A multi-tool is a must for any bike ride. Leave the house without one and you can guarantee you will need it. From tightening a loose headset to re-linking a snapped chain, a multi-tool can get you back on the road within minutes and save you walking 15 miles into the nearest town.

There’s nothing worse than walking into a bike shop asking for an emergency tool because you were ill-prepared. Multi-tools tend to have a number of Allen keys, a basic pozi and flat head screw driver, sometimes a chain breaker and maybe a spoke key. They are specific tools to do a specific job but did you know that multi-tools can be used in a number of unintended ways?

We take a look at a few of our favourite multi-tool hacks:

 

Bottle Openers

Our personal favourite, opening a bottle of beer with the body of your multi-tool. Since it is St. Patricks Day this week, we thought it would be rude not to use a bottle of Guinness for this demonstration. 

First of all place your forefinger/index finger on the bottle and then place your thumb on the neck of the bottle. With your other hand place the bottom of the multi-tool body onto your thumb and the top of the multi-tool body under the bottle cap. You can then use the multi-tool as a lever against the cap and use your thumb to push the cap upwards and voila! Your bottle is now open. 

We went through a couple of these bottles, just to make sure we got the hang of it. 

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Check out how we did this in our explainer video.


Through axle lever extender

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Our next multi-tool hack is a new one to us. We hadnt come across this one before but were glad we did. Its one of those moments where you think, oh thats cool ! 

Your average multi-tool tends to be only a few inches long, which doesnt give much leverage. This is fine if you want to tighten up a water bottle mount or nip up your brake lever bolts, but when it comes to removing stubborn, rusted up pedals they are completely inadequate. Or are they? 

To remove a tight or rusted bolt you simply need to increase the leverage you have on your tool. A very clever way is to utilise your through axle along with your multi-tool.  

First, remove your front through axle - we use the front axle as you dont want your rear derailleur without the protection of your rear wheel - a broken derailleur is something a multi-tool hack wont fix. 

With the front axle out, keep your Allen key in the axle and take out the correct tool for your pedal from the multi-tool and attach it to the pedal. Remember your right hand pedal has a right hand thread, so lefty loosey and righty tighty, as is the norm, but then the left pedal has a left hand thread, so lefty tighty and righty loosey.  

We’ve been involved with building bikes for years and it still confuses us from time to time. 

With the through axle attached to your multi-tool and your multi-tool attached to the pedal, you have effectively increased the length of your lever and in turn the power of your multi-tool. Press gently on the lever and watch the pedal unscrew effortlessly. 

Check out the video below to see this hack in action:

 


Tighten Your Valve Core 

Have you ever been going at it with a pump and a Presta valve and unintentionally unscrewed the valve core? The solution is simple, just tighten the core back up with the VeloChampion tubeless valve with integrated core removal tool cap. 

If you have a multi-tool with a chain breaker you can use this as a core removal tool too. 

Place the valve core into the chain breaker and tighten the screw until it creates a tight grip on the valve core, not too tight as you dont want damage the valve. Gently twist the chain breaker to either loosen it or tighten it.Tighten the valve core, pump up the tyre and off you go!

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Remember lefty loosey - righty tighty unless it’s a left hand pedal.  


Combining smaller Allen keys to create a larger Allen key

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Now this hack is a last resort only, but it could get you out of a pickle.  

You could be traversing the Mongolian step or cruising the highways of Death Valley and days away from the nearest town, and your crank bolt keeps coming loose. Crank bolts tend to take large Allen keys (8mm) or special tools which you dont generally carry on the bike, its more of a workshop tool. 

Did you know that you can combine Allen keys to create a larger Allen key? (A 3mm and a 5mm to make an 8mm) On many multi tools Allen keys will sit closely together and usually in order of size, which is handy if you wanted to combine two. If your Allen keys come free from the multi-tool you can combine a number of Allen keys to get a better fit. 

Now this hack isnt recommended for daily use (just buy the correct size Allen key for the bolt) but if you are stranded its good to have this knowledge.  

 

VeloChampion produces a number of multi tools, from our traditional MLT10, to the VeloChampion Magnetic Y Wrench Multi Tool for home maintenance or our latest addition to the collection, the MLT20 Premium Multi Tool, with 20 Functions including a compact chain breaker. 

Check out our Multi Tool Collection.


Disclaimer: All of the above suggested hacks are hacks and are not to be used on a daily basis, but only in emergencies, hence the bottle of Guinness. Happy St. Patricks Day. 


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