PASSPORT CDW MULTITOOL
278g £24.99 Long Term (12 month) Test
The Passport CDW Multitool is a surprisingly well made, 20 function, two-piece “double decker” model with some obvious nods to Topeak Alien.
At 278g, its quite hefty, a chain joining hook and T30 bit were missed opportunities. Otherwise, the CDW is an excellent, wallet friendly option for riders seeking a single tool for most road/trailside recovery.
Pros: Comprehensive, high quality tooling, great value.
Cons: Weighty, spoke keys for emergency use only.
There are some obvious similarities with Topeak Alien ii. There’s the nylon carry case with bet loop, the tool splits in two, by depressing buttons either side of the body, while pulling them apart. Knife and ring spanners have a locking function, to prevent damage/injury. The tooling is a mixture of Chrome Vanadium, investment cast and stainless-steel steel. 20 functions are 11 fewer than the Alien ii, though still cater for most machines and situations. 7 Allen keys (2,2.5,3,4,5 and 6mm with the familiar 8mm adaptor cap). Then there’s a T25 Torx, flat and Phillips blade screwdrivers, chain tool with a double shelf (for splitting, joining and easing stiff links).
Three rings spanners (8,9 and 10mm) are perfect for mudguard, old school cantilever/centre-pull hardware. These also include 14 and 15g spoke keys. There’s a resin tyre lever integrated within the resin body, a steel one within the tooling 42mm knife and a bottle opener.
Durability/Corrosion Resistance 3.75/5
Both tooling and composites are solid and more than up to the job. The latter lack the Alien’s rigidity, under load but this hasn’t been problematic and the tyre lever has hooked some stubborn beads without flinching, let alone fracture. Mind you, I’d still opt for longer, standalone types, wherever possible. That’s not levelled at the CDW specifically, but multi tools per se. Composites are good but not quite of the same calibre as Topeak’s. There’s a little more flex under load but for me at least, nowhere near deal-breaker country.
Tooling has also remained surprisingly youthful, despite being left in wet wedge packs on occasion, subjected to salt, coastal air, and generally forgotten, between uses. No freckling but I’ve given it a quick, oily rag once-over, when I’ve thought to do so. Essentially, save for willful neglect, corrosion shouldn’t be an issue.
I’m not overly fond of the plug type 8mm bits (being quite adept at losing them to long, verge-side grass). Others will fit - I cannibalised one from a long imploded multi-tool doing something close to nothing in my scrap tray.
In a pinch, I’ve separated and rejoined a track chain, without the drive pin, or spreader slots feeling like they were going to implode, and the threading is accurate, so splitting 3/32 isn’t a hardship either. However, I’ve only tested ours with 7,8,9,10, and 11spd. Those with Campagnolo Hollow pin chains will need to look elsewhere.
Talking of which, the tool separates cleanly, as required, with similar refinement as Topeak’s Alien. All told, I’ve nipped the tools snug three, maybe four times in twelve months. Twice during the initial month of constant use but there’s been no issue with things regularly turning sloppy.
The CDW multitool has done everything I’ve asked of it and very capably. Tool length/proportions strike a decent balance between torque and accessibility. I’ve been able to wrestle pedals free, using the 8mm bit and the broad resin platform sits comfortably in the palms, so winding home a slack square taper crank bolt doesn’t require Herculean effort (or grunting).
Same goes for freeing hanger hardware that hasn’t seen a shot of Juice Lubes JL69 or similar maintenance spray in some time.
Though quite broad, the body’s profile and tool length mean cage hardware and similarly recessed bolts are easily accessed (even on smaller compact geometry framesets).
However, on a tour, I’d still carry a standalone L shaped 5mm, if your brake levers/brifter fittings are recessed like these Cane Creek or my Univega’s Microshift Centos. Yes, the CDW will just reach the Centos but slackening/tightening is less faffy with a longer bit.
I err towards the Torx, when tackling cleat and similarly soft hardware. The Phillips is a nice fit with derailleur adjustment screws and even some composite types - the sort used on pump mounts etc. I was less impressed by the spoke wrenches (although they’ll do the job, in a jam) and the Alien ii’s serrated blade has a bit more bite, if you’re looking towards bike packing type adventures.
20 decent quality tools for 2 is good going, whichever way you look at it and much of the decision will come down to the bike(s) you have and the kind of riding in mind. Were you looking for something alien-esque but needing £35 to stretch to spare tube(s), patch kit and basic tyre levers, then I’d point you to the CDW. The Soma Woodie is also 20 functions and might be a better choice if you needed to keep weight down, ran a contemporary/disc braked fleet and weren’t fussy about knives and tyre levers.
The Passport CDW is a solidly made, great value tool for lightweight touring and group riding. One catering for most machines and situations. However, some specific standalone tooling may be required, not just for bikes with the latest groupsets.
Verdict: 3.5/5 Nice wallet-friendly homage to an iconic design.
PUBLISHED MAY 2020