Any self-respecting cyclist – or should that be bike-respecting cyclist – needs to own a set of tools and general maintenance items.
And when I say tools I don’t mean pound-shop allen keys and a rusty old ratchet set you found buried in the garden shed. Decent tools are finely calibrated and made from quality, hardwearing materials.
They don’t strip threads or wear smooth the edges of your bolt heads, they don’t snap or bend at the crucial moment – they do make whatever maintenance job you’re doing fundamentally easier.
The very best of them are ergonomically designed, nicely balanced, and just sit well in your hand.
Pro Bike Tool
…are something of a new kid on the block – created in 2015 with a leap of faith and some entrepreneurial spirit – who currently have a small-ish range of tools and other maintenance related bits of kit.
As a small independent (rather than a faceless multi-national) I was keen for their tools to be as good in the hand as they look on the website.
They didn’t disappoint.
It comes in three parts: a rack of ten tool bits, a tool bit extender, and a quite beautifully curvy stainless steel handle.
The extender connects to the handle, the tool bit pops nicely onto the extender, and a small switch flicks the direction of the ratchet mechanism.
When the job’s done, the red spring loaded collar on the extender releases the bit, and the whole lot slots snugly into a sturdy hard-case pouch.
All the parts click in and out simply and positively. The handle has a comfort and smoothness, and that slight heft to it that ensures no fumbling or mis-alignment mid job.
It’s a brilliant, very useable (and very mobile) bike tool.
The Mini Ratchet Tool would slot into a jersey pocket or saddle bag, perhaps when touring or tackling a big day on the bike.
For my money it’s role in life is as the perfect item to take away on a cycling holiday – when you need the means to carry out maintenance but space in your luggage is at a premium.
Even EasyJet aren’t going to charge extra for a Mini Ratchet Set!
It’s top notch.
As with the Ratchet Set, the High Pressure Pump is ideal for your biking holiday. When you’re away, somewhere sun kissed and epic, you need to be able to inflate your tires to your desired pressure.
You can thumb the tire and guess, or you can go the whole hog and lug a large and cumbersome track pump onto the plane with you.
Secret option number three is this: a standard sized, high pressure bike pump, with an integrated pressure gauge.
It will clip to your bike frame or slide into your jersey pocket, but for my liking is a tad too big to be my mid-ride pump of choice. Instead, for me it’s a great mobile version of the trusty track pump.
As with the ratchet set the quality is blindingly obvious.
You can feel it.
There are no shakes or rattles. The connecting tube slots into and out of it’s storage position crisply and cleanly. The connection screws to the valve of your inner tube and stays where it’s been told to.
The pumping action I find fairly stiff (though that may be due to my pitiful upper body, neglected in favour of quads and calves), but the high pressure it delivers ensures you’ll get the job done before the lactic really kicks in.
And the gauge, when I’ve cross checked it against my track pump, is reassuringly reliable.
All told – a great option to take on your travels.
I should mention that I’m really not the type to get excited about tools. In my mental league table of stuff, things that look nice often trump things that are really practical.
It’s just the way I am.
Fortunately, the Pro Bike Tool Multitool 8-in-1 wins on both counts: it’s a slimline slice of engineering beauty.
I flippin’ love it!
A large part of this is about that slim profile, which not only looks great but is very practical. It will slide nicely into your saddle bag, no trouble to anyone, ready and waiting to be whipped out and put to work.
And it’s a pleasure to use.
When you swing open your tool of choice it auto-indexes into the 90, or 270 degree position, with a gentle “clunk”. Primed for use.
That slimline body also, for my (fairly small) hands, is perfect to hold and offer leverage when working on the bike.
And there is definite precision at work here.
There is not the merest hint of wobble or rattle, and although the way it is put together – the physics and the engineering of it – is beyond the ability of my tiny brain to explain properly, it looks designed to last.
Time will tell, of course.
At this point, it bears mentioning that this stuff does not come cheap.
It falls within broadly the same bracket as the really reputable and high quality tools you can buy – Park Tools come to mind, as a direct competitor – and so expectations have to be high.
I, to say the least, was not disappointed.
The fact that I have actual, genuine enthusiasm – particularly about the ratchet set and the multitool, some of the most practical items of bike kit I’ve ever owned – say’s it all.
Consider Pro Bike Tool when you’re next upgrading or replacing your bike tools.
I’d be amazed if you were anything other than impressed.