As far as multi-tools go, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that has more features than this one. Let’s run through them:
– 2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8 Allen Keys
– T25 Torx key
– crosshead screwdriver
– flathead screwdriver
– chain rivet extractor
– disc adjuster
– tyre lever
– can opener
– spoke wrench 3.2/3.4/4.3/4.4/Mavic
This means that it has almost any tool that you could want while sat at the side of the road needing to repair your bike to get back to civilisation. The good thing about it is that each of the tools work very well for their intended purpose and I tested the tool while building a new bike, which gave me the perfect opportunity to test practically everything on it
Each of the Allen keys work well and the only additional key I needed was for the cranks, something which almost nobody is likely to need at the side of the road. None of the keys showed any kind of flex when trying to undo bolts that have not been touched in at least six months
As with each of the bits on the tool, the individual Allen keys fold out nicely with reassuring resistance. The only minor issue I had was when I wanted to quickly access one specific tool and would sometimes pull out the two or three around it, before having to fold them back in
The T25 Torx key was equally effective. It’s worth noting that the E-Version 20 does come in two version, one with a flathead screwdriver, and one with an additional Torx T15 key which replaces the screwdriver. I was testing the version with the flathead and both it and the crosshead screwdriver worked well. I sometimes find that multi-tools which use cheaper metals are shown up when it comes to the screwdrivers but that’s not the case with the E-Version 20, which uses aluminium and chrome vanadium throughout, making for effective and durable tools. Despite multiple drops and deliberately treating it with contempt during the testing process, it still doesn’t have a scratch on it, which is real testament to its quality.
Continuing the theme, the chain tool worked well on both the old chain I took off and the new one I replaced it with, the knife is sharp and effective (it has a silicon cover, which is definitely a necessity) and the spoke wrenches also do their job well. In order to use four of the spoke keys, it’s necessary to completely remove the chain breaker as they are housed in its body. This takes an extra few seconds, but it is nice to not need to use the entire tool body when adjusting the spokes.
The only real criticism that I have of the multi-tool (and every other one I have used above 15 pieces) is that its inherent size can make in difficult to use in tight spaces. For instance removing the rear brake caliper requires the tool to be taken out and repositioned after every three quarter turn. In reality it’s a relatively minor issue considering you’re unlikely to make such adjustments on the road, and individual Allen keys from a tool kit are more suitable in the workshop. Plus, there’s inevitably a trade-off when it’s comes to a tool as well equipped as this one. Birzman’s E-Version range also includes multi-tools with 15 and five bits, so it’s up to you to weight up which tools you realistically need, and how important size and convenience are to you.
The only tool that I found didn’t work well was the can opener, but it works far better as a bottle opener, something that I am sure will actually come in handy more often anyway (for that post-ride beer!). The final 3.4 spoke key sits within the body of this, which does mean that you need to twist the entire tool to use it in the tight spaces between the spokes.
The multi tool can be found at a very reasonable £18, which is great value for something that is sturdy and well machined. Others are cheaper and others are more expensive, but in terms of bang for your buck, I don’t think there are many that come close to this.
Overall, this is a great multi-tool if you want something which has almost everything you might need on the side of the road.. It’s well priced too with an RRP of £21.99 given the finish, number of tools and their quality.