The best cycling multi-tools and Allen keys

A cycling multi-tool and a set of Allen keys are a cyclist's best friends for on-the-road adjustments and fettling at home

best cycling multi-tools
(Image credit: george eyres)

A cycling multi-tool will help keep you rolling if you need to make adjustments when out riding. For at-home bike adjustments, an Allen key set will serve you better though, so it's useful to have both. 

At home, it's best to use a full sized Allen key, as the likelihood of rounding a bolt is reduced and you can get a lot more leverage when you need it, without so much hand discomfort from sharp edges. But whilst on the go, most cyclists carry a multi-tool in their jersey pocket or saddle bag for its compact size and versatility.

Allen, or hex, key sets vary in quality. Spend more and you'll enjoy a snug fit, reducing the chance of damage to the bolt. Those with a 'T' or 'P' handle as opposed to the standard 'L' shape allow greater grip on the handle, and you can also get 'three way' versions with three sizes on one handle. Some will have "ball ends", letting you tackle hard-to-reach bolts at an angle rather than head-on.

An Allen key set is not the same as a Torque wrench - which you use to ensure the bolt is tight enough without putting too much stress on the component in question.

Some bolts use a star shaped Torx head, which requires Torx keys, though these are slightly less common.

Turning to multi-tools, these vary dramatically in size, weight and price. Some riders prefer to carry just a couple of tools in a small, lightweight package, whilst others would rather take a more hefty tool with almost every potential get-out-of-jail free card to hand. 

The latter is particularly useful if you're planning to head out for multi-day bikepacking excursions or hit the off-road on your gravel bike. Specialised tools like a chain breaker incorporated in your multi-tool are a godsend if something goes wrong.

We've rounded up some of the best cycling multi-tools and Allen key sets below - and there's more information on what to look for in our Buyer's Guide at the bottom of the page.

Our pick of the best cycling multi-tools

(Image credit: george eyres)

Reasons to buy
+Excellent functionality+‘Proper’ chaintool could be used every day
Reasons to avoid
-Potential to lose important tyre lever if you are forgetful-Chunky design makes it slightly less packable

The Park Tool IB-3 multi-tool brings the workshop to the road with a host of classic features making it stand out among the rest.

Read our full review of the Park Tool IB-3 multi-tool.

Best multi-tools cycling

Lezyne SV11 multi-tool

Lezyne SV11 Multi-tool

Reasons to buy
+Quality finish+Sleeve to protect other kit

With a beautiful polished chrome finish and a leather-esque sleeve, you'd be forgiven for thinking the Lezyne SV11 multi-tool is all about the looks but its practicality holds true.

Best multi-tools cycling

Topeak Mini Pro 20 2016

Reasons to buy
+Enough tools to cover every eventuality+Lightweight and compact design+Neat neoprene sleeve
Reasons to avoid
-Some tools too small for effective use-Chain hook easy to lose-Expensive

This fully equipped multitool is neatly designed and filled with tools you never thought you'd need. You can find out more in our full review of the Topeak Mini Pro 20.

Best multi-tools cycling

Birzman E-Version multi-tool

Birzman E-version 15 multi-tool

Reasons to buy
+Competitive price+Includes a chain breaker

As the name suggest this little tool box houses a 15 function multitool at a very attractive pricetag.

Blackburn multitool

(Image credit: Blackburn)

Reasons to buy
+Lots of tools in a compact package+Handle gives more leverage than a conventional multi-tool+Easy to use in tight spaces
Reasons to avoid
-No crosshead screwdriver

The Blackburn Big Switch comprises a handle plus a set of plug-in tools, with each having a head at each end. It's a clever design with lots of tools and plenty of leverage and even includes a chain breaker.

You can read our full review of the Blackburn Big Switch multi-tool for more details.

Fabric 16-in-1

(Image credit: chris catchpole)

Reasons to buy
+Lots of tools including a chain breaker+Compact+Flat design makes it easy to stash
Reasons to avoid
-Five of the tool count are spoke keys and another is a bottle opener

The Fabric 16-in-1 multi-tool contains plenty of tools in a slender package, although Fabric counts five different sized spoke keys and a bottle opener in that tally. It does give you a chain breaker and an 8mm Allen key, needed to tackle many pedals. 

You can read our full review of the Fabric 16-in-1 multi-tool here.

Best multi-tools cycling

Pedros RxM Multi-tool

Reasons to buy
+Excellent functionality of all the tools on offer+Comfortable composite body feels great in the hand
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of Torx or Phillips head tools-Chunky design takes up a lot of space in a saddlebag

If you're looking for a meaty tool, Pedro's your guy. Going for quality over quantity, the Pedros RxM multi-tool has a clever design that offers 12 properly useable functions all neatly packaged together in a composite body.

Read our full review of the Pedros RxM multi-tool.

Best multi-tools cycling

Crank Brothers M10 Special Edition multi-tool

Reasons to buy
+All functions are of a practical length for easy use+Made of quality materials backed up with a lifetime guarantee
Reasons to avoid
-One of the heaviest multitools on test-Lacking a chaintool

Crank Brothers produce this dependable tool with all the feature you could ever possibly need wrapped up in a classic Crank Bros design.

Read our full review of the Crank Brothers M10 Special Edition Multi-tool

Our pick of the best Allen/hex key sets for cycling

best allen keys cycling

Wera Metric Hex Key Set

Reasons to buy
+Colour coded+High quality tools+Ball end+Clip to hold together

Wera make excellent, more than workshop quality, tools - and this set of L shaped hex keys is no exception.

The stainless steel version provides a greater contact with the surface of the screw head, and you get a ballpoint on the long arm. The colour scheme makes it quicker and easier to spot the correct size, and the tools come in a handy clipped holder.

We've also reviewed the Wera Hex Plus Allen key set, with a patented shape designed to reduce the chance of rounding off a bolt head.

best allen keys cycling

Park Tool P-Handle Hex Wrench Set

Reasons to buy
+P-handle ups grip and leverage+Come in a stand with space for other tools

These Park Tool hex keys come with a P-handle, making them easier to get a good grip on.

They come in sizes 2-10, which should answer most bike requirements, and are supplied in a handy stand which also has space for some three-way handle tools, too.

best allen keys cycling

Park Tool 3-Way Hex and Torx Wrench

Reasons to buy
+Three most common sizes in one tool+Easy to grip
Reasons to avoid
-Torx head doesn't serve as many bolts as the Allen keys

Another Park Tool option, but this time with just 3 common sizes: 4 and 5mm hex, plus a T25 Torx. This should have you covered for the vast majority of tasks, and the handle makes for an easy grip.

Buyer's guide: what to look for in a cycling multi-tool

Like a Swiss Army knife, a good cycling multi-tool should allow you to effectively deal with any maintenance issues you might have whilst out on a ride or even as a do-it-all workshop tool.

A well made and thought out multi-tool should be practical enough to enable the use of all the features and not have ‘token’ features. It should be comfortable in use and the tools of sufficient quality so as to not damage precious parts.

Why do you need a cycling multi-tool?

A good multi-tool will accompany you on all of your rides so needs to be reliable. You should be able to practically strip a bike down completely using one, so it should include all of the correct sized Allen keys and Torx keys required for modern bikes along with others such as screwdriver heads or a chaintool and not have anything obsolete or impractically sized.

How do we test cycling multi-tools?

The cycling multi-tools were used for a variety of tasks both out on rides and in the workshop to check functionality, ease of use, comfort, weight, and durability.

Key Features to look out for in a cycling multi-tool

  1. Practicality – there is no point having 20 different functions on the multitool if they cannot be used properly.
  2. Versatility – a good cycling multi-tool should be allow you to fix most mechanical issues whilst out on a ride.
  3. Durability – The tools should be strong enough to withstand repeated use and not fail you when needed most.