D.he number of different, but often very similar, bicycle tools for on the go seems to be moving towards infinity. There is no new draft that is not immediately copied. And all of these “tools” want to be small and light, but have the essentials ready for any breakdown. Of course, this has its limits, not only in terms of the number of tools assembled, but also in terms of functionality.
In an emergency, you often have to screw in a place that you cannot access despite a suitable key, because the tools are so cleverly connected or so simply side by side as with the classic Brooks MT 21. Only in theory does it appear ingeniously compact if the shaft of the rivet pusher is milled in three sizes of open-ended wrenches for the spoke nipples. Having to pull in a new spoke with the almost complete chain tool in hand becomes an unnecessarily tedious job.
If Topeak brings together individually removable tools for a total of thirty functions in its Survival Gear Box for around 30 euros, that’s very reasonable. You get Allen wrenches from 1.5 to 8 millimeters as well as Torx T15 and T25, open-ended wrenches with 8 and 10 millimeters and a Phillips screwdriver. The spoke wrench (15 / 14g as well as Mavic and Shimano), the rivet pusher (not suitable for hollow rivets from Campa), the self-adhesive tire patches, two tire levers, a chain fixing hook and, two exclamation points, are really useful pad spreaders for the disc brakes are specially designed for bicycles. All of this weighs just under half a pound including the holder for the bicycle frame and there is space for even more things such as chain lock and chain pins in a well-sealed hinged box of around 10 × 5 × 4 centimeters. Everything fits into these 200 cubic centimeters, but only in exactly one way.
Pulling the right tools out of the box on a dull, rainy evening can cost a fingernail: They are bombproof. But then putting everything back in the box is a game of patience. Simply to despair.