Mountain bikers should carry a multi-tool, spare tube, and an inflation device with them at all times. These items are non-negotiable, because mountain bikes break. A lot.
The problem with most multi-tools is that when you actually have to use the tool to, you know, fix the problem, they’re awkward to use, bulky, clumsy, and generally not as helpful as they could be.
That’s where the Blackburn Wayside Multi-Tool comes in.
The Wayside is a full-fledged repair phenom, complete with 19 different functions. Here’s the full list from Blackburn:
- Individual Hex Keys: “L” bend with ball end to get into funky places: 2, 2.5, 3, 4 & 5mm sizes
- Knife Blade: Locking and serrated for your pleasure
- Chain Tool: 7–11 speed compatible
- Chain Assembly Hook: To assist in chain repair
- Disc Brake Pad Spreader: Easily resets disc brake pads
- 8mm Hex: With hollow core that will accept loose hex keys to provide additional leverage
- Torx Keys: Essential for modern bikes: T25, T30 sizes
- Spoke Wrenches: Located on the chain tool handle: #0, #1 & #2 sizes
- Presta Valve Core Tool: Reinstalls or tightens tube valve core
- Flat Head Screwdriver
- 200g / 0.44lbs
This tool meets some basic requirements that I have for the most reliable of tools, including a knife blade and a chain tool. (You’d be surprised how many multi-tools don’t have a chain tool.) But what truly sets the Wayside apart are the individual L-bend hex keys.
Instead of being awkwardly connected to the body of the multi tool, you can quickly and easily unclip each individual hex key from the tool, and use the appropriate size to spin the bolt, by itself, to accomplish the task you need to get done.
Gone is the awkwardness of trying to unscrew a bolt and having to twist the entire tool in a small space. Now you can easily spin the wrench, as if you were back in the comfort of your bike shop instead of out on the singletrack.
Thanks to the L shape and the rounded point on the straight end, getting into tight nooks and crannies is a cinch, and the rounded end allows you to easily spin bolt heads without having the wrench straight-on.
The Wayside does come with a special rubber band to hold the wrenches to the tool, but I quickly lost it during one trailside repair or another. However, each individual wrench has a plastic clip with a detent to lock each tool in place, and despite having lost the glorified rubber band, I have yet to have any of the wrenches dislodge from the main body by accident.
The only complaint I have is that, after a year of use, some of the wrenches are rusting slightly at the plastic clip point. This rust is likely due to getting soaked during wet rides, and having the plastic clips trap water close to the wrenches instead of allowing it to drain away. That said, the rust doesn’t affect the use of the tool.
When I first received the Wayside for testing I didn’t mentally register how different this tool was from every other multi-tool I’ve ever used, but after utilizing it for a full riding season, I’ve truly come to appreciate it. The Wayside has all the functions I need, is still compact and respectably light, and the individual wrenches can be a Godsend.
The Wayside is so unique that it has literally turned heads and elicited approving comments during a trailside repair. When have you ever said that about your multi-tool?!
Thanks to Blackburn for providing the Wayside for review.