Home
Verdict: 
Functional yet strange selection of tools, so check your bike's needs before buying
Weight: 
79g
Bianchi Minitool 8x1 Steel
5 10

At 80g for a very compact tool, the Bianchi 8x1 is a slim, fairly light option for very basic roadside work, but the omission of T25 Torx and Phillips #2 drivers is odd.

Cycling multitools present a quandary: how much is too much? You don't want to be carrying around excess weight and taking up space in a tool roll or seatpack with a feature you'll likely never use. And of course you need to be sure the tool has the required bits to suit the bike you're riding and the repairs you're likely to make on the road: this will almost certainly differ from bike to bike. Fortunately at around £10-15 for most tools, you can easily find one specific to each bike and leave it attached or labelled on your pre-ride gear shelf, so you don't get caught out.

Buy Bianchi Minitool 8x1

The all-steel Bianchi 8x1 features 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6mm hexes, a small (PH1) Phillips and a flat blade too. To my mind, a 2.5 or an 8mm would have been more useful than a 2mm, but it's very specific to what's on your bike and what you are likely to need to fettle on the road. A 2mm hex is indeed handy for swapping out rim brake shoes and making adjustments to caliper brakes, for example, and some pedal spindles take 8mm bits.

I'm okay with the omission of a chain breaker. In the last decade of cycling about 5,000 miles a year, I've only had to repair a chain once out on the road, and it wasn't mine either. Modern chains, correctly installed, simply don't fail within the statistical bounds of justifying carrying a tool to re-join them.

Read more: The best multi tools — get the right bits to fix your bike's bits

The omission of a Torx T25 in favour of a T20 is just odd though. With many disc rotors being held on by T25 bolts, and very few T20 bolts to be seen on bikes, dedicating a space to a T20 at the cost of a T25 is questionable. An online meta-analysis of minimalist multitools followed by a conversation with Sean Lally of Cycle Systems Academy and bike-tech podcast partner John Galloway of Velocast shows apparently no-one of note thinks a T20 is worth having, almost everyone going for a T10, most-often a T25 and occasionally a T30.

The Bianchi 8x1 is pretty slim, slipping down the side of a tool roll or seatbag easily with no protrusions to catch, and the short bits are held in place firmly. I'm not a fan of long bits on multitools, as if you need to apply pressure they easily slip out of vertical relative to the bolt you're adjusting. Also if you need to, you can easily get shorter bits inside a bottlecage or under a brake bridge, bent at ninety degrees.

The PH1 Phillips head does an OK job of shifting friction-free derailleur adjustment bolts, but a PH2 would have been a much better choice. If the bolt is welded fast (as mech screws often are) a PH1 will simply not be up to the job of cracking it free. As with the Torx T20, the PH1 is an odd decision to include. Likewise there are very few (if any) reasons to carry a flat-blade screwdriver on a modern bike, so its inclusion here at the cost of a PH2 or T25 is again odd.

For two quid more, Shaun liked the Topeak Mini 9 tool and I'm inclined to agree. The inclusion of an 8mm hex, T25 instead of T20 Torx and Phillips #2 instead of #1 make for a much more sensible collection, for my bikes, anyway. Know your bike, and the logical tool for you will follow.

Verdict

Functional yet strange selection of tools, so check your bike's needs before buying

road.cc test report

Make and model: Bianchi Minitool 8x1 Steel

Size tested: Hex 2-3-4-5-6 Screwdriver Philips 1mm Screwdriver Flat 5mm Torx 2mm

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?

It's for cyclists needing this specific set of tools for their bike, out on the road.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Handle | Steel.

Dimensions | 7x2,6 cm.

Hex | 2-3-4-5-6 mm.

Screwdriver Phillips head | 1 mm.

Screwdriver flat | 5 mm.

Torx | 2,0 mm.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Not really premium, but then the price isn't either.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Still looks okay after use.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10

Feels heavy for what it does.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

If this is what your bike needs, £11 is okay.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Well enough - but the Phillips #1 is just wrong for mech screws.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The slim profile.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The selection of tools on offer.

Did you enjoy using the product? Ambivalent.

Would you consider buying the product? Ambivalent.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if their bike's needs were thereby met.

Use this box to explain your score

Middling in weight, with a non-premium finish and an odd selection of bits for the modern cyclist, I can't really warm to this tool.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72KG

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb, Dutch bike pootling.

9 comments

Avatar
nortonpdj [166 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

"Modern chains, correctly installed, simply don't fail within the statistical bounds of justifying carrying a tool to re-join them."  

Really? Would you like to back that up with some statistics please?

The extra weight of a chain tool as part of a decent multi-tool is a few grams. I think that is "statistically" justified.

Avatar
hawkinspeter [608 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I can't guarantee that an ultegra 10-speed chain was "correctly" installed a couple of years ago, but a side plate snapped and would have required a chain tool if it hadn't happened close to my home. I always use KMC chains now rather than Shimano. (and I carry a chain tool just in case)

Avatar
cyclisto [183 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I have to agree about the necessity of a chain tool with the previous guys. A friend of mine had his chained snaped at her 1-year old bike and for not having a chain tool we had to walk quite a long walk...

Avatar
mostly [64 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

I snapped a chain on Hardknott, and locally on some 25% climbs in the North Wales borders, chain tool saved my bacon. I guess it all depends on the up. If planet x selling anything of worth its their mini chain tool.

Avatar
dottigirl [530 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I can't guarantee that an ultegra 10-speed chain was "correctly" installed a couple of years ago, but a side plate snapped and would have required a chain tool if it hadn't happened close to my home. I always use KMC chains now rather than Shimano. (and I carry a chain tool just in case)

Mine was a KMC which snapped - I don't use them any more. Seem prone to rust. 

I was glad a friend had a chain breaker. I added one to my saddlebag shortly afterwards, and have had course to use it a couple of times over the last couple of years. Is it really worth carrying it around? Those times when I did use it would have involved very, very long walks otherwise for the riders involved. So, I carry it with my other junk such as antihistamines, etc. 

Avatar
I love my bike [200 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

(FWIW: looks like the MVB compact multitool sold by Decathlon for £8.99)

If you need a chain tool, isn't it better to carry a separate one in addition to a multitool?

Avatar
KiwiMike [1282 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

"I'm okay with the omission of a chain breaker. In the last decade of cycling about 5,000 miles a year, I've only had to repair a chain once out on the road, and it wasn't mine either. Modern chains, correctly installed, simply don't fail within the statistical bounds of justifying carrying a tool to re-join them"

I can't argue with personal anecdote. I'd also like everyone to start carrying centrelock rotor tools and crescent wrenches to use them, because I heard of someone who had a rotor warp so badly the wheel couldn't turn, which facilitated a loooong walk home. Also, *everyone* riding a bike with fewer than 16 spokes on the front MUST carry a spare spoke and key, in case one goes and renders the wheel unrideable.

Folks, this was my take on it. Cycling is a broad church with millions of people riding billions of miles a year, just in the UK. *Anything* any reviewer says can be shot to peices by a handful of statistical outlyers being quoted with personally heartfelt gusto. 

When I talk about *my* 5k miles/year, for a long time (5yrs +) that was accompanied by between 5 and 15 clubmates. So that's 5yrs x 5,000 miles x 10 people = 250,000 miles, with one - *one* - ONE - snapped chain amongst us.

But that's *my* 250,000 miles. in 2014 the CTC reports 3.5Billion miles were cycled in the UK. That's 0.000014% of the annual total. I'm very happy to accept that my 1/7 millionth of the overall UK cycling diaspora collective experience *just might not be representative*.  Maybe we swap chains before they are worn, fit them better, and don't shift under stupid loads. Maybe we're amazingly lucky. Dunno. Carry one if you want, it's a free country  1

 

* also - many modern chains have specific needs. Can your £8 tool do Campy 11 speed that need to be peened? Do you have spare pins for new Shimano chains? You do know you just can't ram home the old one, right? If you repair a clubmate's chain that needed a new pin/peening, and they go on to crashbecause of a chain snap, are you responsible, morally or legally? Dunno. It's a brave new world for roadside chain repair. 

 

Avatar
joules1975 [447 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
cyclisto wrote:

I have to agree about the necessity of a chain tool with the previous guys. A friend of mine had his chained snaped at her 1-year old bike and for not having a chain tool we had to walk quite a long walk...

Age of bike is not relevant when it comes to a chain. How many miles had the bike done and how worn.

I do carry a chain tool, but can't remember the last time I used it on my own bike (usually used it when someone has taken there mech off with a stick/rock when mountain biking).

If a chain is properly monitored for wear, and changed at the correct point of wear, the snapping of a chain is very unlikely.

Avatar
wycombewheeler [1046 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
joules1975 wrote:
cyclisto wrote:

I have to agree about the necessity of a chain tool with the previous guys. A friend of mine had his chained snaped at her 1-year old bike and for not having a chain tool we had to walk quite a long walk...

Age of bike is not relevant when it comes to a chain. How many miles had the bike done and how worn.

I do carry a chain tool, but can't remember the last time I used it on my own bike (usually used it when someone has taken there mech off with a stick/rock when mountain biking).

If a chain is properly monitored for wear, and changed at the correct point of wear, the snapping of a chain is very unlikely.

 

true But I managed to twist a chain when i fell off the inner chain ring and got jammed between ring and frame. needed to cut about 5 liks out and fit a missing link. Allowed me to finish my ride, although the chain was too short for big ring big sprocket, but who uses that anyway?