Blackburn Big Switch multitool review
Compact but perfectly formed, the Big Switch tool is up to most road-side maintenance tasks
With a well thought out tool selection, superb build quality and everyday practicality, the Big Switch is hands down one of the best multitool options on the market.
Easy to use in tight spaces
No crosshead screwdriver
Open up the contour line patterned storage wallet of the Blackburn Big Switch and you're confronted with a multitool a little bit different to the norm. Rather than being a one piece style multitool Blackburn has broken the Big Switch down into five 'bits' with a tool at each end plus a multi-function holder/handle into which the bits can be installed. It might look a little more complicated than a standard multitool but it proves to be way more practical for most regular maintenance jobs.
If we look at the comprehensive list of tools present, Blackburn really has thought of the essentials and made sure they are present. Hex bits include all the critical sizes; 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm tools are all here.
What's even neater is each tool has chamfered edges to create better engagement with bolts at awkward angles, the two smallest are ball ended for even better purchase. T25 and T30 torx keys cover the modern bolt requirements (especially useful for disc brake users). Alongside these there is a flat head screwdriver and the threaded pin for the chaintool, completing the five 'bits'.
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In a smaller mesh pocket sits the body for the chaintool. This also doubles up as a spoke key with three sizes included. It also has a presta valve core remover and a wedge shaped design that doubles up as disc pad spreader. So all in all a pretty complete set of tools. Barring that is, a crosshead screwdriver which seems curiously missing however the flathead will fit for the majority of jobs that require a screwdriver.
Using the Big Switch
In use the Big Switch proves to be a winner. The closed spanner design of the holder allows you to use it as a T handle for maximum torque jobs, or you can slot tools in the open end and use another bit as a handle for more delicate adjustments. Either way it works in hard to reach spots and also provides enough leverage for harder jobs. If you need more force you can add another bit to the end to increase leverage even more.
Buy now: Blackburn Big Switch at Cyclestore for £25.19
The Blackburn big Switch also fairly lightweight at just over eighty grams and the wallet has a handy pocket for a bankcard and money. It came with a large rubber band to keep it all together but this can be a little bit of a faff to keep removing and replacing, so I would prefer it came with some velcro to keep it all together.
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James Bracey's career has seen him move from geography teacher, to MBR writer, to Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and video presenter. He possesses an in-depth knowledge of bicycle mechanics, as well as bike fit and coaching qualifications. Bracey enjoys all manner of cycling, from road to gravel and mountain biking.
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