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Reevaluating the multitool

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Reevaluating the multitool

Old 12-25-22, 08:12 PM
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For 95% of my long and short rides my standard carry is a PB Swiss tool. It has a "full" sized Allen key with an adaptor that the other tips plug into, plus usable tire levers. The tool is exceptional quality for what is essentially a real tool not a "multi-tool". I'm not dissing multi-tools, I have a few of them and like a couple. It's just that the PB Swiss is so good that it works like a full-sized tool. The PB Swiss hex bits don't round-out hex bolts like other lesser quality tools can. The only downside is they aren't cheap, but you get what you pay for.

An added benefit is that you can order separate bits from PB Swiss to tailor to your specific bike. The bits are around $3.00 bucks a pop though.

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Old 12-25-22, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Herzlos
How do you get a taxi home with a 15mm spanner, if you've got unrepairable damage?
With a credit card, all you need to do to get home is to make it to a phone to call a taxi.
There are large parts of the US where there are neither taxis or phone service
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Old 12-25-22, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by drlogik
For 95% of my long and short rides my standard carry is a PB Swiss tool. It has a "full" sized Allen key with an adaptor that the other tips plug into, plus usable tire levers. The tool is exceptional quality for what is essentially a real tool not a "multi-tool". I'm not dissing multi-tools, I have a few of them and like a couple. It's just that the PB Swiss is so good that it works like a full-sized tool. The PB Swiss hex bits don't round-out hex bolts like other lesser quality tools can. The only downside is they aren't cheap, but you get what you pay for.

An added benefit is that you can order separate bits from PB Swiss to tailor to your specific bike. The bits are around $3.00 bucks a pop though.

got two of them like them a lot. kind of spendy but its good to have full size wrenches instead of the stubby ones on multi tools.
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Old 12-25-22, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by fooferdoggie
got two of them like them a lot. kind of spendy but its good to have full size wrenches instead of the stubby ones on multi tools.
Roughly, do the weigh more, the same or less than a standard multi-tool?
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Old 12-26-22, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Roughly, do the weigh more, the same or less than a standard multi-tool?
PB Swiss publish 91g weight, so roughly the same as a standard multitool, though they typically don’t include tire levers.
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Old 12-26-22, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by drlogik
That looks nice…But if a person also wants a chain tool, then a full-size conventional multitool will end up weighing about the same.
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Old 12-26-22, 04:40 PM
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That looks nice…But if a person also wants a chain tool, then a full-size conventional multitool will end up weighing about the same.
Koyote, true, but how often do you actually use a chain tool on the road? I've been riding for 50 years and can't think of one time I broke or twisted a chain where I required a chain tool. Having said that, I might break one on the next ride ;-) I do carry one on long rides though, you know, just because...

However, how often do you use hex bits, Torx, Philips and tire levers? For me, it's about half of my on-ride repairs or adjustments. The other half is changing tires for a tube repair. That's why I opt for professional quality (and fitting) tool and bits. That's what PB Swiss is.

The only other tool I carry in my under-saddle bag is a Park spoke wrench. Those tools, two tubes and a Park patch kit is my standard carry and it all fits into a sweet Silca Mattone bag. I'll gladly sacrifice a few extra ounces to have a good quality tool that I know won't round-off a fastener. I can't say that about most of my multi-tools, and I have a few really good ones but their hex bits don't fit tightly like the PB Swiss does.

FWIW, I only carry a single Allen wrench, tire levers, tube and patch kit on my fixed and single speed bikes.

As a side note, a number of years ago I bought a set of the PB Swiss Allen wrenches. Oh man, I got spoiled. Once you use a PB Swiss even a Bondhus doesn't quite compare.

Last edited by drlogik; 12-26-22 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 12-26-22, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by drlogik
Koyote, true, but how often do you actually use a chain tool on the road? I've been riding for 50 years and can't think of one time I broke or twisted a chain where I required a chain tool.
I hear you. I've never needed my chain tool. But I still feel a need to carry one. As soon as I eliminate it from my kit, I'll break my chain.
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Old 12-27-22, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I don’t go without riding without a credit card or phone but I’m realistic about the need for other tools for those not infrequent times when there is no “taxi, food, [and] spare parts” even remotely available.
Ditto.

I find it a little hard to believe that you would walk 12 miles with bad knees when riding a bike is far easier on knees than walking, in my experience. At the very least, you can coast down a hill without pedaling which is way easier on the knees than walking down that same hill is.
My legs were cramping up every time I hit the slightest difficulty, so I'd cycle for a while then get off to walk up the hills, then back on the bike and so on. In terms of time it was probably a 50/50 split of walking/cycling.
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Old 12-28-22, 11:53 AM
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I've been carrying this Topeak multi-tool since the mid 2000s.





It's very compact, and there are no pointy bits that could puncture a spare tube. The rotating head means it can be used as a screwdriver or a wrench.

It was discontinued years ago, as all great products are. if I had to replace it, I'd probably get the Ratchet Rocket Lite DX:




The ratchet is overkill for roadside repairs, but the ratchet handle can be used as a screwdriver. Still, quite a bit bulkier.
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Old 12-28-22, 02:24 PM
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I've had this set for years now. I used to include a tiny flat blade screwdriver, but never used it. So now it's just four L wrenches and an old quicklink. I think I shortened the 5mm wrench years ago.
The wrapper is piece of "rubber membrane roofing" scrap from my flat porch reroofing. It's an extremely strong rubber sheet.
I should add a couple of Torx wrenches in here, more bike components use them now.

I like it. 46 grams, including the dollar bill tire boot, and it folds up very small. No sharp edges or rattling.
Full size L wrenches work great.


Last edited by rm -rf; 12-28-22 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 12-28-22, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
I've been carrying this Topeak multi-tool since the mid 2000s.



It's very compact, and there are no pointy bits that could puncture a spare tube. The rotating head means it can be used as a screwdriver or a wrench.

The no pointy bits is something that can be important if your spare inner tube has been punctured by your one piece non folding multi tool when you have a flat tire
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Old 12-28-22, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed
There are large parts of the US where there are neither taxis or phone service
And most of those are great places to ride a bike!

Originally Posted by drlogik
Koyote, true, but how often do you actually use a chain tool on the road? I've been riding for 50 years and can't think of one time I broke or twisted a chain where I required a chain tool.
BTDT. Only 7 miles from home, but I was back on the road in 5 minutes or so.

The only other tool I carry in my under-saddle bag is a Park spoke wrench.
I almost took the spoke wrench out, worrying about All That Extra Weight. On that very ride, on the way home, I broke a spoke. Again, 5 minutes or so to re-balance the remaining spokes so the wheel would rotate. I left the spoke wrench in the bag after that.
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Old 12-29-22, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene
Has anyone weighed a credit card?
And can use the edges of a CC as a screwdriver in a pinch
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Old 01-03-23, 01:15 PM
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What are you folks doing that requires roadside repair, or even trailside repair? I have been riding bicycles frequently since Christmas Day 1964, and I have only been stranded by a mechanical twice in my life 1: Mountain biking, chain got wrapped in the rear wheel catching a little air. 2: Mavic Ksyrium wheel broke a fancy proprietary spoke. I have never broken a chain, I have broken 3 spokes on my own bikes in all those years.
Reliability starts at home, knowing how to maintain your machine, knowing what componentry will work reliably over the long haul.
Learn how to shift and properly install a chain if you are having problems in that area. I carry a chain tool most of the time but have never needed it.
Your big 'ol educated brain is your best tool ever, millions of years in development.
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Old 01-03-23, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by venturi95
What are you folks doing that requires roadside repair, or even trailside repair? I have been riding bicycles frequently since Christmas Day 1964, and I have only been stranded by a mechanical twice in my life 1: Mountain biking, chain got wrapped in the rear wheel catching a little air. 2: Mavic Ksyrium wheel broke a fancy proprietary spoke. I have never broken a chain, I have broken 3 spokes on my own bikes in all those years.
Reliability starts at home, knowing how to maintain your machine, knowing what componentry will work reliably over the long haul.
Learn how to shift and properly install a chain if you are having problems in that area. I carry a chain tool most of the time but have never needed it.
Your big 'ol educated brain is your best tool ever, millions of years in development.
Stuff happens. While I agree that reliability starts at home, it’s a good idea to have enough tools…and knowledge…to get yourself back home if necessary. I’ve broken lots of spokes, at least one crank, at least on pedal, had bolts fall out of derailers, had slipping posts, slipping handlebars, and had too many flats to count. I’ve never broken a derailer. And, despite carrying a chain tool for 40+ years, I’ve never broken a chain. But the minute I don’t carry a chain tool, I’m certain that I will need one.

I did have to change a chain ring once in Port Dover, OT because I put the wrong chainring on at the beginning of a tour and that was where I decided I couldn’t live with it anymore. Thankfully, I had an Hollowtech II crank so all I needed to remove it was a 5mm Allen wrench but I’m glad I had it. Thanks to a sea gull outside of Detroit, I no longer had the keys I needed to abandon my trip and the only way I was going to get a key back was to meet my wife in Philadelphia…about 600 miles away and roughly 1100 miles from my truck. I’m most certainly glad I had my tools.
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Old 01-04-23, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I am in the habit of riding all over the US far from Colorado. Who am I going to call if I need someone to pick me up?
You could call a taxi, Uber, Lyft, Grab, etc.
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Old 01-04-23, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Frkl
A recent thread got me critically looking at the tool kit I carry for out of town rides, so in the country, mountains, and forests (not my commuting kit).

But I realized that switching to a Park MT1 (at 42g maybe the lightest Multi-Tool?) and separate spoke wrench and chain tool
You've got me thinking about that Park MT-1, but my favorite saddlebag is only a fraction of an inch longer than the tool, and I'm wondering if the pointy ends will wear through the fabric. Any advice?
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Old 01-04-23, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SpeedyBlueBiker
You could call a taxi, Uber, Lyft, Grab, etc.
I would rather carry some extra tools and emergency items and deal with a little extra weight than call for somebody to pick me up.
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Old 01-04-23, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by SpeedyBlueBiker
You could call a taxi, Uber, Lyft, Grab, etc.
Try to keep up. Where is “a taxi, Uber, Lyft, Grab, etc.” going to take me? Where would they put the bicycle below? I’ll admit that I’m not up to speed on any of those services but the Ubers and taxis I see are seldom equipped to carry bicycles. There is also the issue…raised above…of cell phone service as well as location. I can’t imagine how much it would cost for someone to get me from the middle of the Seney Stretch or any of about a thousand places I can mention if I happened to find a signal.
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Old 01-04-23, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Try to keep up. Where is “a taxi, Uber, Lyft, Grab, etc.” going to take me? Where would they put the bicycle below? I’ll admit that I’m not up to speed on any of those services but the Ubers and taxis I see are seldom equipped to carry bicycles. There is also the issue…raised above…of cell phone service as well as location. I can’t imagine how much it would cost for someone to get me from the middle of the Seney Stretch or any of about a thousand places I can mention if I happened to find a signal.
Just like you are up to speed on basic bicycle maintenance, one should also be up to speed on other options that could possibly help them in situations where it could be beneficial to the user. The use of a mobile phone, credit cards, and ride sharing apps can take you to where you can get the services you need if you find yourself unable to self extricate yourself or others from the situation that you or they are in. It's true, in remote areas this may not be possible but in other very rural areas there may still be some type of service. Numerous incidents of people using mobile phones to call 911 for medical and/or rescue services (not bike related) while in remote mountain areas or on glaciated peaks. Mobile phones can and do work to access those services even though they might not provide internet or regular phone service.
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Old 01-04-23, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by SpeedyBlueBiker
Just like you are up to speed on basic bicycle maintenance, one should also be up to speed on other options that could possibly help them in situations where it could be beneficial to the user. The use of a mobile phone, credit cards, and ride sharing apps can take you to where you can get the services you need if you find yourself unable to self extricate yourself or others from the situation that you or they are in. It's true, in remote areas this may not be possible but in other very rural areas there may still be some type of service. Numerous incidents of people using mobile phones to call 911 for medical and/or rescue services (not bike related) while in remote mountain areas or on glaciated peaks. Mobile phones can and do work to access those services even though they might not provide internet or regular phone service.
As I explained in post 34 above, I live in a large metro area but I can get out of cell service range in dozens to hundreds of places within 60 miles in just about any direction. Increase that to 200 or 300 miles and there are thousands of places. That includes emergency services and in areas that are very rural. There are very large rocks in the way of any kind of signal or simply no cell tower anywhere nearby. Getting a ride from someone is even less likely since the “ride” is unlikely to be able to get anywhere close to you.

My responses to this thread and to the “credit card” issue were to someone suggesting that credit card was all that anyone needs when riding. While most of my riding is in a metro area, I…like many here…wander very far afield where services aren’t available. I can easily do a 300 mile ride just in my state where there aren’t even towns. If I need it, I had better carry it.

I plan on getting a satellite messaging system in the future but that is not something that I would depend on for anything but emergency services. The best plan is to be prepared to self-extract in just about any situation and not depend on spotty cell phone service or ride shares. I do carry a credit card…as I’ve explained above…but I don’t depend on it.
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Old 01-05-23, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by SpeedyBlueBiker
Just like you are up to speed on basic bicycle maintenance, one should also be up to speed on other options that could possibly help them in situations where it could be beneficial to the user. The use of a mobile phone, credit cards, and ride sharing apps can take you to where you can get the services you need if you find yourself unable to self extricate yourself or others from the situation that you or they are in. It's true, in remote areas this may not be possible but in other very rural areas there may still be some type of service. Numerous incidents of people using mobile phones to call 911 for medical and/or rescue services (not bike related) while in remote mountain areas or on glaciated peaks. Mobile phones can and do work to access those services even though they might not provide internet or regular phone service.
Interesting that you should mention "speed" in conjunction with getting a ride via phone. I've had the experience of waiting over an hour for a Lyft to pick me up when stranded (in a rental car, true, but it would have taken longer to get that ride if I had to haul the bike with me).

Dare I ask if you typically ride out of the city? If so, how far?

And while you've clearly made the decision that you don't want to carry a few ounces of tool(s) to extract yourself from a mechanical problem, how do you claim to make the same call for everyone else?
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Old 01-05-23, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by SpeedyBlueBiker
The use of a mobile phone, credit cards, and ride sharing apps can take you to where you can get the services you need if you find yourself unable to self extricate yourself or others from the situation that you or they are in. It's true, in remote areas this may not be possible but in other very rural areas there may still be some type of service.
I've spent the past twenty years living in the rural US, and I think you really don't understand this.
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Old 01-05-23, 12:14 PM
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I just bought a Silca Venti 20 during their Black Friday sale. It comes with a chain tool.

I never thought I’d need a chain tool and never carried one but was very glad my buddy did! In 2020 I rode my De Rosa with a relatively new chain. It separated during a climb and I thought I needed to call to be picked up but my buddy, a retired MBZ mechanic, carried a chain tool!

My saddle bag has become a “pay it forward” bag where I carry tools to assist my fellow riders on group rides.

Back in the 80’s I rode with a weight weenie. He didn’t carry any tools or even tire levers or a tube. He assumed one of us would have what he needed. If not, he rode with a quarter in each ear! The quarters were for making a call from a pay phone to be picked up if necessary!



Silca Venti 20 - 174g

What I’m carrying. I will carry 2 of the 31g Ridenow TPU inner tubes instead of the 100g butyl tube in the future to save weight and space. The VAR tire Jack is to assist other cyclists who have difficulty mounting their tires on carbon rims.

KMC chain with only a few hundred miles.

I removed the bent plate and link.

My buddy had a chain tool!

Excuse the dirty chain. I’m starting to wax now. I may have driven the pin in improperly when I installed the new chain.
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