Custom Toolkit

Over the years I have fallen for a variety of multi-tool devices which promise to have everything you could need, but actually turn out to be completely useless.  Although they appear to have every tool you need, and possible some tools you haven’t figured out how to use (but somehow know that when you need them you’ll work it out), it actually turns out that they are mostly useless.  The design of clever folding case and close-packed swiss-army-style packing serve to make each potential tool completely unusable.

So today I designed my own mutli-tool kit

Working on the basis that I know which tools I need to fix 95% of the problems I’m likely to encounter, and that I know which tools could fix another 4% that I’ve never had to deal with… I feel that for 1% of the problems I might as well have some money for a taxi.

Toolkit comprises:
  • 2.5mm, 4mm and 5mm ‘allen’ keys
  • 8mm spanner
  • chain link tool
  • quick link
  • needle-nose pliers

These are then wrapped up in an inner tube to keep it from rattling and to provide material I could use as a ‘boot’ if my tyre splits.  Elsewhere on the bicycle I have:
  • Frame pump
  • Cable ties
  • Oil and cloth
  • 2x inner tubes
  • 2x tyre levers
I think that this should be sufficient to cover most problems – at least most of the problems I’ve encountered at some point in the past.  What it will not address is bottom bracket / crank issues.  I have once had to try and tighten ‘Hollowtech’ brackets, which I managed to do with spare inner tube and a lot of grip from my hands.  I also found that a square-taper crank could be resolved by finding a garage and borrowing a tool.
So my new personal toolkit idea (was really stolen from an idea I found online) looks like this:

It weighs about 250g, which is about 90g more than my old Lyzene multi-tool.  The Lyzene looked stunning. And was totally annoying whenever I needed it.  My new device makes me look like a geek/nerd.  But the thing about being a geek/nerd is that at least when things go wrong you know how to fix them.


  1. I'd like to suggest using a Park chain tool, its much lighter and has better quality threads than a rivoli:
    Needle nose pliers are very adaptable, although for longer tours I prefer a Leatherman as this also includes a knife and cutters for those odd jobs (trimming a sidewall boot, converting found roadkill into meat…). Also having a pair of nitrile rubber gloves is handy to save your mucky paws from getting oil everywhere.

  2. The chain tool in my pack is branded "cyclo" – I don't remember where I bought it.

    A few weeks ago I helped a friend fit a new chain to his bicycle, and used this "cyclo" chain tool to remove the old one, unfortunately the tool seemed to melt under the pressure of pushing out the old pin – so either I used it incorrectly (which I doubt) or it was just a cheaply made pseudo-tool.

    Your advice on the Park Tool is appreciated and I'll have a look to replace the "cyclo" chain tool.

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