Pro Bike Tool 17 in 1 Review
Cons: chain tool lacks leverage, short bits
Manufacturer: Pro Bike Tool
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Pro Bike Tool 17 in 1
|Price||$28 List||Check Price at Backcountry|
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|$32 List||$31.95 at Backcountry|
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|Check Price at REI|
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|Pros||Simple layout, lightweight, ergonomic frame||19 functions, comes with storage case, good ergonomics, all-metal construction||Lightweight, compact, ergonomic frame, simple design||Affordable, lots of functions, durable quality construction||Integrated tire lever|
|Cons||chain tool lacks leverage, short bits||heavy-ish, on the larger side||Limited Torx selection, chain tool lacks leverage||On the bigger and heavier side||Poor ergonomics, questionable durability, large size|
|Bottom Line||An inexpensive, user-friendly multi-tool with all of the basic functions necessary to keep you rolling||The Crankbrothers M19 is a cleverly designed model with all the tools you need to get you out of a bind on the trail||The 16 in 1 wields impressive capability in a small, lightweight, straightforward package||This quality multi-tool has all the functions you need at a reasonable price||The Park Tool IB-3 has all the right tools, but its ergonomics are lacking and its durability is questionable|
|Rating Categories||Pro Bike Tool 17 in 1||Crankbrothers M19||Fabric 16 in 1||Blackburn Tradesman||Park Tool I-Beam|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Pro Bike Tool 17 in 1||Crankbrothers M19||Fabric 16 in 1||Blackburn Tradesman||Park Tool I-Beam|
|Number of Functions||17||19||16||18||15|
|Weight With Cover||118g||209g||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Hex Wrenches (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||2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 mm||1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm|
|Torx||T25||T10 & T25||T25||T25 & T30||T25|
|Screwdrivers||Phillips||Philips #1, #2, Flat #2||Flat head, Philips||Flat head||Flat blade|
|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||disc pad separator, quick link storage, quick link separator. 1,2,3 spoke wrenches, plus a valve core tool.||8 mm box wrench, tire lever, 2 spoke wrenches - 3.23 mm & 3.45mm|
|Size, Length x Width x Depth/thickness||1 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 1/2||3 1/2 x 1 7/8 x 3/4||2 3/4 x 1 3/4 x 3/8||3 1/2 x 1 13/16 x 13/16||3 1/2 x 1 5/8 x 1|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Five years ago Pro Bike Tool may not have been a household name in the cycling industry, but the company is quickly gaining popularity and reach by providing high-quality tools at accessible prices. Their mission to create easy-to-use, reliable, and affordable tools is manifested in the 17 in 1 multi-tool. This tool doesn't come with any harebrained design gimmicks or marketing fluff. It's a straightforward, well-executed design that packs the essential functions necessary to keep most bikes rolling through common mid-ride mishaps.
A multi-tool is only as good as the repairs that it can handle, and the 17 in 1 has the capability to solve most minor mechanical issues. With seventeen functions, this tool isn't the most feature-laden model we tested, but it also doesn't waste space or add weight by including superfluous bits. The suite of tools includes all of the common hex sizes with 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex keys, a T25 Torx bit, a Philips head screwdriver, a flat head screwdriver, 13, 14, 15, and 16 gauge, and Mavic spline spoke wrenches, a chain breaker, and the all-important bottle opener. The Fabric 16 in 1 multi-tool includes almost the exact same feature package, but with the 17 in 1 you get the added bonus of a flat head screwdriver for a similar price.
The 17 in 1's features go slightly beyond what we consider the basics necessary for a good multi-tool. The nearly-full suite of hex wrenches should be enough to tackle any hex bolt on a modern bike, and the variety of spoke wrenches certainly have you covered if a wheel needs attention. The lack of Torx wrench variety is the only real issue you might encounter. While the T25 is the most common Torx size found on modern bikes, you will almost certainly run across a T15 or T30 bolt occasionally. These bolts don't live in places that commonly need adjustment or repair mid-ride, but if you want to be prepared for any eventuality, you might want to look at some of the more full-featured models we tested.
Despite the 17 in 1's relatively diminutive size and light weight, we found it fairly ergonomically friendly. The 1 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 1/2 inch frame fits well in the palm and provides solid leverage in high-torque operations. The aluminum frame is also quite sturdy, and each side is smooth with rounded edges. This means that you can apply just about as much pressure as you want without the frame digging into your palm or flexing. The shape and size mean that this tool doesn't provide quite as much leverage as some of the larger tools in the test, but it holds its own surprisingly well.
The main ergonomic sacrifices that the 17 in 1 makes for the sake of size are the relatively short tool bits and the small-handled chain breaker. The bits aren't the shortest we tested, and they should work just fine in most situations and for most bikes. Hard-to-reach, recessed bolts often found on pedals, derailleurs, and cranksets could pose an issue for the stubby wrenches. Although, we wouldn't necessarily advise using a multi-tool for high-torque operations like crank or pedal removal. The basic chain breaker design is fairly common among multi-tools, and all of them typically have the same issue as the 17 in 1. The small handle fin can be hard to hold during the pin-pressing process, and it requires a bit of strength to complete the operation.
The 17 in 1 isn't the lightest or most compact tool we tested, but at 112-grams and half an inch thick it's very portable. The low-profile design slips easily into a jersey or shorts pocket, and the low weight means it doesn't bounce around or create a nuisance while riding. If you want to carry it in a pack or saddlebag, it leaves plenty of space for some extra snacks along with your tube and first aid kit. Pro Bike Tool includes a small carrying case, but, while the case looks nice, we quickly came to the conclusion that it was unnecessary. With all of the tools folded into the frame, the profile is smooth without any bulges and it stores nicely regardless of whether it's in the carrying case or not.
If you're looking for the lightest tool, the 17 in 1 is bested slightly by a few other models we tested. The Topeak Ninja 16+ and Fabric 16 in 1 come in at a slightly lower weight, but each of those tools packs fewer functions than the 17 in 1 and will cost you a few bucks more.
Ease of Use
Its simple layout and user-friendly nature is the 17 in 1's biggest strength. This tool is among the easiest to use of any tool we tested. The traditional rectangular frame shape with folding tools packed into its interior makes tool selection quick and easy. Each bit is engraved with a label, so you never need to question which hex size you're looking at. When it comes time to pull this tool out and make an adjustment on your bike, there's no disassembly or digging around for bits required. Simply rotate out the bit that you need and wrench away.
The only aspect of this tool that we didn't find user-friendly is the 8mm hex bit. Rather than including a standalone 8mm hex, Pro Bike Tool chose to use a small bit that fits over the 5mm hex wrench. This means that in order to use the 5mm hex, you need to remove the 8mm bit and do your best not to lose it while you're working. The tiny bit could easily disappear if you drop it in the dirt on the side of the trail or if it bounces away on the pavement. We understand that the 8mm hex takes up considerable space and that combining it with the 5mm bit allows for the compact design, but for the sake of user-friendliness, we would prefer a bit that doesn't separate from the main body of the tool.
Our experience in testing indicates that this tool will serve you well as long as you can manage to keep tabs on it. After countless wrenching operations the CNC machined steel bits look as good as they did when we pulled them out of the package and the aluminum frame shows no signs of wear. The T25 Torx bit held up well to our rotor bolt torque test, showing no signs of spinning on us. Even if you're a ham-fisted mechanic, these tools should hold up to the punishment you dish out.
As one of the least expensive models that we tested, the Pro Bike Tool 17 in 1 is a great value. The price-to-feature ratio is among the best in the test, and the simple design makes this a great tool for any roadside mechanic. We liked this model so much that we named it the best value in our test. Riders looking for a good all-around tool that won't break the bank or weigh you down would be well served by this model.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time using the 17 in 1. So many of the tools that we test have a learning curve that you have to overcome before you're comfortable with all of the functions, but this tool's simple, traditional design means you can pull it straight out of the packaging and start wrenching. It does make some small sacrifices in tool length and chain breaker leverage to maintain its compact profile, but that won't keep us from recommending it to any rider.
Other Versions and Accessories
Pro Bike Tool also offers a 20 in 1 multi-tool with a slightly more robust suite of tools. The 20 in 1 offers an additional Torx size with a T30 as well as a valve core tool, and rudimentary 8, 9, and 10mm wrenches.
— Zach Wick