At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.
Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
Topeak's Hex Combo is a solid and well made tool, and its shape and length give you real confidence in its abilities out on the road or trails. The nifty colour-coded keys are clever too. As it's obviously hex-only, you need to pack further tools or a regular multi-tool as well, though.
I normally start with the positives, but I'm going to bang straight into the cons this time – mostly because I'm nitpicking a little.
First up, I get that a tool called 'Hex Combo' is obviously only going to feature hex keys, but many bikes feature Torx bolts and the odd straight/crosshead screw as well. If you want to be fully self sufficient, you are going to need extra tools besides this, which adds weight and money.
On the other hand, I can't remember the last time I had to tweak my gear limit screws on a ride, to be honest, and Topeak sells a Torx Combo as well.
Nitpick two: the anodising on the body and paint on the keys chips and wears off fairly easily. Again this isn't a massive deal, but after just six weeks in either a bar bag on my gravel bike or a rucksack it looks quite battered. It doesn't affect performance, obviously, but maybe a protective pouch might keep it looking better for longer.
Right, with that out of the way let's look at the good bits.
What you're getting here is a comprehensive set of hex keys including 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm, which covers pretty much everything on a bike apart from certain cranksets – and we all know how often you need to do that [spoiler: not often].
The tool has a good weight to it, and there is no flex in either the S2 hardened steel bits or the aluminium body even on really tight bolts. The keys are a decent length too, so leverage is good.
The tolerancing on the tool ends is tight, which means there's barely any play in the bolt heads – which means there's very little chance of rounding soft aluminium or titanium alloy bolts.
It's common for 8mm hex keys to actually be an adaptor that sits over the 6mm, which works but can be fiddly – and the risk is you lose it. It's great to see a full 8mm key here.
The 4, 5 and 6mm mm keys are colour coded, which is pretty helpful – ideal if you are in a race situation and you want to get moving as quickly as possible.
There is also a keyring for hanging it on stuff, such as the inside of your bag, perhaps, which would stop whingers going on about it getting chipped and scratched!
At £24.99 it fares well against something like the Specialized EMT 12 multi-tool at £27. That's a good, small tool that still gives enough purchase, plus you extra bits like Torx keys and a chain tool. Liam did highlight that the 8mm adaptor could easily be lost though.
The Crankbrothers F10 multi-tool is £27.99 and also smaller than the Topeak, but still has a full size 8mm bit. You also get a T25 Torx, plus flat and Phillips screwdriver bits.
Basically, you can get a better array of tools elsewhere for much the same money, but if you just need a quality set of hex keys – either in or out of the workshop – the Hex Combo is the business.
Lacks some of the tools needed for roadside repairs, but if you just want hex keys... buy it
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Hex Combo
Size tested: n/a
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?
Topeak says, "Hex Combo provides 8 pro-quality, heavy-duty S2 hardened steel hex wrenches with high tensile strength for better wear resistance and extended tool life. Hex Combo combines the most commonly used hex sizes into one convenient folded tool with a durable, comfortable and smooth aluminum body. Color coded 4 / 5 / 6mm Allen wrenches make identification easy and the built-in keyring makes it convenient to hang or tether."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
TOOLS: 1.5 / 2 / 2.5 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 8 mm hex wrenches
TOOL MATERIAL: S2 hardened steel
BODY MATERIAL: Aluminum
SIZE: 11.4 x 2.9 x 2.6 cm / 4.5in x 1.1in x 1in
ADDED FEATURES: Color coding and keyring
It's a good size and shape in the hand.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a hex key set it's very good for road or trail use.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great size and shape for undoing stubborn bolts.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Hex-only means you still need to carry extra tools.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Value wise it could be considered pricey given it's hex-only, but it's a very well made and capable tool for the money if that fits the bill.
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
It's not as versatile as many multi tools, but as a hex key set it is very well made – and its size means it shifts stubborn bolts.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!