Tuesday, March 8, 2011

multi tools part two. the bike years and beyond

So once cycling started playing a bigger role in my life, it opened up a gigantic new product group for me to test out. Cycling multi tools. "be prepared" is the mantra repeated to all beginning cyclists. From tubes to patch kit to tools, there are endless checklists of what you need to survive a ride. It is one easy thing to have covered when you are struggling with some of the other more complicated issues on a bike-like not getting dropped....
I think I only have half of my first cycling multi tool a gigantic 2 section everything but the kitchen sink type model. Overkill seemed like the best idea as a rookie. Why not have a tool that could provide tools for road side repairs that I wasn't qualified to do? Why not haul around a half pound security blanket? Thankfully when your extended family realizes you are a cyclist, you can count on a steady stream of new gigantor multi tools like this on most birthdays and holidays.

Thankfully with experience comes some knowledge of what goes wrong on a ride and what you can actually repair. This brings the turn towards minimalism. Until it rusted into modern art, this was the only tool in my seat bag besides a tire lever. If it couldn't fix with that and limp home it was time to break out that phone and beg for help.

Oh and there is no reason a tire lever can't serve double duty. Thanks Ritchey!

Lately I just carry the bare minimum. Though those nice Soulrun tool rolls beg to be filled with some sort of demented multi tool....
Besides the practical aspect of bike tools, there are also the lifestyle aspects of bike tools. Is it really a multi-tool if it can't open a beer? Why should a tool perform only it's primary function if it could additionally open a beer? Take for example the Campy 15mm peanut butter wrench. Worked for track nuts. Fit in your bag. Classic Italian craftsmanship. Pretty much all you need, but you couldn't open a beer with it. This opened the door for the Surly Jethro Tule to enter my life. Pretty much a must have item when it appeared on the internet. Sadly no picture. It was in my tool box at the start of cross season and it wasn't there yesterday when I went to take pictures? A tool thief at a cross race? Sacrilege. Even though I mourn it's disappearance, I don;t miss it's shark like tendency to rip the entire top of the bottle. Fear not, the need for a 15mm wrench that could also open a beer is a niche that only one multi tool can't handle. Enter Swobo and Park's "collabo"

But suppose you don't have a bag with you and you are out on your bike and need a beer after changing a flat? No wrench combo is fitting in the back of those tight ass jeans. Don't fret, Pedro's is here for you!

Hey cross racer? You know, maybe you don't need a 15mm wrench, but you do need to keep the UCI off your back before hoisting a cold one? Well Stu Thorne has you covered.

So there you go. Laid out together that is a ridiculous amount of tools that do the same couple things. Especially when they all have companions on the peg board that performs only one single function in their quiver.
The only thing less explicable is the plethora?,abundance?,massive volume of random allen wrenches floating around. Where do they all come from and why can't they stay together?

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