Best bike multi-tool in 2023 | 11 top-rated cycling multi-tools - BikeRadar

Essential for on-the-road repairs, take your pick from our 11 top-rated multi-tools

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Best bike multi-tool in 2023 | 11 top-rated cycling multi-tools - BikeRadar

There’s little worse than being stopped in your tyre tracks by a minor mechanical problem that you could have sorted out if only you’d brought along the right tool.

Fortunately, the best multi-tools for cycling can help get you out of most difficult situations, so you can continue your ride and not have to resort to public transport, a taxi or calling up your nearest and dearest asking as nicely as you can for a lift home.

Our round-up includes the best multi-tools that have been tried, tested and rated by our expert reviewers. They will be beneficial to riders at any level, as well as offering tools that have more specialist applications, such as fixing tubeless tyre punctures.

We have also included a buyer’s guide to multi-tools that explains some of the essential tools you should look out for when considering which multi-tool to buy.

One thing that should be emphasised is the majority of multi-tools are for emergency repairs only – often they aren’t made to the same standard as tools intended for home use and the best bike tool kits.

With its all-metal design and 18 tools, the Blackburn Tradesman Mini Tool is great value and can handle most trailside jobs.

The straight Allen keys are long enough to access most areas and the heads are sized accurately for high-torque use without rounding-out bolts. You can use the chain breaker with the back wheel in place and it removes pins easily.

There’s a brake pad separator with quick-link storage, plus a quick-link tool, which is easy to use with the 4mm Allen key. A thick rubber strap prevents any rattling.

The Torx bits require care to avoid slippage and some of the L-shaped Allen keys are fiddly in tighter spaces.

The Blackburn Wayside 19 has, as the name suggests, 19 functions including removable ball-ended L-shaped hex keys in sizes 2 to 5mm for unbeatable bolt access – a nice touch if you prefer the feel of standard toolbox Allen keys over the usual multi-tool design.

The Wayside is heavier than most but is a mobile toolbox that comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Sold with a hard-shell case that protects the tool from the elements when riding, the tools have a good length so you get enough leverage on an interface without overdoing it.

Comfortable to use, the in-built chain breaker particularly impressed with a solid pin and guide to hold the chain in place.

It doesn’t quite achieve a perfect score because it lacks some of the extras other multi-tools have.

Neat. Very neat. The Topeak combines 21 of the most regularly used tools in a small seatpack-friendly size, with the 8mm hex and two smaller Torq keys housed internally.

They are slightly awkward to access, though, and the tyre levers, which double as outside plates, are hard-edged but still effective. However, the overall quality is excellent and it’s very well priced.

The Topeak Mini 20 Pro has 25mm-long steel hex keys from 2 to 10mm, T10 and T25 Torx and two screwdrivers.

The chain tool works with all except Campagnolo and incorporates four spoke wrenches, and there’s a chain hook and a 4mm hex for adjusting the tool’s pivots.

A tyre lever and bottle opener complete a comprehensive selection.

The Crankbrothers F15 is a small and light tool that still provides all the essentials.

The F15 consists of a small and solid nine-function tool that slots into a magnetised steel sleeve that adds a chain tool, spoke keys and a nifty bottle opener at the open end.

The case also doubles as a comfortable ‘extender bar’ that lets you up the leverage, especially handy with the 8mm hex.

The Crankbrothers M13 is a solid little tool that covers most needs with a set of Allen keys, Torx keys and screwdrivers. It comes with tyre plugs too which fit in a separate clip-on case, but it is missing a chain breaker.

The bits are a decent length and paired with the 85mm long body you get some good leverage. This makes whipping out 5mm and 6mm bolts a breeze. You might struggle with 8mm pedal bolts, but that isn’t too much of a surprise.

Crankbrothers tools are known to last and this multitool comes with a lifetime warranty.

The Crankbrothers M20 has an impressive 20 tools, including a brake rotor straightener, valve-core remover and spoke keys, plus five tubeless tyre plugs and a plug installer stored in a separate plastic case.

With a lifetime warranty, the anodised aluminium body and steel tools feel great. Allen and Torx key accuracy is spot on, and most are long enough to access recessed bolts.

There’s no tool for splitting quick-links, which could be integrated into the chain breaker as per other designs. The chain tool doesn’t have the leverage to remove stubborn pins. It’s heavy at 206g, but the number of functions makes up for that.

The forged outer plates of the easily pocketable Lezyne CRV12 multi-tool house 12 neat, sturdy and corrosion-free tools.

The 30mm-long 2 to 8mm hex keys, Phillips screwdriver, T25 Torx and 11-speed chain tool incorporating three spoke wrenches should cover most emergencies.

The only issue with this multi-tool is its width when working in very confined spaces.

Park Tool’s MTB-5 Rescue Tool packs 16 functions into a multi-tool and would be particularly well suited to trailside repairs.

The multi-tool is sturdily constructed, and the tools are all the same length – with the exception of the 8mm hex.

Although not the most attractive, this is a great multi-tool in terms of practicality and quality.

PNW’s Pebble Tool is about as minimalist as you can get for a multi-tool, weighing in at a scant 51g.

It’s a compact, well-shaped unit and we felt comfortable storing it in the pocket of our riding trousers without fear of it causing injury in the event of a crash.

Our only gripes are the lack of an 8mm hex attachment and the fact you’ll need to buy replacement tubuless repair plugs at £12.99 for a five-pack from time to time.

What you need from your multi-tool will often depend on your style of riding and bike. If you have tubeless tyres, a plug tool is a good shout, and if you run rim brakes there’s no need for a disc brake rotor truing tool.

But away from more specialist tools, here are the most basic tools that almost every rider will benefit from having on a multi-tool.

Or otherwise known as Allen keys. Look for a full array, in order to be covered for most eventualities. Most multi-tools come with 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm sizes and this should be more than enough for your bike.

A big 8mm Allen key is enough to nip tight crank bolts but don’t expect it to do the job of a big workshop 8mm because it won’t have the same amount of leverage as a longer tool.

Chamfered tips are a sign of quality and also prevent the rounding of bolts and the keys.

T25 and T20 Torx keys are most common and are often needed for disc brake and rotor bolts. Some stems and other places on your bike might also use Torx bolts, so it’s best to check to see if you’ll need these on your multi-tool.

The small size of multi-tool chain tools can make them awkward to use when compared to the best chain tools, but they can really save the day.

It might also be worth keeping a spare quick-link or master link in your saddle bag to minimise roadside hassles.

Most tools include a flat-nosed screwdriver, which can also be used for prising things apart. A Phillips cross-head screwdriver may also be included and is used to adjust derailleur limit screws and brake tension springs.

Alongside a mini pump, tyre levers are an essential tool to take with you when cycling because fixing a puncture will probably be an inevitability at some point if you spend enough time cycling.

Many riders will already have separate tyre levers in their on-bike tool kit, but getting a multi-tool that has integrated tyre levers is a good idea if you’re just starting out or simplicity is what you seek.

Stan Portus is BikeRadar’s content editor. Stan works on everything from content strategy and breaking news to evergreen updates and long-form features on environmental and social issues in cycling. Stan started working in the bike industry in 2018, writing content for some of the sport's biggest brands, including Chris King, ENVE and Castelli. He has worked as a freelance writer and journalist for over seven years writing reviews, essays and interviews for many art, design and literature publications as well as appearing on radio. A road cyclist at heart, he can be found zooming along the lanes and roads of the South West and undertaking foolhardy pursuits such as overnight audax rides.

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Best bike multi-tool in 2023 | 11 top-rated cycling multi-tools - BikeRadar

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