The Ride Velo household must have half a dozen bike multi-tools, none of which really work very well. I’ve cursed each one for not reaching the more inaccessible parts of the bike or for the way bits flop around uselessly and annoyingly. And none of them have an 8mm allen key to unscrew my Look Keo pedals.
However, the guys at Altum seem to have fixed all three of those problems with their Modual Tool System (MTS). It’s a very neat idea. Two decent quality tyre levers clip in either side of the handle and it has detachable 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and (yes!) 8mm hex tool bits as well as a flat head and Phillips screwdriver tool bit. There are even 3.23, 3.3 and 3.45 spoke keys. In fact it has 14 functions in total.
You can magnetically attach 4 of these tool bits to the handle. Any spare bits go inside a zipped pocket of the wallet sized tool roll that comes with it. This can be clipped under the saddle which also has an elasticated strap that you can fit a spare inner tube under. A useful addition is the tool bit extender that helps you get to the parts that other tools can’t reach. But the really great thing to my mind is that the tool can be used as a screwdriver or a wrench (those blasted pedals again!).
The quality of the MTS itself is excellent. Made out of hardened steel, this was built to last as are the tyre levers, made out of glass filled nylon. The tool roll itself is very neat and means that I can finally discard my old saddle bag with the broken zip. It can also be used as a mat to put nuts, screws and tyre caps on while you’re doing your maintenance.
If you’re one of those slaves to ‘cycling rules’ that don’t allow saddle bags, fear not as the tool roll will slip very nicely into a back pocket.
Dan Varney, who set up the company, says that he began thinking about designing a quality multi tool when he was at university: “My friends and I would cycle (strictly fixed gear at that point) to get around campus and explore the surrounding landscape. It was here I first encountered the folding bicycle multi tool, a prime example of a product that left me underwhelmed…so I designed my own.”
He eventually quit his job to develop the product and his courage, dedication and ingenuity in doing so won him a Tapei Cycle Design & Innovation award earlier this year.
You can buy the tool on its own for £24.99 or, with the tool roll for £39.99 from the Altum website. This is a great piece of kit that is coming out with me on my trip to Mallorca next week and I’m almost looking forward to getting a flat tyre so I can try out those tyre leavers! Nice work, Altum!