Best Bike Multi-Tools

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

23 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
151 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best bike multi-tools

Last Updated October 2019

Outside of a sturdy helmet, a bike multi-tool might be the most important piece of equipment you take with you on your two-wheeled adventures. These all-in-one kits contain a plethora of helpful tools like screwdrivers, wrenches, hex keys, sockets, and tire pry bars in one compact package, allowing cyclists of all experience levels to remedy many of their bike’s woes on the road.

A multi-tool can’t solve every problem your ride throws at you, but one is more than capable if you need to replace a chain, adjust the saddle height, tighten bolts, maintain brakes, or fix a broken spoke. Made mostly from stainless steel to prevent rust, multi-tools are even helpful for light home repairs, and many come with their own carrying bag.

Are you wondering how we picked our favorites? Read our comprehensive buying guide to learn more about these handy multifunctional devices.

Bicycles with standard gears usually have quick-release mechanisms to remove the wheels without any tools, but many fixed-gear and single-speed bikes require a 15 mm wrench to remove the wheels.

Key considerations

Like bicycles, every multi-tool is a little bit different. That said, there are a few basic elements to keep in mind when shopping.

Size

Bicycles are all about efficiency. In fact, in terms of how much weight a bicycle can carry relative to its total weight, bicycles are the most efficient means of cargo transportation in the world. Adding superfluous heft only makes it harder on the rider, so you want to consider the size and weight of the tools you carry. Saddle bags are fairly small as well, and if you want to bring energy bars, gels, tire patch kits, or mobile devices along, there won’t be much space for bulky tools.

Tools

The number of tools in your multi-tool is an obvious limitation to what repairs you can make, but the variety of tools is more important than the number. Below, we list the essential instruments that bike multi-tools offer and what they do.

  • Screwdrivers: Both flat-head (standard) and cross-head (Phillips head), loosen and tighten screws.

  • Hex keys: Also known Allen wrenches, these interact with the hex heads found all over bicycles, including on the cranks, pedals, brake levers, and spring tension adjusters. Common sizes range from 2 mm to 8 mm.

  • Torx wrenches: These loosen brake levers and other components.

  • Chain tools: These aid in the removal and installation of tires.

  • Open wrenches: These loosen and tighten bolts.

  • Spoke wrenches: These set the rods that radiate out from the wheel hubs.

Durability

Bike multi-tools are meant to be transported, flung about, twisted, and otherwise abused. That’s why you should always seek out multi-tools made of tough high-tension steel because, believe it or not, there are flimsy plastic options out there. Multi-tools are commonly exposed to the elements, so make the jump to stainless steel to prevent rust.

Comprehensive bicycle fixer

With 19 tools, the Crank Brothers multi-tool has everything you need to repair, maintain, and upgrade your bicycle. It can even help you assemble an entire bike. Includes screwdrivers, a universal chain tool, and spoke wrenches. And the sturdy, reliable tools come in a handy metal case.

Bike multi-tool features

Bike multi-tools are relatively simple devices devoid of flashy add-ons and accessories. However, there are some, and we list our favorites below.

Tire pry bar

A tire pry bar is a rigid tool that helps you remove bike tires and tubes from the wheels. High-end examples feature nonslip patterns for more grip. Many bike multi-tools come with a tire pry bar, but unless it’s molded into the multi-tool’s body, it’s often too bulky to fit on the main unit. That’s why a pry bar is sometimes included as a separate accessory, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Try to avoid using screwdrivers, butter knives, or other improvised tools in place of a pry bar because it could damage the rim or further damage the tire.

Carrying case

Bike multi-tools often come with their own carrying case to protect the tool from weather and wear and tear. The case can range from a basic neoprene bag to a hard case, which is equally great for protection and organization. Certain brands offer unique leather pouches with individual tool slots, which present a bespoke, crafted look.

EXPERT TIP

Remember the “Bike ABCs” for your pre-ride inspection. A is for air and pertains to properly inflated tires and tire health. B is for brakes, and we recommend squeezing the brake levers to make sure they properly engage. C is for chain. Always keep the chain lubricated and clean for precise shifts and a long drivetrain life.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

A simple way to diagnose brake pad health is to see if the grooves are worn down and the pad is flat. If so, it needs to be replaced.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If your wheels wobble, they could be out of balance and unstable. A process called “truing” is required to fix this, but special equipment is necessary. For a small fee, a bike shop can true your wheels for you.


Staff  | BestReviews

Bike multi-tool prices

The price of a bike multi-tool corresponds to the number of instruments it includes, the quality of them, and any added accessories.

Inexpensive: For less than $10 you can get your hands on a high-value multi-tool that includes a chain tool, Allen keys, flat-head and cross-head screwdrivers, and Torx wrenches. Don’t expect a lot of stainless steel construction at this price point, though.

Mid-range: For $15 to $20 you can expect to find units with high-quality stainless steel, a dozen or so different tools, and, in some cases, a carry bag.

Expensive: At the top of the range, $25 to $40, you’ll find products with stainless steel construction, 20 or more elements, including more hex keys and chain tools, and hard carry cases. Certain models even offer tire patch kits along with the tool.

Compact roadside assistance

This tool kit won’t take up a lot of space, but it packs 16 different instruments to help you change flats and perform other repairs on the road. Includes multiple sockets, Allen keys, screwdrivers, and more. Three tire pry rods and a hex wrench are featured as well, but they aren’t part of the multi-tool.

Tips

  • Keep the bike chain clean and lubricated. It will extend the life of the chain. When the lubrication wears off or becomes clogged with grime, metal grinds on metal, which can cause damage to the sprockets or the chain itself.

  • Keep the tires properly inflated. One of the most important factors in a good bike ride is proper tire pressure. If the pressure is too low, the cyclist has to work significantly harder to maintain the same speed. You can also get flats more easily. Save yourself the trouble by maintaining a healthy tire pressure.

  • Keep the bike serviced. Take pride in maintaining your bicycle yourself, but don’t let it get in the way of proper professional service. If you use your bike a lot, particularly if you do so through the elements, schedule a service once per year, ideally at the start of spring.

Other products we considered

Our favorite bike multi-tools are quality items that can prevent a huge headache on the road, but they’re not your only options. We also considered the Pro Bike Tool Multi-Tool for its solid, compact eight-in-one design that boasts stainless steel construction. It also includes a bag that fits easily in your saddle bag. Similarly, the alloy steel VeloChampion MLT10 caught our eye due to its impressive selection of hex keys and sleek design. It has ten tools in one stylish, small package.

High-end bike multi-tools are made of stainless steel to guarantee strength and prevent rust. Stainless steel contains a high amount of chromium, which forms an oxide coating when exposed to water and air. This coating makes the steel less susceptible to corrosion.

FAQ

Q. Can I use a bike multi-tool to repair my tire?
A.
Yes and no. Certain models might include a tire pry bar, but it likely won’t be a part of the main unit, and that’s only part of the equation. You’ll need a tire pry bar, a patch kit, and adhesive (if it’s required) to do the job right. To properly repair the tire, find and mark the puncture, remove the wheel, remove the tire and tube, patch the hole, and reinstall. Remember, severe punctures could necessitate a replacement tube.

Q. What else should I buy to complete my bike repair toolkit?
A.
Bike multi-tools can complete several on-the-go repair jobs, but they won’t cover everything. To complete your toolkit, include a spare tire tube, tire plugs if you use tubeless tires, tire levers, a flashlight, knife, quick links for chain repairs, a pressure gauge, and a way to inflate your tires. This can by done with CO2 or with a mini pump.

Q. How do I stop my brakes from squeaking?
A.
Squeaky brakes can happen when the brakes, brake pads, or wheel rims get dirty. Clean and dry all components regularly to prevent this, but if the annoying screeching continues, you might need to tighten the brake cable or tune the barrel adjuster.

The team that worked on this review
  • Andrew
    Andrew
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Karen
    Karen
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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