Midweek Post for April 5, 2023 – Ride Essentials (Multi-Tools)

Image of PRO Multitool

While it is impossible to predict what might happen on any given day you go out for a bike ride, it never hurts to be prepared. Chances are you won’t have to do any on-the-road maintenance. Then again, there is always that first time. A multitool can be a lifesaver for various reasons, which is why it is a ride essential.

Why Should You Carry a Multi-Tool?

If you carry a multitool with you, it might mean the difference between continuing your ride or abruptly ending it. It is the perfect portable and compact toolkit you can store in your pocket next to your phone, cleat covers, and gels.

What is a Multitool?

There are various size screws with different size screwheads used to assemble a bike. There are screws in your handlebar stem, your seatpost, your cranks, and your bottle cages, just to name a few. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of them. Chances are these screws are sufficiently tight (or should be) so they won’t come loose.

If you have a good multi-tool, you’ll be prepared for almost any quick repair you might need to make.

A multi-tool includes hex drivers, screwdrivers, Allen wrenches, etc., and is durable enough to handle quick fixes. Sometimes they also include chain breakers but that’s harder to find. You may have to buy that tool separately.

Make sure to also carry a small section from your current chain if you need to modify or repair a damaged chain. It’s a good idea to also carry an extra chain pin if you have a Shimano chain or an extra permalink. You should be able to get that separated without a tool. However, if you have to handle your chain during a ride, a small workshop rag can come in handy.

Image of Park CT-16 Chain Breaker

Image of PRO Multi-Tool with Various Screwdrivers

Multi-Tool Sizes

There are many items you should carry with you on a ride, a multi-tool is just one of them. The problem is the tools come in a couple different configurations and can get weighty to carry. There are tools that have every possible hex, screw, and Allen type as well as mini wrenches and a chain tool included (like the one shown below), then tools that are more basic.

Image of Silca Multi-Tool

What is the best multi-tool to carry? That’s hard to say. What you want is something that will cover many possibilities. Just keep in mind this tool is for a quick fix or repair. So, my advice, choose a tool that offers the best function over price or brand.

Cost for a Multi-Tool

Just like everything, the cost of this type of tool can vary. Generally, expect to pay anywhere from $20.00 to $50.00 for a decent multi-tool like the ones shown here on the Park Tools website.

You can’t go wrong with Park tools, but I’ve found and used other multi-tools that are cheaper and more comprehensive in what they offer. Check out these offerings over at Amazon.

Last Thoughts

Carrying a multi-tool with you on a ride is not just necessary but essential. Every cyclist should carry one with them. You never know when you’ll need to make a quick fix, retighten a screw, or whatever else.

A multi-tool is an insurance item like a spare innertube. Why risk the possibility you may have to end your ride early if your chain breaks or a screw pops loose. Be prepared and you won’t have to worry.

Author: Doug McNamee

Freelance Content Writer, Travel Writer, Editor, and poet.

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