16 Jun Gear Review: Topeak ALiEN II – 26 Function Multi-Tool
As far as being self-sufficient goes, having the right tools to fix your bicycle when it breaks down is downright necessary. To be caught without the right tools means that you might be stranded, or you’ll need to rely on borrowing from someone else. Finding the right multi-tool kit that has plenty of tools at your disposal and compact enough for you to carry on a long trip is incredibly useful. I did a bit of research online and found the tool that best fits these requirements is the Topeak ALiEN II multi-tool.
It is an incredible feat to pack in 26 tools into one small package for you to take on the road. That was one of the main reasons why I bought this tool was because it offers so many things that I should not find myself needing anything else. Otherwise, I’ll just have to bring it to the bike shop. As you can tell, I am a hands-on kind of guy, and I don’t mind getting my hands dirty so I needed something that allowed me to take things apart and adjust things on my bike. The ALiEN II gave me this flexibility by offering 26 tools. Here they are listed for your convenience.
- 2-L Allen wrench
- 2.5mm Allen wrench
- 3mm Allen wrench
- 4mm Allen wrench
- 5mm Allen wrench
- 6mm Allen wrench
- 8mm Allen wrench
- 10mm Allen wrench
- T25 Torx Wrench
- 8mm Box Wrench
- 8mm Box Wrench (On Pedal Wrench)
- 9mm Box Wrench
- 9mm Box Wrench (On Pedal Wrench)
- 10mm Box Wrench
- 10mm Box Wrench (On Pedal Wrench)
- 14g Spoke Wrench
- 15g Spoke Wrench
- Chain tool
- Chain hook
- Tire lever
- Tire lever
- #2 Phillips Screwdriver
- Flat Head Screwdriver
- Bottle Opener
- Pedal wrench
I’ve pretty much used all these tools before, so I have a good idea of how it works. The trickiest one to use is the chain tool and the pedal wrench as both require the pieces to come off.
The multi-tool comes with its own nylon carrying bag. The tool itself is made out of hardened steel and engineering grade plastic.
Not So Perfect
The first thing you’ll notice about this tool is that it is super bulky. Measuring at 8.6 x 4.3 x 4.1 cm (L x W x H) it is not as slender as one would like. It is also quite heavy weighing in at 290 g / 10.21 oz. A little over ½ lb in a bulky package makes it tough to carry with you. When I am not touring I usually have it strapped on my belt it, but it bulges out from the side. While on tour, I find it a place with the rest of my tool kit. If you don’t have space or are very sensitive to the size and weight, this tool is not for you. You’ll have to sacrifice having a robust solution for your own road repairs. That’s ok if you’re riding in your own hometown, but if you’re traveling longer distances, I feel it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If there is one thing you must carry with you on all your bike rides, this would be it. There isn’t any tool out there that is as comprehensive as what is provided here by Topeak. I bought this tool when I first started biking again about 6 years ago and have never even considered replacing it. That is a true testament to how great this tool is. If I ever lose it, don’t be surprise that it will be replaced with the same tool.
Here is the breakdown of what I like and what I do not like very much.
- Most tools found in one small package
- Knowledge of how to use each tool
- Very good construction
- Hardened steel
- Engineering grade plastic
- Comes with a carrying case
- Has pieces that can come loose
I actually went back and searched for a multi-tool that offered more functions and in the same small package and saw that Park Tool offered a 27-in-1 tool set. This might be a good alternative, but given that I’ve had this for almost 6 years now and I am completely happy with it, I will not be buying anything else so far.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.