Fabric 16 in 1 Review
Cons: Limited Torx selection, chain tool lacks leverage
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Fabric 16 in 1
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|$26.79 at Amazon|
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$27.99 at Amazon
|$42.95 at Backcountry|
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|$34.95 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Lightweight, compact, ergonomic frame, simple design||19 functions, comes with storage case, good ergonomics, all-metal construction||Simple layout, lightweight, ergonomic frame||Lightest in the test, small, durable||Affordable, lots of functions, durable quality construction|
|Cons||Limited Torx selection, chain tool lacks leverage||heavy-ish, on the larger side||chain tool lacks leverage, short bits||Mediocre ergonomics||On the bigger and heavier side|
|Bottom Line||The 16 in 1 wields impressive capability in a small, lightweight, straightforward package||The Crankbrothers M19 is a cleverly designed model with all the tools you need to get you out of a bind on the trail||An inexpensive, user-friendly multi-tool with all of the basic functions necessary to keep you rolling||Boasting the lightest weight in our test, this model packs 16 functions into its reinforced polymer frame||This quality multi-tool has all the functions you need at a reasonable price|
|Rating Categories||Fabric 16 in 1||Crankbrothers M19||Pro Bike Tool 17 in 1||ToPeak Ninja 16+||Blackburn Tradesman|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Fabric 16 in 1||Crankbrothers M19||Pro Bike Tool 17 in 1||ToPeak Ninja 16+||Blackburn Tradesman|
|Number of Functions||16||19||17||16||18|
|Weight With Cover||N/A||209g||118g||N/A||N/A|
|Hex Wrenches (mm)||2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 mm||2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 mm||2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm||2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 mm||2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 mm|
|Torx||T25||T10 & T25||T25||T10, T15 and T25||T25 & T30|
|Screwdrivers||Flat head, Philips||Philips #1, #2, Flat #2||Phillips||Flat head, Philips||Flat head|
|Addtional Tools||Spoke wrenches sizes 13, 14, 15, 16, and Mavic Spline, bottle opener||8mm & 10mm open wrench; #0, 1, 2, 3 spoke wrench||Spoke wrenches sizes 13, 14, 15, 16, and Mavic Spline, bottle opener||Spoke wrenches||disc pad separator, quick link storage, quick link separator. 1,2,3 spoke wrenches, plus a valve core tool.|
|Size, Length x Width x Depth/thickness||2 3/4 x 1 3/4 x 3/8||3 1/2 x 1 7/8 x 3/4||1 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 1/2||2 2/5 x 1 3/10 x 1/2||3 1/2 x 1 13/16 x 13/16|
Our Analysis and Test Results
With products like cageless water bottles and knurl-textured bar tape, Fabric is well known for its innovative, clean design. Their products span a range of components and accessories from riding lights to saddles, with everything they make reflecting their mission to improve the cycling experience with simple, ergonomic designs. We've had experience with their products before, so we were excited to see how they applied their unique style to bike multi-tools. After weeks of testing, we found that the 16 in 1 stays true to their mission with a simple, user-friendly design and a well-thought-out suite of tools.
With 16 functions, the 16 in 1 isn't the most feature-laden tool we tested, but given it's lightweight, compact design, we don't think it's fair to ask for much more. At the forefront of this tool's feature package is its full suite of hex wrenches. A pack of 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm wrenches represents nearly a full workshop set of metric hexes. You'll rarely find a 10mm hex head on a modern bike, and if you do, the torque will be far too high to conquer with a multi-tool anyways. The hex suite is complemented by the commonly-used T25 Torx wrench, a phillips head screwdriver, and a chain breaker. While the T25 is the most common Torx bolt found on modern bikes, you'll undoubtedly run into the occasional T15 or T30 that this tool won't be able to help you out with.
Along with the frequently-used wrenches, the 16 in 1 packs a few more niche features that will get you out of the unexpected jams. The chain tool doubles as a spoke wrench with 13, 14, 15, and 16 gauge and Mavic Spline sizes. Last but not least, the chain tool also packs a nifty bottle opener to ensure you're not caught out when it comes time for a post-ride beverage.
For such a small tool, the 16 in 1 is surprisingly wieldy. The 2 3/4 x 1 3/4 x 3/8 inch frame fits well in the palm and provides decent leverage for average operations. The smooth aluminum frame makes a comfortable interface between your hand and the tool when applying pressure and doesn't cause any pain during high-torque operations. The frame is a little bit shorter than some of our favorite tools in the test, but we still managed most operations without issue. Higher-torque procedures like pedal removal are difficult with this tool, but we managed it with a little bit of elbow grease.
Like any traditional multi-tool, the 16 in 1 can be a little bit rough to use in tight places. With short tools, its boxy frame isn't conducive to threading hard-to-reach bolts. Our biggest ergonomic issue with the 16 in 1 popped up the first time we tried to break a chain. The chain breaker's handle is fairly small, and it's so packed with spoke wrenches that it's hard to apply torque without causing hand pain. We had a bit of a rough time breaking the chain but were ultimately able to get it done, and for an emergency chain tool, that's all that really matters.
At 107 grams and less than three inches long, the 16 in 1 leaves plenty of space for snacks, a tube, and a first aid kit in your pack. For those out there who avoid packs like the plague, the low profile and light weight mean this tool can be slipped into a shorts, jersey, or bib pocket without bouncing around too much. The tools fold neatly into the smooth frame, so you don't have to worry about bulges or pokey bits creating discomfort over time or potentially injuring you in a crash.
The 16 in 1 is one of the lightest tools we tested. It outweighs the 12-function Specialized EMT Pro by just one gram and the 16-function Topeak Ninja 16+ by thirteen.
Ease of Use
Fabric's straightforward design means the 16 in 1 is one of the most user-friendly tools we tested. The traditional bike multi-tool design with a rectangular frame and rotating tools fixed to either end makes tool selection, use, and storage fast and easy. There's no wrap or case to remove and replace before and after use, and each tool has an engraved label. We appreciated not having to waste time fumbling through wrenches before finding the right one for the job.
While it's incredibly easy to use, we would be remiss if we didn't do a little bit of nitpicking. The whole tool is comprised of a single piece other than the chain tool and a small 8mm hex wrench bit that slides over the 5mm wrench. If you want to use the 5mm hex, you need to remove and keep track of the tiny 8mm bit. We spent more than a few minutes fishing through pockets and scanning the dirt to find where we absentmindedly placed that tiny bit a couple of times in testing. If you're the type that can be trusted to retain small parts, this shouldn't be a problem for you, but we certainly struggled with it.
All signs point to the 16 in 1 lasting as long as you can manage to keep track of it. The CNC'd steel tools held up well to our testing process and showed no signs of wear by the time we were done with them. We had our concerns about the aluminum frame but didn't have any issues with it in testing. On higher torque operations like pedal removal, you can feel the frame flexing in your palm, but we think it would take a lot of strength to do any damage to this thing.
The 16 in 1's below-average price and above-average performance mean that we think it's a great value. It isn't the most capable tool out there, but it's enough to prepare you for most mid-ride mishaps. Its light weight, smooth profile, and compact frame make it a pocket-friendly option for anyone who doesn't want to haul around a pack or saddlebag, and Fabric's no-frills design means less time fussing with gadgets and more time riding. If you want to be prepared for anything, you might want to look at a more feature-rich model, but anyone else would be well served by the 16 in 1.
Fabric aims to improve the cycling experience with simple, body-friendly design, and we think they hit the nail on the head with the 16 in 1. This tool didn't blow us away with gadgets and features. Instead, it focused on the user experience with a clean, well-thought-out design, sturdy tools, and rider-friendly weight. We didn't find much to dislike about this multi-tool, and we're sure that most users will have a similar experience.
— Zach Wick
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