Reverence: Pro Minitool 11

The Shimano Minitool 11

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.

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99 Replies to “Reverence: Pro Minitool 11”

  1. Nice! I guess this drive to find the highest functioning tool is just part of being a Velominati. I too have gone through a variety of tools, from mini tools to tire levers, to home tools.

    Hmm, article has me intrigued about this Shimano multi-tool. I’m currently using a Crank Brothers 17 and have been happy with it. Of course, never used it much since my machines are in fine order. I guess I have a few more tools, but also 72 more grams…

    And count me in the group for being foiled by Torx heads. Went to move a Campag shifter up once, expecting a hex head like Shimano. Nope. Sheeit.

    The more I ride bikes, the more I come to respect well designed products, from tools to shifters to clothing. Actually read an article recently in the New Yorker on a German designer, Maier. He’s obsessed with making things slick, functional, and cool looking. I think I like his style!

  2. She is a beauty.

    Personally, I have ditched my minitool and now only carry a 4,5, and 6 mm hex along w/patch kit, tire levers, and mini-pump. Sometimes a spare tube makes the cut (though rarely).

    As we all know, there is a fine line between genius and insanity.

  3. Don’t dismiss the chain tool. On my first ride with my multi-everything crank bros tool, one of the guys made a chain link explode, 4 miles from the nearest train station. Without the chain tool, he was fucked. With it we happily went for another 30 miles.

  4. All of this “bulky pockets as a result of Rule #29 compliance” business can be resolved by giving the old lady a a very important job “we in the biz” like to call SAG. Or to be completely honest, what ends up being me getting on the mobile tele and telling my wife to get in the car and bring me a spare tube and the pump because I was being a weight weenie and telling myself “I don’t need the C02’s and tubes” becuase “I won’t get a punture on this ride.”

  5. I’m going to have to disagree on this one – and in doing so will probably totally screw myself. In all my years of riding I’ve NEVER needed a tool on the roadside and have never been left stranded anywhere. Tools coming along for the ride totally destroys the aesthete of and completely runs contrary to “The Rules”. It’s bad enough that I carry an extra tube and a CO2 set up (which I don’t on more occasions than I do). The cycling gods seem willing to turn a blind eye to that matter but I think having a contraption in your back pocket that allows you to perform an emergency addadicktome* is tempting their ire in that you have no faith in their providential watchcare. How can you reconcile the purity and beauty of being one with your machine as you turn to le metier and the hours spent cleaning, adjusting, lubricating, and the quick little detours into the back room just so you can look at your bike for few seconds with stuffing your back pocket with a monstrosity that is the antithesis of beauty and proves out your weakness in your ability to master your craft?

    *The procedure that you need if you are prone to carrying tools with you on a ride.

  6. @Cyclops
    Though I disagree with your ending question, I do believe you’re on to something. To the contrary, I think that facilitating roadside repairs which are effective and elegant is the apex of mastery and perhaps second only to wheelbuilding.

    That said, what I think you’re onto is the lack of overall care which translates into more frequent on-ride mechanicals. Le Metier begins on the stand at home and culminates in a mishap free ride. However, shit happens. I like you, seem to be fortunate in I rarely have to deal with much more than a puncture because I take care of my stuff. But I know others who are as fastidious about the care of their bikes and suffer more problems than most. I don’t know why this is but some are luckier than others.

    It is disgraceful to call home for a pick up or a SAG, as MrBigCog puts it, for something as benign as a tube. 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. When I go out for a long ride I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to repair a flat, fix a broken chain, tighten a bottle cage, true a wheel enough to ride, tighten a stem, etc. I almost never do but not being able to do so is akin to not bringing food or water on a century ride.

  7. @Cyclops

    I don’t ride with a tool set either, knock on wood. I do take tire levers, co2, patches, and a tube.

    I’ve never had anything go wrong either, except once one of my bottle cages worked itself loose and started to rattle quite a bit. I hand-tightened the screws the best I could and set them properly when I returned home, no big deal.

    However, I wouldn’t be opposed to carrying such a small tool set such as the one pictured above, I’ve just never bothered to purchase one. I run Shimano, so I could probably get away with a few hex keys.

    At any rate, since I’ve recently severed my own European Posterior Man Satchel (it was quite painless actually!), I have been looking to pick up a small Lezyne pouch or smart wallet, though I can’t seem to find them in town. The ziplock bag I’m currently using isn’t exactly pro, and the contents tend to shift during the ride.

  8. Marko:
    But I know others who are as fastidious about the care of their bikes and suffer more problems than most.

    That is like my automobile. I take good care of it, but it has been hit no less than three times in four years while parked on the street by careless drivers. Sometimes bad things happen that are out of your control.

    Marko:
    It is disgraceful to call home for a pick up or a SAG, as MrBigCog puts it, for something as benign as a tube. 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.

    +1. I believe MrBigCog may have been writing tongue-in-cheek, but I would be embarrassed to call home for anything less than an injury that prevented me from finishing the ride. My time on the bike is MY TIME and escape from everything else, I don’t want to have to call home and wait for a problem so minor as a tube puncture. This isn’t preschool, you need to learn to wipe your own arse and not have your mom do it for you, so to speak.

  9. I carry a Crank Bros. 5… A few hex keys and a phillips for derailleur limit screws. If a wheel goes out of true, open the freaking brake up. If a chain breaks, shame on you. Funny, I find myself wrenching team mates’ bikes on the roadside a lot more than my own…

    @mcsqueak
    I highly recommend this for a quick, cheap satchel. It’s six bucks, fits a tube, 2 CO2’s, inflator, lever, patch kit, ID, plus a little extra room. And you get some bandaids (plasters for you Brits/Antipodeans) into the bargain!

  10. @sgt

    Nice idea, thanks. About the perfect size too. And now we know the secret to how you afford so many helmets, you skip the name-brand tool organizers.

  11. @mcsqueak
    I believe, upon a second reading, you’re right about MrBigCog. My apologies MrBigCog if I took your post in the wrong way.

    On last summer’s first ride of any length my seat tube cage started coming loose about 110 miles in. I was starting to feel tired as I reached down to finger tighten the screws. With my eyes off the road as I tightened I suddenly hear ferocious barking closing in quickly. I look up and see these two large Shepard/mongrels charging me from some hillbilly’s front porch. I let go of screw, grab the hoods and sprinted as fast as I could with mongrel #1’s muzzle grazing my left leg. Barely got away. When I got home an hour or so later I put some blue thread lock on the cage screws.

  12. I love tools and minitools, I’ve a good number of them, crankbrothers in particular, but I’ve to say that I do not carry them when I ride or race, that’s thanks to one of my very dear friends that always has a huge bag under his seat.
    This ‘cycling’s mario bros’ can virtually repair any accident you happen to sustain, I should take a photo of that monster!

  13. that thing is rad. But what is radder is that countertop pattern. Retro-awesomeness! Where can I get one of those?

  14. Minitools are practical and likely necessary when touring less travelled country or mountain biking in remote areas. I have been known to carry and use minitools and on occasion borrow minitools from fellow cyclists.

    My question is this: can a minitool possibly be PRO?

  15. Rarely do these roadside emergencies happen for a tuned machine, but having the right ‘mini’ kit is just plain smart. Mini tool, patch, tube, cash/card, and cell phone are items I never leave without. Not to mention a pump. Sorry about the looks and rule breakage, but CO2 just plain sucks in terms of pollution, waste, and dorky looks when you can’t get the valve on right and waste the entire contents. Triathletes use CO2. Need I say more?

    Besides, having the tools/tube/patch work great for the moments when a complete stranger is stranded on the roadside without any of the above. The true pro comes along side, asks if there is any way to help, and potentially meets someone new to the sport, a potential mate, or just a friend to help another rider out next time.

    The money? Goes great for beers at the pub when you lose the sprint for the city limits sign.

    The phone? Duh…

  16. @packfiller

    I have a little co2 chuck that has a valve you turn to release the contents of the cartridge. I’ve used it exactly once, and without problems or waste.

    Besides, triathletes try to do lots of things that proper cyclists do, can’t fault ’em for trying.

    Offering to provide help to others is not only nice, I believe it’s good karma. I always offer (I’ve even pulled over while driving to offer help), and I think it’s one of the reasons I have very few mechanical issues while on the road.

  17. I use the Cutter shorty, which is slightly heavier (~200 g) and adds a chain tool and the common spoke nipple wrench sizes. Not as nice looking by far, but basically the same size package with a lot more function (missing the Phillips #1, but hell, just jam the #2 in there like everyone else). You’re much more likely to knock a wheel out of true on a hard man ride than find that you need to tighten your saddle/crank/seatpost bolts on the road (okay, maybe you’re a triathlete and fell over one too many times on T1), so this isn’t really a contest about who can bring the most extraneous gear- the Cutter has exactly the right amount, no more.

  18. packfiller:
    …dorky looks when you can’t get the valve on right and waste the entire contents.

    If you learn how to use the tool, this don’t happen… And if you ride enough, you’ll get good at changing flats / using the tool. (I happen to be in the midst of a rash of flats the past few months, after a year plus without. So it goes…)

    Minipumps in the back pocket are PRO, so are CO2’s. Not knowing how to use either, or taking longer than 6 minutes to change a flat is inexcusable. See Rules #83 and #84 (thx karim!)

  19. @mcsqueak
    I’m with you on this one. Bare minimum and (thank Merckx) haven’t had the worst case scenario happen that I couldn’t deal with enough to make it home. BTW, I recently severed the European Posterior Man Satchel, bloodlessly. I found the Lezyne pouch on eBay for $13AU (about $30US isn’t nowadays? wink wink) including postage from a seller in the UK which was excellent value. I think they’re still selling them.

    Mind you, I’m lucky enough due to where I live, that most of my rides keep me within a reasonable closeness of a metropolitan area, regardless of distance. Meaning that in the event of a catastrophe the call to Mrs ciclista would occur or the kindness of other folk, i.e. family (as she doesn’t have a licence it would be pointless calling her apart from a “I’m gonna be late”!). Were I to venture further afield or off-road then I would and do, carry more.

    @all

    I realise that CO2 ‘s are as convenient as sliced bread but would have to agree with @packfiller re: waste and pollution. Pumps are more earth friendly.

    @frank
    that is a nice looking tool though. Fiddling with it all day? You know what leads to? Loose multi-tool pivot points.

  20. @all

    I don’t think it wise to compliment Frank further on his “tool”, or encourage daylong “fiddling” therewith.

    @il ciclista medio
    I figure that even with my expanded use of CO2 recently, I’m still more carbon-neutral than most weekend golfers (driving to and from the course, lost balls, cart, etc. etc.) Not losing sleep over it.

  21. il ciclista medio :
    I realise that CO2 ‘s are as convenient as sliced bread but would have to agree with @packfiller re: waste and pollution. Pumps are more earth friendly.
    .

    Worrying about the relative environmental impact of CO2 canisters and pumps? Really? Got an even better solution for you to save the environment. Hold your farts in.

  22. sgt:
    I figure that even with my expanded use of CO2 recently, I’m still more carbon-neutral than most weekend golfers (driving to and from the course, lost balls, cart, etc. etc.) Not losing sleep over it.

    Indeed, and worrying about it while riding around a contraption made out of steel/aluminum/titanium/carbon/plastic that has been hewn from the earth’s raw materials in less-than-clean circumstances seems interesting.

    I get the eco-friendly thing, I recycle and all that (full disclaimer: I’m employed in the environmental resource management market). But is using a co2 canister worse than popping a beer? Both are made out of metal and release co2, and both can be duly recycled after use.

  23. @mcsqueak
    And if you breathe less, you create less CO2 too.

    So how about every time some clown thinks that they prefer a pump to CO2 canister because of environmental concerns, said clown agrees to hold his breath for a period of time. 10 minutes should do it.

    That should go some way to saving the planet and possibly even assisting the human race through some Darwinian selection.

  24. @Marcus
    Don’t know what happened there? So where was I?
    Well I’m glad you have a strong opinion on the benefits of one against the other as I was in adding my comment. Clearly you are the better person and right. I certainly wasn’t intending to be taking a righteous stance. Each to their own beliefs.
    Clowns are a little environmentally unfriendly themselves, all that make up washing down the drain, ending up in our oceans, but they have been known to ride bikes.

  25. @Marcus
    Actually, I’d say CO2 makes it more critical to check your tires for the cause of a flat, precisely because you have a finite inflation source, and easier to take the time to do so, because you’ll spend a lot less time pumping away on the side of the road.

    At the end of the day, it’s to each his own. Use CO2, use a pump, whatever. Just be quick about it, and stick it in your pockets.

  26. @Marcus
    and that’s pretty much the way and reason I use/look at it as well. If it makes (in my own small mind) me feel a little bit greener as well, then I’m a happy chappy, simple.

  27. @frank

    “I was mounting my new brakes with great anticipation…”

    “It feels so good in the hand, it’s tempting not to carry it around and fiddle with it all day.”

    You need help.

  28. Brett :
    @Marcus
    @il ciclista medio
    Ok, that’s it, mini-pumps (or CO2 canisters) at dawn…

    Can we make it about 11am? Ever since I made the environmentally sound decision to replace my digital alarm clock with a sundial, I find it pretty hard to get up at dawn.

  29. Marcus :

    Brett :@[email protected] ciclista medioOk, that’s it, mini-pumps (or CO2 canisters) at dawn…

    Can we make it about 11am? Ever since I made the environmentally sound decision to replace my digital alarm clock with a sundial, I find it pretty hard to get up at dawn.

    sure, but being a lover not a fighter, we may have to use vocals or breakdance moves. All done acapella or with the Velominati providing beatbox of course.

    Personally I use a rooster as it also provides a great way to dispose of our food scraps, the manure is great for my vegie patch and any feathers that fall help to keep our hand made quilts plump. A sun dial would still mean ripping some of the earth’s precious resources from the ground in one form or another.

  30. I use CO2 cartridges because the friction of pumping creates heat, and with the number of flats I get (on Conti GP4000 25s thank you very much), it would contribute significantly to global warming.
    Rapid CO2 decompression, on the other hand, cools the planet.
    I also hold in my farts.

  31. @all
    What is the accepted number of CO2 cannisters to carry? i got one with the attachment and am on the way to buy some more later, obviously it comes down to weight vs practicality.
    And the environment issue would be redundant if douchebags who take the car to the gym would just ride or walk there instead

  32. Novum Velominatus here posting for the first time….let me add my experience. I get everything into a small plastic box 13x8x3cm that once held a puncture repair kit: multi tool, CO2 canister and nozzle, spoke key, patches, piece of fabric for tyre repair, two tyre levers and some money. This then goes in my pocket with one tube and a mini pump. Can not for the life of me understand why I see guys on £2,000 bikes with lightweight everything who load them down with all manner of crap in a big seat bag. There’s a guy in my club who even packs cleat covers on a ride – maybe thinks he is somehow dodging Rule #69.

  33. @Sam
    I appreciate the environmental concern, but think it’s negligible, especially since the pumps are usually made of plastic and even if they’re metal take loads of fabrication and pollution to make. I don’t use many cartridges, so I think in the end it’s a way, and lets focus on getting cars off the road.

    That said, I carry two cartridges with me. Held together with a rubber band, with my Mavic tire lever slipped in with it to make a nice, small package.

  34. @Vitus 992
    OK, couple things. First off, your name is AWESOME. Strong work. Second off, I’ve never even considered throwing that stuff in one of those boxes. Going to try this out. Which puncture repair kit did you use the box from?

    The guy with saddle bag and cleat covers is a perfect example of how the bag breeds complacency with what you take with you. Really? Cleat covers? How much are you expecting to walk during your ride? Hobble out to your bike in your shoes, throw your leg over, ride it to the cafe for a little pre-ride Espresso, then ride for fucking ever, take your shoes off when you get home.

    I suppose he’s got a tourniquet and flashlight in there too, just in case.

  35. @pakrat

    Personally, I have ditched my minitool and now only carry a 4,5, and 6 mm hex along w/patch kit, tire levers, and mini-pump. Sometimes a spare tube makes the cut (though rarely).

    I like the minimalist approach, and went there too, but there’s just a bit too much muckitymuck with keeping them in order and not losing them. Multi-tool wins.

    @Andrew

    I use the Cutter shorty, which is slightly heavier (~200 g) and adds a chain tool and the common spoke nipple wrench sizes.

    Hm. Very nice looking tool. I’m personally against bringing chain tool or spoke wrench (a properly trued wheel doesn’t generally go out of true, and I watch where I’m going, generally) but if you’re so inclined, this is by far the best looking tool that has both those features. Might have to add it to the arsenal just to have it, and for Mountain Biking, which obviously has a completely different set of regulations since – at least out in the Cascades – you’re heading into the mountains where they’ll never find you if you can’t get yourself out and people die there all the time. Map, compass, first aid, etc comes with me every time.

  36. @MrBigCog

    All of this “bulky pockets as a result of Rule #29 compliance” business can be resolved by giving the old lady a a very important job “we in the biz” like to call SAG.

    Which puts you sleeping on the couch first, calling her “old lady” or “SAG”? If it was me, it would be hard to separate the two. It’s hard to think straight after the first kick to the head, since after that, the buzzing sound is really hard to ignore.

    @xyxax

    I use CO2 cartridges because the friction of pumping creates heat, and with the number of flats I get (on Conti GP4000 25s thank you very much), it would contribute significantly to global warming.

    Rapid CO2 decompression, on the other hand, cools the planet.

    Nice.

  37. @Brett

    “I was mounting my new brakes with great anticipation…”
    “It feels so good in the hand, it’s tempting not to carry it around and fiddle with it all day.”
    You need help.

    That’s what you blokes are for.

  38. @Marcus, @il ciclista medio
    How’d the fight go? You guys just ended up have a nice cappu and chatting about nice floral patterns for nicks, didn’t you?

    @RideFit

    Tthat thing is rad. But what is radder is that countertop pattern. Retro-awesomeness! Where can I get one of those?

    Get a 1920’s bungalow in Seattle and throw it in for free.

  39. I’m moving to one of these this year from a couple allens.

    This is primarily for bundling/management and of course, having more tools should I need them. For road rides I typically don’t but long rides on the grave (gravay) oft require something more.

    I’m also ditching the Co2 system for a Lezyne minipump for nothing more than redundancy (never runs out of air) and I’m going to try riding at lower psi.

  40. This business about not running out of air…I generally run out of tubes before I run out of cartridges…how many flats are people getting in one ride?

  41. frank:
    …how many flats are people getting in one ride?

    Lately it feels like I’m running a 1:1 ratio… But I’m prepared for up to 2:1. After that I’m Blanche Dubois (look it up).

    Sidebar: Can we do another trial VSP for Monte Paschi? I love that race…

  42. Marko – is that the Crank Brothers 17? That’s what I have & carry in a jersey pocket. Maybe a bit of overkill with the chain tool + spoke wrench, but it’s nicely designed and pretty damn small.

    And I use a Lezyne Road Drive M pump. Have one on the ST of my two main road bikes. They are sharp looking and also blend right in. Love them. Only used once or twice but one time was in the last third of a Thursday night race, when things start to get interesting. Was bike riding in a very short time.

    I also carry one CO2 + chuck head. What’s the thinking on pump + CO2? Redundant? The chuck and cartridge are so small I figure why not. If I’m not in a rush I’ll use my pump. If it is freezing cold or I am in a rush, inflator.

    As for flats – have different tires on different bikes, but I’d say I got about three out on the road in 2010. I had a few more of those check your tires before a ride and it’s flat type of flats. I always seem to get at least one stretch a year where I get three flats in a row on one wheel of one bike. Those are not cool.

  43. @Ron
    Indeed it is the CB 17. Glad you seem to like yours as I haven’t used mine yet. I hemmed and hawed about the chain tool but figured at the end of the day its so small it’s worth it weight in the feeling of security. Plus, as I mentioned, for gravelling I’m often out in the middle of friggin nowhere on USFS logging roads that can be more akin to single track and my drivetrain has taken some shots. The m17 would be cool with a tire lever maybe instead of chain tool? Hmm…

    I use the road drive too. Flippin sweet minipump.

    And WTF is it with spates of flats? I’ll go thousands of Kms with no problems and then have a rash of them. It’s like there’s a puncture gremlin following me around sometimes.

  44. @frank

    Glad you like the name – I love the bike! I ride one as my winter hack. Alas, too tatty to grace these pages but it serves me very well. And it is, of course, totally compliant .

    The box is just from some standard unbranded puncture kit that you’d use for any bike. Nothing special. Maybe some kind of small snap-close food container would do the job too?

    The cleat cover guy? That’s exactly what he does. Dismounts. Fits cleat covers. Waddles to a table for coffee – and it’s not even an espresso.

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