Consider the multi-tool the McGyver of all tools. It has everything you need, whenever you need it--just like McGyver from the 80's hit TV series (for those of you who don't remember; and those who don't want to forget).
Having one in your pocket or your kit is often overlooked by most bikers. Having one could result in a smile or a huge disappointment when youre out riding and something went wrong. Whether youre on the road, on the trails or just goofing around in the park. Bringing a Multi-Tool with you will help you with trail side fixes and maybe help you dial-in and fine tune your cockpit and suspension settings. Having one can also mean you could help a fellow rider out in the most dire situation.
Most Multi Tools will come with an assortment of tools arranged in a folding alloy body similar to most Swiss Army type knives and maybe as cheap as P500 or as expensive as P3500 depending on the features and durability. Some bikers wont even consider getting one since they are "heavy", bulky and are not "techie" person enough to tinker with their bikes but for me, I never ride my bike without one because having a Multi Tool has definetly saved me and other fellow bikers from sticky situations in the middle of nowhere and in the most awkward time. The Multi Tool may also useful when doing home repairs or tune ups to your bikdoin
Most Multi Tools will come with:
- Hex/Allen ranging from 2mm - 8mm for adjusting your cockpit, brakes even you shock and fork adjusters. the 6 or 8mm will be helpful when your pedals suddenly become undone. The smaller 2mm & 2.5mm can hel you dial in your brake lever reach.
- Torx T25, will help you tighten your Bolt-on disk brake rotors in the event it should come loose or need a quick replacing.
- Philips (+) or Flat Head (-) Screwdrivers, well this is pretty basic and most screws in your bike will be using any of these type. Commonly used when tuning your rear and front derailleurs.
Some of these are extras that might prove to be indepensible but might increase the cost of the Multi Tool or for advanced biker/mechanics, when riding in groups it might be better if someone in your group have one that carries features like these:
- Chain Breaker, used for replacing broken or sticky chain links. The Chain Breaker can also help in converting geared bikes to single speed in the event that your rear derailleur should fail and you just need to get home.
- Spoke Wrenches, this is a bit of a difficult bit and reserved for most advanced home mechanic with knowledge of the "Dark Arts of Wheel Truing and Alignment". If for some reason, you are so Rad that you just bombed out the most gnaliest trail you ever saw, cased your landing and "tacoed" or "potato chipped" or in Filipino "nabingkong" your wheels and you need it somehow fixed just to pedal back to you fixed. You can spend an hour trying to fix it instead of a 3 hrs waking in shame thinking of how it all went wrong for you. I would also recommend you get a MultiTool that includes a specialty or propriety style spoke nipple wrench(like Mavic) for your wheelset.
- Wrenches (8mm, 10mm) some Multi Tools like Crank Brothers include a small wrench in them,though I havent found them necessary, it might be useful for tightening loose bolts.
Issues with Multi Tools or what to watch out for:
- Cheap Plastic housing, I'm sure they might be light and cheap but they wont be tough and I'm sure you will break them when you need them most. I would have to make Gorilla Grip multi tool an exception, they use a tough rubber based plastic housing but are slightly mid level expensive.
- Weird lengths and angles, make sure your multi tools can reach most of your bikes bolts and screws.
- Grip, make sure your multi tool is small enough to fit your pocket but not too small to provide with good leverage and grip.
- Finish, don't get anything flashy or anodized or gold at great expense, like most tools you will scratch it, drop it and even throw it in frustration, sometimes loose it or lend it. just get anything hard steel. You might want to occassionally lube it but not too much, some silicone oil will be ok.
**BONUS TIP: Oh and one last thing, if your going on really long rides prepare to carry more tools with you just to be prepared like a small Open Ended Wrench, another Multi Tool to counter rotating linkage bolts should they come loose, Tire pump, Shock Pump, Wheel valve adapters, spare chain link or appropriate Missing Link and some extra chain lube.
There is nothing more fulfilling than riding a bike that you know will not fail you. Now, go ride your bike.