There are a lot of options when it comes to mountain bike multitools, and designing a good one is a nice challenge given the constraints. A tool needs to offer a lot of functions, and it needs to be easy to use and compact without weighing too much.
Many mountain bike multitools utilize a folding design, much like a Swiss Army knife, but these days we’re seeing all kinds of setups from ratcheting trail tools to L- and T-grip jammers like the Blackburn Big Switch.
Of course, the Big Switch includes all the tools mountain bikers need and expect like hex (2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm) and Torx bits (T25 and T30) and a flathead screwdriver. Each bit fits in a universal handle that can be set up as a T-grip with a 2-inch-wide handle, or as an L with a 4-inch handle, and the bits snap solidly in place without the use of magnets.
Having a good tool with decent leverage on the trail is nice, and so is a full-size chain tool, which Blackburn includes with the Big Switch. The chain tool has three spoke wrenches carved out (sizes 0, 1, and 2) but more interestingly adds a disc brake pad spreader and a Presta valve core remover.
All the pieces of the Blackburn Big Switch fit in a wallet-like, soft folding tool case with room for an ID, cash, or a patch kit. Each bit fits nice and neat, held in place with a small loop of elastic band. Blackburn printed a graphic inside the case that shows how to estimate the time until sunset, which is a cool (if unnecessary) touch. My entire kit, including the tools and case, weighs 133.2g and takes up about as much space as a medium-size folding multitool.
My one gripe about the case is that it doesn’t have a closure, like a piece of velcro or even a snap, opting instead for a wide rubber band wrapped around the kit. The band keeps everything secure no doubt, but it’s one more thing to keep track of on the trail.
MSRP: $29.95 (find it online)
Thanks to Blackburn for providing the Big Switch multitool for review.