We test the Fabric Sixteen multitool. How well does it work? And does it really have 16 tools?
Multitools represent a bit of a balancing act between having something portable, which doesn’t do much and may not have useful sizes of Allen key, and a chunky beast which does everything but is weighty and uncomfortable to carry. And often tools with lots of functions get to be quite pricy too.
Fabric’s Sixteen tool attempts to square the circle, being slim and reasonably lightweight while packing in plenty of tools, including a chain tool and an 8mm Allen key – items you usually only get on heavier and more expensive tools.
The Sixteen is a bit of a boast as there are four different sizes of square spoke key and a Mavic spoke key cut into the chain tool body and a bottle opener secreted somewhere that – rather like those tools for getting stones out of horses’ hooves which you get on boy scout penknives – many users are unlikely to find useful.
But nevertheless you get seven Allen key heads from 2mm upwards and they’re all easy to use, with the tool body’s flat design and rounded side plates giving good, comfortable leverage. The 6mm head is within the 8mm, which you need to pull off to get at it. The removable 8mm collar fits firmly though and has a small ball bearing to keep it in place, so it’s unlikely to accidentally get mislaid.
As well as the Allen keys, there’s also a single size 25 Torx bit and a Phillips screwdriver head in the tool. The flat-head screwdriver that appears in Fabric’s shots on its website has been replaced by a 2.5mm allen key.
Watch: How to rejoin your broken chain
The Torx and Phillips heads should let you fix most things on most bikes, although Torx heads are getting to be more common and some bikes have more than one size, so it’s worth checking if there’s anything essential you won’t be able to sort using the Fabric tool.
The chain tool is nice to have and reasonably easy to use. But it doesn’t fit as solidly into the body of the multitool as the other heads and is inclined to rattle. And although the tool is flat and light enough to be relatively easy to carry, you might find the weight a bit obtrusive as the Fabric Sixteen bounces around in a jersey pocket.
Well priced, quality multitool which packs in a lot of functions while still being compact. The flat body makes it easy to stow.