The Topeak Mini 9 multi tool measures a diminutive 6.6x3.1x2cm, weighs a middling 94g and has nine functions. For such a small tool, it's surprisingly pleasant to use for quick tweaks when you're out and about. However, its size/tool selection means it's best suited to those who keep their machines minimalist, or like to cultivate their own custom tool kits.
The body is made from neatly machined CNC aluminium, while the tool bits are hardened chrome plated steel. Its 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm Allen keys cater for most fasteners, from cantilever/dual-pivot brake and cleat tension screws to bottle mounts, seatpost binder bolts, Ahead/stems, pedals and, of course, those old school square taper cranks. Then there's the T25 Torx and Phillips drivers for tweaking disc callipers, derailleur limit screws and lighting/accessory brackets.
Despite its size, there's a reasonable amount of torque, making short work of simple adjustments – I've even coaxed some badly weathered SPD cleat fasteners and quill stem bolts free with modest effort and without recourse to penetrant sprays.
Care is needed to avoid losing the 8mm cap – say, tightening rogue square taper crank bolts or pedals. Spares can be purchased (or salvaged from those in the scrap/bodge box). It is surprisingly efficient compared with the stubby type and will spare your blushes miles from civilisation.
The sleek profile compensates for straight rather than L-shaped tools in tighter spaces – adding/tightening a second cage on the seat tube, tri-bar mounting bolts and such like. However, there's no chance of sneaking it between wedge packs, or between tyre and mono-stay mounts when giving saddle cradles and mudguards a quick nudge.
Aside from being very accurate, electroplating seems reassuringly hardy. Deliberately leaving the Mini 9 in its wet neoprene pouch for several days following some very soggy rides, and the satin finish remains blemish-free.
Ultimately, it comes down to the old horses for courses gambit. Tossed in with spare tube(s), tyre levers, CO2 inflator, cartridge and 15mm ring spanner, it's perfect for my summer road and TT-inspired fixers. Add a chain tool and it's fit for longer outings on the winter/training bike.
That said, there are some cons, and much of this boils down to price in an ultra-competitive market. If you regard multi tools strictly as contingency options, there are shop-branded models offering superior spec for around £8, and 14-function types making better transition to gravel and mountain bike needs – another consideration if you port them between bikes. (Note: there is a Topeak Mini 9 MT – for mountain bikes, with a different selection of tools.)
Surprisingly pleasant to use mini multi-tool for quick tweaks and emergency repairs
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Topeak Mini 9 Multi Tool
Size tested: 6.6x3.1x2cm
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: "Mini series, elegant one piece super-light folding tool. 9 tools fold into an anodized extruded alloy body that tuck neatly into a neoprene case."
I'd broadly agree; it's a well-conceived, minimalist model perfect for quick tweaks and as part of a custom tool kit.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Forged alloy body, hardened steel tooling with satin electroplated finish.
Allen Wrenches 2/2.5/3/4/5/6/8mm
Torx® Wrenches T25
Screw Drivers Phillips
Tool Material Hardened Steel
Body Extruded Aluminum
Bag Material Neoprene
Size (L x W x H) 6.6 x 3.1 x 2 cm
Well machined with decent quality tooling.
Surprisingly pleasant to use for such a small tool.
Grade of plating and tooling generally seems of decent quality, so it should last.
Reassuringly stout, but for me at least, size is its main draw.
Surprisingly comfortable to use, even on some stubborn fasteners – shoe cleat hardware being an obvious example.
Reasonable when everything – size, weight, functions – are factored into the equation, but faces stiff competition from some store brand models, especially if you are looking to swap tools between bikes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, for a relatively small tool, the Topeak has proven surprisingly capable. It'll tackle the most common fasteners on contemporary road builds, but really suits those who pack a specific tool kit for individual machines. Those who like to swap one, possibly two tools between their bikes may find more comprehensive models represent better value.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Compact design, though reasonable tool length.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the design brief.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? For a minimalist TT/road bike yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, in the above context.
Use this box to explain your score
Decent multi-tool that caters for most common scenarios on pared-to-the-essentials machines, or as part of a space-saving bespoke tool kit. I'd go for something more comprehensive for commuting, group and general riding, though.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)