Smart way to go about always having a multi-tool handy for emergencies
Sep 19 2018
Tools - multitools
Neat way to carry a tool, taking it out of your pocket/pack
Easy and tool less installation
Won't void any warranties
Using chain breaker means removing whole assembly
Small tool best just for emergencies
You want to take kit out of your pockets and want a tool that is easy to install
The Specialized SWAT Conceal Carry MTB Tool is a neat way to carry the crucial multi-tool and quick link getting kit out of your pockets or backpack. It’s easy to install too, but it is pricey compared to a competitor given the more limited range of function and storage.
This SWAT tool has been installed on top of the range Spesh bikes for some time but it is now available to buy separately so you can add it as an upgrade to your Specialized or any other bike with an alloy steerer. I put mine on my long-term test bike, my Cotic Rocket where it has stayed perfectly in place for the last couple of months.
In a nutshell, the Conceal Carry Tool fits inside the steerer tube of your fork and stashes a small 6 piece multi-tool, a quick link and also can be used as a chain breaker too. The tool lives under a swivelling top cap, beneath the tool is a spring which gently pushes the tool upwards when you slide the cap to allow you to remove it.
The whole assembly does away with the star nut in your fork steerer and your top cap, instead clamping together from top to bottom with its own top cap and lower brace under the fork crown. The two pieces are separate and threaded together in the middle of the steerer tube. It’s best explained by looking at the photos below.
The piece comes with four different length rods through which to apply tension so should suit a whole range of head tube lengths. The tool is very easy to install, bang out the star nut, pop in the top cap and tool element to the steerer tube, thread in the rod with bottom clamp piece and tension. The hardest thing is choosing the right length rod and getting the thing lined up inside the steerer when you can’t see what you are doing. It’s hard to get wrong though, just needs 5 minutes of your patience.
It’s a neat little idea, the top cap works smoothly every time and the whole thing isn’t the least bit bothered about muck, grime or exhaustive washing. One word of warning though, the swivelling top cap uses two very tiny ball bearings, if the cap does happen to come loose as mine did straight out of the box, be very careful you don’t loose those bad boys, they are tiny and a fiddle to get back in. Fortunately, I think the grub screw holding the bolt for the cap locked in place must have just been a bit loose from the factory as I haven’t had a problem since.
Specialized SWAT Conceal Carry MTB Tool-5.jpg, by Rachael Gurney
The tool itself houses a 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm Allen keys and a T25 Torx key, not the largest range of tools but enough to get you out of trouble trailside. I run pedals that need an 8mm Allen key to remove so I was happy to see the inclusion of this large bit. To fit this larger key into the tool the 8mm is flat so best left just for emergencies as its easy to allow it to slip when using it with some force. The small nature of the tool doesn’t give much leverage so you won’t want to get it out for every day use but it is nicely shaped with free moving pieces, it’s a good quality tool for sticky situations when you don’t want to carry other gear.
The quick link fits into the bottom clamp whilst the chain breaker is located in the lower half of the upper element of the assembly and used in conjunction with the pin at the end of the threaded rod. Using the chain breaker or getting to the quick link does mean removing the entire construction though, but I guess if you are in a position where you are fixing chains then it’s probably an involved mechanical anyway and a little extra time to replace the tool after use isn’t too much of a hassle.
On the other hand, it’s my guess that you might have bought this tool to save time and faff, this being the downfall of the SWAT Conceal Carry Tool. The similar One Up Components EDC Tool manages to store a larger tool, tyre levers, a quick link, a CO2 cartridge, a chain breaker, a spare chain ring bolt and a spoke key, which can all be accessed without removing the housing from the steerer tube. We have the OneUp tool on test too and whilst this might be a little more involved to install (you need to tap the steerer) it does allow you to quickly access tools and it can carry more too. The One Up costs a little more (approx. £6.00) including the purchase of the top cap and tap tool but if you have a mate or a bike shop that already own the tapper then it’s nearly £20 cheaper at the current exchange rate.
If you just want a neat and nifty way to store a multi-tool then the Specialized SWAT Conceal Carry MTB Tool is a smart way to go about always having a tool in place for emergencies. It easy to install, it’s a five-minute fitting job and can be done without tools and by anyone, even those lacking any mechanical sympathy. There is a better option out there though with more tools and ones that are easier to access, the only downside of this opting being a lengthy fitting process and obvious voiding of a warranty of your fork - a big factor to consider, something that might just see the Spesh option coming out on top.
N.B. The official line coming from the guys at SRAM is that fitting something like the OneUp tool MAY void the warranty. They won't be more specific but we reckon the decision will be down to discretion at the time and this policy will vary from country to country. Other fork manufacturers will also differ in their policies.
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 Mountain Biking UK and Flow magazine - for as long as she's been riding and is equally happy getting stuck into a kit review as she is creating stories.