We love a bit of Kickstarter action here on road.cc, it's a chance to pretend you're one of the millionaire investors on Dragons' Den. The crowd-funding site is a veritable hive of interesting ideas, some of them ingenious and a few of them just plain nuts. Last year at the Cycle Show we met the guys behind Stique, a successful Kickstarter funding campaign which hit its target last year. They'd come up with this Multilever, a concept that combines the multitool with some beefy tyre levers into a single pocket-friendly cyclist's tool.
The name Stique is a contraction of the cycling term domestique, the hard-working team member who fetches and carries during a race and does whatever is necessary to help his team leader. Impressively, the Multilever is made in the UK, and was one of that rare breed of Kickstarter projects that succeeded in getting the first production run out to the backers on time. Stique gave us one of the early units to play with, so how does it stack up?
The multitool market is certainly a busy one, although the majority of them are fairly similar-looking with a raft of fold out tools in a handle. Kudos, then, to Stique for coming up with a new form factor. They're not the first to integrate tyre levers into a multitool, but the levers here form the mainstay of the structure rather than the flimsy plastic ones tacked onto the side of other multitools. There are three levers, into which are fitted a selection of tools and some recesses for the other emergency essentials that they reckon you'll want to have with you on a ride.
Two of the levers are for your tyre and one is a bottle opener. In addition, there's a moulded-in 1/4in tool holder with four bits - 4mm and 5mm Allen, T25 Torx and a No. 2 Philips. There's space to secure a couple of £1 coins, a couple of spare split chain links, some puncture patches and a battery for a cycle computer or HRM. Unusually, Stique have also included a small thermometer - not a particularly accurate one though. There's also a couple of integrated spoke nipple wrenches (3.3mm and 3.5mm), useful if you need some emergency wheel straightening when out and about.
The levers are made of plastic, but you'd struggle to break them. For one, they're each around 10mm thick, but also the material used is an engineering plastic sourced from the car industry where - Stique tell us - it is used to replace metal where weight-reduction is needed. They're tough as hell, in short.
The three levers are held together with tiny magnets and they click together in a rather satisfying fashion. One lever has a rubberised over-moulding at one end which provides secure storage for the tool bits. The tool holder has a magnet in it to secure whichever bit you're using. On our test unit, this magnet came unstuck pretty rapidly, and on talking to Stique we learnt that this was an issue with a batch of pre-production units. The glue used wasn't up to the job. As there's nothing else retaining the tool bit you're using, it's a bit of a problem. The good news is that the design was changed for the first full production run and they've ensured that the magnet cannot escape, by moulding it in from the rear of the tool holder.
As tyre levers those included here are certainly very effective. The most recalcitrant combination of tyre and rim were no match for the sheer leverage that you can get with them, without the slightest hint of "am I about to break this?" Likewise you can get more leverage on the Allen tool bits than is possible with some multitools. A problem that I've found with most multitools is still present here, however - accessing awkward-to-reach screws can be a problem, such as those holding your bottle cage in place. That's where there's no beating a conventional right-angle or T-style Allen wrench. My ideal multitool, I've decided, would include small right-angle Allen keys that you could actually remove and use separately from the main unit.
The 4mm and 5mm Allen tool bits take care of most things you'll need to tweak or tighten while out riding, but not necessarily all. I've got 3mm hex-head screws holding bottle cages on one of my frames and on a rack too. Offering only two Allen bolt sizes is a bold (some might say questionable) move - you might argue that this will be all you need 90% of the time, but you'll curse it when you do need a different size. For me it's a weakness here, especially when even the cheapest multitools have at least 5 different hex tools built in. Torx T25 is the size used for disc brake rotor bolts, and it is used in some groupsets, especially on mountain bikes. The Philips bit will be useful for trimming most models of derailleur so is certainly worth having, as are the nipple wrenches in case you need to straighten a wheel while out and about.
The various recesses and clips for holding things are all well and good if your idea of what you need to carry on a ride matches with that of the Stique designers. Mine doesn't really, as my preference is for old-school patches which need glue and I guess I must buy more expensive mid-ride cake. And I've never seen any need to carry a spare battery with me.
So as tyre levers they are very good. As a multi-tool they're ok, but have a smaller selection of tools than even the very cheapest alternatives. The concept of a single unit that has everything covered is a tempting one, but for me it doesn't really stand up. If you carry the exact same things that the guys behind Stique carry, you'll love this. I don't, and for that reason, I'm out.
We understand that Stique are also working on a Mk2 version which will ditch the thermometer and add in a chain breaker. This sounds like a smart idea to us, although apparently the price will be a bit higher.
Novel integration of chunky tyre levers in a multitool; really needs a wider selection of tools
road.cc test report
Make and model: Stique Multilever
Size tested: Grey and blue
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Some refer to our product as a 'Swiss Army penknife' for cyclists. We call it a Multilever, because it's more than just a multitool. We've made up the term Multilever, because we don't believe there's anything like our ML123 (project name) out there at the moment. It's not just a multitool and it's not just a set of tyre levers.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The 'Stique ML123 Multilever consists of three levers, joined together by powerful magnets, with the following functions:
2x tyre lever in engineering-grade, metal-replacement plastic
2x Allen key (4 & 5mm)
Really solidly made plastic parts with good quality tool bits. No marks deducted for the tool-holder magnet coming unstuck as they've changed the design since specifically to resolve that problem.
Very impressive when used as tyre levers. As a multitool it works well as long as you only need one of the rather limited range of included tools. For this to replace the conventional multi-tool in my pack, I'd definitely want a wider selection.
It's a really solidly made set of parts. They sell replacement tool bits in case you wear the included one out.
The use of high-strength plastic helps keep overall weight down.
£25 isn't bargain-basement pricing but there are arguably no direct competitors and it's made in the UK.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Pretty well - the toughest non-metal tyre levers I've used. I would have liked a bigger selection of tools.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Getting the most reluctant tyres fitted without breaking a sweat or saying The Bad Word.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Discovering mid-ride that I didn't have the tool I needed to tighten my rattly bottle cage. I wasn't that excited by the various recesses and clips for carrying things in it.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not in its current iteration but I'll certainly keep an eye on future variants.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Potentially.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
I'd give a higher mark with a few more tools and one less thermometer.
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Boardman CX team for the daily commute My best bike is: Rose Xeon CRS
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Jez spends his days making robots that drive cars but is happiest when on two wheels. His roots are in mountain biking but he spends more time nowadays on the road, occasionally racing but more often just riding.