Fabric's take on the trusty old multi-tool is an interesting one with a whole lot of potential, but how does it hold up in the real world?
The Chamber Tool is a novel approach to the multi-tool, a concept as old as time itself (in the modern cycling world, anyway).
It’s a sleek cylinder atop which sits a ratchet mechanism. Within the body – the chamber of the name – sit the 13 tools that can be used in it.
There’s a good spread in terms of tools, with everything from 2mm through to 8mm Allen keys. There’s also two Phillips screwdrivers and two flathead screwdrivers, plus Torque 10 and Torque 25 keys.
These are double ended and sit within a honeycomb-shaped holder within the body. The 8mm adapter is stored in the middle, held in place by a rubber bung.
Happily, the pieces do sit tight, although the removable base is prone to falling out of the bottom. The clumsier riders among us could well find themselves losing parts.
Conspicuously by is absence is a chain tool: it would be good to see Fabric factor this into the next edition of the tool to really make it a full house.
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So, as novel as it is as an idea, there’s still room for improvement.
For starters, the ratchet mechanism doesn’t work when a bolt is quite loose. The fact that the body then sits at 90 degrees to the tool can make turning it, as you would a conventional multi-tool quite difficult.
A solution is to remove the tool from the head and use it with fingers until the bolt is tight enough to engage the ratchet mechanism.
However, once the bolt is tight enough to use, the shape and angle of the tool can then make it a little difficult to use on cramped places on the bike.
I’ve also found it to be not particularly well built. Sadly, dropping it resulted in a dent to the thin outer body which now affects how well the inner body and outer body tighten together. It still remains together but the two don’t sit flush any more.
Similarly, the keys sit quite loosely in the ratchet mechanism and are prone to wobbling about.
As with everything Fabric produces, it’s a good-looking design that sits comfortably in a jersey pocket. However, it does smack a little of form over function right now, and it would be good to see the company resolve the wobbly ratchet mechanisms as well as finding a way to include a chain tool.
The Fabric Chamber Tool has great potential but falls a little short at this stage. Improving on some design weakness and including a chain tool could really take this novel idea to the next level.