Bianchi Minitool 8x1 Steel

5
£10.99

VERDICT:

5
10
Functional yet strange selection of tools, so check your bike's needs before buying
Weight: 
79g

At 80g for a very compact tool, the Bianchi 8x1 is a slim, fairly light option for very basic roadside work, but the omission of T25 Torx and Phillips #2 drivers is odd.

Cycling multitools present a quandary: how much is too much? You don't want to be carrying around excess weight and taking up space in a tool roll or seatpack with a feature you'll likely never use. And of course you need to be sure the tool has the required bits to suit the bike you're riding and the repairs you're likely to make on the road: this will almost certainly differ from bike to bike. Fortunately at around £10-15 for most tools, you can easily find one specific to each bike and leave it attached or labelled on your pre-ride gear shelf, so you don't get caught out.

Buy Bianchi Minitool 8x1

The all-steel Bianchi 8x1 features 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6mm hexes, a small (PH1) Phillips and a flat blade too. To my mind, a 2.5 or an 8mm would have been more useful than a 2mm, but it's very specific to what's on your bike and what you are likely to need to fettle on the road. A 2mm hex is indeed handy for swapping out rim brake shoes and making adjustments to caliper brakes, for example, and some pedal spindles take 8mm bits.

I'm okay with the omission of a chain breaker. In the last decade of cycling about 5,000 miles a year, I've only had to repair a chain once out on the road, and it wasn't mine either. Modern chains, correctly installed, simply don't fail within the statistical bounds of justifying carrying a tool to re-join them.

Read more: The best multi tools — get the right bits to fix your bike's bits

The omission of a Torx T25 in favour of a T20 is just odd though. With many disc rotors being held on by T25 bolts, and very few T20 bolts to be seen on bikes, dedicating a space to a T20 at the cost of a T25 is questionable. An online meta-analysis of minimalist multitools followed by a conversation with Sean Lally of Cycle Systems Academy and bike-tech podcast partner John Galloway of Velocast shows apparently no-one of note thinks a T20 is worth having, almost everyone going for a T10, most-often a T25 and occasionally a T30.

The Bianchi 8x1 is pretty slim, slipping down the side of a tool roll or seatbag easily with no protrusions to catch, and the short bits are held in place firmly. I'm not a fan of long bits on multitools, as if you need to apply pressure they easily slip out of vertical relative to the bolt you're adjusting. Also if you need to, you can easily get shorter bits inside a bottlecage or under a brake bridge, bent at ninety degrees.

The PH1 Phillips head does an OK job of shifting friction-free derailleur adjustment bolts, but a PH2 would have been a much better choice. If the bolt is welded fast (as mech screws often are) a PH1 will simply not be up to the job of cracking it free. As with the Torx T20, the PH1 is an odd decision to include. Likewise there are very few (if any) reasons to carry a flat-blade screwdriver on a modern bike, so its inclusion here at the cost of a PH2 or T25 is again odd.

For two quid more, Shaun liked the Topeak Mini 9 tool and I'm inclined to agree. The inclusion of an 8mm hex, T25 instead of T20 Torx and Phillips #2 instead of #1 make for a much more sensible collection, for my bikes, anyway. Know your bike, and the logical tool for you will follow.

Verdict

Functional yet strange selection of tools, so check your bike's needs before buying

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Bianchi Minitool 8x1 Steel

Size tested: Hex 2-3-4-5-6 Screwdriver Philips 1mm Screwdriver Flat 5mm Torx 2mm

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?

It's for cyclists needing this specific set of tools for their bike, out on the road.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Handle | Steel.

Dimensions | 7x2,6 cm.

Hex | 2-3-4-5-6 mm.

Screwdriver Phillips head | 1 mm.

Screwdriver flat | 5 mm.

Torx | 2,0 mm.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Not really premium, but then the price isn't either.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Still looks okay after use.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10

Feels heavy for what it does.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

If this is what your bike needs, £11 is okay.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Well enough - but the Phillips #1 is just wrong for mech screws.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The slim profile.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The selection of tools on offer.

Did you enjoy using the product? Ambivalent.

Would you consider buying the product? Ambivalent.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if their bike's needs were thereby met.

Use this box to explain your score

Middling in weight, with a non-premium finish and an odd selection of bits for the modern cyclist, I can't really warm to this tool.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72KG

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb, Dutch bike pootling.

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