Here's a mini multi-tool that actually won't snap the first time you try to use it. At least, I didn't manage to break the Fabric Eight Tool, and I break a lot of stuff (including myself).
Sleek and simple, the Fabric Eight incudes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6mm hex keys, a flat and a cross-head screwdriver and a T25 Torx. They are tidily arranged on two pivot pins, at either end of the tool, sandwiched between a pair of aluminium side bars. The whole arrangement is tidy and looks great, with a smart peened finish, as well as being minimal weight. You won't notice this in your pocket.
Good looks and light weight only get you so far and are no consolation if you are sitting in the pouring rain on the roadside with your bike in pieces and an Allen tool snapped off in a bolt. The all-aluminium construction sowed some doubts in my mind, but all the CNC-cut tools were engineered to good tolerances and fitted snugly.
Given the low torques required on modern bikes, you shouldn't find anything that you could tackle with this tool that would require wrenching hard enough to break it. The toughest job I could find on any of my bikes was tightening up the non-drive crank nuts on a Shimano HT2 chainset. They need to go up to about 12Nm and that was well within this tool's working zone. Some 6mm bolts in saddle clamps also require a higher torque. Being able to open the tools out at both ends gives an extra bit of leverage if required.
The inclusion of a 2mm hex key but not a 2.5mm may be an issue for you. Some brake blocks are held in with a screw that requires a 2mm, but others need a 2.5mm. Also, my Cannondale's removable rear mech hanger requires a 2.5 (though I never remember to carry a spare hanger). Check which you need. Fabric may have done better to include a 2.5mm at the expense of a cross-head screwdriver, as I find most screws on bikes can be adjusted with a flat-head in an emergency. The decision not to include an 8mm hex means you probably won't be able to get your pedals off either.
The compact design meant I found this tool fitted into all those awkward corners. The 5mm hex key wasn't long enough to reach the deeply recessed mounting bolts on some SRAM rear mechs, or deeply recessed brake-mount bolts, so do check.
Confucius says, 'Rider who doesn't take chain tool turns into a walker sooner or later'. Provided you know how to use one, you will have to take a dedicated chain tool, which negates some of the weight saving offered by the Fabric Eight.
On the whole, though, provided you are in the habit of keeping your bike well serviced, this tool should deal with most minor tweaks you may need to make at the start line or on the road, and it's a lovely thing.
Lovely to have, works well provided it has the tools you need and you can reach any recessed bolts
road.cc test report
Make and model: Fabric Eight Tool multi-tool
Size tested: Width: 36mm Length: 71mm
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?
Fabric says: "The Eight tool ups the ante from the Six with the addition of a 2mm Hex key and flat-head screwdriver. Precision CNC-machined tool bits and lightweight aluminium carrier combine to form a lightweight, versatile, portable roadside essential."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Hex key (mm): 2|3|4|5|6
Phillips head: 2
Flat head: 5
Tool bits: CNC machined
Very neatly engineered and a pleasure to look at. The tools are sharp and a good fit.
If it serves your needs, it's very good. On my bikes I found one or two places where it couldn't help me – in particular, the 5mm hex key was too short to reach into the most deeply recessed bolts. Check before you ride out!
The slim size and light weight suggest this is a tool for tweaking, not for heavyweight workshop wrenching. Within those limitations, though, it should give good service.
This is hardly noticeable in your pocket, and would even fit in your wallet.
Cheaper, chunkier but perfectly functional tools are out there. I think the quality of the design and finish make this nice to have and reflected in the price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The answer to this depends a bit on your bike. If you don't need a 2.5mm hex key and the 5mm tool can reach any recessed bolts, it's great.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pleasing to hold and look at. Nice to use. Minimalist weight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The tool choices may be limiting and I couldn't reach some recessed bolts.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – and it would make a nice present.
Use this box to explain your score
Check before you buy – if you need a 2.5mm hex key you won't want this. Also, if you have deeply recessed bolts anywhere, it may be that the tools are too short to reach. Otherwise, it's nice to handle and look at and is perfect for roadside tweaks at a minimalist weight.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking