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Topeak Hex Combo

8
£24.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Lacks some of the tools needed for roadside repairs, but if you just want hex keys... buy it
Solidly built
Keys give a secure fit
Good to have a full 8mm key
Hex keys only
Paint and anodising chip quite easily
Weight: 
184g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Topeak's Hex Combo is a solid and well made tool, and its shape and length give you real confidence in its abilities out on the road or trails. The nifty colour-coded keys are clever too. As it's obviously hex-only, you need to pack further tools or a regular multi-tool as well, though.

I normally start with the positives, but I'm going to bang straight into the cons this time – mostly because I'm nitpicking a little.

First up, I get that a tool called 'Hex Combo' is obviously only going to feature hex keys, but many bikes feature Torx bolts and the odd straight/crosshead screw as well. If you want to be fully self sufficient, you are going to need extra tools besides this, which adds weight and money.

> Buy this online here

> Find your nearest dealer here

On the other hand, I can't remember the last time I had to tweak my gear limit screws on a ride, to be honest, and Topeak sells a Torx Combo as well.

Nitpick two: the anodising on the body and paint on the keys chips and wears off fairly easily. Again this isn't a massive deal, but after just six weeks in either a bar bag on my gravel bike or a rucksack it looks quite battered. It doesn't affect performance, obviously, but maybe a protective pouch might keep it looking better for longer.

Right, with that out of the way let's look at the good bits.

Hex education

What you're getting here is a comprehensive set of hex keys including 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm, which covers pretty much everything on a bike apart from certain cranksets – and we all know how often you need to do that [spoiler: not often].

2021 Topeak Hex Combo 3.jpg

The tool has a good weight to it, and there is no flex in either the S2 hardened steel bits or the aluminium body even on really tight bolts. The keys are a decent length too, so leverage is good.

Play with your bits?

The tolerancing on the tool ends is tight, which means there's barely any play in the bolt heads – which means there's very little chance of rounding soft aluminium or titanium alloy bolts.

It's common for 8mm hex keys to actually be an adaptor that sits over the 6mm, which works but can be fiddly – and the risk is you lose it. It's great to see a full 8mm key here.

> 11 of the best cycling multi tools – get the right bits to fix your bike's bits

The 4, 5 and 6mm mm keys are colour coded, which is pretty helpful – ideal if you are in a race situation and you want to get moving as quickly as possible.

There is also a keyring for hanging it on stuff, such as the inside of your bag, perhaps, which would stop whingers going on about it getting chipped and scratched!

Value

At £24.99 it fares well against something like the Specialized EMT 12 multi-tool at £27. That's a good, small tool that still gives enough purchase, plus you extra bits like Torx keys and a chain tool. Liam did highlight that the 8mm adaptor could easily be lost though.

The Crankbrothers F10 multi-tool is £27.99 and also smaller than the Topeak, but still has a full size 8mm bit. You also get a T25 Torx, plus flat and Phillips screwdriver bits.

Conclusion

Basically, you can get a better array of tools elsewhere for much the same money, but if you just need a quality set of hex keys – either in or out of the workshop – the Hex Combo is the business.

Verdict

Lacks some of the tools needed for roadside repairs, but if you just want hex keys... buy it

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Topeak Hex Combo

Size tested: n/a

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, "Hex Combo provides 8 pro-quality, heavy-duty S2 hardened steel hex wrenches with high tensile strength for better wear resistance and extended tool life. Hex Combo combines the most commonly used hex sizes into one convenient folded tool with a durable, comfortable and smooth aluminum body. Color coded 4 / 5 / 6mm Allen wrenches make identification easy and the built-in keyring makes it convenient to hang or tether."

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

TOOLS: 1.5 / 2 / 2.5 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 8 mm hex wrenches

TOOL MATERIAL: S2 hardened steel

BODY MATERIAL: Aluminum

SIZE: 11.4 x 2.9 x 2.6 cm / 4.5in x 1.1in x 1in

ADDED FEATURES: Color coding and keyring

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

It's a good size and shape in the hand.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

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

As a hex key set it's very good for road or trail use.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Great size and shape for undoing stubborn bolts.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Hex-only means you still need to carry extra tools.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Value wise it could be considered pricey given it's hex-only, but it's a very well made and capable tool for the money if that fits the bill.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's not as versatile as many multi tools, but as a hex key set it is very well made – and its size means it shifts stubborn bolts.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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10 comments

Avatar
check12 | 2 years ago
0 likes

bit (lolz) of a pointless tool seeing as you'll at least need a small posi head bit too, so why not include at least this bit aswell, and a t25 and maybe a t20, then you only need 1 tool to rule them all, chain breaker optional if you want one with that too

Avatar
ktache replied to check12 | 2 years ago
0 likes

Ah but if you have to have a crosshead making it a jis2 would be perfect for me.

I like the look of this one, the colour coding on the 4, 5 and 6, and the real 8 makes a lot of sense to me.

Avatar
ejocs replied to ktache | 2 years ago
0 likes

Hmm, admit I can't quite see the point of color coding on a multitool. I totally get it (and have it) for a loose hex set, but on a multitool the bits are both always in the same place and also right next to each other for easy comparison/identification. And, if it *is* useful, then why only on 4-5-6?

Nothing wrong with color coding, of course, I just don't see that it adds value from a practical perspective, and in the case of this particular tool it just adds to the long list of what (for me) seem odd design choices.

Avatar
Simon E | 2 years ago
0 likes

The Topeak Mini 9 has 2 ~ 8mm, T25 and #2 Phillips, is half the weight of this thing, is also smaller and significantly cheaper. Very happy with mine.

https://road.cc/content/review/203261-topeak-mini-9-multi-tool

@TheBillder - any photos could give an unfair impression of wear rate etc, it will look used. That's why the words are far more helpful.

Should all review helmets be crashed in so we can see what broken ones look like?

Avatar
TheBillder replied to Simon E | 2 years ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:

@TheBillder - any photos could give an unfair impression of wear rate etc, it will look used. That's why the words are far more helpful.

I think we readers can understand that the test period will be a bit more intense usage than we might subject a product to, and I'm not going to drop something or spray it with water or stand in a bucket to check. It's what makes road.cc tests stand out from the "I bought this for my grandson, he's sure to love it, 5*" nonsense. But I'm also keen to see what the thing might look like after a year.

Simon E wrote:

Should all review helmets be crashed in so we can see what broken ones look like?

Well... No. Crashing isn't actually what most people do in a helmet, and frankly the aesthetics of the plastic hat after a collision are the last thing on my mind. But if it looks knackered from being shoved in a box of kit or a rucksack, or being in the boot of a car, I'd quite like to know that. Is it so unrealistic?

I can see pictures of any product in its new state very easily, of course. I just want road.cc to make the most of its superiority to the norm.

Avatar
Simon E replied to TheBillder | 2 years ago
0 likes
TheBillder wrote:

I'm also keen to see what the thing might look like after a year.

I understand but I doubt that it is genuinely useful; a year of use on a multi-tool that was hardly needed isn't going to tell you much. Is a year an appropriate period? How do you compare a pair of alloy wheels after a winter of commuting and neglect with some expensive carbon wheels only used in better weather and make a meaningful comparison?

And there would be complaints from brands or distributors if their products looked a bit sh*t because they had been hammered while competitors' products appear to get off lightly (which could even indicate that the 'hammered' one was in fact the better product and therefore used more often by the reviewer).

In the end the reviewer used the hex tools and provided an assessment. The usefulness of any review will also depen on things like his/her knowledge of similar products reviewed or used in the past and how objective they are able to be.

TheBillder wrote:
Simon E wrote:

Should all review helmets be crashed in so we can see what broken ones look like?

Well... No. Crashing isn't actually what most people do in a helmet, and frankly the aesthetics of the plastic hat after a collision are the last thing on my mind.

Perhaps I phrased that poorly. Isn't what happens in a crash one of the key reasons for buying and wearing a helmet?

Otherwise what is the point of reviewing a safety item like that? "Yes it fits my head and is light and well vented" is not really much of a review.

Avatar
TheBillder replied to Simon E | 2 years ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:

.Isn't what happens in a crash one of the key reasons for buying and wearing a helmet?

Otherwise what is the point of reviewing a safety item like that? "Yes it fits my head and is light and well vented" is not really much of a review.

Yes, indeed - but road.cc doesn't do crash testing: the assumption is that all helmets are ok at that due to meeting relevant standards. Others, such as Virginia Tech, disagree, but that sort of testing is beyond a website. So actually they do mostly say roughly what you suggest.

I guess I'm not going to persuade you (and I doubt I'll persuade the road.cc honchos either). Good to debate though, thank you.

Avatar
ejocs replied to Simon E | 2 years ago
0 likes

Agreed, this seems to be far from the best tool from Topeak itself. Personally, I fancy Topeak's X-Tool. Cheaper and lighter than the one on review, T25 and Phillips, longer bits for awkwardly placed saddle rail clamp bolts etc., a sturdy body for getting a good grip, and still looks/works like new after 10+ years of use.

Avatar
TheBillder | 2 years ago
0 likes

Photos in road.cc reviews always show a pristine new product, usually with an oh-so-hip chipboard backdrop. Wouldn't it be more useful to show the state of the thing after the tester has abused it for weeks?

Avatar
Sriracha replied to TheBillder | 2 years ago
0 likes

It's OSB!

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