Five great multi-tools for less than £35

How do you go about finding a good multi-tool?

Here are 6 of our favourite mountain bike multi-tools that cost less than £35.

You’ll know by now that a decent mountain bike multi-tool is an essential bit of kit if you’re serious about your riding. All but the shortest of rides can be a total failure if just one bolt comes loose – a multi-tool turns a ruined ride into a quick fix. We’ve picked the £35 price mark as it seems to cover a number of very good options – but doesn’t feel so expensive that you’re breaking the bank.

Pete took on the mammoth task of testing all of these tools. He’s been carrying them all around with him for the last few months, using them on the trail, back at home and doing his best to give them a thorough beasting.

Pete’s measures for a good tool are low weight, sturdiness, value for money, number of tools that it offers and – of course – how well it actually works in real life bike-fixing.
Lezyne Topeak Specialized N8tive Multitool Grouptest Wideopenmag

Let’s get started.

Multi-tools are a funny one. There are the ‘essentials’ that simply must be included, and then the rest. Depending on what bike you’ve got, you might want more Torx keys than anything else. What we’re aiming to do here is find the best multi-tool under £35 that offers durability, ease of use and whether or not the heads round off when we’re a little ham-fisted.

We’ve 6 multi-tools that will be getting a good old hammering over the coming months.

Our 6 multi-tools are:

  • N8tive Multi-Tool Maxi 19
  • Crank Bros. M19
  • Specialized EMT Pro MTB
  • Topeak Mini 18+
  • Lezyne CRV-12

The Benchmark.

Three years ago, I paid my own money for a Topeak Mini 9 Pro. Since then it’s been everywhere with me and hasn’t skipped a beat. Long, hot cycles through the washing machine haven’t stopped it going about its business, nor has been left in a sodden riding pack for weeks at a time.

With Allen keys from 2 to 6, a Philips head and tyre levers there’s not much else you need for most rides. Newer versions have a T25 head instead of the 6mm. At 73g it’s a featherweight, but sports half the tools of the rest seen here, and well under half the price of most.

That’s the bench mark by which I’ll be measuring anything else. No pressure!

N8tive Multi-Tool Maxi 19: Great for opening beersMulti-ToolTestN8tive

  • £30.21 RRP.
  • 130g.
  • 19 tools.
  • Tool steel and aluminium construction.
  • 70mm long, folded.
  • Bottle opener.
  • Racing

The N8tive Multi-tool Maxi 19 has the unenviable task of being neither the smallest, lightest, cheapest or sporting the most tools, but for some that simply may not matter. The Max 19 is sensibly proportioned and isn’t daft expensive while offering all the bells and whistles the other, more expensive tools do. A bottle opener might not swing it, but it’s ideal for the post-ride adult beverage refreshments.

Buy online here.

Crank Brothers M19 – rock solid, lifetime warranty Multi-ToolTestCB

  • £29.99 RRP.
  • 175g.
  • 19 tools.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Stainless carry case.
  • 7 colour options.
  • 89mm long, folded.
  • Crank

The largest in the test and almost the heaviest, the M19 is in a different league to the others. The brushed stainless carry case is a classy addition for the price although it might be considerably cheaper without it. The lifetime warranty gives promise to its solid construction, which has been faultless throughout. A nicer fit in my hands at least when performing trail maintenance, and the case does help keep the crap out of the fixtures. Just don’t lose the cap, or it’s redundant.

Buy online here.

Specialized EMT Pro MTB – the lightest and the smallest of the bunchMulti-ToolTestSpeshEMTSplayed

  • £35.00 RRP
  • 104g.
  • 13 tools.
  • Spoke keys, pad separator and bottle opener.
  • Low profile forged alloy frame.
  • Forged, CNC’d and chrome-plated tools.

Specialized’s EMT Pro MTB is both the lightest, the most expensive and the smallest overall in the test. If weight is a priority then this is likely the tool you’d go for. Weight is saved by a lower number of tools than most, sporting 13 instead of the 18 or 19 the others here do. This is one for the racers. It’s got enough to get you out of a pinch, but maybe not enough for those longer rides where you might need those smaller, or bigger, Allen keys. Again, post-ride adult refreshment is catered for, but seems out of place in this lightweight-focused package.

Merida eOneSixtyMerida eOneSixty

Buy online here.

Topeak Mini 18+ – Tiniest tool, biggest punchMulti-ToolTestTopeak

  • £24.99 RRP
  • 185g.
  • 19 tools.
  • Hardened steel tools.
  • Forged alloy frame.
  • Neoprene carry case.
  • Spoke keys (14 and 15g).
  • Tyre levers.

Topeak is certainly a brand associated with tools and quality. The Mini 18+ is the smallest, yet heaviest tool in the test, meaning its built to last. The neoprene case helps prevent the tools making holes in you while you’re busy falling off your bike. The most tools in the smallest overall size is an impressive feat, which is no surprise considering the masters at Topeak designed it. The no-brainer, no-frills option. Cheap, sturdy with all the bells and whistles. The best value tool on test I’d say.

Buy online here.

Lezyne CRV-12 – small, light and great valueMulti-ToolTestLezyne13-001

  • £26.99 RRP.
  • 115g.
  • 67mm long, folded.
  • 12 tools.
  • Three spoke keys, Mavic included.
  • Forged alloy plates.
  • CrV steel hardware.

Small and lightweight, without the price tag of the Specialized EMT, this one of two Lezyne offerings is a contender for overall best from the off. A Mavic spoke key might not swing it for most, but if you’ve a set of French hoops, your eyes should be on the CRV-12. This likely comes in a very close second behind the Topeak offering as the best value. If you’ve big hands, the larger frame and additional leverage might swing it, but there really is just £2 and some grams between these two.

Lezyne also make an STL-12 full stainless steel version, which is almost a tenner more expensive. Given the two offer identical tools, we’d say opt for the cheaper version and save yourself some cash.

Buy online here.

Pete has been hauling these tools round with him all summer long for a proper big-mountain test.

Pete has been hauling these tools round with him all summer long for a proper big-mountain test.

Pick of the bunch.

All of these tools performed the tasks asked of them without failure or any real complaints, so in the end, it all boils down to a mix of personal preference, price and quantity of tools.

Crank Brothers M19 multi tool review winner

While not the smallest, lightest or cheapest, it was the Crank Brothers M19 that offered the best performance when out on the trail. A longer overall length gives longer Allen/Torx keys and a longer lever to get them moving. Loosing and tightening was way easier as a result, and the long, smooth outer frame sits more comfortable in the hand. The lifetime warranty is reassuring too and the carry case is a classy addition.

A close second goes to the Topeak Mini 18+. Smallest and cheapest on test by some way, with a handy neoprene case to stop any wayward tools entering your skin in a crash. This tool has clearly had some serious thought put into it, hence the diminutive size and clever features like the extendable chain breaker handle that doubles up as a pad spacer.

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