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Help me pick a tool please.

Old 11-07-14, 08:26 AM
  #1  
RickBlane
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Help me pick a tool please.

I have always used single purpose tools and have not given the multi pocket things much attention. But I have started helping out at the local co op and find I spend a great deal of time tracking down the small tool I need. Are either of the the tools linked below worth having. If any of you are using either one please give your opinion. Are there other/better choices to consider?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...PENZCVC7BH23VB

Amazon.com : Topeak Alien II 26-Function Bicycle Tool : Bike Multifunction Tools : Sports & Outdoors


Thanks
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Old 11-07-14, 08:35 AM
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Most multi-tools are made for occasional and emergency use, not daily shop service so their durability in routine use is questionable. Also, with so many "blades" you will probably spend as much time trying to unfold the proper tool as you would chasing down the correct single-use tool. One really useful "multi-tool" is the Y-wrench made by Park, Pedro's, etc. You have the three most common allen keys (4, 5 and 6 mm) all in one tool. Park, Pedro's, etc. also sell folding allen key sets that have every size from 1.5 to 6 mm in one handle and they are good for routing shop use.
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Old 11-07-14, 08:55 AM
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Folding tools may get you out of a jam, but trying to do something as routine as installing a bottle cage with one can be extremely trying.
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Old 11-07-14, 09:07 AM
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I don't even find multi tools very good on the road.

Really, all the most common tools needed daily at a co-op could probably fit in a sock. Seems you just need some organization -- search "tool roll." [result: money in pocket, balance of trade improved]
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Old 11-07-14, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by RickBlane View Post
But I have started helping out at the local co op and find I spend a great deal of time tracking down the small tool I need.
Sounds like you/they need to look at a tool storage solution rather than multi-tools, which others have noted aren't really any good for workshop use.
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Old 11-07-14, 09:11 AM
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(Cross-posting the same question to multiple forums is frowned upon here...)

The above posters are correct, multi-tools are made for emergencies.

The Elaxor is only $11, so the tools will be cheaply made. The hex keys will probably round off easily, and it's unusual to need sockets on many road bikes.

I carry loose L shaped hex wrenches on the bike. I have a small piece of mountain bike inner tube, cut flat and with pairs of small slits to hold the L wrenches. I need 5 different sizes from 2mm to 5 mm. I've never used the multi-function sets. I thought that many of them had very short hex keys, making it difficult to fit bolts in tight spaces.

If I was picking one, I'd probably get the Crank Brothers set.

Hex wrenches
For shop work, one of the 4-5-6mm Y hex wrenches is very useful. And I have 3mm, 4mm, and 5mm screwdriver handled hex wrenches, which are faster at attaching bolts than trying to spin the Y wrench. Then I have a folding set for the smaller sizes. (I got a generic Y wrench for maybe $2 at a bike store years ago, but the cheap steel was just stamped into shape instead of machined, and it tended to round off the hex screws. The Park Tool version is way better.)
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Old 11-07-14, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
The Park Tool version is way better.)
+ lifetime warranty, if you ever manage to break one
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Old 11-07-14, 09:15 AM
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Eklund [auto parts store] folding multi sized metric hex wrench is in my shop apron .
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Old 11-07-14, 10:23 AM
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I truly hate multi-tools. You spend time searching for and folding out the right tool, then can't use it effectively because there's not enough leverage and the cumbersome handle is always in your way.

Get a few practical limited multi-tools like a 4-5--6 Y hex key and a small 8-9-10 Y socket wrench. Then a few basic tools that you use all the time. Paint your tools a stupid color like orange so you don't lose them. For all the rest use the co-op's tools as you need them.

You might also buy a shop apron with pockets, and keep your tools there. Then you can roll it up with the tools inside to take home.
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Old 11-07-14, 10:45 AM
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Like the others that have answered, I don't have much use for multitools. I've tried them, and no-longer carry them in the emergency tool bags on my bikes.

While working on bikes in the garage, and at a charity that I used to volunteer at, most often I use cone wrenches (it's nice to have two sets), a set of loose L-wrenches, chain breaker, and spoke wrenches. Over the years I've found that full size tools work the best and last the longest. I have a drawer in my rollaways in the garage dedicated to bike specific tools.

You're going to find that there are bike specific tools that you don't need as often (crank puller, pedal wrench, cassette removers, freewheel removers, cable cutters, fourth hand tool to hold brake calipers, cable pullers, bottom bracket tools, headset wrenches, etc...), but that make specific jobs much easier when you have them. There are also more expensive tools that you may not consider worth buying for a home tool collection (headset installer, headset remover, rear derailleur alignment tool, facing tools). All can be carried in a small tool box if necessary if you need go somewhere to work on a bike/s and your own home garage.

I'd like to try having a good Y-wrench, to see if I can get away from using the separate L-wrenches at some point.
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Old 11-07-14, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by RoadGuy View Post
I'd like to try having a good Y-wrench, to see if I can get away from using the separate L-wrenches at some point.
I have a couple and they are very useful for a lot of jobs. Their only problem is when you wear down one hex (usually the 4 mm) the tool looses a lot of it's utility. The fix is to Dremel off the worn tip of the hex to restore the sharp edges. You can do this once or twice before you have to replace the whole thing.
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Old 11-07-14, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
I have a couple and they are very useful for a lot of jobs. Their only problem is when you wear down one hex (usually the 4 mm) the tool looses a lot of it's utility. The fix is to Dremel off the worn tip of the hex to restore the sharp edges. You can do this once or twice before you have to replace the whole thing.
This applies to any hex tool; if you don't let the tool get too worn you won't have to take as much off each time; they have to be considered consumables.

I have found that the German tool manufacturers, Wiha in particular, use a better grade of steel which holds up longer than many others.

A tube of Drive Grip Vibra-Tite DriveGrip - Vibra-Tite is handy for worn or stuck fasteners.
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Old 11-07-14, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jimc101 View Post
Sounds like you/they need to look at a tool storage solution rather than multi-tools, which others have noted aren't really any good for workshop use.
This was my first thought upon reading the OP. IF the co-op has no, or an insufficient, tool storage system, volunteer to help improve it instead of doing the day to day wrenching. As others have said, multi tools are generally not sufficient for regular shop use, except maybe the allen keys for quick adjustments, but even then, a single tool is generally much easier to handle than a 26-in-one because it doesn't need to have a handle that accommodates 25 other tools.

A set of folding metric allen keys, and/or a pair of 'Y' wrenches with three allen keys and three sockets can be used on 99% of jobs in a shop.
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Old 11-07-14, 02:59 PM
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I have the Topeak tool. I carry it with me for emergency repairs. The goal is never to need it except for tiny jobs like adjusting my saddle or handlebar. For a multitool, it's a good one, but that's not saying a lot.

Maybe you should wear a tool holster and put the frequently used tools there so you don't have to search while working.
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Old 11-07-14, 03:54 PM
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For those that hate a multi tool, would you rather have one or not when you are 20 miles from home and need one.

Put me down also with the group that says multi tool are for occasional emergency use out on the road. Shops should have good quality single purpose tools.
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Old 11-07-14, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
For those that hate a multi tool, would you rather have one or not when you are 20 miles from home and need one.
The answer to that is obvious, but it isn't a choice anyone here posed. No one who chooses to carry no tools does so merely because multitools are not great tools.
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Old 11-07-14, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
For those that hate a multi tool, would you rather have one or not when you are 20 miles from home and need one.
I'd rather have the 5 and 6mm hex keys, Park CT-5 chain tool, and Park SW-0 spoke wrench I have with me on every ride.
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Old 11-07-14, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
I'd rather have the 5 and 6mm hex keys, Park CT-5 chain tool, and Park SW-0 spoke wrench I have with me on every ride.
Smaller and lighter than a multitool, too. There is a lot of non-tool weight and bulk in a multitool.
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Old 11-07-14, 05:26 PM
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Get a good portable toolbox to put your stuff in and always return them to their place:

Most all multi-tools are only good for carrying on rides for emergency repairs, not frequent use. And even for rides you only need a minimal set of hex and/or torq.

I like this Husky from home depot because it has lots of holes to shove tools in and organize.

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Old 11-07-14, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
This applies to any hex tool; if you don't let the tool get too worn you won't have to take as much off each time; they have to be considered consumables.
Sure, but with a Y-tool when you wear out one hex, the other two get discarded along with it. Individual hex keys only wear themselves out. And, yes, the "slice" you have to take off of a worn hex key can be quite thin so you can resurrect it several times if you are careful.
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Old 11-07-14, 09:15 PM
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Now a days there seems to be a competition to see how many different tools they can fit onto a folding format, making them larger, heavier and less useful. I have a few older ones that have like 3 or 4 allen sizes plus common and phillips screw heads. Takes up a very small amount of space and are handy on the road. Also have carried loose L allens, a coupla small bike specific end wrenches and used to carry a small crescent with the handle cut back a bit when my MTB/ATB had nutted axles. Used to always carry a chain breaker too.
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Old 11-08-14, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ofgit View Post
Now a days there seems to be a competition to see how many different tools they can fit onto a folding format, making them larger, heavier and less useful.
The simplest and lightest mult-tool I know of is the Park MT-1 "dogbone" tool. It has 3,4,5,6 and 8 mm hex keys, 8,9 and 10 mm box wrenches, and a small flat head screwdriver. The larger hex wrenches are positioned so they have decent leverage. It weighs about 50 grams, has no moving parts and costs about $10. That and a Ritchey CT-5, a 25 gm chain tool that uses the Park's 5 mm allen as the screw press driver, gives me all the emergency tools I should need at low cost and weight.
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Old 11-08-14, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Maybe you should wear a tool holster and put the frequently used tools there so you don't have to search while working.
Actually, after ruining a shirt working on a bike, your avatar inspired me to buy a shop apron. It has pockets on the front that I put a few useful tools in like the Park three way hex wrench. I got this one for under $20. I think they have a version with more pockets also.

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Old 11-08-14, 11:27 AM
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That's a serious apron. Got a link?

Mine is a simple denim one, and it was about $8. I like it a lot, but sometimes it could hold lots of tools.
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Old 11-08-14, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
That's a serious apron. Got a link?

Mine is a simple denim one, and it was about $8. I like it a lot, but sometimes it could hold lots of tools.
I bought it from Amazon:
Bucket Boss Bucket Boss 80300 Duckwear SuperShop Apron - Tool Aprons - Amazon.com
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