Reverence: Pro Minitool 11

Reverence: Pro Minitool 11

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Update: On Monday, July 18th, this product has been demoted from Reverence status due to imprecise machining of the 3mm and 4mm allen wrenches.  Please see the updated Reverence article for it’s worthy successor.

My apologies to anyone who has purchased this product based on this article. I am truly sorry.

Yours in Cycling,
Frank

– 

In our pursuit of La Vie Velominatus, we embark on a sacred quest – the pursuit of Rule Holism. The path is strewn with apparent contradiction; these contradictions are in fact but tests laid out for us – oportunities to discover The Way and strengthen our resolve. Little by little, we find our way along the path.

Those of us who amputate our saddlebags in compliance with Rule #29, are immediately faced with the unavoidable realization that our tools are unwieldy, heavy, and bulky.  Indeed, our reliance on the European Posterior Man Satchel has disconnected us from their contents and has bred complacency when it comes to tool selection. So long as the tool fits in the satchel, it goes in the satchel.  Spoke wrenches, multi-tool with superfluous attachments, chain tools, zip ties, scissors, even the odd Crescent wrench has been known to find its way into the tool kit. For a Velominatus’ machine, which is kept in perfect working order at all times, these tools serve little function other than to make you climb less well for your weight.

Removing the dependence on a saddlebag demands that we become more discerning in the tools we carry with us.  The tools that are to reside in our pockets must be as carefully selected for their function as our machines and our kit itself. Simple. Reliable. Lightweight. These tools will be called into action rarely, but when called upon, it will be at a time of greatest need. They must not fail.

Over the years, the tools that accompany me on my rides have reduced in number and weight, and we have developed a bond during the many hours we have spent together – me perched on my saddle, them tucked neatly in my pockets. I started with two Park tools, one with huge range of hex keys, and a second with a fewer (redundant) number of keys, but including the vital Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers. Eventually, I started leaving the multitool without the screwdrivers in the toolbox, and taking my chances with too few hex tools. The risk felt too great, so I switched to other tools with varying degrees of success, but each failed in one aspect or another – corrosion, weight, poor construction – and was added to ever-increasing pile of discarded tools.

The problem was further complicated when I switched to the Campy 10sp Skeleton Brakes with Torx T25 bolts. I cursed a blue-streak when, as I was mounting my new brakes with great anticipation, I realized I was to be stopped dead in my tracks as I didn’t have the proper Torx tool. I suppose, as Saul pointed out, I should be glad it was a standard Torx size and not some proprietary size that requires a $100 tool, but that knowledge did little to temper my rage. I purchased a set and returned home knowing full well that now my quest for the perfect minitool included a T25 to make emergency brake adjustments. More tools were chucked to the Island of Misfit Tools.

Almost without noticing, with the appearance of the Pro Minitool 11 in my stocking on Christmas morning my quest came to an end. The nickel-plated steel tools don’t rust, the alloy body is solid, the tool is thin and light enough not to cause any sag or discomfort in the jersey.  Beautifully made, the tool folds smoothly and the 8mm hex snaps off to reveal a 6mm hex below it.  Unlike most tools that attempt this feat, this one pulls it off with the addition of a ball lock.  All the tools are cut precisely and cleanly cut, making it a pleasure to work with. Amazing.

It feels so good in the hand, it’s tempting not to carry it around and fiddle with it all day. But I don’t. Not anymore. Starting tomorrow.

// Reverence

  1. @Marcus
    Cleat covers are essential with Speedplays. If you have a mechanical or a biological issue and you have to wander onto unpaved surfaces, you’d better cover up the cleats or you’ll be in a world of hurt. It’s real easy to get mud or dirt in the cleats, at which point they start getting stuck on the pedal or you can’t engage. I have had a couple frantic stops when I realized I was stuck to the pedals.

    Speedplays fill with snow/ice easy too. I have to walk over a snowbank to get to the road, so the covers have to be on until I get there, else DOOM!

    Summary: Speedplay fucking rock my world, but you have to love them back.

  2. @Marko
    Cycling is all about individual effort and self-reliance at the end of the day. That needs to extend to self-reliance in wrenching while on the road.

    On holiday rides, our cycling team always has someone running SAG. I don’t at all feel like less of a true cyclist for having the tools and spare tubes in the back of a car as opposed to bulking up my pockets. Plus, we ride a 30+ mph pace line, and they will not stop for your ass to change a punture…your getting dropped and facing the ride home alone. IDK if you’re riding with the senior citizens or what but if I asked my group to wait up while I trued a wheel or fixed a chain, they would probably beat my ass and make me walk home.

  3. @mcsqueak
    Right…quite tongue in cheek, I’ve only called home once and I was 60 miles out and had already replaced a tube and had no more. Plus I was by myself cause I had gotten dropped on my first puncture. Our group stops for nothing.

    But our group often has someone running SAG on a century or holiday ride.

  4. @Marko
    ok so after reading this

    “In 1913, Eugene Christophe has to repair by welding his own fork after a crash in the village of Sainte-Marie-de-Campan (my favorite village in France). He refused assistance as being helped would render him disqualified from the race. It was each man for themselves in 1913. ”

    Maybe I agree with you about independence. I just some convincing from the ancients. : )

  5. @MrBigCog
    Did you pull that quote out of Fife’s book about the tour? I’m pretty sure he writes about that in there but I’ve probably heard it elsewhere too. Nicely done.

  6. @Ron

    Can’t fight you, Marcus. I’d love to try speedplays. I’m actually just scared I’d like them and have to change pedals on all my bikes & cleats on all my shoes. I think after a few years I’ve finally gotten the pedals/cleats set up just right on all the buggers.

    Word. I am committed to Time. Love them. Cafe cleat. They are rubberized so you don’t wipe out and no screws attached. Generally don’t squeak. Good knee flex.

    I don’t ever want to try Speedplay because that means I’d have to buy six pairs of pedals. Or buy more shoes, which is just as bad.

  7. @il ciclista medio

    As I’ve only ever used Look & currently on the Keo’s, what are the Speedplay’s like? By that I mean ease of entry/exit, hot spot’s, cleaning, removal, cleat wear etc?
    I’ve always been curious but afraid or unable to ask…most of the bloke’s I see riding them are usually leaving my fat arse behind so I never get a chance

    All signs point to them being Awesome. I don’t know of anyone – including pros – who ride them and then switch away from them. They were the team pedal for CSC and then every rider who left that team brought them with them.

    But like I said, I’ve never tried them. Almost switched in Hawaii when my cleat broke and I had trouble finding a replacement on the island as if I’d have to buy a replacement pedal I would buy Speedplays.

  8. @G’phant

    Well, OK, if we’re going to admit to cleat covers I may as well throw this bomb, too: why don’t roadies just admit that MTB shoes are more sensible (precisly because they permit walking without either shoe covers or cleat damage) and demand that manufacturers make road pedals and shoes which use SPD or egg beater systems? I find it hard to believe that it is only possible to get what we need (good pedal contact, rigidity, light weight, acceptable float, etc) from systems which require you to walk like a duck on crack.

    OK. NOW YOU’RE GOING TOO DAMN FAR. One more slip-up like that, mister, and you can kiss that Black Cog goodbye!

    @all
    How much are you fucking walking? See Rule #69, and pay fastidious attention to Rule #5. If you’re going to the market, don’t ride your fucking road bike. Ride a commuter or a mountain bike. And sure, put MTB pedals on it because MTB shoes are better for walking.

    A road cycling shoe that’s designed with consideration for walking? MERCKX DAMMIT PEOPLE. Snap out of it! The way we walk in those shoes is as glorious as our tan lines and our cleanly shaven leggs. Merckx.

  9. @Albert, @redranger
    Thank Merckx. I can breathe again.

  10. @redranger

    having never actually needed to use a mini tool in the 10 I have owned a bike, is the Pro 6 or 11 better?

    That was my question as well; I liked how small the 6 was, but felt the Torx was a critical addition for me, as the Campy brakes use them now. But the 6 is smaller and lighter. Your call.

  11. @Marcus

    i) you only track strand at traffic lights; and
    ii) you have mastered the art of levitation;

    Nicely done. By the way, track stands at stop lights are akin to the jogger running in place at stop lights so they don’t “loose their (nonexistent) rhythm”.

  12. @Zoncolan

    I have some italian GSG bibshorts with a PRO radio pocket in the back. This is a far cooler place to store the allen key and if placed correctly creates an aerodynamic ‘fin’ when you are on the rivet. Absolute shitter to get at tho’.

    NICE TOUCH. That last bit makes it a bit impractical, but the whole point is we shouldn’t neet to get at them much.

  13. @frank
    My point exactly…

  14. frank:
    Nicely done. By the way, track stands at stop lights are akin to the jogger running in place at stop lights so they don’t “loose their (nonexistent) rhythm”.

    Track stands just look plain awkward. Maybe I’m just jealous because I can’t do them, but whenever I see people executing a track stand it looks weird… they wiggle all about and roll fore/aft in an attempt to not put a foot down. I get the point, but to me it doesn’t seem worth the effort.

    Regarding Speedplay pedals:

    If you really like your current pedal system, I don’t see a need to switch if what you’re doing already works for you. I happened to sold on them when I was first getting into road cycling and buying my first nice bike, so I just made the choice and I’m happy with it.

    @il ciclista medio

    I’ve had hotspots once or twice, but that was remedied by switching to a better insole and buying better socks. It hasn’t been an issue for me.

    As far as entry goes, since you can enter on both sides of the pedal it makes it very quick… just put your foot on the pedal, push down, hear the click and pedal away.

    To exit you just twist your foot away from the bike. The Speedplay Zero’s I use have “adjustable float”, so you can set how far you want to be able to turn your foot before it disengages the pedal. I quite like it, as allowing my foot a bit of natural side-to-side movement while still engaged with the pedal feels nice.

    As far as cleaning, I put a little teflon lube on the cleats every few rides. I’ve never stepped deep wet grass or anything, so I haven’t ever had to give them a good cleaning. I’ve been riding my current pair of cleats for almost a year and they seem fine still, though as I said earlier, the side I clip out of to stop is wearing faster than the other side, and I could see replacing them at the end of the summer.

    The only trouble they’ve ever given me is the screws holding flat adapter plate to my shoe started coming lose every ride. I used a bit of the low-strength blue Lok-Tight and it stopped that from happening.

    Any way, that’s enough of that. I could have my own Reverence: Speedplay article here shortly if I keep on going…

  15. @mcsqueak
    The cleaning isn’t too hard. You just fill a bidon with clean water and blast away. It’s amazing how much stuff comes out sometimes.

    Lok-Tight is money. I was out on a ride in the mountains far from civilization and suddenly my right shoe felt very weird. I was loathe to stop, as I was on a climb, but I couldn’t pedal properly. When trying to stop, I couldn’t get my right foot out of the pedal, so I took out my left foot. It turns out, three(!) screws had fallen out of the right cleat (poor maintenance on my part). I had to take my shoe off while attached to the bike to get it free. Fortunately, you only need two screws to hold the cleats on, and I had five between my two cleats. Crisis averted and ride finished.

  16. @Collin

    Wow, that’s crazy. Yeah I’ve been on rides with people who have had screws fall out of their cleats. I’ve been lucky and just had some looseness but never a complete screw back-out.

    I am OCD about checking my cleats before rides because of this. I always try and twist the whole cleat (to check the plate screws) before I put my shoes on, and I will check the tightness of the screws holding the cleat to the plate with a screwdriver.

  17. @frank
    A-Merckx. I sometimes ride my rain bike, which has Ultegra road pedals, for local errands or to the train station for my commute. For such missions I just suck up to the fact that it’s awkward to ride on road pedals with normal shoes. I sure as hell am not switching that bike to mountain pedals.

  18. @frank
    Agree. No track stands at stop lights unles you can look Casually Deliberate whilst doing so. Which as far as I have seen is impossible.

  19. @frank
    Ok, point taken. Walking (when absolutely necessary) like a duck on crack it is. I think I was overly influenced by my mate Chris who went off for an mtb ride with a friend and ended up running though the bush for several hours hunting (successfully) a wild pig (his mate having brought along his rifle ‘just in case’). While most of us might find this odd, Chris’s only concern was that running after a wild pig in mtb shoes was not as comfortable as it might have been. Then again, when we go mtb’ng at night, Chris will sometimes dismount suddenly, scale a tree where he has spotted a possum, grab the possum by the tail and dispatch it from the world. (In NZ this is a Good Thing To Do – possums are not only Australian, they also destroy our native flora and fauna.) Given the negligible (I assume) likelihood of a Velominatus/a being distracted from his/her métier by either pig hunting or possum hunting, I acknowledge that my concerns over impractical (for walking / running / hunting) footwear are irrelevant. I unreservedly apologise and withdraw.

  20. G’phant :
    @frankOk, point taken. Walking (when absolutely necessary) like a duck on crack it is. I think I was overly influenced by my mate Chris who went off for an mtb ride with a friend and ended up running though the bush for several hours hunting (successfully) a wild pig (his mate having brought along his rifle ‘just in case’). While most of us might find this odd, Chris’s only concern was that running after a wild pig in mtb shoes was not as comfortable as it might have been. Then again, when we go mtb’ng at night, Chris will sometimes dismount suddenly, scale a tree where he has spotted a possum, grab the possum by the tail and dispatch it from the world. (In NZ this is a Good Thing To Do – possums are not only Australian, they also destroy our native flora and fauna.) Given the negligible (I assume) likelihood of a Velominatus/a being distracted from his/her métier by either pig hunting or possum hunting, I acknowledge that my concerns over impractical (for walking / running / hunting) footwear are irrelevant. I unreservedly apologise and withdraw.

    Don’t withdraw bro! You have essentially highlighted “The Kiwi V” in that in NZ we go riding with a gun, in case we want to liven it up by bringing home some dinner for the whanau (family) as well as Merckxing the hell out of the ridiculously mountainous country we live in. Primaeval badassery.

  21. @Zoncolan
    Yes, I confess that dashing a possum’s head against a sturdy kanuka tree is kinda satisfying, so I would not diss it as an occasional break from the mtb. But I don’t think I’d want to charge through the bush in lycra (let alone the V-kit) after any animal, or be in any other way distracted from the Zen of the Road V by such entertainment, so I can live with waddling between bike and cafe.

  22. @frank

    @mcsqueak
    Thanks to you both. Now I have another option to consider – Time, but as you both (and a few others) rightly point out, it would mean changing pedals on several bikes so that probably isn’t going to happen.

    @Mcsqueak
    that sums up how I ended up with the Look’s. First pedal purchase when changing over from toe clips (I’m getting old) was convinced by the LBS bloke to go with the Look’s and still using the brand today.
    Wasn’t necessarily looking at a change, just curious.

  23. @G’phant
    You get possums, we get your dole bludgers.

    For US/Euro veloms – NZ people are allowed to move to Australia and then get paid our version of “social security”. Spending a few years on the dole in Australia is the NZ version of the US “European Summer Vacation”.

    However possums shit me too – and we can’t kill ‘em. Whats worse is that my resident possum does a lot more fornicating in my house than I do. And he lets me know about it.

  24. @Zoncolan

    @G’phant
    On behalf of Australia “I’m sorry” for realeasing those possums into NZ…and Neighbours.
    Your mate isn’t Bear Gryll’s understudy is he?

  25. Marcus :
    @G’phant You get possums, we get your dole bludgers.

    Was about to post the same thought. I’d prefer the bludgers to the possums. I think. (Do the bludgers get more action than you, too?)

    il ciclista medio :
    @Zoncolan
    @G’phant Your mate isn’t Bear Gryll’s understudy is he?

    Could be. Along with several hundred thousand others over here. I wonder what sort of bike Bear would ride …

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