BLACKBURN WAYSIDE MULTI-TOOL
198g including retaining strap £32.99
The Blackburn Wayside multi tool is a neatly designed nineteen function pocket-workshop, designed, as it name suggests, to tackle pretty much any situation in the back of beyond. Perfect, if you wanted to cut down the amount of tools you were carrying, especially on a group ride.
Talking of which, some of the team religiously park theirs in bike mounted luggage. Folding tools, especially really comprehensive models like the Wayside, can cause nasty injuries in the event of a crash. However, I’ve found it will slip pretty securely and comfortably into most jersey pockets.
Aside from the stubby 6mm and 8mm, all are designed with leverage in mind and made from nickel plated chrome vanadium steel. Removable - click-in, click-out - L shape 2, 2.5, 3, 4 and 5mm keys, with one flat and one round head, are a definite plus when access and leverage are required, say nipping bottle bosses tight, adjusting Aheadset bearings, or removing stubborn shoe cleats.
Need to wind those stem bolts up real tight? Plug the 5mm bit into the hollow 8mm stubby for some additional torque. It’s worth mentioning that the rounded aluminium alloy side plates also fit nicely in the palm and I’ve been using it as my go-to when fettling the families’ growing and increasingly eclectic fleet. Just like their switch, a rubberised strap keeps everything together and has provided convenient parking for tyre levers and small spanner.
Serrated knives might not be the sort you’d hand to teenage riders but can prove invaluable when camping or mountain biking. Then of course, there’s the increasingly obligatory disc brake kit - T25 and T30 torx and pad spreader, three sizes of spoke wrench (#0, #1, #2), which should tame delinquent discs and wobbly wheels.
The valve core bit is another pleasant surprise. Not something you’d necessarily use too regularly but a potential godsend. Chain tools can prove a weak-spot, even on the best models. Blackburn has gone the extra mile here too, Not only does the Wayside version it make short work of 9 to 11 speed derailleur widths, the multi-tool incorporates a chain hook, which makes splitting and rejoining that bit more convenient, not to mention less messy!
Overall, the Wayside has been a brilliant companion to my Hase Pino tandem, my son’s Genesis road bike, disc braked equipped mountain bikes and touring lorries. £32.99, though hardly small change is still very competitively priced, especially when the no-quibble warrantee is thrown into the mix. Mile munching endurance riders, or those looking to play good Samaritan, should add a longer 8mm key, 8, 9 and 10mm Y wrench and Philips blade, appropriate spanner.
Verdict: 4/5 well-made, easy to use tool that covers most scenarios at a competitive rate.
PUBLISHED APRIL 2017