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The B'Twin 300 bike tool kit is designed for "adjusting your bike and carrying out minor repairs". This kit does exactly what it says on the tin and at a very good price.
A penny shy of £20 buys no less than seventeen different tool bits for fettling contemporary geared builds from fully equipped disc braked touring Lorries to featherweight carbon fancies. Those with hub or fixed transmissions will need to supplement it with some open ended 15mm wrenches though.
These all live in a neatly organised nylon pouch, keeping them central and theoretically preventing loss, although wrestling the bits in and out of their elasticated loops requires a little discipline. 8, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2mm Allen keys tackle all but the most esoteric fasteners, while striking just the right balance between leverage and dexterity.
There's sufficient torque for tightening/loosening higher stressed crank, pedal and stem bolts. However, bare steel can dig uncomfortably into the palms. Badly weathered shoe cleat fasteners also required some chemical assistance.
Poor relations to ball ended T types perhaps, but I've found the 4, 5 and 6mm sizes surprisingly convenient in tight spaces like bottle cages, mudguard bridges and saddle clamps.
Torx drivers are becoming increasingly prevalent on other components besides disc brake rotors. B'Twin has responded with a T10, T25 and T30, which should future proof things.
Hardened steel is arguably a poor man's substitute for chrome vanadium and CNC is a different ball game. That said, a two year warrantee suggests the French brand's pretty confident they'll last, everything feels reassuringly sturdy. Machining is still very accurate across the board, so there's little risk of rounding off, or chewing fasteners.
Philips and flat screwdrivers composite handles offer plenty of purchase, even in greasy, sweaty palms, doing a fine job of taming wayward derailleurs and cantilever/V brake balance screws, prising open LED cases for battery replacements and so on.
A nicely nickel plated 'universal' spoke wrench is more fiddly than precision fit fare but tames minor wobbles and weaves fresh spokes in with minimal fuss.
Chain tools are one particular area where buying cheap usually means buying twice. This one follows the classic Rivoli pattern and boasts a surprisingly hardy painted finish.
Much to my surprise, the drive pin's threaded sections are remarkably accurate. Theres no hint of sloppiness here and it's munched through 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 speed units with relative ease. Then again, the handle boasts a nice rubberised sleeve which would've been more welcome on the drive handles, especially when tackling stiff, neglected chains.
Personally, I'd invest in something slightly better and pop this one in the wedge pack for roadside contingencies but it seems perfectly adequate for occasional repairs and replacements.
Then we have a pair of polyamide tyre levers, which rank amongst the very best I've ever come across. Innovative and extremely efficient, they're supposedly safe on all rim types and feature a handy pip for bleeding pressure/deflating Schrader valves.
The levers' hooked edges grip spokes securely when pitted against stubborn beads. The tips are more effective than most and there's no hint of flex when applying force. These levers are available separately in packs of three for £1.99. I'm sufficiently impressed that I've invested in several sets for each of my bikes, which should tell you something.
Two are adequate for general duties, although a third was essential for the tighter tyres in my fleet: some 26x1.6 Vittorias, Schwalbe Marathon plus, some 23mm Kenda and those notoriously stubborn, bargain-basement 16 inchers that seem standard OEM issue on trailers and tagalongs.
Being picky, there are certain bits I would upgrade according to personal preference. Otherwise, everything's pleasant to use, fit for purpose and represents excellent value for money.
Inexpensive toolkit perfect for adjustment and occasional repairs
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Make and model: B'Twin 300 Bike Tool Kit
Size tested: black/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?
"Kit with 17 tools stored neatly in a compact case with elastic support.
For the maintenance or repair of all types of bicycles, scooters, skates, etc.
adjusting your bike and carrying out minor repairs.
Tool kit for adjusting your bike and carrying out minor repairs".
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"Case with elastic support, including: 1 set of tyre levers, 1 spoke key, 1 Phillips screwdriver, 1 flathead screwdriver, 7 Allen keys (8,6,5,4,3,2.5,2), 3 Torcx® screwdrivers (T30, T25, T10) , 1 chain tool. Weight: 550g"
Generally good bearing in mind the price.
Does exactly what it says on the tin and likely to delight budget conscious riders who need a comprehensive kit for occasional, home use.
Seems sturdy enough when used for its intended purpose and a two year guarantee certainly gives peace of mind.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, this kit is extremely well thought out, does most jobs very proficiently and proves you don't need workshop quality stuff for tweaks and occasional repair. However, while accurately machined and relatively well made, the Allen keys are no-frills affairs, which can press painfully into the palms when tackling particularly stubborn/weathered fasteners.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Polyamide tyre levers are probably the best I've come across in ages. I've bought several sets since.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the design brief.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 41 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)