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Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
The Topeak Hexus X multi-tool packs a lot of functionality into a pretty tight package. The chain tool is highly commended.
Fitting 21 tools into a package that sits neatly on the palm of the hand is a commendable achievement from Topeak. While the overall finish may not be absolutely the best out there, everything worked well, nothing broke and it's hard to see why you would want anything more to get you out of any sticky situation on the road.
The basic design is quite standard – a solid plastic body carrying two hinges loaded with hex keys, Torx bits and a chain tool; these fold out, quite stiffly as it happens, but a second 4mm hex key mounted on one of the tyre levers allows you to use the T30 Torx bit to adjust the hinge tightness. Don't overdo it, though, because the tools will flop about if loose.
The tool's body doesn't just rely on the hinge bars to hold it together – there's a solid pastic bridge between the two sides as well. Although there is still a bit of flex, I didn't find this an issue in use and the Hexus X was quite happy to be used to remove pedals without twisting.
Three of the tools are supplied as separate bits which mount onto spigots inside the tool body. Wisely, Topeak has chosen to put all the most commonly used tools and sizes on the hinge bars. The separate bits are the 8mm hex key, which fits onto the 5mm hex key, and a T15 and a T30 Torx which can both fit on either of the two 4mm hex tools. This adds to the versatility of the toolset without expanding its bulk, but the payoff is the danger of losing them, which is easy to imagine during a grass verge repair.
The 4mm hex key on the tyre lever is also used to turn the chain tool, which is particularly well executed and works better than some workshop chainbreakers I've used. It's comfortable in the hand and makes easy work of rivet extraction. It comes with a chain hook, which I don't usually bother with but has other uses too. Again, being a loose part, it could get mislaid.
The tyre levers clip to the sides of the tool and make it even more comfortable to use while they are in place. One also includes two sizes of spoke key and the other incorporates a valve core remover – excellent for topping up that tubeless sealant.
I tried using the Hexus as my main tool in my little bike repair workshop for a week and it stood up pretty well. I've yet to find one tool that can reach into every single nook or cranny but the Hexus X seemed quite flexible (in a good way). All the tools were long enough for pretty much any recessed bolt, but not so long that you couldn't get it into tight frame angles.
Like any multi-tool, if you use it all the time it becomes a bit like wrestling with a particularly hyperactive octopus but that's not relevant to the kinds of applications Topeak has in mind. I just like the metaphor.
A look at our buyer's guide (below) and recent multi-tools tested on road.cc also suggests £23 for such a well-made and well-equipped tool is very good value.
Topeak has chosen to fit a crosshead screwdriver which is okay if all the screws are in good condition, but I find a small flathead usually more versatile and able to shift stuck screws more reliably. You can also use them to force apart brake discs.
Otherwise, this tool should cover most jobs you can think of, and it even managed some you wouldn't. I used it to free off a knot on a towrope that had been used to haul a car out of a ditch on Skye. That was one tight knot!
A very useful and easy-to-use tool with an excellent chainbreaker – just try not to lose the loose bits
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Hexus X multi-tool
Size tested: 21 functions
Tell us what the product is for
Topeak's website pitch: "An award winning 21 functions multi-tool with updated design to store T15, T25, 8mm hex tool bits and side mounted tire levers securely. Includes self-tightening tool (T25 Torx® bit) and Presta Core Tool to tighten or remove two-piece Presta valve cores. The Hexus X is an excellent choice for both road and mountain bike riders."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Allen wrenches - 2 / 2.5 / 3 / 4 (2 pcs) / 5 / 6 mm tool bit - 8 mm hex
Torx® bits - T15 / T25
Torx® wrench - T30
#2 Phillips screw driver, 14G / 15G spoke wrenches, steel wire chain hook, 2 engineering grade plastic tire levers, Presta Core Tool and CrMo steel chain tool
Secondary chain link fence, self-tightening tool and chain pin breaker
9 x 4 x 2.7 cm
The finish isn't the most glamorous but it all works!
Near-perfect: did everything I asked of it, although I'd prefer a flathead screwdriver bit to a crosshead if I had the choice.
Apart from the danger of losing the loose parts, the tool was well up to any job you could reasonably ask of it.
Very good for a tool with this versatility.
Generally a very comfortable multi-tool to use; especially the chain breaker which can be unpleasant on some multi-tools.
A look at our buyer's guide suggests £23 for 21 good quality tools is very good value. Should give you years of use, a good investment.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Sensibly arranged and organised, accessing all the tools can be a bit fiddly but once done it all works very well and was hardly ever beaten by an inaccessible nut or bolt. There was nothing on this tool that I couldn't find a use for on one of my bikes. Unless you need open spanners, this should cover all your needs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
General design, compact package, excellent chain breaker.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No flat head screwdriver.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Taking in its great value, usefulness and quality, it's an excellent multi-tool. It's easy to live with and inspires confidence that you will get back on the road in the event of a mechanical. The addition of a flathead screwdriver would make it near-perfect.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 My best bike is: Tomassini Prestige
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