The 1 bike tool you need

I have a toolbox full of bike tools, some dating back 30 years – crank pullers, freewheel removers, sprocket remover, double-ended cones wrenches, tire levers, spoke wrenches, a wheel truing stand, a cable stretcher, a third hand, allen keys, a torque wrench, chain wear gauge, an assortment of wrenches, needle nose pliers, chain tools, chain cleaner, side cutter pliers, pumps, screw drivers and pedal wrenches.  The list goes on.  I have an assortment of both metric and imperial tools.  Unfortunately, there is no standard for bikes.  And, as the technology changed, I needed to maintain disc brakes, cantilever brakes, suspensions, cassettes and carbon parts.  I use all of these tools from time to time depending on which bike I am working on.  But the most used tool in my box is the 3-way hex wrench (3, 4 and 5 mm) pictured above.  I use it regularly to adjust saddles, seatposts, stems, bottle cages, brakes and derailleurs.

I prefer the tools designed and manufactured by Filzer, a Vancouver company and available from MEC.  They are well designed, easy to use, reliable and conveniently available at all MEC locations and on-line.  Their 3-way hex wrench has a ball on one end, which allows the tool to be used at an angle off-axis to the bolt (this type of hex key was invented in 1964 by the Bondhus Corporation).

Some features I like –

  • The tool is small, light and easy to use.
  • The angled use feature enables you to reach obstructed components that otherwise require a small allen key.
  • The palm-fitting handle allows you to apply all the torque necessary, unlike single allen keys.
  • The contact surfaces of the bolt are protected from external damage.
  • The key fits snuggly into the bolts minimizing any potential for damage to the bolt head and enabling the tool to hold the bolt in place during installation.
  • Very small bolt heads can be accommodated.  I also have a 2, 2.5 and 3 mm version as well used for small adjustment bolts on brakes and derailleur assemblies.
  • The tool fits most of the components on both my commuter and road bike.  As the rides have been upgraded, I have been careful to use mostly Shimano components.

If I was just starting out, the 3-way hex wrench is the first tool I would purchased.

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