Let me preface this post by saying that I love Crank Brothers’ products. I use their pedals, their pumps, and their tools. That being said, I would like to offer some constructive criticism on one of their new items that I came across at Interbike. The tool is called the Y Tool. The tagline is that it is a shop quality tool to being with you on the ride. By shop quality, I am assuming they mean the construction and style of the tool. Any mechanic remembers, or uses the Y-shaped tools made by various tool companies in the shop. They’re both fast and easy to use. Crank Brothers wanted you to be able to take it on the road. So let’s break this tool down after the break.
Roadside triage on the bicycle is at best, fairly easy. Forget flat tires, everyone should learn how to change a flat. But when you get to things with the word “broken” appended to them, your tools will define how successful you can be at repair.
First, repeat after me:
Portable multitools are for emergency repair and do not replace shop level tool kits.
There’s a reason multitools are compact and small, it’s so they can fit inside a saddle bag, or jersey pocket. This portability makes them easy to transport, but the downside is that any repair is going to take five times as long because you lose things like leverage, and a size that allows for efficient use. Crank Brothers is trying to change that by using a tool format that is used in shop level tools.
As a mechanic, I can say that the Y style tools are nice in hand, and offer enough leverage to tighten bolts, and loosen the most stubborn fasteners. They’re not my go to tool, but I do use them. Because of their format, they’re not the easiest to carry on a bicycle. The Crank Brothers Y tools overcome this in two ways: Slightly smaller overall size, and handy carriers for the tools. There’s two Y wrenches on each side, connected by a magnet in the middle in the plastic carrier. The tools have the common hex key sizes, sockets, and a wrench with magnetic bits consisting of screwdriver tips, etc. Also included in the spaces between the arms of the Y wrenches are a chain breaker, a CO2 inflator head, and compartments that hold a patch kit and magnetic bits. All of these combine to a couple of compact packages.
I did say at the beginning that there was going to be some constructive criticism, and to be honest, it’s nitpicking. The bits rattle around in the metal cover. This could drive some riders to the brink of insanity. Another thing about the magnetic bits is that they are small magnetic bits. The typical ones you find included with the magnetic tipped screwdrivers. If you’ve ever experienced trying to fix your bicycle on the side of the road or trail, losing these things would probably not be a hard thing. I spilled them opening the cover as it’s on there pretty darn tight. Maybe some kind of bit holder or magnet to kill two birds with one stone: limit the rattling and the ability to throw them everywhere when opening it.
That’s the review for me. I didn’t have enough time to take a bunch of pictures because I was at Interbike on business, not as a media outlet. Crank Brothers didn’t disappoint in the looks department as the tools look good and are functional as well. Maybe I can talk the wife into letting me get a set, to add to the 15 or so other sets I have laying around the apartment.