The Crankbrothers F10 multi-tool keeps things simple with just 10 functions, some nice materials and a compact frame. The slim design means it's great for slipping into a pocket or saddle bag, but similarly priced tools often feature more functions, including chain breakers, so you'll have to be prepared to pay more for that lovely build quality.
The F10 tool is the smallest in the Crankbrothers range, and because of its size and limited functionality it's aimed at city riders and commuters. The multi-tool is, in fact, the same as the one you'd find in the bigger F15 tool that Shaun recently reviewed. The F10 doesn't include the magnetic case or chainbreaker tool, which means that it weighs just 95g and measures 61 x 36 x 14mm.
I've been testing quite a few multi-tools recently and this is one of the smallest. It takes up very little room in a saddle bag or jersey pocket, although it is a little thicker than some über-thin credit card style multi-tools such as the Pro Bike Tool 17 in 1. Despite its proportions being a little chubbier, it handles its weight well and I didn't find that it bounced around in my pocket like the heavier Topeak Mini P20.
The stainless steel tools and aluminium side plates ooze quality, and a five-year warranty backs this up. While lugging it round there's no rattling from loose tools, but neither is it stiff to operate even with cold mid-ride fingers.
As I mentioned, the F10 has 10 functions: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm hex keys, a T25 Torx and both Phillips and flat head screwdrivers. Compared to a lot of tools, this is a rather modest number, but it's more than enough to get the basics done and most commuters will rarely, if ever, require the missing functions, such as spoke wrenches, while on the go. On longer rides, you may find yourself missing a chain breaker, but if that's the case then go for the larger F15.
What I'm trying to say is that despite only 10 functions, this will do 95 per cent of the things a larger tool will; the Topeak Mini P20, for example, claims to have 20 functions so you'd expect it to do 10 more things... Nope, it in fact only has 17 real functions, four of which are spoke keys and two a chain breaker, so with the F10 you're missing very little despite a smaller and much lighter package.
Setting the chain tools and spoke wrenches aside for a moment, there is some functionality that the F10 could do with in my opinion: a T15 Torx and a smaller Phillips screwdriver. I found that the Phillips head was a little too large for the tiny screws commonly found on bikes, such as limit screws. Other than this, I was more than happy with the performance of the F10, although there are obvious limitations of any multi-tool with bits this short.
From a power point of view, the body is easy to grip and the extra width over a credit card style multi-tool makes it surprisingly comfortable when applying pressure. Although I welcome the 'proper' 8mm hex instead of an easy-to-misplace 8mm cap that sits on top of one of the other tools, it is quite short so there's limited room for fingers. Despite this, I was able to undo some stubborn pedals using the flat of my palm instead of gripping the body.
After a busy month of use, the bits are as crisp and accurate as the day I got it thanks to the high-quality materials used. You can tell that thought has gone in to how the bits are machined, and the result is a package that feels high quality and should last.
The price, £27.99, makes it quite expensive for a 10-function tool, and many of the similarly priced tools I've mentioned offer more functionality, such as chain tools and spoke wrenches. Whether these functions are going to be useful will differ from person to person. For me, I can happily forgo spoke keys but find that even a simple chain tool can offer some peace of mind. If it was cheaper then I would certainly consider the F10 as it's exceptionally built and also looks pretty trick, but when tools such as the Specialized EMT12 cost all but the same (£27) and feature a chain tool as well, it's harder to justify.
High quality, simple and compact multi-tool, if a bit expensive
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Crankbrothers F10 multi-tool
Size tested: 61 x 36 x 14mm
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?
The F10 is aimed at commuters and riders looking for a space-saving multi-tool. Crankbrothers says: "With a minimalist frame and ultra-fine finish, it is as sleek as it is handy. Covered by a five-year warranty, the F10 is made to be well-used and long-lasting."
I can see it lasting a very long time, and if you can justify the initial outlay it should serve you well unless you require a chain tool.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
hex wrenches: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8
screwdrivers: Phillips #2, flat #1
warranty: 5 years
Can apply plenty of force, tool bits work well and are accurate, but short tool length can cause difficulty with some recessed bolts.
Seems very solid, and the five-year warranty inspires confidence.
Given the size, you can put plenty of force through it comfortably.
You get high quality for your money, but it's pricey compared to others offering similar functions.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well and completed all the on-road tasks I needed it to no problems.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The 8mm bit is very short.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Expensive. The Pro Bike Tool 17 in 1 (£27.99) and Specialized EMT12 (£27) are a similar price and yet have more features and are made of good materials. You can find similarly equipped tools for much less, such as the Topeak Mini 9 for £12.99.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A lovely made bit of kit that looks as good as it performs. The tool selection, although basic, is capable of most on the road jobs and a proper 8mm hex tool is rare. However, it is more expensive than comparable tools, and lacks a chain tool.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,