We researched the twenty of the best bike multi-tools you can buy in 2019 and then purchased 7 to test side-by-side. If you're a cyclist, the chances are that eventually, you'll need to adjust or you might have a mechanical issue out on the road or trail. When that time comes, a quality multi-tool is one of the most important accessories a cyclist can carry. We carefully examined each model and scrutinized every aspect of their design and performance during regular use and comparative workshop testing.
The Best Bike Multi-Tools of 2019
|Price||$28.98 at Amazon||Check Price at Amazon|
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|$45 List||$59.00 at Amazon||$29.95 at Competitive Cyclist|
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|Pros||Feature packed, neoprene case, small||19 functions, comes with storage case, good ergonomics, all-metal construction||Small, lightweight, all-metal construction||Lightweight, feature packed, stores in the steerer tube.||Affordable, lots of functions, durable quality construction|
|Cons||Moderate weight||heavy-ish, on the larger side||Limited functions, expensive||Requires threading of steerer tube, expensive, limited to one bike||On the bigger and heavier side|
|Bottom Line||The ToPeak Mini Pro 20 is as feature packed as multi-tools get, with 23 functions loaded into this small and well designed un||The Crankbrothers M19 is a cleverly designed model with all the tools you need to get you out of a bind on the trail.||The Specialized EMT Pro MTB is compact and lightweight, with good ergonomics and all the tools you need for quick fixes on the trail.||The OneUp EDC is an innovative and feature packed multi-tool that stores in the steerer tube of your fork.||The Tradesman is a quality multi-tool from Blackburn with all the functions you need at a reasonable price.|
|Rating Categories||Topeak Mini 20 Pro||Crankbrothers M19||Specialized EMT Pro MTB||OneUp Components EDC||Blackburn Tradesman|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Total Scores (%)|
|Specs||Topeak Mini 20 Pro||Crankbrothers M19||Specialized EMT Pro MTB||OneUp Components EDC||Blackburn Tradesman|
|Weight With Cover||161g||209g||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Hex Wrenches (mm)||2-L, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 mm||2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 mm||3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm Allen keys plus L-shaped 2mm||2,2.5,3,4,5,6, 8 mm||2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 mm|
Best Overall Bike Multi-Tool
Topeak Mini 20 Pro
The ToPeak Mini Pro 20 is the highest rated model in our best bike multi-tool test and the winner of our Editor's Choice Award. This fully-featured model is packed with 23 tools and functions and is equipped to handle any adjustment or simple fix out in the field. It comes with all the standard hex keys from size 2 to 10mm, flat and Phillips head screwdrivers, Torx 10 and 25, plus a quality chain tool and much more. ToPeak has managed to squeeze all of these features into an impressively small and lightweight package at only 161g including the neoprene storage case. It boasts some of the best ergonomics in the test and is well suited to all types of cycling from mountain biking to road riding.
At 161g, the Mini Pro 20 is far from the lightest model in our test but considering the number of tools and features it has we feel it is pretty respectable. It also has several tools that most riders will probably never use, most notably a chain hook, spoke holder, and 4 sizes of spoke wrenches. Nevertheless, the Mini Pro 20 is a well designed, durable, and compact multi-tool at a reasonable price.
Read review: ToPeak Mini Pro 20
Best Bang for the Buck
The Tradesman is an affordable and quality multi-tool from the cycling accessory brand, Blackburn. With 18 tools and functions, the Tradesman has you covered for just about adjustment and repair possibility on the road or trail. It has all the regular hex key sizes from 2 through 8mm, Torx 25 and 30, plus a flathead screwdriver and a disc pad spreader. Add to that a quality chain tool with a unique quick link splitter and integrated quick link storage and you should never be at a loss if your chain breaks on a ride. The quick link splitter is an innovative tool not found on other models and is incredibly helpful in certain situations, even doing your own drivetrain work at home. It also has decent ergonomics and durable mostly metal construction.
The Tradesman weighs in at 178g, one of the heaviest models in the test, and likely won't be the first pick of the gram counting cyclist. It is also one of the largest tools, so if space is at a premium it may not be for you. That said, there was little that testers didn't like about the Tradesman, especially at this price.
Read review: Blackburn Tradesman
Top Pick for Innovation
OneUp Components EDC
The OneUp EDC is a unique and innovative model that stands out from the typical bike multi-tool crowd. Mountain bike parts and accessory manufacturer OneUp has been designing interesting products for a number of years, and the EDC is a fully featured multi-tool that stores within the empty space inside your fork's steerer tube. They have managed to pack an astounding 21 functions into a lightweight, only 108g, and extremely portable package. It has all of the usual bits including hex keys sizes 2-8mm, a Torx 25, and a flat head screwdriver. It has a small but functional chain tool, spare quick link storage, a tire lever, 4 sizes of spoke wrenches, a spare chainring bolt, and more. If you're the type of rider looking to ditch your pack, you can rest assured that you've got all the tools you need conveniently tucked away on your bike.
The most obvious drawback to this system is that you have to thread your steerer tube and purchase an EDC top cap for an additional $25, making it by far the most expensive model in the test. It is also limited to use on one bike, although you can carry the tool with you in a pack or pocket. The compact design also means that the tools themselves are quite small and aren't as ergonomically friendly as some of the larger models. With that in mind, we still feel the EDC is quality multi-tool for the right consumer.
Read review: OneUp EDC
Top Pick for Lightweight
Specialized EMT Pro MTB
Specialized is one of the biggest brands in the cycling industry and they make everything from complete bikes to multi-tools. The EMT Pro MTB is one of the smallest and lightest models in this test and is our Top Pick for Lightweight Award. If you're concerned with weight and space is at a premium, this tool is for you. It has 13 useful tools and functions to make sure you never get stranded out in the field. Its got all the normal hex keys, sizes 2-8mm, a Torx 25, #2 Phillips, plus a chain tool, disc pad spreader and 2 sizes of spoke wrenches. The contoured aluminum side plates make it ergonomically friendly with a comfortable feel in hand and positive grip when in use.
The EMT Pro MTB is one of the more expensive multi-tools in this test, much more than our Best Buy Award winner. It may not boast the impressive number of tools as some of the other models in this review, but its complement of features can take care of most adjustments and simple fixes. What the EMT Pro MTB lacks in excessive functions it makes up for with its lightweight, small size, and good ergonomics.
Read review: Specialized EMT Pro MTB
Why You Should Trust Us
Jeremy Benson spends more time in the saddle than 99% of the cycling population. He rides almost any day and racked up some impressive Strava statistics in 2018. He rides almost every day and put in 5,000 miles and climbed well over 6,000 vertical feet. This die-hard cyclist spends a lot of time on the race track and has racked up impressive results at huge races like the Downieville Classic and the Lost and Found Grinder. Oh yeah, he was also a sponsored skier for a decade and is the author of Mountain Bike Tahoe.
Jeremy spent an obscene amount of time testing these multi-tools. He uses these tools in every single scenario to provide the best possible information. Jeremy used these tools out on the trail to make on-the-fly adjustments and also at home in a workshop setting.
Related: How We Tested Bike Multi-Tools
Analysis and Test Results
No matter what type of cycling you do, road, mountain, gravel, commuting, it's almost guaranteed that at some point you'll experience a mechanical issue. When this happens, a quality bike multi-tool is an indispensable accessory to make adjustments or perform simple fixes to get you back up and running instead of walking back to the trailhead or waiting for someone to pick you up on the side of the road. Of course, not every mechanical problem can be fixed with a multi-tool, but there are plenty that can be addressed with a little knowledge and the right equipment.
Related: Buying Advice for Bike Multi-Tools
Ideally, you will never need to use a multi-tool while out on a ride, but in the off chance you break your chain, need to tighten a bolt, or simply make an adjustment, it's nice to have the right tool for the job at your disposal. A multi-tool can't fix problems on its own, so it is important that you also familiarize yourself with your bike and its components so that when you do need to fix or adjust something you actually know how.
The multi-tools in this review are all different and have varying numbers of tools and functions, they come in different shapes, sizes, and weights with unique designs. Each of these tools has been rated on their features, ergonomics, portability, ease of use, and durability. The combined scores from these rating metrics give us our highest rated models including our best overall and top pick award winners.
The differences in price between the models in this test are not all that extreme, and some of the highest rated models are also some of the most affordable. Our Best Buy Award winner, the Blackburn Tradesman, is highly rated and also one of the least expensive, while our Editor's Choice Award winner, the ToPeak Mini Pro 20, offers the highest performance and only costs a little bit more.
Each of the models in this test has at least what we consider to be the minimum tools and functions for both road and mountain biking. These features are the standard sizes of hex keys, also known as Allen keys, which are 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm. Each tool also has a Torx 25, star-shaped bit, and a chain tool. Beyond that, the tools and functions vary between the different models. We feel the aforementioned tools are essential for a number of reasons. The most commonly found bolts on modern bikes have hex heads in sizes 3, 4, 5, and 6mm. Torx 25 heads are also quite common and can be found on brakes, brake rotors, derailleurs, and even seat clamps. A chain tool is necessary because you can't fix a chain without one, and you can't ride a bike without a chain. In many cases, the manufacturers of these multi-tools make several versions that offer different features.
We evaluated each model based on the number of tools that it has and other functions like quick link storage, disc pad spreaders, spoke wrenches, tire levers, and storage cases. In general, we feel that more features are typically better as long as they are potentially useful for the user. Tools are only helpful if you know how to use them. The multi-tools in this test range in tools and functions from a low of 10 to a high of 23.
The most fully featured model in this test is our Editor's Choice, the ToPeak Mini Pro 20, with a whopping 23 functions in a shockingly small package. It has all of the hex key sizes you'll ever need including a 10mm, flat and Phillips head screwdrivers, Torx 10 and 25 bits, and a quality chain tool with 4 sizes of spoke wrenches integrated into it. It also has convenient extras like an emergency tire lever, a chain hook to help with chain repair, and even a tool to tighten the bolts on the tool itself. Plus it comes in a neoprene storage case for comfort in your jersey pocket or to keep it from conflicting with other items in your pack.
The OneUp EDC is the next highest rated model for features. This cleverly designed multi-tool has 21 tools and functions packed into its unique tubular design. Its got all the usual hex keys, a Torx 25, flathead, and a chain tool with 4 sizes of spoke wrenches. In addition, they've integrated a tire lever, quick link storage, a spare chainring bolt, and CO2 storage into this compact system.
The Crankbrothers M19 follows closely with 19 functions that include all of the regular hex keys and a Torx 10 and 25, plus they've managed to squeeze in a flathead and #1 and #2 Phillips screwdrivers along with a quality chain tool and 4 sizes of spoke wrenches. The Blackburn Tradesman comes in just behind with 18 tools and functions that include an innovative quick link splitter, a disc pad spreader, and integrated quick link storage.
Both the Specialized EMT Pro MTB and the Park Tool IB-3 have 13 tools and functions. Both tools have all the basics covered with a few extras. The EMT Pro has a disc pad spreader, #2 Phillips, 2 sizes of spoke wrenches and a bottle opener. The IB-3 comes with a quality tire lever, 8mm box wrench, and 2 sizes of spoke wrenches. The Lezyne V10 has the least features of all models tested with 10. It has all the necessities, a Torx 25 and 30, and a #2 Phillips head enclosed in a faux leather neoprene sleeve.
The word ergonomics is defined as the study of people's efficiency in their working environment. Insofar as multi-tools are concerned, we are interested in the tool's efficiency in terms of its design which includes its shape, feel in hand, leverage, and usefulness of tools in relation to their length and effectiveness. A tool with good ergonomics feels comfortable in your hand, you can grasp tightly, and allows you to create a good amount of leverage force when necessary. We are also interested in the tools themselves and if they have been designed in such a way that they are of a reasonable length to reach the places you need them to.
All of these multi-tools have good enough ergonomics that they can be used for their intended purposes, but some are simply better than others. The highest rated model for ergonomics is the Crankbrothers M19. It has rounded aluminum side plates that are very comfortable in the hand with texture added in the center to enhance your grip. It is one of the larger tools in the test, which our testers found they preferred for a more secure grasp and the ability to apply more torque when needed. The tools are also the perfect length and the chain tool is large with texture added so you can get a good grasp on it.
Both the Specialized EMT Pro MTB and the ToPeak Mini Pro 20 also scored well for their good ergonomics. The two models have almost the same dimensions and are about 1/2 an inch shorter in length than the M19. This size fits nicely in the hand and is comfortable and easy to grasp, with tools and bits that are just the right length. The chain tool on the ToPeak Mini Pro 20 needs to removed from the tool for use but is well designed and easy to hold onto, while that on the EMT Pro is smaller with a smooth finish that doesn't provide as easy of a grip.
The Lezyne V10 and the Blackburn Tradesman both have decent ergonomics but lost a little ground to the competition in this metric. The V10 is the lightest and smallest of the tools we tested. Testers found its short length to be a little more challenging to hold onto and its uncontoured aluminum side plates were not especially comfortable in the hand. The Tradesman has similar dimensions to the M19 but is a little thicker overall with less contoured side plates. It is plenty easy to grasp but can't quite match the comfort of the higher rated models.
Due to the compact nature of the OneUp EDC's unique design, all of the tools are small. This includes the size of the folding multi-tool as well as the other pieces like the chain tool. Due to their size, they are a little more challenging to hold onto and really torque on when needed. The Park Tool IB-3 is easily bottom of the pack for ergonomics. This tool is chunky and uncomfortable in the hand, with removable parts that move around and get in the way.
Every bike multi-tool in this review is designed to be portable and carried with you while you ride. Each model is indeed portable and can easily fit into your pack, jersey pocket, or saddlebag, but they come in different shapes, sizes, and weights. We rated each model's portability based on a combination of both the weight and the size. As for virtually every piece of cycling gear, lighter is generally considered better and a more compact tool takes up less space when not in use. The importance of both size and weight is up to the individual user and may vary based on your needs or where you intend to carry your multi-tool.
The models in this review vary in weight (tools only) from 101g up to 178g. At 101g (106g with the cover), the Lezyne V10 is the lightest model in this test. It also happens to be the smallest model with dimensions of 2.5" long, 1.75" wide, and 0.5" thick. The Specialized EMT Pro MTB comes in a close second with a weight of 106g and dimensions of 2.85" long, 1.6" wide, and 0.5" thick. Testers found they enjoyed the ergonomics and features of the EMT Pro and we awarded it our Top Pick for Lightweight Award.
One of the lightest models in the test at 108g, the OneUp EDC is a bit of an outlier in the portability department due to the specific way that it is carried. It is a 7.5" long tube that contains all of the tools and stores in your fork's steerer tube. Assuming you choose to store the EDC in your fork's steerer, then we feel it is the most portable option in the test as it takes up no space in your pack or elsewhere.
Weighing in a 153g (161g in the neoprene case), the ToPeak Mini Pro 20 is still relatively lightweight considering the fact that it has 23 tools and functions. The Mini Pro 20 is also quite small, 3" long, 1.6" wide, and 0.6" thick, though the neoprene case adds a little girth to the overall size. Both the Crankbrothers M19 and the Blackburn Tradesman have similar dimensions and are a couple of the largest and heaviest tools in this test. The M19 is slightly smaller, with a thinner profile and a weight of 173g (209g in the aluminum case). The Tradesman tips the scales as the heaviest in the test at 178g. The Park Tool IB-3 weighs in at 177g and is the same length as the Tradesman and M19, it is also narrower in width but noticeably thicker, making it the bulkiest of all the models we tested.
Ease of Use
All of the multi-tools in this test are designed for convenience and user-friendliness by concentrating all of the tools you might need into a single compact unit. For the most part, the differences in user-friendliness of the various models are relatively small, but there are certain subtle differences between them. These differences include things like a carrying case, or the tool having numerous pieces. While a case is generally considered a beneficial feature of a multi-tool, it adds an extra step when you wish to use the tool. Tools that are in one piece and are self-contained also generally tend to be easier to deal with as you don't have to keep track of several pieces every time you use it.
Our highest rated models for ease of use are the Specialized EMT Pro MTB, the Blackburn Tradesman and the Crankbrothers M19 (without the case). Each of these tools is ready to use the moment you pull it out of your pack or pocket and are labeled for quick identification. The chain tools on these models are also attached to the tool on a threaded pin pusher, so there are no extra steps involved in their use.
The Lezyne V10 and the ToPeak Mini Pro 20 both have covers that add the small step when pulling them out for use and putting them away. You've also got to keep track of the cover while you're using the tool. The Mini Pro 20's chain tool also needs to be removed from the main body of the tool for use, this is a little of a double-edged sword because it adds an extra step but actually makes the tool slightly easier to use.
The OneUp EDC is incredibly easy to access due to the fact that it's at the ready on your bike at all times, you don't even have to take off your pack to get it out. On the other hand, when you use the tool it comes apart in several pieces and you need to keep track of them. Not all of the tools and functions of the EDC are completely self-explanatory either, like the quick link separator, and may require a little practice or research to perfect. The Park Tool IB-3 requires the removal of the tire lever from its slotted track to fold out and use many of the tools. The chain tool also uses the 8mm box wrench on the tire lever to turn its threaded pin pusher and its use is a little more awkward than others.
When used properly, a quality bike multi-tool should last you for years, or even decades of trouble-free use. Most models are made completely of metal parts, or close to it, like forged aluminum and corrosion resistant types of steel. One of the primary durability concerns with multi-tools is the heads of the bits, since a spun or rounded bit is completely useless and will often damage your bolts with continued use. Another concern is plastic parts because plastic is generally not as durable as metal and may be prone to breakage or warping over time. Corrosion of metal is the last and least of the durability concerns since oxidized metal still performs its job even though it looks bad doing it.
The majority of the models in this test scored well in this metric. None of them will last forever, but most of them are clearly made to withstand numerous years of use with all-metal constructions featuring aluminum side plates and chrome plated or chrome vanadium steel bits. The Specialized EMT Pro MTB, the Lezyne V10, Blackburn Tradesman, and the Crankbrothers M19 all should last you long enough that you won't remember when you bought them.
The only products that have shown weakness in their materials and construction are the Park Tool IB-3 and the OneUp EDC. With the IB-3, our very first time using it was to loosen a Torx 25 brake rotor bolt and the head of the Torx 25 bit spun and was rendered useless, forever. The plastic slotted track that holds the tire lever onto the main body of the tool is also a little suspect as it shows signs of wear and slides on and off the tool a bit more freely than we would like. The EDC has a lot of plastic in its construction. The metal tools and pieces all seem quite durable, but we are concerned that a product with that much plastic involved is significantly more prone to breaking than the all-metal competition.
There's a lot to consider when searching for a new bike multi-tool. We hope that our detailed comparative analysis helps you find the model that's right for you.
— Jeremy Benson