Increasingly popular for both transportation and sport, bikes provide an incredible convenience for commuters and excellent workouts for cyclists. Whether you are biking toward a destination or simply enjoying the journey, you may not be paying as much attention to the thing getting you there.
But like a car, your bike is an intricate machine, and maintenance is important.
A Portable, Packable Toolbox: A Bike Multitool
For both small adjustments for your riding comfort and large fixes to unforeseen issues, bike multitools put a toolbox of solutions in a size small enough to fit in your saddlebag.
If you are new to cycling or are just getting around to bike maintenance, multitools are a simple and elegant solution for coping with several issues you could face mid-ride. Gone are the days of walking your broken-down bike back home. With a multitool handy, you can fix any problem right away and get back to riding.
The best bike multitool manages to fit a lot of functional parts into a compact and lightweight device. Hex bits, socket wrenches, and chain-breakers fold together in a tool that is likely smaller than your wallet or phone.
There are many variations of which bits are or are not included in a multitool. The result is a wide selection of quality products, each with its own advantages and drawbacks, for you to choose from. That’s why we have compiled this list of recommendations, featuring our favorite multitools with their specs, features, pros, and cons, all outlined for your convenience.
For more information about bike multitools, you can check out our buyer’s guide and FAQ later in this article. If you’re looking for a specific type of bike multitool, feel free to jump to that category on this list.
Best Slim Design
Best of the Rest
The Best Bike Multitools of 2021
Best Overall: Crankbrothers M-17
Crankbrothers products get consistently positive reviews among riders, and it’s not hard to see why. The high-tensile steel tools ensure durability, and the black or gold accents on its aluminum frame keep it looking sleek and stylish.
The tool is decently compact and lightweight, especially when you consider its incredible functionality. And with Crankbrothers’ lifetime warranty on their products, you can feel confident that this tool is a good investment.
As the name suggests, the M-17 ($28) has 17 tools within its foldout design. It has hex keys ranging from 2 mm to 8 mm, a Phillips-head screwdriver, a flathead screwdriver, a stainless steel chain-breaker, and a Torx wrench (T25) for disc brakes.
The universal chain tool works from an eight-speed chain up to a 12-speed chain, so you’ll likely be covered. There are also two open wrenches (8 mm and 10 mm) and four different sizes of spoke wrenches.
One thing this action-packed product is missing is a tire plug tool. If you know this is a must-have for your bike, you can consider upgrading to the M-20. The M-20 also boasts a removable storage case for the included tire plugs. Overall, if you are looking for the best bike multitool that can solve most roadside dilemmas, the M-17 is a great bet.
Weight: 168 g
Primary tools: Hex wrenches (2-8mm), Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, chain-breaker, Torx wrench
Number of tools: 17
Durable steel and aluminum construction
A wide array of bits and tools that will tackle almost any emergency maintenance needs
Compact design allows easy storage
Attractive design with stylish color accents
Reliable lifetime warranty
A little bulky, which might make it challenging to get into those harder-to-reach spaces
Could be hard to get enough leverage out of its small frame
Lacks a tire plug tool
Does not come with a protective carrying case, unlike some of Crankbrothers’ other models (comes with a rubber holder)
Check Price at Amazon Check Price at REI
Runner-Up: Syncros Composite 14 Multitool
You will love how this tool fits in your hand and how easy it is to use. The steel wrenches and bits are sturdy and long-lasting. Plus, the body is made of composite glass-reinforced nylon that makes for a solid and ergonomic grip. This multitool is designed to fold in on itself, which keeps it compact and light while maintaining its excellent versatility.
The bike multitool ($25) has six hex wrenches sized from 2 mm to 8 mm. Be warned that a 2.5 mm hex key is not included in that range, so make sure your bike doesn’t have any bolts of this size before you buy!
There are also four spoke wrenches, a chain tool, a T25 Torx wrench, a Phillips-head screwdriver, and a flathead screwdriver. All in all, this makes for a very versatile tool in a small, manageable size.
Extending only 3 inches long and less than 2 inches wide, this tool will fit comfortably in your jacket pocket while you ride. You could even permanently store it in your saddlebag and forget that it’s there. If a problem does crop up, you’ll be glad to have it, as these 14 bits will get you through any mid-ride maintenance issue.
Weight: 158 g
Primary tools: Hex wrenches (2-8mm), spoke wrenches, chain tool, T25 Torx, Phillips and flathead screwdrivers
Number of tools: 14
Compact, light, and easily storable
Functional and durable
Comes with a small carrying pouch
Lacks a tire plug tool and a 2.5 mm hex bit
Might be hard to achieve enough leverage considering its small size
Check Price at BackcountryCheck Price at Competitive Cyclist
Best Budget: Park Tool Folding Hex Wrench Set
This folding hex wrench set by Park Tool ($8-14) is a great addition to any bike tool kit. The tempered steel wrenches are designed for incredible durability, and the composite handle provides great strength and leverage while you work.
It has seven handy hex keys in the sizes you are most likely to need, ranging from 1.5 mm to 6 mm. It’s true that many bikes have 8mm or 10mm bolts for some parts. However, these are more likely to be at-home fixes, as you would need a larger tool with greater leverage for this maintenance anyway. Therefore, this standard set is a smart pick for handling those tiny on-trail fixes with ease.
While this is a great hex set to have, it probably should not be your entire toolkit. Hex keys are a great go-to tool for tightening bolts that naturally loosen on a bumpy ride due to vibrations through the bike’s frame.
Unfortunately, wobbly bolts are not the only problem that a frequent cyclist is bound to encounter. Your kit should also include a screwdriver, a Torx wrench, and a chain tool to tackle all of the problems that may appear.
This wrench set is a great budget pick for new riders or cyclists buying their first tool that will later be part of a larger set. If you decide to add a few more bits for a few more bucks, Park Tool is a great brand with a wide selection of reliable multitools. However, for short rides that don’t venture too far from home, this budget pick is a handy tool to have for a quick fix.
Weight: 103 g
Primary tools: Hex wrenches (1.5-6mm)
Number of tools: 7
Minimal set with the most helpful hex sizes
Lightweight and easy to store
Helpful for quick fixes and adjustments
Lacks some key elements, like a chain tool or open wrench
Long-distance riders may not feel fully prepared with just this tool
Check Price at BackcountryCheck Price at Competitive Cyclist
Most Minimalist: Topeak Mini 6 Multitool
In their Mini 6 ($11), Topeak pared down to the essential six tools for roadside maintenance. The tool provides five hex keys, ranging from 2 mm to 6 mm, and a Phillips-head screwdriver.
A more risk-averse rider might choose to go with a bulkier multitool. However, for a minimalist rider, this lightweight tool is the perfect pick for your on-the-go maintenance.
The foldout design of the Mini 6 keeps it super compact, as it takes up less than 3 cubic inches. The tool can easily fit into the smallest of spaces, which makes it ideal for both convenient storage and repairs in those hard-to-reach spots on your bike.
Despite this small footprint, the extruded aluminum body offers decent leverage thanks to its extended 2.6-inch length. With the attached mini-keychain, you can keep this multitool attached to your bike lock keys or dangle it from your bag for easy access.
The tool’s bits are made from hardened steel to provide excellent strength and reliable durability. Paired with an aluminum body, the entire construction is sturdy and long-lasting, without adding unnecessary weight.
In fact, the tool is remarkably light — the lightest on this list by a good margin — with no sacrifice in quality or integrity. Adding form to function, the multitool’s aluminum frame is sleek and attractive. This is a multitool that will garner envious looks when you lend it to a friend in a pinch.
Weight: 73 g
Primary tools: Hex wrenches (2-6mm), Phillips-head screwdriver
Number of tools: 6
Strong and durable construction
Compact for riders who have minimal storage capacity
Easy to use and able to reach narrow spaces
Lacks many of the bits that could come in handy for roadside repairs
Does not come with a carrying pouch, so you may want to store it in a bag to protect it from excessive moisture
Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon
Best Slim Design: PRO BIKE TOOL 17-in-1 Multitool
The Pro Bike Tool 17-in-1 ($28) is an amazingly compact and versatile multitool. You can accomplish most of your bike maintenance with this pocket toolbox.
It features seven hex keys (2-8 mm), a T25 Torx wrench, a Phillips-head screwdriver, five spoke gauges (13-16 and Mavic Spline), and a chain tool verified for eight- to 12-speed chains. Finally, there’s even a bottle opener for those of us who need some liquid maintenance at the end of a long ride!
With all this functionality in mind, it’s mind-boggling how compact the tool is. Its well-engineered foldout design keeps it under 3 inches long and less than 2 inches wide.
This multitool is made with steel alloy tools and an aluminum body. If that doesn’t speak highly enough for its durability, it comes with a slim carrying pouch that will keep it protected from the elements.
One thing that’s absent from this multitool is a flathead screwdriver, which is a common bit among multitools. As you might expect, flathead screws are fairly common parts on bicycles, especially older bikes where newer ones might utilize hex bolts.
Before you grab this multitool, double-check your bike specs to ensure that you won’t find yourself out of luck down the road!
Weight: 114 g
Primary tools: Hex wrenches (2-8mm), T25 Torx wrench, Phillips-head screwdriver, chain tool, bottle opener
Number of tools: 17
This comprehensive tool can solve an array of common bike issues
Has a razor-thin design and is very lightweight
Includes a protective carrying case
Lifetime warranty on manufacturer defects
The larger width could be an issue for hard-to-reach places or accomplishing 360 degrees of rotation
Lacks a flathead screwdriver, so make sure your bike doesn’t require one before buying
Check Price at Amazon
Best of the Rest
This 16-in-1 multitool by Wotow ($10) is a thorough product with a lot of functionality. This product sets itself apart from the rest on this list by including a few tools that rarely make it onto multitools. The standard features are six Allen keys (sizes 2-6 mm), a Phillips-head screwdriver, a flathead screwdriver, a spoke wrench, and a flat wrench with three sizes.
As for the more unique features, there is a socket wrench extender rod and three bits that tuck away neatly. This is a great addition, as the extension gives you extra length in hard-to-reach spots and better leverage. The final unique feature is that this multitool also comes with three nylon tire pry rods, which would prove immensely useful in the event of a tire leak.
Unfortunately, all of these helpful features do add up to a lot of bulk. The product is over an inch thick, which makes it less than ideal for storage in your pants or jacket pocket.
At nearly 300 g, it’s certainly not winning any weight competitions. That said, if you have a saddlebag, neither of these issues is likely to be a deal-breaker.
The biggest downside for riders would have to be the loose pieces. The socket wrench extensions do provide a great utility that most other bike multitools lack. However, there is a reason most multitools don’t have this, and this is a cost that you may find too high.
These three wrench bits contribute to both the size and weight of the product. By necessity, they are loose in the multitool. Roadside maintenance just got a bit more stressful, having to worry about dropping and losing these pieces.
Weight: 283 g
Primary tools: Hex wrenches (2-6mm), Phillips-head and flathead screwdrivers, spoke wrench, flat wrench, wrench extender, tire pry rods
Number of tools: 16
Includes three (albeit small) tire pry rods
Has a socket wrench extender for hard-to-reach bolts
The bulky design makes this less than ideal for storage in a pocket
Quite heavy compared to other multitools on this list
Loose socket wrench bits could fall out and get lost
Check Price at Amazon
Topeak Alien II 31 Multitool
Topeak’s Alien II 31 multitool ($41) is a mini-workshop that you can take with you on the road or trail. Seriously, it would not be surprising if this became your go-to tool even at home, considering how much it can do.
It has a stunning 31 tools that fit on two interlocking body pieces. This design works really well to improve the user experience and overall functionality of the device for three reasons.
Firstly, it halves the size of the tool by unlocking the pieces allows for easy maneuverability in tight spaces. Secondly, when any bit is opened for use, the length of the tool doubles, increasing your leverage so you can do less work and get the same result. Finally, the ergonomically shaped handle provides great grip and strength, saving your hands for the rest of the ride home.
As for the bits, the eight included hex wrenches span from 2 mm to 10 mm. Like most of the other bits, they’re made from durable and weather-resistant chrome vanadium steel. There is a T25 Torx wrench, a 9mm box wrench, two spoke wrenches, and two screwdrivers — one Phillips-head and one flathead.
There are three open wrenches and one mini pedal wrench (15 mm) for adjustments to the pedal tightness. The bike multitool is outfitted with a chain-breaker tool and a stainless steel wire chain hook for easy handling.
It also sports two tire levers cleverly integrated into the body design, a serrated knife, and a bottle opener. There is even a small compartment for storing backup chain pins!
This all-in-one tool has a truly impressive number of bits that can save you from a breakdown on the road. The downside of all this functionality is that the device is definitely bulky and the heaviest on this list. It’s more than three times heavier than the minimalist Topeak Mini 6!
If you enjoy long rides or have an older bike that needs frequent maintenance, this tradeoff is surely worth it to have all these helpful bits with you on the road or trail. If nothing else, it will provide some peace of mind.
However, cyclists looking to stay light or who are only interested in short-distance, close-to-home adventures may find that the Alien II is overkill compared to the reality of what you will actually need.
Weight: 290 g
Primary tools: Hex wrenches (2-10mm), T25 Torx wrench, 9mm box wrench, spoke wrenches, Phillips-head and flathead screwdrivers, pedal wrench, serrated knife, bottle opener
Number of tools: 31
A very comprehensive set of tools
Clever design allows for easy maneuverability and excellent leverage
Protective carrying pouch with clip for easy and accessible storage
Design is bulkier than most and requires more storage space
Its heavy construction is a trade-off for getting better leverage with the tools
Check Price at Amazon
Crankbrothers Mini M-19
The attractive M-19 bike multitool ($33) meets the high standards of craftsmanship and quality that cyclists have come to expect (and appreciate) from all Crankbrothers models. The stylish multitool is made with strong steel bits and a durable aluminum body available in several color options.
The product is backed by the brand’s lifetime warranty. You can expect to be in good hands if you select this model for your roadside maintenance.
The M-19 is similar to its little brother, the M-17, in that they fit a versatile array of pieces into this small and relatively light miniature multitool. There are a couple of notable differences that may persuade you one way or the other.
First, this mini multitool comes with a sleek steel tool flask to hold it. In addition to looking great, this sheathing keeps moisture away and protects the device from rust.
This protection does come at a cost, though. In this case, it adds a good bit of weight. Depending on your priorities or the weather conditions you choose to ride in, you may decide to forgo this heavy case.
The second distinction between this and the M-17 is that the M-19 upgrades its bit selection by adding two additional screwdrivers — one flathead and one Phillips-head — to give you four screwdrivers in varying sizes.
Other features include seven Allen wrenches, ranging from 2 to 8 mm; four spoke wrenches of varying sizes; two open wrenches; and a T25 Torx wrench. It also features a universal chain-breaker tool that, like the M-17, works on anything from an eight-speed to a 12-speed chain.
Similar to the M-17, this bike multitool doesn’t come with a tire plug tool. If this is essential for your riding, you can check out the Crankbrothers’ other mini multitool models — both the M-20 and the M-13 are equipped with a plug tool and case for extra tire plugs.
Weight: 175 g (total is 215 g with the 40g steel case)
Primary tools: Hex wrenches (2-8mm), flathead and Phillips-head screwdrivers, T25 Torx wrench, chain-breaker tool, open wrenches
Number of tools: 19
Compact and sturdy construction
Comes with a sleek carrying case for protection and durability
Packed with almost every tool you could need for on-the-go bike maintenance
Exceptional lifetime warranty
A bit heavy due to the steel case
Like the M-17, the wide frame can make tight spaces hard to access
Also lacks the tire plug tool that other Crankbrothers models offer
Check Price at BackcountryCheck Price at REI
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Bike Multitool
With so many different multitools available, it can be hard to decide which one will serve you best on your rides. There is no single rule to follow here, as it really depends on your personal riding habits and priorities. And of course, your bike.
Type of Riding
One of the most important considerations when looking for the best multitool is the type of riding you plan to do. This doesn’t simply mean trail or road, although that distinction matters.
Whether you own a road or mountain bike will affect the problems that arise and the tools you need to fix them. The frequency and duration of your rides are two other relevant pieces of context that can help you understand what bicycle tools fit your needs.
If you’re the type of cyclist who loves long hauls, for example, a more comprehensive bike multitool will suit you well and save you the frustration of being stranded hours from home. However, if you tend only to bike around town, a minimalist product will take care of simple fixes until you get back to the garage.
Number and Type of Tools
When comparing bike multitools, it helps to know the ins and outs of your bike and bicycles in general. If you are a new cyclist, you should familiarize yourself with common issues and fixes.
Yes, cable cutters are technically a bike tool. However, you won’t find them in most kits or multitools because cutting a brake line is not a common repair.
The tools you’ll find yourself using most often are probably hex wrenches. Most multitools include 2-8mm hex wrenches, some including 1.5mm or 2.5mm wrenches. Before investing in a multitool, check which sizes your bike requires.
Other essential tools include the chain-breaker, Torx wrench, and, depending on your bike, tire plugs. Keep in mind that the more pieces you have, the larger the multitool will be.
Finally, most multitools will not come with tire levers, except for our Wotow recommendation. However, those are a key investment for bicycle maintenance.
Ease of Use and Comfort
Another essential consideration for the best bike multitool is the ease and comfort of use. You may overlook this at first, thinking it’s not that big of a deal. After all, how often and for how long will you really need to use it?
However, if the tool isn’t comfortable or easy to handle, you will be less inclined to take it out and take care of essential maintenance for your bike.
More importantly, if you hurt your hand trying to fix your bike, you are going to have a tough time finishing the ride. When comparing multitools, a good trick is to look at the posted reviews. This is a great way to get an idea of a product’s usability.
The recommendations in this guide take users’ experiences into account to ensure that selected products are great not just on paper, but also on the trail. After all, a multitool that’s too small to get leverage or too wide for a bike’s tight spaces would not be helpful to you.
Weight and Packed Size
This guide contains weight specifications for each product. The multitools vary greatly in weight, depending on how many bits the tool has and what materials it is made from.
When searching for the best bike multitool for you, take the time to get an understanding of the dimensions of each tool. This will help you determine how easy it will be to maneuver in your bike’s tighter spaces, as well as what demands it will make on your already limited storage capacity.
Depending on the size of your seat bag or backpack, a bulky multitool could be a dealbreaker for you. There is no right answer here. The trade-off between functionality and compactness is your decision to make, and it is a good one to keep in mind while browsing bike multitools.
Photo credit: AmazonDurability
Not all multitools are created equal! When you compare bike tools, keep in mind that better quality materials will make maintenance easier and last longer.
As for the materials themselves, there are a couple of guidelines you should know. First, most bits, wrenches, and other pieces within a multitool are steel.
There are some small differences in the benefits of stainless steel, hardened steel, and other variations. Any of these will be fine, especially if you have a carrying pouch to keep the tools away from moisture and prevent them from rusting.
The bodies of multitools, on the other hand, vary greatly in terms of the quality and durability of these materials. Because these pieces are necessary for getting good leverage and grip, you should not settle for a cheaper bike multitool that skimps on this material.
Quality materials like stainless steel, aluminum, and composite plastic will give you a better experience during maintenance and a longer-lasting, more reliable product.
One final consideration that you will have while shopping around for the best bike multitool is the price. Most of the tools recommended here are comparable in price. All of them are reasonably priced for the quality and functionality of the product. You should expect some price variation based on the number of tools, added features, and any included carrying cases.
If a price seems suspiciously low to you, check out the reviews to make sure it is made of good quality and won’t break the first time you use it. There is no use in saving money now if you just have to buy a new tool after one use.
If you have the financial ability to invest in the right multitool, a small upgrade in your purchase can get you a reliable multitool that lasts years.
What Is the Best Bike Multitool?
Our Best Of guide covers a few of our favorite products in different categories. This way, you can see the best overall and also browse other products that are at the top of their own class. If you are looking for a reliable and versatile multitool, our recommendations are products by Crankbrothers and Syncros.
However, all of the multitools on this list are quality buys that will serve you well with any roadside repairs your bike may need. Our recommended picks are great overall buys.
However, if you have more specific needs, you should also check out the best compact, minimalist, and budget options. To get a better idea of how you should go about choosing a multitool, don’t forget to check out our buyer’s guide.
Do I Really Need a Bike Multitool?
Every cyclist should have at least a basic bike multitool handy on every ride. It is totally normal for bolts to get a little loose, especially if you are a mountain biker traversing tough terrain.
You never know when you might want to make a small adjustment to the saddle or pedal. A portable multitool makes this simple maintenance possible no matter where you are.
Most of the multitools on this list are lightweight and small enough that once it is stowed away, you might not even remember that it’s there. Besides, there is nothing more frustrating than needing a ride because yours broke down and you can’t fix it. At such affordable prices, the freedom and peace of mind that a multitool provides is definitely worth it.
What Bike Tools Do I Need?
The most essential bike tools you will likely need on a ride are hex wrenches and a chain tool. These come in handy for quick adjustments, tightening bolts, and, of course, repairing any damaged chain links.
As for the particulars, the best way to determine what wrenches and size bits you will need is to ask your bike. Just consult the manufacturer’s information to determine the sizes of all bolts, screws, and parts on your bike. This way, you can be sure to get a multitool with the proper tools that will fit your bike’s needs.
Another really helpful tool to consider bringing along is a tire plug tool. Depending on the conditions you’re riding in and what tires you have, leaks or breaks in your tires’ integrity might be a more frequent maintenance issue for you.
None of the multitools on this list come with tire plugs, and only one includes tire pry bars in their package. If you are planning on taking off on a longer trip and can stand to carry more gear, these items may save you a world of headache in the event of a leak.
What Is the Best Mini Bike Multitool?
Miniature bike multitools pack a lot of utility into a small device. You can have access to a lot of useful tools and wrenches without too much added weight slowing down your bike. One drawback of most mini multitools is that the smaller size can make leverage more difficult to achieve.
In such a small device, it can be uncomfortable to use and even a little painful for your hands. Our favorite pick for a mini multitool is the Crankbrothers’ M-17, which has all the essential bits packed into a sturdy aluminum body. As a result, it achieves the strong grip and torque necessary for all your maintenance tasks.
Photo credit: Amazon
Where Should I Carry My Bike Multitool?
There is no one right location for storing bike multitools and other gear. However, having a designated gear storage location — no matter where it is — will keep you organized.
Depending on the size of your bike multitool, a zippered or otherwise secure pant cargo pocket or a seat bag is a great place. If you don’t already have one, this is a great investment to make.
If you keep your bike multitool in a bike bag that remains attached to your bike, then anywhere you bring your bike, the tool comes too. This may seem obvious, but there is nothing worse than having a small maintenance issue and realizing you’ve left your multitool at home!
If you have a larger bike tool kit, your multitools may fit better in a pouch or backpack. Many cyclists prefer to leave this weight on the bike, rather than on their back, but ultimately it’s up to you. If you do store your multitool somewhere off the bike, just make sure that you don’t forget to grab it when you leave for a ride!
Have a favorite bike multitool? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll check it out for future updates to this article.
The Best Bike Pumps of 2021
Our experts found and tested the best bike pumps of 2021. Whether for road riding, mountain biking, or fat biking, we've got you covered. Read more…
The Best Mountain Bike Tires of 2021
Whether you're a new or experienced rider looking to upgrade your tires, this guide to the best mountain bike tires has what you need! Read more…
The post The Best Bike Multitools of 2021 appeared first on GearJunkie.
#Biking #BestOf #Reviews