As the component and accessory arm of Swiss mega-brand, Scott Sports, Syncros has been steadily growing its repertoire over the past couple of years. From super high-end carbon fibre mountain bike wheels and one-piece integrated bar & stems, through to grips, dropper posts, saddles, bolt-on mudguards, pumps and bags, the range of products on offer from Syncros is getting bigger by the season.
Joining Syncros’ existing line of flip-out multi-tools, the Guide Multi-Tool joins in as a high-end, ratchet-based tool kit. With a comprehensive array of bits and tools to help you fix your bike while traipsing about in the mountains, it’s a bit of a step up from your average 8pc multi-tool.
One of my favourite features – and something that’s likely to please the more obsessive mechanics among us – everything comes wrapped up in this neat little tool roll.
Open out the roll, and you’ll discover a mini ratchet driver, three torx bits, four hex bits (and an 8mm adapter), a Phillips head and a 5Nm torque limiter – that’s the gold bit at the top. You also get a mini chain breaker with machined-in spoke keys, and there are two plastic tyre levers and some glue-less patches.
With a couple of notable exceptions – which I’ll touch on below – the Guide Multi-Tool comes with pretty much everything you’d need to cover the various nuts and bolts on your bike.
Syncros Guide Multi-Tool Kit Features
- Mini ratchet driver w/54t reversible gear
- 5Nm torque limiter
- Hex keys: 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm & 8mm
- Torx bits: T15, T25 & T30
- Phillips Head PH2 bit
- Mini chain breaker w/integrated spoke keys
- 6 x glue-less patches
- 2 x tyre levers
- Includes tool wrap
- Total weight: 207g
- RRP: £64.99
What I Dig About The Syncros Guide Multi-Tool Kit
Upon seeing the Syncros Guide Multi-Tool Kit for the first time, I had flashbacks to the Topeak Ratchet Rocket Lite NTX we’ve previously tested. Indeed it would appear the mini ratchet driver is identical, which is no bad thing. It’s got a nice buzz with a 54t engagement ring, and a fiddly black lever switches it into reverse for undoing bolts.
In my experience, ratchet tools do require more faff to use. In the case of the Guide Kit, I’ll first take the roll out of my bum bag’s waist pocket, undo the elastic loop to unfold the roll, detach the ratchet driver from its magnetic holster (nice touch!), find the bit I require, load it into the ratchet head, then ensure the engagement switch is on the correct clockwise/anticlockwise setting. If you could barely muster the patience to make it through that sentence, then this most definitely isn’t the multi-tool of your dreams.
If you’re not one for rushing however, then you will be able to enjoy a whole lot more usability here than with your average flip-out tool.
You can load bits into the base of the ratchet driver for speedier tightening/loosening, and the slender profile and 85mm length gives you greater freedom for accessing those difficult-to-reach areas. Like bottle cage bolts, and saddle clamps. You can also use the torque limiter as a socket extender if needed. When you reach 5Nm, there is no audible ‘click’ – instead, the limiter will rotate freely at that point, stopping you from over-tightening brake clamps and stem bolts on your lightweight carbon bars.
Compared to a multi-tool, the ratchet driver is also much easier to tighten up to those higher torque values in the first place. So far the high quality chrome vanadium bits haven’t let me down, with a clean fit with everything I’ve used them with. I also really like that all the bits have their own elasticated pocket, which keeps them secure while being easy to access and swap around. For apartment dwellers with limited space, and those who are travelling on a biking holiday, the mini-shop kit style is plenty usable.
What Doesn’t It Have?
For me, the main omission from the Guide Multi-Tool Kit is the lack of 2mm and 2.5mm hex keys. You’d normally need those to adjust things like brake lever reach, SPD pedal spring tension, and derailleur limit screws. Nothing vital, and they are the sort of things that should be dialled before you ever set foot out of the house, but then, well, shit happens. And shit has a greater chance of happening while mountain biking – usually when it’s raining and you’ve just picked yourself up off the ground after a silly excursion OTB.
Because the bits use a standard size, I’d personally just go out to the hardware store and pickup a 2mm and 2.5mm hex bit, and swap them around with the T15 and T30 bits, which are less commonly used. Then again, the T30 did come in handy for tightening a shock mounting bolt with a Scott Ransom I tested recently, which uses T30 pivot hardware.
With no magnet, the 8mm hex bit adapter simply floats on the end of the 5mm hex bit, which didn’t fill me with confidence when undoing tight pedals. The adapter has a habit of sliding off on its own too, so I’d highly recommend not fitting your pedals on an outdoor decking with large gaps between the wooden slats.
The only other addition you could make to this kit is a set of spare chain links, which will conveniently clip onto the chain tool, where they’re held in place via a couple of small magnets.
Speaking of the chain tool, it’s ok. I have found it a little fiddly in use, but it will get the job done as long as you take your time. Likewise, the tyre levers aren’t great, and lacking enough in both strength and leverage that I bring along an extra set with me. Given the quality elsewhere, I’d love to see Syncros improve on these accessories.
The obvious competitor to the Guide Multi-Tool is Topeak’s Ratchet Rocket Lite NTX. Equally lovely to use, the Topeak kit misses out on the chain breaker and a T30 torx bit, but it comes with more hex bits (2mm, 2.5mm, and a proper 8mm bit) and it has three torque limiters; 4Nm, 5Nm and 6Nm adapters. That’s somewhat overkill for a small travel kit like this, and it’s a contributing factor to the Topeak’s higher £72.99 sticker price.
I’ve also been using the Fix-It Sticks Mountain Kit recently, and I must say, I do love the quality and usability of the T-bar style tool – it feels a lot more like something you’d use in a home workshop. The modular bits are easy to switch between the two magnetic ‘Sticks’, and while the carry case is less refined, everything is stowed pretty securely.
Fix-It Sticks doesn’t include any torque limiters though, which is partly why the Mountain Kit is cheaper than the other two. The standard bit-and-driver size means you can add a torque limiter separately if you so choose though. Both the chain breaker and tyre levers in the Fix-It Sticks kit are much better than the Topeak and Syncros equivalents.
The Syncros Guide Multi-Tool Kit is a neat and well-organised ratchet tool kit that includes the majority of essentials you’d need to sort you out on the trail and get home before your supper gets cold.
The chain breaker, 8mm adapter and tyre levers aren’t my favourites, but they’ll all get you out of a pickle when called upon. The stowage roll is a real highlight though, and combined with the little ratchet driver, an array of bits and the 5Nm torque limiter, this is a very functional and reliable tool kit.
|Tested:||by Wil Barrett for 5 months|
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Add in the Topeak Torqbox Nano NM (£12) to your fix it sticks and bam.. great tool set.
This does seem to be a better route than folding multi-tools. I (ridiculously) bought the Spurcycle tool, which doesn’t have a ratchet. Ludicrously light and rather nice to use: https://www.spurcycle.com/products/tool
just discovered the Blackburn Big Switch Multi-Tool at £24 and 134gm… #Toolmania
@fivealive – That’s a fantastic idea! Will check out the Topeak Nano Nm and also the Blackburn Bit Switch – cheers for the head’s up!
@BigDummy – I totally agree. Finding folding multi-tools to be a bit awkward to use now I’m used to these bit-style tool kits. And holy cow, that Spurcycle tool is b-e-a-utiful :-0