review Cyclo 20 Function Multi Tool

Verdict: Comprehensive and reasonably priced tool but its size is a mixed blessing

The Cyclo 20 Function Multi-tool is well equipped for most bikes and scenarios, right down to composite tyre levers and glueless patches. If price is your bottom line, £1 per function is hard to fault. That said, while long tools are brilliant for torque and leverage, they can also prove cumbersome in confined spaces.

Pros: Comprehensive, good value and generally nice to use

Unusually, the frame is made from a sturdy grey composite, with two 'plug in' tyre levers. These press-fit very securely, so are unlikely to disappear into the depths of a bag. Behind these, you'll find a useful steel wire chain hook and 2mm Allen bolts, which hold the tool bits in place.

The bits themselves are made from heat treated steel, with an attractive nickel-plated finish.

Allen keys consist of 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm. The 8mm is a 'cap' that affixes snugly to the 5mm.

There are four Torx bits – T10, T15, T25 and T30 – which are increasingly popular fasteners beyond disc brakes, and the obligatory Phillips screwdriver.

The chain tool is another interesting piece of kit. Supposedly compatible with 11-speed, it also incorporates a chain hook.

The curious looking 15mm wrench is for pedals, and there are no fewer than four spoke keys: 3.23, 3.3, 3.45, 3.96mm.

Beneath sits a resin platform hosting a couple of glueless patches.

Overall, this is a very comfortable and generally pleasant tool for general tweaking. The generous tool length is a mixed blessing, though: great for speedy tightening of crank, pedals, stem, seatpost, SQR hitch bolts and similarly high-stress or weathered fasteners, but it can also limit access in confined spaces – for example, when tightening bottle cages on a small, compact geometry frame.

On the plus side, the combination of Torx bits and decent length makes for easier liberation of cleat hardware, which can often get overlooked and seize/round off. The Torx splines bite into soft/rounded 4mm Allen bolts, providing sufficient purchase for extraction (without resorting to penetrant sprays or drilling).

The tool's broad profile and sculpted edges fit very nicely in the palms. This is also welcome when breaking and rejoining chains. The threaded pin is a slightly sloppy fit, but isn't a major problem with 7, 8, 9, 10 or 11-speed 3/32in chains. In a pinch it split and rejoined a stainless steel 1/8in track offering, but it felt under strain with this heavier duty type, so we are talking emergencies only.

Chain tools tend to be the weak spots, though I have several still going strong, nine years on (save for a busted chain splitter). To my surprise, the 15mm open spanner will do the business, should you need to tackle a track nut or pedal.

Spoke keys of this genre are similarly pragmatic – they'll get you back on the road/trail, though I'd never describe them as pleasant to use.

Length is generally your friend, but shorter bits can come into their own in some contexts, such as nipping a twin-bolt post cradle snug. The tool, and often my knuckles, catching the post made this a slower process than using smaller L-shaped bits, such as those found on the Blackburn Grid 13.

The composite parts and tool bits feel dependable and have withstood quite a bit of force. I've only needed to tighten them twice during a month or so of testing, and I've used them pretty much daily. There's no hint of light freckling or similar corrosion, although the multi-tool hasn't been left in a soggy seat pack for long periods.

The Cyclo offers a lot of functions for the money and seems sturdy, although the Newton 20 function tool(link is external), which Dave reviewed back in 2008, is cheaper and all steel, which may fare better in the long term. The Topeak Hexus X gets you one more function for an extra couple of quid, though it might be easier to lose individual tools which could be deeply frustrating.

Overall, I'd say the Cyclo 20 Function Multi-tool is a decent staple. Just bear in mind that it could be a bit cumbersome in confined spaces – a consideration if your fleet includes smaller, compact geometry framesets.

Review Score: 3.5/5