Tools

Topeak Minitools – Review

I own two Topeak mini tools… not entirely sure why I have two, but suspect one was a present at some point… anyway they make a nice comparison.

The smaller, or rather more compact, of the two is a Topeak AlienXS. It’s a neat package in a black velcro bag, with a number of tools spread across two ‘halves’ that can be separated to make them easier to use.

Topeak-AlienXS-Content

My AlienXS didn’t come with the chain tool offered with the latest version and out on the road, I’ve only really ever used the 2, 5 and 6mm allen keys, and maybe the phillips head screwdriver. So I’ve always felt that I was carrying too much ‘tool’, and thought that a couple of simple allen keys would normally suffice, as a result the AlienXs is still pretty clean.

By comparison, my older Topeak Hexus-type tool is a grimy piece of kit that comes out on pretty much every ride, regardless of whether it’s on the road, off-road or just a Saturday spin out with the kids to the pub in the next village. The thing about the Hexus is that it has all of the tools you need in a usable package.

Topeak-Hexus-Content

The Hexus does away with the ring spanners and knives, that the AlienXS has, and just offers allen keys, a screwdriver, a chain tool and some tyre levers. It’s only a matter of time before I eventually lose one of those tyre levers, as they fall of the tool quite easily now, and the bolt that holds the tool together does have a tendency to come loose, but overall the Hexus works well for me. It it a fairly chunky tool, but when you’re trying to fix a bike a long way from home in the pouring rain, you want a tool that actually works – in fact the Hexus is so good that it regularly gets used in the workshop, which is something I wouldn’t do with most mini tools, just in case I rounded an allen key trying to loosen a bolt. Finally, I know that the purists would argue that you’ll never need a chain tool on a ride if you bike is well maintained, but chain problems do occur and it’s good to be able to fix them – earlier this year the chain snapped on my road bike*, and last year the chain on one of the boy’s bikes slipped down between the frame and the chain set, these things happen and a chain tool keeps the ride going.

So the favourite is the Hexus… it’s a solid piece of kit that has the right tools for most roadside repairs.

*To be fair, when the chain broke on my way into Bath, the result was a wrecked front mech and my family were en route to meet me further along, so I requested a rescue rather than repairing the chain in single-speed mode… but the Hexus would have worked.

Note that there are slight changes to these Topeak versions since I acquired mine.

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