just kidding.But now I feel self conscious about buying a multi tool. I don't exactly have the money to go buy your list right now, and I rather be stuck on the road with a multi tool than no tool. SOOOOOOOOO, what does everybody think of the Ritchey CPR-13 mini tool??
Do the math, Fubar5. You can buy every tool on my list for less than $10.00 total.
Any half-decent multi tool will cost you three to four times that amount (more?).
Ah darnit..Mikes right again.
04-07-01, 08:44 PM
Wow, is that possible?
Originally posted by fubar5
Ah darnit..Mikes right again.
Uh...I guess he's right. I'll have to go to the hardware store and grab all this stuff. I think I'd just rather go to some Ace Hardware place, and grab them, than go to some hardware superstore. I keep gettin' lost in there! How come they don't have a "You Are Here." in them parts? I mean, shoot, to help the fellow natives (employees for those slow individuals), I always make sure I draw the "You are here" text and symbol on all the neat whiteboards within the conference rooms! ;) Sorry, got off the path again!
Anyway, I'll have to take Mike's list with me...I like that $10 price tag, Mike! I guess I'll use the rest of that money to donate to your Einstein-brain fund! ;)
Yeah, so weight's not an issue for me, Mike, but I'll just have to make sure that I dump the tv and cb radio from the rides from now on.
Nah, really, thanks...I guess I'll make that trek tomorrow.
Seriously, though, Technogirl, Give your bike a good look - over and make sure that my list meets your needs.
I suggest that you go to a small, old-time hardware store where you can buy individual Allen wrenches specifically for your needs rather than buying a whole packet of them that includes stuff you don't need.
Talk to one of the helpful staff. They will probably let you wheel your bike right in an help you find the exact stuff you need.
You MIGHT consider a spoke wrench (less than $3.00 at a hardware store or at Fleet and Farm bicycle section or K-Mart, or your bike shop. $10.00 at my local bike shop). But you need to learn how to use it. The spoke wrench comes in handy if you hit a curb or pot-hole and have to tune in your wheel on the road.
If you are going for an unsupported tour, you might consider bringing a couple extra spokes as well.
04-10-01, 08:22 PM
I agree with Mike on this one. I actually have one of the Park Multi Tools, not the fold out kind, the little one piece thing with some box end wrenches cut in it and hex wrenches sticking out. I also bought one of the cheap Nashbar things as an afterthought when I was buying some other stuff. One thing I find about both is that sometimes the rest of the tool gets in the way. With a regular hex wrench, you have the short leg and the long leg. You can get to pretty much anything with one or the other. Sometimes the 2-2.5 inch fold outs are too long and you might be stuck. I am partial to the long hex wrenches. You sometimes need a little extra leverage on larger sizes. I just bought a set from Sears. I keep the ones I need in my seat bag and the rest in my bicycle tool box.
You can get a screwdriver that has large and small phillips and flat bits all captive so they are hard to lose. The blade part pulls out of the handle and the pieces fit easily in a seat bag, except maybe the little tiny kind. The handle is full size so you can get a grip on it.
For a spoke wrench, I like the little Park triangle that fits all three sizes. You only need one, but it is not any bigger than a dedicated one, and somebody else might need a different size and you could help them out.
I could go on, but this is enough for now. Mike's the man. I gotta say, though, those Topeak Aliens and McGuyvers sure are sexy to a tool geek like me. :blush:
i've ben through the same search lately and rather than buying a multitool, I thought about it the other way and replaced the fixings on my bike to take as few tools possible!
If you have any hex bolts, replace them with allen bolts (few cents from a hardware shop) - Allen keys weigh, and take up much less space than wrenches, and you can also find allen keys with two different sizes on each side. You will find that most fixings on a bike take the same sized allen key. - I can dismantle most of my bike with just 2 allen keys (This excludes the Cranks, Hubs, Headset, Pedals, BB, chain and cassette.)
I personally do not bother carrying around anything to fix Cranks, Pedals and BB -> can't imagine what can go wrong with them if you service them regularly.
I carry one of those tiny chain tools, a puncture repair kit, a tire lever, and lately I've been really lucky to find a really tiny bike tool (costing less that the equivalent of 3 dollars!) from Trans-X containg three size allen keys and a spoke wrench. This is roughy the size of a normal door key.
This is almost too obvious to mention, but...
If you are going to carry a tube repair kit or an extra tube, be sure to bring a pump with you as well. A tire patch kit won't do you any good on the road without air.
Believe it or not, I meet a lot of bicyclists who carry patch kits, but don't carry the pump because they think the pump weighs too much.
04-17-01, 07:38 AM
I knew there was something I was doing wrong.
By the way, I thought Claude's idea of changing all the fasteners on her bike to use similar tools was brilliant. You would think that bike manufacturers would have figured that out. This is especially true for bikes that cost $1,500 or more. I think when you are spending 15 times as much as a cheap bike from Walmart, you should expect 15 times the design considerations.
I also don't bring enough tools to anticipate repairing a bottom bracket, though I have had crank axles come loose on me twice which was maddening. Thankfully, it was an ashtabula crank and I could fix it with tools borrowed from a farmer along the way.
I tell, you, there is something to be said for those old bike designs that could be repaired 100% with a collection of average handyman's tools. Today's bikes are almost completely dependant on the special tools found at good bike shops.
Schwinn and Raleigh both tried that "our stuff only" hanky panky back in the 60's and '70's. By the '80's, they were both bought, sold, and dead only to be reborn in name only.
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