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Specialist bike-tool manufacturer Birzman is relatively new on the UK scene, but their product range is impressive, from hefty spanner sets for the workshop to little minitools for emergency side-of-the-road repairs. And it's the latter type we're testing here: the simplest of the minitools, with just five basic functions - three allen keys (4, 5, 6mm), a torx tool (t25) and a cross-head screwdriver.
The side panels on the minitools in the E-version range are steel, unlike the minitools in Birzman's Feexman range (which include panels made from stainless steel, aluminium and carbon fibre). This means the E-versions are slightly heavier than their fancier cousins, but they're cheaper to buy, and there seems no compromise on Birzman's trademark top-notch build quality.
Testing it on a selection of bolts on the bikes in the road.cc lab, the individual allen keys all swung out of the tool smoothly, but with no sign of flexing when pressure was applied. All minitools are designed for road-side repairs, rather than day-in-day-out use, and with that in mind this basic E-version model will last for years.
There's no chain breaker or larger allen keys (for items such as saddle clamps). If you want a more comprehensive selection of features on a minitool, there are other options in the Birzman range. But stick one of these little babies in your saddle-pack with your spare tube and tyre levers, and you'll be fine for all minor running repairs.
The E-Version Basic 5-function minitool retails at £8.99. As with all Birzman kit, it's available from local bike shops, rather than from the big on-line stores. You can find cheaper models available from other manufacturers, but many of these don't have the same build quality. A good reason to try before you buy.
A basic function minitool with a high-quality build at a good-value price.
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Make and model: Birzman E-Version Mini Tool 5 Function
Size tested: Silver
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?
The Birzman website says: 'Feexman and the new E Series tools embody Birzman's designer's obsessive attention to detail and signature product quality.' It then goes on to say they're '...inspired by a bird's unfurling wing feathers...'. To be honest, the ornithological comparisons seem a bit far fetched, but there's no denying it's well put together. OK, it's only a mini-tool, so harping on about build-quality may seem a bit over the top. But if you have a cheap and nasty minitool that lets you down when a bolt comes loose in the middle of nowhere, then it ain't worth having. This tool from Birzman most definitely is.
There are lighter minitools available, which you might prefer if you're a weight weenie. But this one's hardly a monster, so for most of us, it'll be fine.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 50 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex
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, club rides, sportives, mtb,