Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Why carry a multi tool?

Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Why carry a multi tool?

Old 12-25-19, 05:32 PM
Full Member
Thread Starter
epnnf's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 354

Bikes: 2016 Masi strada vita due, 2019 Kona Dew Plus

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 243 Post(s)
Liked 65 Times in 46 Posts
Why carry a multi tool?

Seriously. In my experience, 99% of mechanicals are flat tires, the rest are things a multi-tool can't fix- frayed cable, broken saddle bolt. Yes, I carry one; but I've never used it.
epnnf is offline  
Likes For epnnf:
Old 12-25-19, 06:07 PM
Bill Kapaun
Really Old Senior Member
Bill Kapaun's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
Posts: 13,182

Bikes: 87 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1519 Post(s)
Liked 806 Times in 589 Posts
I just carry 3-4 loose "GOOD QUALITY" hex wrenches with my patch kit.
Never needed those either.

I think the odds of messing up things with multi tools is much greater than job specific tools.
Bill Kapaun is offline  
Likes For Bill Kapaun:
Old 12-25-19, 06:18 PM
Senior Member
dsbrantjr's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Roswell, GA
Posts: 8,280

Bikes: '93 Trek 750, '92 Schwinn Crisscross, '93 Mongoose Alta

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1420 Post(s)
Liked 1,038 Times in 695 Posts
I prefer to carry the few hex L-wrenches my bike requires, small groove joint pliers and screwdriver for derailleurs, along with a few other needed tools, a few links of chain, a couple of quick links and a mini chain tool all wrapped in a cloth to silence them and to clean up with. It ends up being lighter and more useful than multi-tools, which suck for most tasks. A patch kit, spare tube and frame pump for flats; I don't run tires I cannot dismount/remount by hand. I try hard to keep my bike maintained and often use my kit to help other riders.
dsbrantjr is offline  
Likes For dsbrantjr:
Old 12-25-19, 06:28 PM
Digger Goreman
Quidam Bike Super Hero
Digger Goreman's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Stone Mountain, GA (Metro Atlanta, East)
Posts: 1,150

Bikes: 1995 Trek 800 Sport, aka, "CamelTrek"

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 331 Post(s)
Liked 412 Times in 280 Posts
I like this tool:

and supplement it with a generic pair of pliers and hex keys from a dismantled bell tool. On rare occasions, being able to create a sliding T-handle is to my advantage. But mostly the multi-tool does the necessary work.
Digger Goreman is offline  
Old 12-25-19, 06:44 PM
jon c. 
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,267
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1236 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 491 Times in 271 Posts
Why? It's an article of faith.

But I've never actually used it.
jon c. is offline  
Old 12-25-19, 10:18 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 86

Bikes: 2007 Trek 820, 2014 Fuji Gran Fondo 2.1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
For when your friend doesnít take his trainer adapter off his thru axle and didnít bring wrenches with him, saved me 4 times last year. Also mine has a chain breaker that doubles as a spoke wrench, very handy the few times Iíve popped a spoke and needed to semi true it to keep it from rubbing the frame.
silverado8405 is offline  
Old 12-25-19, 10:54 PM
A Roadie Forever
79pmooney's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 10,750

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 115 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3556 Post(s)
Liked 2,356 Times in 1,545 Posts
I've never owned a bicycle multitool. That said, a Leatherman has always gone on my non-city rides. The general rule is that multitools are inferior to the specific tools they replace. My Leatherman does several jobs so well that I set aside my regular tools and use it. Pulling the tiny wires out of tires with the pliers. Nearly the ability of good tweezers to get to the wire with far more grip and pull. If improvising has to be done, the Leatherman has a great blade and excellent choices of screwdrivers and poking and scraping tools. If I had to spend an unplanned night far from home, I would much rather have a Leatherman than a multitool. (Or perhaps have to stay in large animal country. That blade could turn a large branch into a serviceable spear.)

Edit: all of my bikes have the hex wrenches and tools specific to that bike (6" crescent or Pedros Trixie for my fix gears for example). But not all the tools. Just ones I feel might be needed, Iffy wheel? I'll keep a spoke wrench in the bag.


Last edited by 79pmooney; 12-25-19 at 11:10 PM.
79pmooney is offline  
Old 12-25-19, 11:42 PM
Troul's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Mich
Posts: 5,736

Bikes: RSO E-tire dropper fixie brifter

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 1,961 Times in 1,306 Posts
Gerber with M4 set has been a useful multitool, mainly aiding to others.
-Oh Hey!
Troul is offline  
Old 12-26-19, 12:10 AM
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 15
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 5 Posts
I can ask you why not

It's a small item, weighting around 200 grams, which enables you to fix some small problems. Also, on some, you have integrated CO2 dispenser.

I have Lezyne RAP - 21 CO2:

Umeme is offline  
Likes For Umeme:
Old 12-26-19, 12:43 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 89
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
for me its just in case one of my rims is rubbing my vbrakes
self defense maybe?
shine2000 is offline  
Old 12-26-19, 05:39 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,027
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 337 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 113 Times in 81 Posts
I found the Topeak rocket ratchet (lite version) to be useful, for $20. The ratchet function makes it easier to use in tight spaces, and the bits can be inserted into the end, parallel to the length of the wrench, in case there isn't enough space for a right angle turn. It's incredibly light and compact. I don't carry the pouch though. I just stick all the bits and the wrench into a plastic bag to save weight and space. There are other packages instead of the lite version, either with a chain breaker tool, or with a 4, 5, 6Nm torque clicker adapter.

There is another version that comes with a very large variable 2-6 Nm torque adapter, without clicks. You have to read the line on the scale as you turn the wrench. It's too big to fit in small spaces though. The problem with either the 4, 5, 6Nm clicker or the 2-6Nm variable version is that you can only use it to turn clockwise. You must remove the adapter before turning the wrench counterclockwise.

There is an X Tools copy that is very similar and comes with the (same?) 4, 5, 6Nm torque clicker adapter, for around $30-40, from England or Germany. I've never tried these torque clickers.

I needed torque readings up to 8 or 10 Nm. So I tried the feedback sports range torque wrench. It has a dial that reads the torque, measured simply by the bending of a beam attached to the lever knob. It's ok, but the dial has some kind of internal friction that reduces the reading by about 0.5Nm in either direction, whether you are pressing or releasing the lever. It means that when you release the lever, the beam doesn't always return back to a neutral position. It wiggles around a little bit and gets stuck in the min/max wiggle positions, because of the internal friction of the dial. It means that when you try to reset the dial to zero, you might be off by +/-0.5Nm. I just wiggle the lever a little bit and try to center the lever in the middle of the wiggle range before reseting the dial to zero. The dial is only on the top side. There is no reading on the bottom side. Turning the wrench counterclockwise is fine, although I would grab the main body of the wrench and not the lever when doing so. It usually costs $80, but some places charge $70.
I loaded the knob with 5Nm and 10Nm of weights by hanging a box of screws with a string. When accounting for the +/-0.5Nm of friction in the dial, I was getting around 4.7Nm and 9.3Nm, which was close enough for me. I also stick the wrench and bits in a plastic bag, and do away with the pouch.
The feedback range is wider, thicker, longer, and a little heavier than the topeak rocket ratchet, but the extra length of the feedback range gives you a little bit more leverage, while giving you an immediate torque reading.

The Feedback sports range is actually a modified (licensed?) Prestacycle torqratchet, with the dial mechanism attached to the end. The dial wheel on the Feedback has a longer linear distance than the spacing of the simple and tiny painted markings on the Prestacycle. The dial can be calibrated, while the painted lines cannot be calibrated. I have never seen the Prestacycle in person, but just by looking at the Feedback Range, I can tell that the dial wheel on the Feedback is easier to judge the torque. However, the prestacycle has painted scales on both the top and bottom sides, While the feedback range can only be read from the top. The Prestacycle is much cheaper though, at $30-40. I would prefer the Feedback if it weren't so expensive.

So I usually carry the Feedback Sports Range torque ratchet wrench with me, with all the bits. It works for almost all the roadsize maintenance that I need to do. For more intensive work, like removing chainring bolts or the fender, I'll need another wrench. I usually only need a socket for M5 nuts, so I will use the topeak rocket ratchet with an M5 nut socket. For adjusting H and L limit screws, on the RD, the topeak rocket with the cross bit on the parallel end works ok. The H and L limit screws on my FD is a hex socket, and the wrenches are too big to fit, so I will carry small allen wrench keys for 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0mm sizes.

Last edited by tomtomtom123; 12-26-19 at 05:56 AM.
tomtomtom123 is offline  
Likes For tomtomtom123:
Old 12-26-19, 08:22 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 33,409

Bikes: '96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '20 Surly Midnight Special, All are 3x10. It is hilly around here!

Mentioned: 39 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1893 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 872 Times in 616 Posts
I carry a Park MT-1 "Dogbone" multitool on all of my bikes. It's light at 40 grams, small and inexpensive but durable. It has 3,4,5,6 and 8 mm hex keys, a small flat screwdriver and 8,9 and 10 mm box wrenches. The larger hex keys are oriented to have decent leverage. It and a Ritchey CT-5 chain tool , three tire levers and a CO2 inflator valve and cartridges have accomplished all of my road side fixes, mostly on other people's bikes.
HillRider is offline  
Likes For HillRider:
Old 12-26-19, 08:25 AM
mechanically sound
frankenmike's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Dover, NH
Posts: 1,581

Bikes: Indy Fab steel deluxe, Aventon cordoba, S-works stumpy fsr, Masi vincere, Dahon mu uno, Outcast 29 commuter

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Liked 50 Times in 38 Posts
OP, I carry one in hopes I won’t need it.
frankenmike is offline  
Likes For frankenmike:
Old 12-26-19, 08:55 AM
Senior Member
rumrunn6's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 27,570

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r, Trek FX Alpha 7.0

Mentioned: 108 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4627 Post(s)
Liked 2,319 Times in 1,584 Posts
The thing I carry that is useful - has folding Allen wrenches and a philips head screwdriver
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 12-26-19, 10:30 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Salt Lake City, UT (Formerly Los Angeles, CA)
Posts: 1,145

Bikes: 2008 Cannondale Synapse -- 2014 Cannondale Quick CX

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 212 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 82 Times in 53 Posts
Originally Posted by epnnf View Post
Seriously. In my experience, 99% of mechanicals are flat tires, the rest are things a multi-tool can't fix- frayed cable, broken saddle bolt. Yes, I carry one; but I've never used it.
I carry a Topeak Mini-9 on my road bike, and a Topeak 18+ on my hybrid / commuter bike.

On my road bike the Mini-9 has mostly been useful when dialing in adjustments to the FD limit screws and seat height. But once I get those set, I don't tend to make changes. So yes, the Mini-9 gets very infrequent use.

On my hybrid the only times I've used the mini tool have been, again for adjusting seat height, setting limit screws, and for tightening the rear rack. But all these are things I could do within a quarter mile of my garage.

There have been entire seasons that I leave the mini tool home. And then I start getting this irrational fear that I'm going to break down 30 miles from home and not be able to do anything about it. My wife is an unreliable rescue service, so I over-prepare a little.

It's a different story if I'm using my bike for weekend getaway transportation. When I was single I used to drive from Portland to Anacortes WA, ride my bike onto the ferry, and use the bike all weekend on San Juan Island, living on my boat in Friday Harbor. For that sort of thing carrying a mini tool was a lot more useful.
daoswald is offline  
Old 12-26-19, 10:43 AM
Senior Member
Spoonrobot's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,996
Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1174 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 81 Posts
I carry a Crankbros M19 as well as a Chinese OEM "pirhana tool".

The M19 comes in handy maybe a dozen times a year, mostly for minor adjustments for fit and/or creaking diagnosis during a ride. Maybe 1-2 times a year I use it for something major - I've repaired 4-5 broken chains and trued wheels after broken spokes. It gets carried much more than used obviously.

I used to carry a small Leatherman P4 for the pliers - handy with tubeless values and cores - until I bent a chainring tooth getting rad and found the pliers too small to effectively bend it back and allow shifting. I replaced with the pirhana multi and found the adjustable wrench tool more than capable for my needs.

Oh I also carry a pocket knife but that's definitely used sparingly - only things I can think of recently are cutting a replacement cable to length (after mine snapped during the ride) and bushwhacking after our group came to a washed out bridge with only reroute options adding 30 miles to a 200k.

So I don't disagree with your statement, but sometimes it worth it to be prepared for the 1%.
Spoonrobot is offline  
Old 12-26-19, 12:51 PM
Senior Member
phughes's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,533
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 773 Post(s)
Liked 832 Times in 486 Posts
Why not? It depends on how far you are going though. If you are close to home, no biggie, of you want to call someone to get you if something happens, though rare, or walk home. For me, I carry a multi tool, and other tools, all the time. Of course I am sometimes touring so it makes more sense. Even so, I am often where there is no cell signal, and 30 or more miles from home or my car.
phughes is offline  
Old 12-26-19, 02:15 PM
Senior Member
freeranger's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 2,306

Bikes: 06 Lemond Reno, 98 GT Timberline mtn.bike

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 328 Post(s)
Liked 528 Times in 329 Posts
I've gotten a fair amount of use out of mine-just hex wrenches with a std.and phillips head screwdriver--mostly on other rider's bikes, mainly for adjustments here and there. Many I ride with are not mechanically inclined, so I take care of things for them as needed. Also carry CO2, in addition to some other things, and have only used the CO2 on a fellow rider's bike. My seat bag could be abbreviated as SAG.
freeranger is offline  
Old 12-26-19, 02:43 PM
Full Member
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: MN
Posts: 229
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 79 Post(s)
Liked 146 Times in 77 Posts
Why not?

Late one night 30 years ago my car stranded us on the highway with a problem that I could have fixed with a couple of screwdrivers. Since then there is always a small tool box in each car. Current car is electric so there is probably not much I could do roadside, but the habit persists.

I do the same with the bike - it's cheap insurance. I carry a multi-tool, a small crescent wrench, spoke wrench, chain tool, a couple of tire levers, a spare tube, some patches, alcohol wipes, bandaids, a small roll of electrical tape, and a Zfal frame pump. If that can't fix it, I also carry an iPhone and a $20 bill - I don't want to walk home.

I've never had to fix my own bike but have done a couple of quick repairs for others who had some issues. And the bandaids came in handy when I helped pick up a hotdog who missed a curve and landed in the timber!
MNebiker is offline  
Likes For MNebiker:
Old 12-26-19, 02:47 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 701
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 347 Post(s)
Liked 414 Times in 249 Posts
I carry a multi tool and a Leatherman ‘Juice’. Last time I used the multi tool it was fixing a loose water bottle cage a couple year ago, and I needed the little pliers on the Leatherman to pry a roofing nail out of a tire that went in and bent at the rim dicing up the inner tube. I guess I only use the tools once every 10k miles or so, but I always carry them anyway.
billridesbikes is offline  
Old 12-26-19, 03:30 PM
It's MY mountain
DiabloScott's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Mt.Diablo
Posts: 9,615

Bikes: Klein, Merckx, Trek

Mentioned: 66 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3559 Post(s)
Liked 1,928 Times in 1,044 Posts
Originally Posted by epnnf View Post
Yes, I carry one; but I've never used it.
You haven't been riding long enough.

I almost never need it, but I've done chain repairs, derailleur adjustments, brake adjustments, etc
I also carry two spare tubes and a patch kit.
DiabloScott is offline  
Likes For DiabloScott:
Old 12-26-19, 04:55 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 4,741
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 620 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 353 Times in 194 Posts
Sometimes making a minor adjustment on yours or your buddy's bike can mean the difference between finishing the ride or calling uber.
Elvo is offline  
Likes For Elvo:
Old 12-26-19, 04:57 PM
Senior Member
rydabent's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 9,540

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 39 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2896 Post(s)
Liked 904 Times in 533 Posts
I carry a bike multi tool and a leatherman multi too. And-----------a 6 inch crescent wrench. Funny thing is the crescent wrench is what I have used most, when I have stopped to help other riders that carry nothing.

But why not carry one or two mulit tools they are small and light, and you never know what you might run into.
rydabent is offline  
Old 12-26-19, 05:32 PM
Me duelen las nalgas
canklecat's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 13,225

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 196 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4389 Post(s)
Liked 2,430 Times in 1,578 Posts
I have a couple of multitools with chain tools and those have been useful on a couple of rides for other folks in group rides.

And I've used the wrenches several times when tweaking bike fit stuff -- stem height with quill stems; bar angle with quill and threadless; saddle height (one of my road bikes doesn't have a quick release for the seat post), tilt and fore/aft position. When I know I'll be adjusting stuff during a test ride I'll tuck the multi-tool in my jersey pocket rather than the seat bag.

I've tweaked wheel wobble a couple of times after hitting potholes pretty hard, or running over a brick once when I was wedged between oncoming trucks passing unsafely on a narrow road. Only clear path had a dang brick in the road. Pinch flatted and had a bit of wheel wobble but no serious damage. So the spoke wrenches were handy that day.

The Spin Doctor Rescue 16 is really good, with chain and spoke tools. But there's no way to fold it completely flat. It includes a neoprene sleeve to sort of keep the chain tool semi-confined, but that just takes up extra room. It goes in my wedge bag on the steel road bike. On the plus side, the Spin Doctor spoke wrench is so handy I use it routinely instead of my shop tool. It serves double duty as leverage for the chain tool, and spins off easily to use detached from the multi-tool.

For my Trek 5900 I wanted something to fit the minimalist Lezyne Road Caddy. That bag just barely holds a single lightweight tube (Conti Race 28 Light), CO2 kit, a couple of plastic levers, a Lezyne patch kit (tiny) and... a Hero Kit multi-tool, the smallest, flattest I've found that includes all the stuff in the Spin Doctor Rescue 16 -- including chain and spoke tools. Everything works. And it fits that tiny Lezyne Road Caddy slip pouch in the lid.

Hero Kit multitool, the thinnest and flattest I've found that features useful chain and spoke tools.

Fits in the slip pouch in the Lezyne Road Caddy lid, with the Lezyne patch kit, almost as flat as a credit card. I've since switched to a smaller CO2 tool, and only one cartridge. Everything fits properly, no strain on the zipper.

Last edited by canklecat; 12-29-19 at 02:16 AM. Reason: add photo
canklecat is offline  
Old 12-26-19, 06:52 PM
Senior Member
DOS's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Arlington, VA USA
Posts: 2,107
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 250 Post(s)
Liked 69 Times in 56 Posts
I use mine fairly regularly to make small adjustments or eliminate the odd squeak. I never had one with chain breaker, then, in the span of three weeks, two members of my group broke chains and had their ride saved by a group member carrying a Crank Bros M19. So now I have a multitool with a chain breaker.
DOS is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.