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Five cool tools to keep your bike in fine fettle from Birzman, Zefal, Knipex and Sinter

In this week's edition of Five Cool Things, we delve into the realm of maintenance with a focus on innovative tools

If you've put yourself in charge of keeping your two-wheeled companion operating at its peak, you need a whole array of maintenance tools - and we're on the search for the best in this category. This week's Five Cool Things delves into a collection of solutions that could transform the way you care for your bike, in one way or another.

From advanced brake pads to disc alignment tools from leading brands Birzman, Zefal, Knipex and Sinter, we've got the full reviews on the way. Let's dive in for a bit more background info on the products we're reviewing first, and if you want to read our already published tool reviews, you can find them here

Sinter Organic Brake Pads Shimano K type - Black and Green - £29.99

2023 Sinter Organic Brake Pads Shimano K type - Green - 3.jpg

Sinter's brake pads are not just a run-of-the-mill accessory, or so it claims. Offering extended pad life and consistent performance across varying temperatures, the brand boldly claims superiority in muddy and wet conditions.

We are reviewing two variants: the 'black' and 'green' pads, coming with a S-550 semi-metallic compound and a soft compound respectively. Priced at under £30 per pair, these pads could very well emerge as a compelling alternative to pricier big-brand counterparts.

Birzman Chain Wear Indicator II - £26.99

2023 Birzman Chain Wear Indicator 2 - 3.jpg

Maintaining your chain's health is pivotal to safeguarding your drivetrain and your finances. Birzman's Chain Wear Indicator II is compatible with derailleur chains spanning from single speed to 12-speed, and boasts swift and precise assessment of chain wear. Crafted from CNC machined 6061 aluminium, it should also last you a lifetime. 

Knipex Mini Wrench Pliers Steel Handle - £67.99

2023 KNIPEX Mini Wrench Pliers Steel Handle - 1.jpg

Witness the marriage of pliers and wrench in the Knipex Mini Wrench Pliers. This compact tool promises to redefine efficiency and versatility while bidding bye bye to the clutter of metric and imperial spanner sets. Its sleek design features smooth jaws and a zero-backlash jaw pressure, promising no marks on any delicate component edges.

Zefal Gravel Mini Pump - £33.99

2023 Zefal Gravel Mini pump - extended with hose.jpg

The Zefal Gravel Mini Pump is minipump specifically designed for wider tyre widths spanning 35 to 47mm. With a weight of a mere 105g, this pump's robust aluminium construction ensures durability without weight penalty. The Z-Turn connection promises effortless Presta valve inflation, while the magnetic lock mechanism ensures neat closure and easy storage.

Birzman Razor Clam - £8.99

2023 Birzman Razor Clam - 3.jpg

The Birzman Razor Clam, with its seemingly familiar design resembling a classic razor knife has quite a different purpose than shaving: disc brake alignment. Its dual plates envelop the disc rotor, creating a precise space for calliper adjustments. Crafted from stainless steel, the tool folds into its handle for secure storage.

Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops. 

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David9694 | 9 months ago

The chain wear / speeds chart below was new to me. Legit, presumably?

I liked the Zefal pump - is this Z action thingey definitely promising NOT to unscrew removeable Presta valves?

Cugel replied to David9694 | 9 months ago

David9694 wrote:

The chain wear / speeds chart below was new to me. Legit, presumably?

I liked the Zefal pump - is this Z action thingey definitely promising NOT to unscrew removeable Presta valves?

The chain "stretch" chart reflects what manufacturers and various bike maintenance websites say. Some, of course, argue that you get better value by wearing the chain until it jumps off the sprockets or chainrings, although this seems to forget the cost of new cassettes and rings to go with the cost of the new chain. And the efficiency losses.

That tool, though, seems to use but two pins atween the rollers of the chain. This is generally regarded as inferior to methods that use three pins to take out any roller wear (which doesn't matter) from the chain "stretch" measurement. Google "Pedros chain tool" for an example.

For enormous amounts of well-researched data about chains, their wear and their lubrication, see:

Some startling info to be found here about various chains and chain-related products. Suffice it to say that there's a lot of info about good and bad products, as determined by rigorous independent testing methods rather than by advertising and PR blurb.

Examples: KMC chains "stretch" much more rapidly than all other "quality" brands. Silca lubrcants are extremely effective and long lasting, making their seeming high price for a pack of their stuff irrelevant as the price per mile done to chain-too-worn is tiny in comparison to nearly all other lubricants. And a Shimano 12-speed XTR chain may be the most resilient and well-working chain ever made, even on 11-speed systems.

ZFC documentation and videos are long-winded.  But if you don't suffer from a short little attention span, well worth the effort to go through them all.


Pumps that unscrew valve cores. Grease the threads that screw on to the valve; use a valve cap that has a slot in it to act as a screwdriver for screwing in (and screwing out) valve cores, just in case the grease doessn't work. (It always seems too).


David9694 replied to Cugel | 9 months ago

Zerofrictioncycling really is high end, high end stuff. He seems to be saying if you're poddling around on your Tiagra 10s, keep all this stuff in proportion. A few take aways from my visit:

YBN should be in all our thoughts as a good chain manufacturer

He seems to like Silca, UFO and Smoove drip lubes. Hot waxing is the best method though - for those who can be arsed. 

wiping off excess lube post ride is a good thing (for the time/effort)

He claims that many 11 and 12s drivetrains are cheaper to run than 8 or 9s.

Chorus and Record are at the cheaper end of the cost per 10,000 km chart. Yet Record is a mediocre performer on his consolidated wear/speed chart. On 12s, YBN performs as well as Super Record. 

KMC 11s came out best on the strength to chain weight test, where there is a lot of variance; basic chain tensile strength was not very varied 


mark1a | 9 months ago
1 like

That chain wear indicator is a nice tool to use. 

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