Unless you are a pedal to the metal, who cares about tomorrow, ride it ‘til it breaks kind of rider, chances are that you’ll always go out on a ride with at least some kind of tool kit.
As a kid, this may have been the pressed steel hex lever and pair of Allen keys that came with Raleigh of Nottingham’s latest creation/monstrosity (anyone remember the Vektor?) or if you are a first generation mountain biker, the near-mythical Cool Tool which by today’s standards would probably be anything but.
The proliferation of mini tools took on an almost arms race-style urgency, with all manner of ill-advised designs coming to market such as those so small that you would have probably got more leverage sticking your fingers into an Allen bolt or one that even featured a shock pump! All in the name of progress.
Having tried many of these designs and finally settled on a Park Rescue Tool MTB 3 as my go to tool of choice, I was intrigued to see whether Lezyne’s compact and bijou SV11 multi tool could bring anything new to the party. Jaded? Moi? Perhaps just a little.
A tool in the hand is worth two on the workbench.
Fitting easily in the palm of my hand, the SV11 is undeniably neat and compact with more than just a hint of shininess to appeal to the inner magpie. Supplied in a neat leather strap (ideal for ensuring that it doesn’t rub a hole in the back of your cycling jersey), at just over 100g it’s almost so light that I’ve occasionally wondered if I had remembered to bring it on a ride.
All the usual sized Allen and Torx bits are included (2,2.5,3,4,5,6 and 8mm Allen heads; T25 and T30 Torx heads) as well as a flat-headed screwdriver and a forged chain breaker that will work on 9, 10 and 11 speed chains. I’ll just have to accept their word on 11 speed as that is one speed beyond any of my current set ups.
Ignoring my grumpy preconceptions, I took the tool with me on all manner of rides, from fast ‘cross bike blasts to big mountain days out to see how it would fare. The lack of weight and compact size proved to be a real boon, as carrying it in a jersey or short pocket meant that it was always close to hand for those inevitable seat post adjustment or gear fixing moments that seem to occur at least once a ride. No more delving into the depths of a pack.
The inclusion of an 8mm Allen bolt is worthy of mention as many mini tools only go as large as a 6mm; this is fine unless, like me, you run pedals that require an 8mm tool to tighten them in the cranks or if you run cranks that are tightened with an 8mm bolt. It may not happen often but knowing that a loose pedal or crank isn’t going to spoil the ride is no small benefit.
The little, little things
Special mention must also go to the inclusion of the 90 degree, 2mm Allen bolt which is ideally positioned on the tool for adjusting disc brake levers where the adjuster is located at the base of the lever arm. Having experienced the almost Basil Fawlty-esque frustration of trying to adjust the bite point with regular multi tools, little details like this put a smile on my face.
The machined aluminium chain breaker made reasonably short work of a particularly stiff broken chain link – although given the option I would prefer it to be slightly larger to give more leverage, which can be a factor on cold, wet, wintery days where cold hands can potentially struggle to break a chain. One notable feature is that the driving pin and threaded insert are a one-piece affair. If you’ve ever been out on the trail with a broken chain and tried to fix it only to find that the pin has fallen out of your chain tool then you will understand why for me this is another good design feature.
Only on one occasion did the tool let me down when it couldn’t deal with a seized inner tube valve, which required a set of pliers back at base to fix but that it is truly nit-picking and down to pilot error. Lesson learned. If you need to fix something with pliers, pack them.
The Lezyne SV11 would be a worthy addition to anyone’s ride kit. Despite its diminutive size which means you have to give up a little in leverage compared to larger tools, the forged stainless steel bits have stood up well to several months of use with no visible signs of wear. Its lack of heft means that you can always have it to hand for mid-ride repairs, its single piece construction means that there are no bits to fall off and lose and at £36.99, it’s not going to break the bank.
|Product:||SV 11 Mini tool|
|From:||Upgrade Bikes, upgradebikes.co.uk|
|Tested:||by CJ for six months|