A bit about multi-tools
CRANKBROTHERS B14 B-SERIES MULTI-TOOL
We’ve always had great experiences with Crankbrothers’
multi-tools. Their Pica has lived in our hydration pack for
the better part of the last year and gotten us out of our fair
share of binds. So, when the new B-series tools were introduced earlier this year, we had to find out if Crankbrothers
had struck gold again.
Tech features: The B-series tools are a bit-based system.
Any given tool has a number of socket holders housing a
selection of magnetized stainless steel bits. When you need
to use a specific tool, you simply remove it from its holder
and insert it into the magnetic driver inside one end of the
tools’ pivot location. The family of multi-tools includes three
different models, each named for the corresponding number
of tools it features.
The B14 that we tested falls in between the B8 and B17.
The B14 comes with a series of 1.5- to 8-millimeter hex bits,
#1 and #2 Phillips screwdrivers, #1 and #2 flat-head screwdrivers, a T- 10 Torx, and a T- 25 Torx. The B14 sells for $27.
Field test results: The B14 offers an efficient mix of
tools. These tools can handle almost any trailside fix, other
than connecting a broken chain. For that you need the B17,
which features a chain tool.
The B14 is sleek and fits into a jersey pocket, which is a
real benefit for riders who don’t ride with a hydration pack
or saddlebag, but may not matter to riders who carry packs.
The uniform driver location means that whichever bits
you use, the leverage is as good as it gets, given the length
of the tool itself. This is especially helpful when using larger
Allen wrenches, such as the 8-millimeter, on pedals.
However, the driver location makes it difficult to use the
tool in some situations. While some bolts are easily accessible, others, like the ones on the front derailleurs, shifter,
brakes or bottle cage, can be tough to reach and require some
creative angling that just isn’t possible with the B-series
While we haven’t lost any bits yet, it is definitely a possibility. Crankbrothers is quick to point out that these bits are
easily replaceable and can be found at hardware stores everywhere, but that won’t help very much when you are 20 miles
from your car, let alone a hardware store.
The finish quality of the B14 is topnotch, but the bit-based
design is not as flexible or useful as that of Crankbrothers’
standard and premium multi-tools, which already knock it
out of the park. q
Toolbox elegance: Crankbrothers makes the sleekest multi-tools
and the B14 is no exception. The level of quality is apparent the
second you pick it up.