A neat package that is great for small spaces but you are limited to using the ball head end of an allen key.
Mar 16 2018
Tools - multitools
Neat and light package
Good for hard to reach areas
Solid, well made tools
Ball head bits only applicable some bolts
Missing any regular Allen key heads
Case is a little large
You want an extra tool for the fiddly stuff on the trail
The Blackburn Switch Multi Tool is a neat little package containing just eight tool heads in a minimalist wrap-around case. Its T-shaped handle gives good leverage and its great for small spaces but you are limited to using the ball head end of an Allen key.
Tools included in the small case are T25 and T30 Torx bits, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6mm Allen keys and a flathead screwdriver. The nylon carry pouch and elastic band keep thing tidy and secure with enough room to store some extra items, say patches, tubeless repair kit or a debit card for example. It measures 107x64mm when closed and weighs just 99g.
To assemble and use the tool the largest part of the kit with the round socket shaped end is the wrench, forming the handle. Into this slots one of the four double-ended tools, I pressed this in one-handed easily using my thumb, or for the more pointy bits, the floor padded out by the case. Bits can be inserted in an L or T-shaped manner depending on the leverage you require. In addition to this, the bottom of the wrench can be fitted with the screwdriver, for example, to allow the tool to function as a regular screwdriver, albeit small.
The Switch multi-tool is a pleasure to hold and use, the small well-formed parts fit together well and there is plenty of friction for a secure grip on the handle. I mostly used the tool for small adjustments to brake and dropper post levers where a ball headed Allen key is applicable. The Torx bits are great though for those bolts such as on RockShox dropper posts and brake disc bolrs. The tool is perfect for getting into some hard to reach areas but for anything that requires a bit more torque such as brake calipers or to a certain extent stems and steerer tubes you are still going to need a regular Allen key, especially if you need to undo and adjust a bolt that has been in place for some time. Additionally, if the bolt is muddy or damaged, the ball head bits aren't a good match and you'll need to tread with care.
It does take longer to use though than a regular Allen key, unfolding the tool roll and assembling the tool doesn’t seem worthwhile for quick trail adjustment. With the ball head bits, you can’t rush either, otherwise, you risk rounding off an integral bolt. If you have time to hand though and a few things to adjust and set up, taking the time to use this tool is worth it for the ergonomic benefits it offers.
As an additional tool I’d like to see the case to be a bit smaller and keep things really minimalist. As for the price, this little number will set you back £18 and for an extra multitool is always going to be a bit steep in my opinion. Saying that, it is well made and looks fit to last with no discolouring or rust despite spending some time in the bottom of a soggy pack this winter.
The tool is great as an addition to your pack if you decided the small weight penalty (and cost) in addition to your other regular multi-tool is worth it for more intricate trailside maintenance.
Blackburn say - "Hit the road or trail carrying everything you need for basic repairs or adjustments in one handy, compact case. This tiny yet super functional kit includes T25 and T30 torx bits, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6mm allen bits and a flathead screwdriver. Individual T or L handle tools let you access tight places and give you more leverage on bolts and screws."
Well built, solid construction
Product performance extra:
Good as an extra tool for more fiddly repairs but you will still need a regular multi tool
Product weight extra:
only 99g for tool and case
Product comfort extra:
Nice simple shaped tool to use. The smaller bits are a little uncomfy to press into place but this was dealt with by using the pouch to protect the bit and pressing it in on the ground.
Product value extra:
It's a tool which is always going to be an additional extra, so £18 for an extra multitool is always going to be a bit steep in my opinion. Saying that, it is well made and looks fit to last.
The tool is great as an addition to your pack if you decided the small weight penalty (and cost, £18) in addition to your other regular multi tool is worth it for more intricate trailside maintenance.
No - a regular multi tool on the trail is all I want to carry
Only if you want an extra tool to get to the more fiddly bits of your bike
Rachael is happiest on two wheels, she's been riding bikes for a good few years now after horses got too expensive! Partial to a race or two Rachael also likes getting out into the hills with a big bunch of mates. She's been writing for publications such as, Enduro Mountain Bike Magazine, Mountain Biking UK, Bike Radar, New Zealand Mountain Biker and was also the online editor for Spoke magazine in New Zealand too. For as long as she's been riding and is equally happy getting stuck into a kit review as she is creating stories, she also coaches mountain biking and when she's not busy with all the above she's serving coffee from a horse trailer!